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: 2016 Festival Napa Valley, Part II

The 2016 Festival Napa Valley is coming up in July, celebrating music, performance, food, and wine, at stunning venues.

2016 FESTIVAL NAPA VALLEY: THE ELEVENTH SEASON, PART 2

Festival Napa Valley, one of America’s premiere summer destination events, will offer a dazzling roster of cultural and culinary attractions from July 15-24, 2016, its eleventh year. Eminent classical, opera, jazz, and dance artists will perform, and intimate food and wine affairs will be hosted by the region’s top vintners.

Over the years, the Festival has introduced me, along with other visitors, to many artists, local vintners, and wineries that aren’t on the tourist route maps, which has given me an insider’s view of the California wine country lifestyle. If you want to share this experience, have a terrific time, and meet the locals, this is the way to go. Put it on your calendar for this year (and next, as well!).

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San Francisco Social Diary: 2016 Festival Napa Valley

The 2016 Festival Napa Valley is coming up in July, celebrating music, performance, food, and wine, at stunning venues such as Opus One winery, seen here.

2016 FESTIVAL NAPA VALLEY: THE ELEVENTH SEASON, PART 1

Napa Valley – Festival Napa Valley, one of America’s premiere summer destination events, is presenting its eleventh season July 15-24, 2016. The glorious ten-day fete features a dazzling roster of exclusive engagements by preeminent classical, opera, jazz, and dance artists paired with intimate food and wine affairs hosted by the region’s top vintners.

Among this year’s star-studded lineup are Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth, jazz legend Sergio Mendes, classical violinist Sarah Chang, award-winning conductor Carlo Ponti (son of actress Sophia Loren, who will be in attendance), and the San Francisco Ballet.

Visit festivalnapavalley.org to see all of this season’s performers and venues.

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San Francisco Social Diary: A Season of Parties & Concerts

Among the activities I enjoy in San Francisco are concerts in the city’s many music venues, such as the spectacular, over-the-top Beyoncé and Jay-Z show at AT&T Park.

SAN FRANCISCO SOCIAL DIARY

My New York friends are always asking what goes on in San Francisco. Plenty! There are meet-ups with friends, lots of parties, and so much live entertainment it’s hard to make a choice. Here’s a report on some of the events I enjoyed this year.

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Shanghai Social Diary: Shanghai Conservatory of Music, in the Former Shanghai Jewish Club

Our group of supporters in front of the Shanghai Jewish Club, now part of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

Two American friends, architect Ben Wood and international attorney Barry McComic included me in a planning committee hoping to renovate the former Shanghai Jewish Club, now used by the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Their idea was to preserve the historic building as a useful performance space.

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San Francisco Social Diary: Social Season 2014

Performer Amber Riley sang against a lovely backdrop of the San Francisco Bay at sunset during the star-studded benefit for UCSF Medical Center, a highlight of the city’s spring social season.

San Francisco seems to be the center of the world right now, and here are just a few more of the events happening around the booming city.


UCSF BENIOFF CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL BENEFIT

This spring, San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall played host to an evening of star-studded entertainment to raise money for both The Painted Turtle camp for chronically ill children and UCSF Medical Center, whose Benioff Children’s Hospital is ranked one of the top children’s hospitals in the nation by U.S. World News & World Report.

Mark Laret, CEO of UCSF Medical Center, with award-winning actress Renée Zellweger.

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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

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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Shanghai Social Diary: A Day in the Ancient Water Town of Zhujiajiao

Zhujiajiao, one of the best-preserved Chinese water towns, is often called the “Venice of Shanghai.”

Back from another extended stay in endlessly fascinating and ever-changing Shanghai, I’m posting another installment of some of the social, cultural, culinary, and travel highlights.


ZHUJIAJIAO’S HISTORY

Zhujiajiao, founded more than 1,700 years ago, was an important trading center during the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties.

Its impressive canal system was originally built for irrigation and travel. Today it is a town of 60,000 with gondolas, arched bridges, centuries-old architecture, and picturesque lanes that give it an enduring charm.

On my first visit, a bicycle trip, our guide told us not even to try to pronounce the name, which sounds like “jew ja je-ow.” I’ve returned a few times, most recently for a day of photographing capped off by a private viewing of Oscar-winning Chinese composer Tan Dun‘s musical production Water Heavens.

Located just 30 miles from central Shanghai, Zhujiajiao is one of the many ancient water towns that dot the landscape of the Yangtze Delta.

Tranquil Zhujiajiao is a mere 50-minute ride but a world away from Shanghai, with its cobblestone lanes, traditional homes, temples, and tree-lined canals.

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