February arts, music, events calendar

Are you in the mood to watch some cultural parades this month? How about shopping for rare books, attending a writing conference or going salsa dancing? Watching indie films and bands are also an option! It’s the perfect time to both embrace your unique interests and try something new. Valentine’s Day is also around the corner — have you planned a great date yet? If not, we have you covered. Check below for details on some guaranteed fun, all right by BART.

She Persisted, The Musical (Feb. 2-March 3) at Downtown Berkeley

Chelsea Clinton’s best-selling book, “She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World,” inspired this musical at Bay Area Children’s Theatre. This is a story of a fourth grade girl who takes a trip with her class to the museum, which turns into an adventure in time travel. She gets to meet inspirational women who are overcoming barriers and making history. “We hope this production will not only celebrate the achievements of the courageous women who have carved new paths for others but will also inspire our audiences to persevere in whatever paths they choose to take,” said BACT Executive Artistic Director Nina Meehan. Recommended for ages 5 to 12. Ticket range from $17-$24 and can be bought online. Take BART to Downtown Berkeley and walk 2 minutes to the BACT Berkeley Center, The Osher Studio.

Photo courtesy of Antiquarian Book Fair

Antiquarian Book Fair (Feb. 8-10) at 12th St. Oakland City Center

200 booksellers from 30 countries will be selling their collections and rare treasures at the 52nd California Antiquarian Book Fair. This event is recognized as one of the world’s largest and most prestigious exhibitions of antiquarian books. Visitors can expect to find rare books, treasures and curiosities that have fascinating stories to tell. Some rare items that will be for sale are a postcard from Picasso and the first edition of Ansel Adams’ “Taos Pueblo.” There will also be a special exhibit by the Book Club of California and an interactive exhibition that showcases local artists and organizations specializing in book arts. Tickets range from $15-$25 and can be bought online or at the door. Free admission for students with current valid student ID. Take BART to 12th St. Oakland City Center and walk 2 minutes to the Oakland Marriott City Center.

Photo courtesy of SF IndieFest’s website

SF IndieFest (Ends Feb. 14) at 16th St. Mission

The 21st San Francisco Independent Film Festival will showcase works in independent, alternative and subversive cinema from around the world. Events will be occurring at Roxie Theater, Victoria Theater and 518 Gallery in the Mission. “While the Bay Area is flush with festivals, this one remains an under-the-radar standout,” said Randy Myers of the San Jose Mercury News. Tickets range from $13-$250 and can be bought online.

Salsa Rueda Festival (Feb. 14-17) at Civic Center/UN Plaza

The 11th annual Salsa Rueda Festival is here to present four days of social dancing, performances, shows, music from acclaimed bands and DJs, workshops and classes for all dance levels with top instructors, a beginner bootcamp, educational lectures and parties. Attendees will be able to learn salsa, casino, folklore, rumba, son and more. Tickets range from $22-$270 and some can be bought online. Take BART to Civic Center/UN Plaza and walk 3 minutes to Hotel Whitcomb.

Photo courtesy of San Francisco Writers Conference

San Francisco Writers Conference (Feb. 14-17) at Embarcadero

Over 100 presenters will be at the 16th annual San Francisco Writers Conference, along with writers from across the country and world. This conference is consistently rated as one of the best for writers; its focus is to help writers become published authors and improve their craft. Bestselling authors, literary agents, editors, publishers and experts in self-publishing, book promotion, podcasting and other areas will be attending. Registration for the weekend is $850 and can be submitted online. Take BART to Embarcadero and walk 5 minutes to the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero Hotel.


Photo courtesy of Bay Area Musicals

Violet the Musical (Feb. 16-March 17) at Powell Street

Come see an intimate version of the Tony-nominated musical, “Violet.” The story follows a scarred woman who travels cross-country to be healed by a minister. Along the way, she discovers the true meaning of beauty. “Violet” was the winner of the Drama Critics' Circle Award and Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical when it premiered Off-Broadway in 1997, and then emerged with a Tony-nominated Broadway debut in 2014 featuring a revised version. See the show which includes anthems ranging from American-roots to folk to gospel. Tickets range from $20-$65 and can be bought online. Take BART to Powell Street and walk 12 minutes to Alcazar Theatre.

Chinese New Year Parade (Feb. 23) at Montgomery Street

Come to San Francisco’s Chinatown to take part in the biggest parade celebrating the lunar new year outside of Asia. The Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade is one of the few remaining night illuminated parades in North America, and it has been named one of the top 10 parades in the world by the International Festivals & Events Association. This tradition that started in the 1860s by the Chinese in San Francisco is still going strong, and this year’s celebration will have floats, elaborate costumes, exploding firecrackers, a 288’ Golden Dragon and the newly crowned Miss Chinatown U.S.A. and her court. Admission is free. For those who want to sit in the bleachers, tickets are $35 and can be bought online. Take BART to Montgomery and walk 7 minutes to California St. and Kearny St.

Gold: The Midas Musical (Feb. 23-May 12) at Downtown Berkeley

Princess Lydia is motherless, and turns to her father for love. Instead of treating her kindly, King Midas grows meaner, more distant, and greedier by the day. However, he learns a valuable lesson about family when the gods grant him the power to turn everything into gold. The Bay Area Children’s Theatre is offering a modern musical re-telling of the Greek legend of King Midas, recommended for ages 8 and up. Tickets are $17-$28 and can be bought online. Take BART to Downtown Berkeley and walk 2 minutes to the BACT Berkeley Center, The Osher Studio.

Paradise Square (Ends Feb. 24) at Downtown Berkeley

It’s 1863, and Black and Irish Americans are living side by side in a 20-block area of Manhattan known as the Five Points. Here, they work together, marry and for a brief period experience racial harmony. This is jeopardized, however, when the first-ever Federal draft calls whites to enlist but barrs blacks from serving. “Paradise Square” explores whether the hard-won bonds of friendship, community and family in the Five Points will prevail or be severed forever. Tickets are $40-$115 and can be bought online. 30 percent discount available for anyone under the age of 35. Take BART to Downtown Berkeley and walk 3 minutes to Roda Theatre.

Photo courtesy of Black Joy Parade

Black Joy Parade (Feb. 24) at 19th St./Oakland

The Black Joy Parade and festival is all about spreading positivity and celebrating the Black experience — the past, present and future. Visitors are encouraged to come be present, creative, open and free. The parade route will start at the corner of 14th St. and Harrison St., and finish at the corner of Broadway and 20th St. Following the parade will be a celebration featuring Black art, crafts, food and wine vendors, as well as nonprofits, community services and two stages of performances. A “Best in Flow” competition will also take place, and $10,000 will be divided equally among four winners. Admission is free and you can RSVP online. Take BART to 19th St. and walk 4 minutes to the beginning of the parade at 14th St. and Harrison St.

Creditors (Ends Feb. 24) at Downtown Berkeley

Adolf is a painter who befriends a man named Gustav, who both inspires him and feeds his mind with doubts about Adolf’s novelist wife, Tekla. As the tragi-comic story unfolds, the audience can see the threeway web of deceit and shifting power grow ever more deadly. “Creditors” is a powerful psychodrama about a sexual triangle taken to destructive extremes, and has been called “both coldly objective and scathingly passionate” by the New York Times. Tickets are $40 and can be bought online. Take BART to Downtown Berkeley and walk 2 minutes to Aurora Theatre.

Noise Pop Music & Arts Festival (Feb. 25-March 3)

Noise Pop is an annual week-long music and arts festival that takes place throughout SF and the East Bay, and it’s been championing independent culture since 1993. Its goal is to take the best venues in the Bay and collectively turn them into a personal festival ground. Those who partake in the fun will get to choose from different films, art shows, happy hours and concerts. There are two ways to attend the fest — either buy a badge and gain access to everything, or purchase tickets to individual shows and films. Some musical headliners are Beirut, Yuna, Princess Nokia and Petit Biscuit. Badges are $199-$850 and can be bought online.

Hans Hofmann: The Nature of Abstraction (Feb. 27-July 21) at Downtown Berkeley

Hans Hofmann was one of the most significant figures of postwar American art, and played a pivotal role in the development of Abstract Expressionism. This exhibition presents a fresh, eye-opening look at Hofmann’s prolific and innovative artistic practice. It brings together nearly seventy works that span all of Hofmann’s career; there will be paintings and works on paper from 1930 through the end of Hofmann’s life in 1966. Numerous masterworks from BAMPFA’s distinguished collection, along with many seldom-seen works from both public and private collections across North America and Europe will be on display. Admission tickets range from $11-13. Admission is free for BAMPFA members; UC Berkeley students, faculty, staff; 18 and under; one adult per child 13 and under; and artists in the BAMPFA collection/MATRIX.

Photo courtesy of Winter on the Waterfront

Winter on the Waterfront (Ends March 3) at Embarcadero

Winter on the Waterfront is a way for visitors to experience Bay Area adventures and for locals to have a staycation right in their backyard. The list of discounted opportunities includes Alcatraz cruises, waterfront dining, Ghirardelli chocolate, fresh crab, hotel rooms and a neighborhood fly over. The list of specials can be found here. Take BART to Embarcadero.

Metamorphoses (Ends March 24) at Downtown Berkeley

Imagine a story about dreams and reality colliding with gods and mortals. Berkeley Rep’s Mary Zimmerman has created an ode to the power of love — and the shadows beneath it. She summons Ovid’s classical tales of passion, betrayal, hope and transformation, inviting her audience into a realm of shared cultural myths and beautiful visions. See the show that received a Broadway run and garnered Zimmerman a Tony Award. Tickets range from $42-$115 and can be bought online. Take BART to Downtown Berkeley and walk 3 minutes to Peet’s Theatre.

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