Around the Block: Fall in the Bay Area

Howdy Hauters! I’m falling hard for fall. It’s symphony and opera gala season obvi. Au revoir Barbie pink, bonjour black turtlenecks with the Bay Area premiere of “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” opera! Jobpera? The best aria is probably, “Don’t i for Me Argentina”. Speaking of opera, rising Russian star Diana Skavronskaya started the San Francisco Opera Club that supports performances with opera education. What a cultural czarina, like our hometown Czar of Noir Eddie Muller, founder of the Film Noir Foundation and host of TCM network’s Noir Alley. I asked him what to watch to get in the mood: “As a Halloween treat, I like to watch films that combine noir with horror, and nobody did that better than producer Val Lewton, who ran the horror film unit at RKO pictures in the 1940s. Two of my favorites are The Cat People (1942) and The 7th Victim (1943), filled with sinister shadows, and a wonderful ambiguity about their supernatural elements. Scary but great fun.”

What is my favorite fall show? The San Francisco Fall Show of course, the West Coast’s largest art, antiques and design fair. This year delivers elegance with Honorary Chair Laurent Santo Domingo, Tiffany & Co’s Artistic Director of the Home Collection. Breakfasts in our future! But my favorite fall show of all is SF Fleet Week’s U.S. Navy Blue Angels (navy blue not Tiffany blue). In my almost thirty years here, I’ve ogled them from the Marina Green, Russian Hill rooftops, and even aboard the WWII SS Jeremiah O’Brien (the SSJO gets a respectful tip of the wing during flyovers). Where do you watch them take their whizzes I mean zooms I mean sky choreo?

Fall also brings us the High Holidays. We celebrate Rosh Hashanah with apples and honey for a sweet new year, and local food and travel influencer @asideofsweet aka Kelly Huibregtse says this is the perfect time for apple picking in Sebastopol. She also recommends visiting Yosemite while it isn’t too cold and the summer crowds have thinned out. For spiritual journeying, I asked Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf, the 10th senior rabbi at Sherith Israel (founded in Gold Rush times, its first building consecrated the year before the 1906 earthquake) and the first woman to hold this position, about themes for year 5784:

“Why am I here? How can I make a difference? This year, we’re restarting, reevaluating. We have an opportunity to redesign everything. Judaism invites us to pause, to think and to twirl into a new year with new intentions. Shana Tova!”

We Jews don’t have confession but if we did here’s mine: I adore the Warriors but I grew up in San Antonio, so you’ll see me at the pre-season faceoff in October kvelling over Spurs’ number one draft pick Victor Wembanyama!

Fall means harvest in wine country. Award-winning winemaker Christopher Tynan of Christopher Tynan Wines and husband to Katie Bundschu Tynan, Gundlach Bundschu Winery’s 6th generation, says harvest is shaping up thusly:

“2023 is on its way to being an amazing vintage – fresh acidity, longer, slower ripening with lower sugars equals more balance – the bountiful rain this winter really helped us recharge the soils.”


Halloween in the Bay Area is long but not slow. Are you ready for Terror Vault 2023 mwu-ha-ha-ha?! Founder Joshua Grannell aka Peaches Christ says, “this year’s completely new Terror Vault show, ‘The Initiation,’ is inspired by SF’s rich history of being home to so many strange and bizarre cults. We’ve crafted a show where guests must make their way through becoming part of the cult while surviving its evil leadership.” Let’s go ghouls!

If you’re not in the vault you must be in the Hall of Infinity Mirrors at the highly anticipated Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love exhibit at SFMOMA. Polkadotastic! This is the Mirrors’ Bay Area debut, that global darling of Instagrammable moments. Museum Director Christopher Bedford sees it as a space where you can, “connect with the artwork and with each other.” Another art happs is futurist Agnieszka Pilat pre-debuting her Melbourne Museum of Art show at private, arts-focused Vita Brevis Club in SoMa. She’s known for groundbreaking work with Boston Dynamics’ robot “dog” Spot.

Another spot to indulge your imagination is Oakland’s historic Children’s Fairyland, opened in 1950 and inspiration to Walt Disney. Being child free, I’ve treasured their adult-friendly night parties. This year, they host a one-night music festival, “Through the Looking Glass.” Artist SPELLLING promises avant-garde performances and surprises. There’s nothing like an evening among the original fairytale installations at Fairyland! 

Being a standup comedian, nights are my jam. Two notable comedy festivals right now are the San Francisco Standup Comedy Competition and the Mutiny Radio Comedy Festival. And my showcase, the Block Party, every first Friday at Club OMG. So buckle up for laughs! And wear your buckles to the Folsom Street Fair winky face.

Well I’m off to get a PSL, though smart coffee lovers will pop into Porsche’s new San Francisco showroom to test drive their prized espresso machine in the lounge. I will need the boost to power my pursuit of fifty parties by December 31st for my 50th birthday year! #50parties

XOXO Stephanie @howdyblock