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    Holiday Arts Preview

    Michael Feinstein’s Home for the Holidays
    November 30–December 3
    Feinstein’s at the Nikko, 222 Mason

    Two-time Grammy Award-nominated Michael Feinstein will return to the city where his career began with an all new show celebrating the magic of the season. Feinstein will perform holiday favorites and classic standards from the Great American Songbook.

    Steve Silver’s Beach Blanket Babylon Holiday Extravaganza
    November 30–December 30
    Club Fugazi, 678 Beach Blanket Babylon Blvd.

    The world’s longest running musical revue will roll out its Holiday Extravaganza that is not to be missed. The show will feature a chorus line of tap-dancing Christmas treats, parodies of traditional carols, King Louie XIV in red and green taffeta and glitter, pop culture spoofs and the legendary gigantic Yuletide Hat.

    Tenderloin Tessie Christmas Cabaret Spectacular
    December 1
    St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, 101 Gold Mine Drive

    Songstress of the Tenderloin Vanessa Bousay and Michael Gagne, President of the Tenderloin Tessie organization, will be featured, along with James Campbell at the piano. The first annual edition of this new show will benefit the services provided to help those in need.

    Girls of the Golden West

    Girls of the Golden West

    December 2, 5, 7 & 10
    SF War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness

    Girls of the Golden West brings the story of East Coast transplant Dame Shirley, whose letters chronicle life in the Gold Country camp. Additional characters include Ah Sing, a Chinese immigrant working as a prostitute; Ned Peters, a cowboy and former slave; and Josefa Segovia, a young Mexican barmaid. Racism, nativism and culture clashes are among the key themes in this story of incidents, most of which actually occurred on the Fourth of July, 1851, at Rich Bar in Downieville in the new state of California.

    Help Is on the Way for the Holidays XVI
    December 4
    Marines’ Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter Street

    Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation’s annual holiday gala and concert will include a silent auction, reception, concert and VIP after-party in the Redwood Room at the Clift Hotel. Featured artists will include cast members from the hit Broadway show Disney’s Aladdin as well as American Idol’s Kimberley Locke, Star Search’s Jake Simpson, America’s Got Talent’s Shawn Ryan, X-Factor’s Jason Brock, Velocity Circus’ Gregangelo and cabaret stars Kim Nalley, Leanne Borghesi and Jessica Coker. The show will benefit Project Open Hand and Larkin Street Youth Services.

    Tony Bennett
    December 5
    Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa

    Tony Bennett observed his 90th birthday in 2016 and is still celebrating with an international schedule of concerts on his tour, Tony 90, featuring his hit tunes from a remarkable career spanning seven decades. Bennett has a remarkable 19 Grammy Awards and most recently received the Library of Congress’ 2017 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. During his milestone birthday year, he appeared in a two-hour NBC special with an accompanying CD entitled Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best Is Yet to Come and published his fifth book, Just Getting Started.

    32nd Annual Christmas Revels
    Friday, December 8–10, 15–17
    Scottish Rite Theatre, 1547 Lakeside Drive, Oakland

    A Scottish Celebration of the Solstice will be the theme of this annual community pageant featuring professionals and local amateurs singing and dancing their hearts out to music from diverse cultures and ritual traditions. The company will celebrate the shortest day in song, dance and spirited folk tales with Scottish tunes and lore plus perennial favorites the Lord of the Dance, Abbots Bromley Horn Dance and more. The Revels, originally founded by ethnomusicologist John Langstaff, has brought its unique theatrical, participatory arts-form to California audiences since 1986.

    Elfstravaganza: Making the North Pole Gay Again!
    December 8–9
    Nourse Theater, 275 Hayes Street

    The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus will present its annual holiday season concert with singing and hijinks to whisk the audience away on a journey from the comfort of their seats all the way to the North Pole. With some 250 elves in their best holiday drag, a team of reindeer and the handsome lumbersexuals, Mr. and Mrs. Claus will sing opera and welcome a few nuns for an unforgettable night.

    Holiday Gaiety

    Holiday Gaiety with Armistead Maupin & The San Francisco Symphony

    December 8
    Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Avenue

    Award-winning novelist Armistead Maupin will join the San Francisco Symphony with artists Peaches Christ, Cheyenne Jackson, Bob the Drag Queen and more for something a little more naughty than nice. Maupin will read wickedly funny excerpts from his coming of age memoirs and enjoy the yuletide cheer with holiday hits from the SF Symphony and the dazzling lineup of guest stars.

    Dance-Along Nutcracker
    December 9–10
    Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street

    Nutcrackers of the Caribbean will be the theme of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band’s annual frolic where audience members participate by dancing to live music from Tchaikovsky’s classic performed by the Band. The show, a parody version of the original, will feature Bay Area theater and cabaret stars, including Joe Wicht, Ruby Vixen, De Nathanial and Zelda Koznofski. As the story goes, Clara and Fritz will set sail with Captain Drosselmeyer and Queen Rattannia in search of buried treasure. The cast will sing and dance its way through the parody, and when the “Dance-Along” sign flashes, audience members will take up their tutus and pirouette along.

    Chanukah Concert with Book of J and Victoria Hanna
    December 9
    St. Cyprian’s Church, 2097 Turk Street

    San Francisco Live Arts will present an original “not your parents’ type of Chanukah concert” featuring Yiddish Melodies, psalms and stories told through blues and traditional American music with sounds of rap, hip-hop and more. Interpretations of traditional Jewish texts will be combined with traditional Middle Eastern sounds. The Book of J is a duo comprised of vocalist Jewlia Eisenberg and guitarist Jeremiah Lockwood. Victoria Hanna is a Jerusalem-based artist who is world-renowned for her variety of vocal techniques in preforming ancient and modern Hebrew texts.

    Hallelujah! Let Us Break Bread Together Tribute to Prince & Leonard Cohen
    December 10
    Oakland Symphony
    Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland

    This will be a celebration of life and love with the Oakland Symphony and more than 200 voices from four different choirs. The incredible mix of guest artists will include Linda Tillery, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Dugelplex, Vocal Rush and more. All will pay tribute to Prince and Leonard Cohen in a joyful mash-up of the traditional and unexpected.

    Holiday Soul with the San Francisco Symphony
    December 12
    Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Avenue

    The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir will join the Symphony along with vocalists CeCe Winans, Edwin Hawkins and Paula West for an evening of soul, jazz and Christmas classics with vocal fireworks and foot-stomping energy.

    Smuin’s the Christmas Ballet

    Smuin’s The Christmas Ballet

    December 14–24
    Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street

    Smuin Contemporary American Ballet will present their 23rd annual show that will surely make your holidays sizzle. The Christmas Ballet includes two acts filled with an array of ballet, tap and jazz. It might even “snow” in San Francisco at the end, so be sure to look up as the event comes to a close.

    LGBTQ Night at The Hard Nut
    December 15
    Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley

    Cal Performances invites the LGBTQ community with a special offer (Promo code: LGBTQ) to The Hard Nut featuring a rollicking gender-bending performance by the Mark Morris Dance group of Tchaikovsky’s classic Nutcracker. The Hard Nut is a humorous, retro-modern take on the beloved tale with a swirl of dancing snowflakes and a Waltz of the Flowers. The show will run through December 24. (See page 25 for more information.)

    Windham Hill’s Winter Solstice with Barbara Higbie & Friends
    December 16
    Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley

    To celebrate the Solstice, artists from the multi-platinum selling Windham Hill series will present a program of original and traditional acoustic music in a joyous holiday concert. The program will feature LGBTQ community favorite Barbara Higbie, Grammy-winning guitarist Will Ackerman, Grammy-nominated composer Alex de Grassi, and talented musicians Todd Boston and Ellen Sanders.

    San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus’ Home for the Holidays
    December 24
    Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street

    The 28th Annual Home for the Holidays concert, with performances at 5, 7 and 9 pm, will return to the Castro for a holiday celebration that has become a ritual for many LGBTQ community members and friends. The show will feature classic holiday favorites, along with new works. Over-the-top production numbers are promised with humorous and tender moments, too. The lines to get in will be around the block and every show will likely sell out, so go online and reserve your seats ASAP if you would like to attend!

    Girls of the Golden West Transports Audiences to California’s Gold Rush Era

    Now at San Francisco Opera is Girls of the Golden West, the newest opera by American composer John Adams. With a libretto drawn from historical sources by director Peter Sellars, Girls of the Golden West explores the true stories of pioneers on California’s Gold Rush frontier during the 1850s.

    2017 marks John Adams’ 70th birthday year and performances of the composer’s works for the concert and opera house stages have been presented around the world. Girls of the Golden West, which Adams began composing in June 2015 and completed this summer, is the culmination of these celebrations.

    Created expressly for San Francisco Opera and initiated by former General Director David Gockley, Girls of the Golden West is a co-commission and co-production with the Dallas Opera and the Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam. The opera is also the latest collaboration between the Company and Adams, which also includes productions of Adams’ Nixon in ChinaThe Death of Klinghoffer and Doctor Atomic.

    A California resident, Adams said: “I have a cabin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains not far from where these events in the opera took place. I know the terrain. I have hiked through those valleys and along those hillsides. This is home to me. Not many composers can hope to be as lucky as I to have this connection to the historical reality.”

    Girls of the Golden West transpires in the historic mining camps of Rich Bar and Downieville during California’s transition from territory to American statehood, a period that coincided with the Gold Rush and its unprecedented migration of people from around the world attracted by the prospect of striking it rich in the region’s gold fields.

    Sellars’ libretto draws from sources illuminating multiple perspectives of this global event, including the California history classic The Shirley Letters, a collection of 23 letters by Louise Clappe—penned under the name “Dame Shirley”—describing the rugged conditions and clash of cultures in the gold mining camps from 1851 to 1852; the diary of Chilean miner Ramón Gil Navarro; memoirs of fugitive slaves; poems of Chinese immigrants; the Argentine poet Alfonsina Storni; Frederick Douglass’ speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”; gold miner songs; and Mark Twain’s Roughing It.

    Reflecting on the primary sources that comprise the libretto for Girls of the Golden West, Sellars commented: “The true stories of the forty-niners are overwhelming in their heroism, passion and cruelty, telling tales of racial conflicts, colorful and humorous exploits, political strife and struggles to build anew a life and to decide what it would mean to be American.”

    San Francisco Opera General Director Matthew Shilvock said: “John and Peter have created an opera that not only explores our history, but is also about us and who we are in the present. We think about people coming from all over the world in pursuit of wealth and glory. Some succeed; many fail. The tension of trying to figure out how to live together is not too far removed from where we find ourselves in 2017 here in San Francisco.”

    Girls of the Golden West has just four more performances at the War Memorial Opera House: December 2 @ 7:30 pm, December 5 @ 7:30 pm, December 7 @ 7:30 pm and December 10 @ 2 pm.

    For tickets and additional information: