Art: How Wine Became Modern
If it sounds groundbreaking, that's because it is. The first exhibition of its kind, How Wine Became Modern explores wine's visual culture and the history of that transformation over the last 30 years through the lens of architecture, design, and media. You'll see multimedia installations, architectural models, and even a smell wall. But if pontificating and sniffing isn't enough to satisfy your senses, head to the SF Vintners Market at Fort Mason for a showcase of top-notch wineries. Billed as a liquid farmers market, you can sample wines from more than 200 wineries and buy on the spot. $18 and $40+ respectively
Image: Etienne Meneau, Carafe No. 5, 2008, fabricated 2009
Parade: Dia de Los Muertos
Like New Year's Eve, Halloween can sometimes be a little anticlimactic. Lucky for us, the Mission still goes wild every year with their Day of the Dead parade. Check out the sacred altars in and around Garfield Park and don't miss the procession ritual, which begins promptly at 7 p.m. on the corner of 22nd and Bryant streets. Be sober, be respectful, and be creative—it's your last chance for a spooky costume this year. Free; Tuesday 11/2; 22nd and Bryant streets, dayofthedeadsf.org
Many of us are too young to have experienced the extreme counterculture of the 1960s, but we're all very familiar with one of its byproducts—Ken Kesey's groundbreaking novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. On the eve of the book's 35th anniversary, former Rolling Stone columnist Mark Christensen will bring the literary genius turned free-wheeling acid monger to life in a reading of his new biography Acid Christ.
Old news: designer collections for Target and H&M. Newish news: designer collections for eBay (think Narciso Rodriguez and Norma Kamali). Breaking news: the first-ever crowdsourced collection designed and produced by SF native and international fashion celeb Derek Lam exclusively for eBay.
Here's an alternative to the typical Halloween costume party: a hot, sweaty stadium concert with Gorillaz, plus special guests N.E.R.D., De La Soul, and more. Get online if you haven't already and become part of Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett's virtual world of animated characters. Play the Plastic Beach game and prepare yourself for a show that takes interactive to a new level. $50-$90; Saturday 10/30; Oracle Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, livenation.com
Performance: Air Sex Championships
Cheer on the brave souls who bring their secret pole and lap dancing fantasies to life onstage in a battle of the sexes, literally. Watch in awe as contestants make sweet love to the air, pound the floor, and do the nasty in front of a live audience. You'll laugh, you'll cringe, and you'll be grateful that you can go home to get it on in private. $15; Wednesday 10/20; The Independent, 628 Divisadero St., apeconcerts.com
As a former New Yorker, I wasn't quite prepared for the level of outdoor intensity inherent to Californians. I was used to plowing through city streets oblivious to my surroundings and pampering myself with weekend mani/pedis. The allure of spending free time hiking, biking, and backpacking drew me to the West Coast, but bets are that when you catch me on the trails, I'll be panting on the uphills and feeling like jello by the time I make it to camp. If, like me, you're more the Carrie Bradshaw type than a full-on John Muir, consider getting away to Ascent Spa at Tenaya Lodge on your next trip to Yosemite.
A staple art and cultural institution for four decades, the Mission's Galería de la Raza celebrates 40 years of bringing community together through activism and the sharing of the neighborhood's strong Latino culture. The season-long programming is comprised of four main events taking place now through November, and you'll also have the chance to snag Galería de la Raza's 40th Anniversary Catalogue, which features essays, interviews, and color reproductions illustrating the space's 40-year history, and a limited-edition fine arts portfolio. Local art icon Guillermo Gómez-Peña will team up with novelist Sandra Cisneros (known for her contributions to The Village Voice and The New York Times and her novel The House on Mango Street) in a special collaboration that will serve as the finale ceremony.
Just what the Mission needs—another art offbeat gallery. But with the opening of Public Works, the neighborhood's hipsters are going to get a taste of something different (we'll call it Mission meets SoMa). The new multipurpose space is a gallery, bar, artist's workshop, and community room, with the goal of bringing underground scenes and styles together under one roof and promoting some of the Bay Area's most creatively-oriented nonprofits.
On Tap: Oktoberfest by the Bay
Take part in the 11th annual Oktoberfest by the Bay, a festival of fine German food, the world's best beer, and authentic German music that will stick in your head through next year's celebration of our favorite European culture. As if you needed an excuse for weekend day drinking … $25-$30; Thursday, 9/23 - Sunday, 9/26; Pier 48, across from AT&T Park, oktoberfestbythebay.com