San Francisco Social Diary: Winter Art Events

San Francisco’s winter social season was in full swing with a glamorous pair of artistic events—a passionate Ballet Opening Night Gala and the FOG Design+Art Fair.

The San Francisco Ballet’s 86th Season debuted with the 2019 Opening Night Gala and Performance with the theme “This is Passion”—and the décor, the ballet attendees, and the performances all surpassed that lofty exclamation.

The most successful opening night gala in the company’s history, a sold-out crowd of 1,000 ballet patrons for the gala dinner (plus 3,000 at the performance and 2,100 at the after-party) broke a new record of raising $3 million.

This year’s chairs outdid themselves: Gala Chair Claire Stewart Kostic, Dinner Chair Lydia Bergman, Décor Chair Donna Bachle, and Honorary Chairs Kelsey and David Lamond.

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Shanghai Social Diary: Treasures of China’s Heritage Part 7

On a trip to China with the Global Heritage Fund, I explored some truly incredible historical sites, capped off by a stop at Taiyuan city’s impressive Shanxi Museum of archaeology, art, and culture.

Treasures of China’s Heritage: Touring with the Global Heritage Fund
(Seventh of a Seven-part Series)

Taiyuan

Some of my best memories of the “Middle Kingdom” include my nine-day tour of historically significant sites with the Palo Alto-based Global Heritage Fund (GHF)—an organization devoted to supporting underdeveloped rural areas worldwide. Upon my return, I published recollections of the trip. A record of the final stretch, again illustrated primarily by my personal photographs, follows. (Links to the other installments in this series can be found at the end of this article.)

For the final stretch of our trip, we returned to Taiyuan for a visit to the Shanxi Museum of relics and art and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon at the ancient Jinci Temple before returning to the U.S.

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San Francisco Social Diary: San Francisco Opera Celebrates its 96th Season

Not only does the Opera Gala open the fall season, but also it is an opportunity to meet up with friends after the summer hiatus—to see and be seen.

SAN FRANCISCO OPERA CELEBRATES ITS 96TH SEASON

The San Francisco Opera opened its 2018–19 season with its annual weekend of celebratory affairs, including two sold-out galas—Opera Ball 2018: ¡Viva La Noche!and the BRAVO! CLUB Opening Night Gala, one of the grandest and most opulent events in the city.

Opera aficionados enjoyed a double bill of Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (or Cav/Pag), set in Argentina, which inspired the theme of the evening. Continue reading

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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American Friends of Versailles in Paris, Part 2

An all-white fireworks display concluded the grand fete, a breathtaking celebration for a worthy achievement.

By Sharon Hoge and Jeanne Lawrence

In our last post, we recounted several exclusive events from the four-day trip to Paris with the American Friends of Versailles (AFV), including visits with the first lady of France, HRH Prince Charles de Bourbon des Deux Siciles, and the American Ambassador to France.

But the trip’s high point was private time at Versailles Palace away from the crowds, touring the premises, admiring the three projects AFV sponsored there in honor of Franco-American fellowship, and attending an extraordinary black-tie evening with champagne and dinner served in the elegant palace chambers.

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American Friends of Versailles in Paris, Part 1

The American Friends of Versailles group in the courtyard at the Palace of Versailles. Celebrating their restoration of historic paintings in Marie Antoinette’s Queen’s Guard Room, members of the American Friends of Versailles (AFV) spent four days in Paris visiting dignitaries and monuments, dining and dancing.

By Sharon Hoge and Jeanne Lawrence

On a four-day visit to Paris, members of the American Friends of Versailles enjoyed several exclusive events, including roaming around the Élysée Palace with France’s vivacious first lady, Brigitte Macron; dining with HRH Prince Charles de Bourbon des Deux Siciles, Duke of Castro, head of the royal house of France; sipping cocktails with US Ambassador Jamie McCourt at the American Residence; and private visits to the Palace of Versailles, topped with a black-tie formal reception in the Hall of Mirrors and an elegant dinner.

Having raised the funds to rescue historic ceiling paintings in Marie Antoinette’s suite of apartments, the group gathered to view and celebrate the restorations. The formal events that took place at the palace will be covered in another post, but here is an account of some of the other privileged activities.

The AFV assembled on the garden steps of the Elysee Palace, with First Lady Brigitte Macron in front in the white blazer.

AFV Founder Catharine Hamilton and First Lady of France Brigitte Macron.

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Shanghai Social Diary: Treasures of China’s Heritage Part 6

On a uniquely enriching and memorable trip to China, I explored some truly incredible, off-the-beaten-path historical sites, such as the Xuankongsi Hanging Temple, which clings precariously to the side of Wutai Mountain.

Treasures of China’s Heritage: Touring with the Global Heritage Fund
(Sixth of a Seven-part Series)

Wutai Mountains

In anticipation of a return to China, I’ve been revisiting my past travels to the country. Some of my best memories of the “Middle Kingdom” include my nine-day tour of historically significant sites with the Palo Alto-based Global Heritage Fund (GHF)—an organization devoted to supporting underdeveloped rural areas worldwide.

DAY 7: HISTORIC SITES ON WUTAI MOUNTAIN

Leaving the ancient walled city of Pingyao, we continued further north to explore an amazing and unique set of historical sites on Wutai Mountain.

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San Francisco Social Diary: SFMOMA Modern Ball 2018

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s second biannual “Modern Ball,” after reopening in 2016, was a hugely successful bash.

SAN FRANCISCO MOMA MODERN BALL 2018 RAISES $4 MILLION

The biannual Modern Ball at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)—always high on my must-attend list—was once again a spectacular event, this year raising $4 million for education and exhibition programs, including free admission for all visitors under age 18.

The new SFMOMA Snøhetta-designed building (2016) is visible behind the original red-brick Mario Botta-designed structure (1995).

Some 2,000 reveler-supporters came to have a ball at the ball—a fabulous, international, festively attired mix of all ages and types: VIPs, museum dignitaries, directors, and curators; artists, designers, and gallerists; collectors and art lovers; techies; and the old guard and the new.

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Shanghai Social Diary: Treasures of China’s Heritage Part 5

On a uniquely enriching and memorable trip to China, I explored some incredible off-the-beaten-path historical sites, including several sacred temples such as this Shuanglin complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Treasures of China’s Heritage: Touring with the Global Heritage Fund
(
Fifth of a Seven-Part Series)

Fujian and Shanxi

In anticipation of a return to China, I’ve been revisiting my past travels to the country. Some of my best memories of the “Middle Kingdom” include my nine-day tour of historically significant sites with the Palo Alto-based Global Heritage Fund (GHF)—an organization devoted to supporting underdeveloped rural areas worldwide.

DAY 6: HISTORICAL TEMPLES IN THE ANCIENT WALLED CITY OF PINGYAO

After spending a third day in historic Pingyao, we wrapped up our exploration of this ancient walled city with tours of several historically significant Taoist and Buddhist temples in and near the Old City.

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