Culture Crush: Virtual Events Close Out February 2021

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WINTER CLASSIC Pianist Mary Watkins tops the bill in Occidental Center for the Arts’ upcoming virtual variety show, streaming on Saturday, Feb. 27. Photo by Irene Young.

Virtual Event

Throughout February, the Marin County Free Library has hosted a slew of virtual events and other programming pertaining to Black History Month. This week, the library presents several more events, including “Food for the Soul: Black Experience in Marin,” which invites the public to hear a cross-generational panel discussion about living while Black in Marin. The online event brings together County of Marin African American Employee Association leader Meloni Page, youth activist Sophia Martin, Tam Wellness coordinator Amber Allen-Pierson, PLAY Marin Executive Director Paul Austin and others on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 7pm. Free. Marinlibrary.org.

Virtual Reading

Longtime educator Lauren Coodley is the author of three books on Napa history, as well as a textbook of California history and a biography of Upton Sinclair. On March 1, Coodley will release her latest book, Lost Napa Valley; and this week she participates in an online reading and discussion with the Napa County Historical Society as part of the society’s “Who Tells Our Story” event series. Lost Napa Valley takes a deeper look into once-beloved Wine Country landmarks, like the Kay Von Drive-In and the Bel Aire Bowl, that now live on only in memory. Coodley launches the book on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 7pm. Free. Napahistory.org.

Virtual Event

Later this year, the Museum of Sonoma County will exhibit “Collective Arising: A Positionality of Insistence from Black Bay Area Artists,” which tells the story of how Black artists in the Bay Area turned to artists’ collectives to help amplify their voices. This week, exhibit co-curators Ashara Ekundayo and Lucia Olubunmi Momoh will discuss the history of artists’ collectives and their philosophical and political foundations. The two will also preview the forthcoming exhibit, which will feature varied works made by contemporary Black artists living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Join the discussion on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 7pm. Free. Museumsc.org.

Virtual Variety Show

Last year, Occidental Center for the Arts took to the internet to present streaming entertainment in the wake of Covid, and the center wraps up February with its fifth virtual variety show, titled “Winter Classic.” The show will emphasize early 20th century classics and standards, and features pianist Mary Watkins (pictured) and members of the Santa Rosa Symphony. Other stellar musical acts to be included are Dirty Cello Band, Meredith Axelrod and Craig Ventresco, Eric Wiley, Black Brothers Band, Jazz Messengers, Black Sheep Brass Band and a dramatic performance by Steve Fowler and Andrea Van Dyke from Richard Sheridan’s comedy of manners, “The Rivals” (1775). The “Winter Classic” is presented on Saturday, Feb. 27, at 8pm. Free; Donations appreciated. Occidentalcenterforthearts.org.

Virtual Concert

One of the first orchestras to make virtual orchestral concerts a reality, the Santa Rosa Symphony returns to the digital stage this weekend for another stirring presentation as part of its “SRS @ Home” series. Music director Francesco Lecce-Chong conducts the orchestra in a performance of Antonín Dvořák’s “Czech Suite,” Richard Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll” and works by prolific African-American composer William Grant Still and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. The online presentation is preceded by a live, pre-concert talk and followed by a live, post-concert Q & A with Lecce-Chong—all on YouTube on Sunday, Feb. 28. Talk, 2pm; concert, 3pm. Free. Srsymphony.org.