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Allison McCarthy

A Hike and Spa Yosemite Weekend

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.

$5 Saturday Admission to the de Young and Legion of Honor

If you're not island hopping this weekend at the TI Music Fest, add high art to your agenda and take advantage of this great deal: $5 admission this Saturday, 10/16, to both the de Young and the Legion of Honor in celebration of two important anniversaries for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

JumpstART: A Free Day of Dance, Theater, and Performance at ODC Theater

How's this for a cool gig? ODC is throwing a housewarming party to celebrate its brand-spanking-new community performance space in the Mission. But unlike most housewarmings, you'll be the one getting the gift. 

Haven't yet had the chance to witness Joe Goode's masterful choreography? Always been dying to see a skit by Killing My Lobster? Secretly want to get in on the madness of a Youth Speaks poetry slam? Curious about playwright/director Mark Jackson's work and Lily Kharrazi's world music? This Saturday is your chance to tap into the arts for free.

This Week's Hottest Events: Mad Men, Treasure Island Music Fest, and the Capsule Design Festival

Discussion: Mad Men's Creator Matthew Weiner
The ad-tastic AMC series that has us plugged in every Sunday has been racking up awards and praise since the beginning, so it's no surprise that the JCC's discussion with creator and executive producer Matthew Weiner is sold out. Lucky for you, the center is simulcasting the lecture in Fisher Hall, for which tickets are still available. Dress the part and get ready to have your picture taken, Mad Men-style. $10; Wednesday 10/13; The Jewish Community Center, 3200 California St., jccsf.org

Win a Chance to Meet Twitter Founders Ev and Biz

Just as news hit that Twitter launched an updated interface, word also broke that the social network's CEO and cofounder Ev Williams stepped down from his current post. Lucky for you, Ev will be joining Biz Stone in a candid conversation hosted by The Commonwealth Club's INFORUM division on Columbus Day to answer all of your most burning questions.

Art Goes Live on Market Street

Starting today, you may notice some unusual activity occurring on Market Street. Don't mistake it for the usual cast of crazies known for loitering and creating ruckus of all sorts on the sidewalk. These people aren't homeless and begging for money, but rather make up a troupe of characters telling the story of eight prominent African Americans who lived and worked near Market Street during the mid-19th century.

This Week's Hottest Events: Broken Bells, Beer Pairing Dinners at Monk's Kettle, and Judd Apatow

Music: Broken Bells and Van Morrison
Power alt rock/indie duo Broken Bells—Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton) and The Shins' lead James Mercer—has been tearing it up on the music scene since their self-titled debut album release earlier this year. Rolling Stone even flagged the cd "the year's coolest left field pop disc" and they've been on perpetual repeat at the 7x7 offices. You want tickets to this one. $30; Tuesday 10/5; The Fox, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, apeconcerts.com. But, if cutting-edge, new music isn't your scene, you can always splurge on an oldie but goody. Van Morrison's making a stop in SF. Start singing "Brown Eyed Girl" now. $84+; Friday 10/8; Nob Hill Masonic Center, 1111 California St., livenation.com

The Mission Celebrates Art + Culture in a Big Way This Fall

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.

This Week's Hottest Events: Litquake, Hardly Strictly, Open Studios, + Arcade Fire

Film: McSweeney's Wholpin Issue #12 + Spike Jonze's I'm Here

Impressionism Makes a Comeback at the de Young

Oh, Starry Night. I’d say my taste is more of the boundary-breaking contemporary art kind, but the Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, and Beyond exhibit currently on view at the de Young gave me a new appreciation for French art of the 19th century. And as much as I’d like to say I fell in love with a more obscure work of genius, I admit that I fell victim to the magnificent allure of Van Gogh's oft overplayed masterpiece.

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