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High Grandmas, Panda Leaving the Giants, Plus More Hot Topics

Topics to pass the time while you wait on your weekend delicacies.

Five Can't-Miss Union Square Holiday Events

Union Square Holiday Events

It's the most wonderful time of year—the time when San Francisco transforms into an even more festive version of itself for the holidays. Whether you're a die-hard native or a recent transplant, you know that when it comes to the holidays, Union Square knows how to bring it. From fluffy kittens (and a cat celebrity) to walking through a winter wonderland while eating bacon, these cheery events at SF's retail mecca will have you decking the halls and fa la la-ing your way straight through New Year's.

Givers & Shakers: Daniel Lurie, The Robin Hood

Sotheara Yem has tears in his eyes. Formerly one of San Francisco’s homeless, the 27-year-old is recalling the day one of his mentors, Tipping Point Community founder Daniel Lurie, purchased a sharp navy-blue designer suit for him. Yem, a first-generation Cambodian American, was scheduled to deliver a speech in front of 900 people at the 2011 Tipping Point benefit gala, and Lurie, who had helped the amateur filmmaker secure housing and employment, knew that a blazer from the clearance rack at H&M wouldn’t cut it.

Weekend Guide: Grumpy Cat, Amanda Palmer, Oakland Makers, & More

Celebrities abound in the Bay Area this weekend. 

Meet Nick Dong, Oakland's Conceptual Metalsmith

Though artist Nick Dong often addresses such topics as materialism and human interaction in his thought-provoking work, the metalsmith and mixed-media sculptor is surprisingly easygoing. Many would be overcome by culture shock after a move from Taiwan to the United States, but Dong sees only the good: “There is such freeness here. I’m like a fish in water!”

Givers & Shakers: Vanessa Getty, Patron Saint of Animals

The vanity license plate on the 26-foot van parked outside the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA (PHS/SPCA) in Burlingame reads, “Fix Me.” The wordplay refers to the 900 free spay and neuter surgeries that have been performed inside the state-of-the-art mobile clinic each year since 2005, when the van was gifted to the organization by lifelong animal welfare activist Vanessa Getty. The reason? By fixing and vaccinating dogs and cats in low-income Bay Area communities, San Francisco Bay Humane Friends—an auxiliary of PHS/SPCA, founded by Getty—has greatly reduced the number of unwanted and stray animals on our streets.

We Wanna Be Friends With Children's Book Author Mac Barnett

Local author Mac Barnett creates "secret doors" out of stories. Usually, it’s in the form of picture books for children, but he’s also brought his creative genius into the three dimensional world in other ways.

Buy a Garden, Give a Garden to SF Residents in Need with Fern Club

Attention, all those with green thumbs (and those who wish they had them)—the app Fern delivers everything you need to start a garden while also helping you give back to the community. This year, Fern is partnering with the Tenderloin People’s Garden (part of the TNDC) for a Thanksgiving “Buy a Garden, Give a Garden” program.

Neighborhood Guide: What To Do in Hayes Valley

As recently as two decades ago, Hayes Valley was hardly known as the home to some of San Francisco’s best restaurants and boutiques. When the Central Freeway was damaged in the 1989 earthquake and later moved to ground level, however, Hayes Valley became one of the most desirable spots to live in the city. As the neighborhood turned into a weekend destination for window shopping and Bloody Marys, the community has grown right alongside it. 

This Week in Live Music: Justin Timberlake, FKA Twigs, Drive-By Truckers, & More

To what god shall we direct our gratitude for the imminent showering of world-class entertainment? That would be Apollo, son of Zeus, brother of Artemis, friend of San Francisco.

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