Nightlife » Local Events

Spring Blossoms with Gala Fundraisers

by Jim Provenzano
Friday May 9, 2014

Spring's fertile array of arts offerings includes some festive fundraisers, which leads to patrons getting wined and dined in both traditional and new ways. Whether you're a generous arts patron or a Mission flat-dweller with five dancer-waiter-actor roommates, you can find a party with cultural flair somewhere within your budget, where food, drinks and culture find a delicious blend.

Among the upcoming events are ODC Theatre's Indulge on May 13. Described as a "grown up bake sale," the party, set on the performance space's stage, will combine edible treats and pop-up performances. But it's about more than pouring chardonnay in exchange for a check.

"I'm especially proud that we don't just throw a great party," said Christy Bolingbroke, ODC Theater's Director, who called Indulge part grassroots community organizing and part creative producing.

"We create a committee of volunteers - staff, artists, dance students, board members, community leaders - four to five months out, and then there's a lot of pounding the pavement," said Bolinbroke. "We re-engage with purveyors that have supported us since the event's inception, like Universal Café, AQ, Mission Minis, and Hayes Street Grill. But just like the arts scene in San Francisco, there are always new restaurants and bakeshops popping up." This year, Abbot's Cellar, Ichi Sushi, Blue Plate, and Lolo are among those who'll offer food and drinks at the dance space's party.

"With a wide-range of quality artists doing pop-up performances, the entire event's feel is that of developing your palate, giving you a taste of dance and performance while satisfying a sweet tooth," added Bolingbroke.

The décor theme this year is "all the world's backstage" with set pieces and costumes from various works in ODC's 43-year history. Bolingbroke also commented on the event as being an opportunity to connect with neighbors of ODC's Mission district.

"It is always amazing to see the generosity of small, local businesses,' said Bolingbroke. "Donating 100 pieces of dessert or a two-course dinner for four to eight people that night at a higher ticket price...and then, you have the businesses that provide experiences to be auctioned off - a jazz band, Wag Hotel, show tickets, wine tasting, and macaroon-making. All of these contributions help keep our Indulge event costs down, so almost every single dollar raised goes toward ODC Theater's shows year-round and to our resident artist program."

The ODC affair isn't just about schmoozing and noshing. With pop-up performances every 15-20 minutes, look for current and former resident artists like RAWdance, Hope Mohr Dance, and Scott Wells.

Altogether, it's one of the many festive events with a medium-range donation price. Here's a list of other festive galas, art auctions, and ongoing weekly museum parties.

Thursday, May 8

Art Auction at White Walls Gallery
Hospitality House's 29th annual fundraiser includes an eclectic art auction of works by dozens of local artists, like Greg Gossel's portrait of Elizabeth Taylor (see photo), which starts at $1,500 bids. Enjoy vodka cocktails, beer, wine, soft drinks and hors d'oeuvres. $40-$50. 6pm. 886 Geary St. 749-2184.

The Center for Environmental Health at Bently Reserve
The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) celebrates 18 years of success with its annual gala. Join keynote speaker Dennis Kucinich and more than 300 green business leaders, philanthropists, and health and social justice pioneers for a thought-provoking, festive evening. Hosted at the historic downtown building and popular event venue. Dinner will be served. $250. 6:30pm. Bently Reserve, 301 Battery Street.


Nightlife at the California Academy of Sciences
The museum's weekly cocktail parties continue. May 8's event is themed Perception, with outdoor and indoor DJ mixes by Dam-Funk Myron, Grown Kids Radio. See eye-popping mini-exhibits, with vision-distorting glasses. May 15 features DJ Omar, folks from the SF Maker Faire, green art workshops, plus nibblies and drinks, and of course the albino alligator. $10-$12. 6pm-10pm. 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. 379-8000.

Friday, May 9

Cirque de l'Arc at The Arc San Francisco
The festive annual fundraiser for The Arc's anti-bullying programs and mentors program for developmentally different folks will include perfomances by drag stars Galilea, Mercedez Munro, Donna Sachet, Alexis Miranda, Cockatelia, Rahni, the SF Gay Men's Chorus Arc Superstars, and DJ Page Hodel. $75-$200 and up. 6pm-10:30pm. 1500 Howard St.

San Francisco Ballet Nite Out at War Memorial Opera House
Enjoy the San Francisco Ballet's program 8, Jerome Robbins' Glass Pieces (set to three works by Philip Glass), and George Balanchine's Agon and Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet , followed by a champagne and wine reception in the theatre's mezzanine with some of the company dancers. $25-$189. 8pm. 201 Van Ness Ave. 865-2000.


Friday Night at the de Young Museum
Nightlife events at the museum take on different themes. May 9, celebrate Georgia O'Keeffe and Mother's Day with card-making workshops, music by Cascada de Flores, and readings by Devorah Major, Kim Shuck and others. May 16 celebrates forty years of Steve Silver's Beach Blanket Babylon, with huge hats (make your own!), music by FOG, and rollicking San Francisco style fun. $20-$35. 6pm-8:30pm. 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive.

Tuesday, May 13

Indulge at ODC Theater
The dance venue's annual gala party includes sumptuous food from acclaimed local eateries, and desserts and drinks, with an optional pre-party sit-down dinner, plus auction items and pop-up performances by dancers and musicians. $40-$150. 6pm-8pm dinner; in-theater event 8pm-10pm. 3153 17th St. 863-9834.

Wednesday, May 14

Gala Vernissage at The Old Mint
A fundraiser for the San Francisco Art Institute, Gala Vernissage will be a spectacular evening for which SFAI's community of artists, innovators, educators and supporters come together to raise vital scholarship funds for our students," said Charles Desmarais, President of the San Francisco Art Institute. "Not only does the event showcase the extraordinary spirit and accomplishments of SFAI artists-it's also a fabulous party!" Tour the architectural wonders of the historic building. Site-specific performance, art, music, beverage and food areas will keep you savored and entertained. $200 (8pm-10pm dessert party), $500 (includes seated dinner) and up. 5:30-10pm. 88 5th St. at Mission.

Thursday, May 15

Academy of Friends at the Westin St. Francis Hotel
The check presentation for the beneficiary groups of the Oscar party nonprofit includes the announcement of the car-winning raffle prize winner, plus door prize drawings, wines, cocktails and hors d'eouvres. RSVP required. 6:30pm-8:30pm. St. Francis Suite, 335 Powell St.

SF Gay Men's Chorus Fundraiser at the Getty Mansion
Have you ever wanted to see inside a lavish mansion? Well, if you've got a spare $1000, you can. Frederica von Stade, Lisa Vroman, Morgan Smith and Jake Heggie perform at this preview of solos and duets by opera superstars, and a preview of the Chorus' upcoming concert opf Heggie's opera For a Look or a Touch, about gay men in the holocaust. Cocktails, food and desserts. $1000 and up. Home of Ann and Gordon Getty, 2880 Broadway St. 865-3650.

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