San Francisco Social Diary: Winter Events

Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara’s Your Dog guards the Asian Art Museum entrance.

The cold weather hasn’t stopped San Franciscans from coming out for their favorite local causes. The opening of Adam Lindemann’s “Venus Over Manhattan” at St. Joseph’s Arts Society, the launch of “Kimono Refashioned” at the Asian Art Museum, and an award ceremony honoring philanthropist Maria Manetti Shrem were among many artistic and charitable events that drew supporters.

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San Francisco Social Diary: 13th Annual Festival Napa Valley Opening Weekend, Part II

Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth was the featured headliner at the Festival Napa Valley Arts for All Gala, one of the many incredible festivities this summer.

13TH ANNUAL FESTIVAL NAPA VALLEY OPENING WEEKEND 2018
Part II – THE GALAS

Festival Napa Valley recently “uncorked” its 13th season. I made my annual pilgrimage, one of a delighted 10,000 attendees who enjoyed wine, food, and cultural events over ten days at different venues throughout the Valley’s Wine Country.

Continuing my coverage of the Festival’s opening weekend, this week I share two fabulous gala-style events I attended.

The internationally recognized Festival Napa Valley gets better and more popular each year, with waiting lists for many of the 2018 programs. Bravo to all involved!

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San Francisco Social Diary: 13th Annual Festival Napa Valley Opening Weekend, Part I

Festival Napa Valley celebrated its 13th season with a record number of performances, including a spectacular light and music show during the opening Founders Dinner.

13TH ANNUAL FESTIVAL NAPA VALLEY OPENING WEEKEND 2018 Part I – THE OPENING NIGHTS

Festival Napa Valley recently “uncorked” its 13th season. I made my annual summer pilgrimage, one of a delighted 10,000 attendees who enjoyed wine, food, and cultural events over ten days at a multitude of venues throughout the Valley’s Wine Country.

A dazzling roster of musicians and singers participated in an unprecedented 70 spectacular classical music, opera, and jazz performances, and the region’s top vintners and chefs hosted intimate food and wine events.

The internationally recognized Festival Napa Valley gets better and more popular each year, with waiting lists for many of the 2018 programs. Bravo to all involved!

Napa Valley is considered one of the top viticultural areas in both California and the entire United States, with a history dating back to the early nineteenth century.

In Napa Valley, more than 400 wineries grow numerous grape varieties, including cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot, and zinfandel, among other popular varietals.

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San Francisco Social Diary: Art Happenings in Palm Springs, Coachella Valley (Part I)

Palm Springs, long a glamorous retreat for Hollywood stars, is now a flourishing arts community that has recently drawn a new surge of tourists.

ART HAPPENINGS IN PALM SPRINGS, COACHELLA VALLEY (PART I)

I’m making vacation plans now to leave Manhattan once winter arrives. One of the places that beckons is Southern California’s Coachella Valley, the desert resort area that lures international snow birds drawn by its natural beauty, year-round sun, golf courses, tennis facilities, spas, hiking, gambling, and vibrant nightlife.

The Coachella Valley (locals simply call it “The Valley”) is a string of nine desert towns — the best-known Palm Springs, as well as Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio, and Coachella.

A mere two-hour drive from Los Angeles and San Diego, Palm Springs is surrounded by the dramatic peaks of the Santa Rosa, San Jacinto, and Little San Bernardino Mountains.

The Uptown Design District of Palm Springs offers tempting shopping, dining, and cultural events.

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Charleston Social Diary

The 1853 Isaac Jenkins Mikell House is an example of the historical antebellum-era Greek Revival architecture common in Charleston, South Carolina.

THE CHARMS OF CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

Charleston, South Carolina: The five days I recently spent here—my first visit to the “Palmetto City”—weren’t enough. There was so much more I wanted to see and do that I’m determined to return soon. Meanwhile, I’m sharing some highlights.

Jeanne Lawrence in front of some of Charleston’s architectural marvels, which run the gamut from Federalist to modern.

Visitors enjoy traversing Charleston’s orderly grid of streets on foot, by pedicab, bicycle, in a horse-drawn carriage, and even by Uber.

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San Francisco Social Diary: The First Lady of Napa

The Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville, Napa Valley. The late vintners and philanthropists Margrit and Robert Mondavi were instrumental in transforming Napa Valley into a wine, food, and culture mecca.

NAPA VALLEY – “SALUTE, SANTE, CHEERS, MARGRIT! Tonight we raise our glass to you!” read the invitation from Festival Napa Valley, for a tribute to Margrit Biever Mondavi this past July.

The 91-year-old widow of vintner Robert Mondavi, who is credited with putting California wines on the world map, Margrit was honored for her more than four decades of dedicated work to help fine art, music, food, and wine flourish in the California wine country.

I flew in for the occasion to be with my dear friend, knowing she had been ill and fearing this Festival might be her last. Indeed, just weeks later, on September 2, Margrit’s remarkable life came to an end.

Though each of the ten evening events at Festival 2016 was extraordinary, the one honoring Margrit at the Far Niente Winery was to me the most extraordinary of all.

Margrit Mondavi, one of Napa’s most revered and influential figures, showcased fine food and wine, and encouraged and supported great vintners, chefs, artists, and musicians.

Robert and Margrit Mondavi celebrated his 90th birthday in June 2003, five years before he passed away. During their 28-year marriage, they traveled the world to promote California wines.

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San Francisco Social Diary: Burning Man

At the annual Burning Man festival, a weeklong communal artistic and musical event, tens of thousands of creative types and free spirits create a temporary, magical “city” in the remote Nevada Desert.

Black Rock, Nev. – During the week leading up to Labor Day, almost 70,000 revelers will gather in the Black Rock desert in Nevada, 110 miles north of Reno, to experience the annual Burning Man Festival, an elaborate and colorful art spectacle like no other in the world. The festival takes its name from the ritual burning of a wooden effigy known as the “Man,” an ancient and primal ritual.

Massive crowds gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert annually to celebrate the Burning Man festival of art, music, pageantry and community.

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San Francisco Social Diary: Festival del Sole – Napa Valley Part III

In 2013, the annual Festival del Sole once again drew artists and audiences to the Napa Valley with unique venues and a tradition of vintner hospitality.

FESTIVAL DEL SOLE – NAPA VALLEY PART III

The annual ten-day Festival del Sole celebrates the fine arts in life, including music, dance, visual art, culinary arts, and wine making, with spectacular events held throughout the Napa Valley.

Part I and Part II of my coverage describe some of the food, music, and wine events. The story continues:


DARIOUSH WINERY: CELEBRATING PERSIAN AND RUSSIAN DYNASTIES

Credit Shahpar and Darioush Khaledi and Tatiana and Gerret Copeland with the clever idea of highlighting the culture of two great dynasties, Persia and Russia, to create one of the most exotic of the Festival’s parties.

The lavish experience took place against the stunning architectural backdrop of the Darioush Winery. Its founder, Darioush Khaledi, was raised in the Shiraz region of Iran, and the building evokes the ancient city of Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of Iran (formerly Persia) from 550–330 BCE.

The entrance of the Darioush Winery, built of Persian straw travertine stone, is flanked by 18-foot columns topped with depictions of bulls.

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San Francisco Social Diary: Festival del Sole – Napa Valley Part II

In 2013, the annual Festival del Sole once again drew artists and audiences to the Napa Valley with unique venues and a tradition of vintner hospitality.

FESTIVAL DEL SOLE – NAPA VALLEY PART II

The annual ten-day Festival del Sole celebrates the fine arts in life, including music, dance, visual art, culinary arts, and wine making, with spectacular events held throughout the Napa Valley.

Part I of my coverage describes some of the food, music, and wine events. The story continues:

FESTIVAL GALA AT MEADOWOOD NAPA VALLEY

During the Festival del Sole, local vintners open their famed wine estates to guests, hosting fabulous soirees and meals prepared by local celebrity chefs and featuring local produce. Sunday Night was the Festival’s Annual Gala at St. Helena’s Meadowood Resort, a 250-acre private wooded estate.

Surrounded by meadows and rolling greens, with not a grape in sight, one guest said, “I feel that I’ve been transported some place other than Napa.” As he was intended to be: the party’s theme was “The Great Gatsby,” from the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel set on the coast of Long Island.

Meadowood Napa Valley is a luxury resort with golf, tennis, croquet, swimming, spa, and a three-star Michelin restaurant; many of the local vintners use it as their country club.

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San Francisco Social Diary: Festival del Sole – Napa Valley

Napa Valley celebrated its eighth annual Festival del Sole with a number of performances by the Russian National Orchestra, joined by a variety of high-profile soloists and conductors.

FESTIVAL DEL SOLE – NAPA VALLEY

Every July since 2006, the cognoscenti who enjoy music, food, wine, and culture have headed to Napa Valley’s Wine Country for the international Festival del Sole, an event The New York Times has very accurately dubbed “a feast for the senses.”

In the course of the ten-day festival, over 10,000 attendees enjoy a roster of international musicians, dancers, artists, and thespians in spectacular performances as well as exceptional culinary experiences with notable wines.

In 2013, the annual Festival del Sole once again drew artists and audiences to the Napa Valley with unique venues and a tradition of vintner hospitality.

For eight years, the Festival has offered not only a varied musical repertoire but also a diverse program of theater, opera, and dance.

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