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The Top Ten Upcoming Events in the Golden State
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The Top Ten Upcoming Events in the Golden State

Picture of Ellen Von Weigand
Updated: 9 February 2017
California, with San Francisco and Los Angeles as its centres of urban activity, is one of the most cultural areas of the United States. From blues festivals to contemporary theatre, prestigious film gatherings to art studio openings, California is a hub of activity in Autumn and Winter 2013. The Culture Trip shares its list of ten cultural events not to be missed this fall and winter.

Burbank International Film Festival

4-8 September 2013

Highlighting yet unknown industry players, the Burbank International Film Festival aims to help up-and-coming filmmakers establish a name for themselves in the entertainment hotbed of Los Angeles. Not only does the festival champion independent film, but they are one of the only festivals to hold seminars on film distribution to help new filmmakers earn a living from their craft. As part of the festival’s commitment to film students, the 2013 edition features the Los Angeles County Student Filmmakers Award. Submissions are free and open to students from elementary school through 12th grade.

Learn more about the Burbank International Film Festival

San Francisco Fringe Festival

6-21 September 2013

The San Francisco Fringe Festival is holding its 22nd annual event in September 2013. The 36 companies and 158 performances presented by the festival have been selected through an open call followed by a public lottery. The resulting mix of performers spans a range of disciplines and ethnicities and forms the largest grassroots theatre festival in the San Francisco Bay Area. 52 Letters, a solo performance by Regina Y. Evans, A MAN, A MAGIC, A MUSIC, a cabaret/music performance by Movin Melvin Brown and Cinnamon and Cigarettes by Jenny Newby Waters and Shared Space Theatre of Portland, Oregon are among the selection of spectacles to be featured at this year’s event.

Learn more about the San Francisco Fringe Festival

San Francisco Opera in the Park

8 September 2013

The San Francisco Opera kicks off the opening of its 91st season with an afternoon of opera in the park. Held in Sharon Meadow in Golden Gate Park, guests are able to enjoy a picnic while listening to some of the world’s great opera performances. The San Francisco Opera Orchestra, conducted by Music Director Nicola Luisotti, will be joined by a range of marvellous musicians and vocalists from the fall operas. Some of the season’s highlights include the world premiere of Dolores Claiborne, a new opera based on the 1992 novel by award-winning author Stephen King, and a celebration of the bicentennial birthdays of Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner through the presentation of a selection of their works.

Learn more about Opera in the Park

The Polk Street Blues Festival

21-22 September 2013

The Polk Street Blues Festival celebrates San Francisco’s long standing love of this all American musical genre. Polk Street provides an escape from the busy streets of downtown, offering friendly, neighbourhood surroundings for the city’s only free blues event. Located on the west side of the Nob and Russian Hills, the area acts as a micro-climate of agreeable weather in this city of fog. The festival’s major bands perform on two main stages, and music is complemented by a merchant marketplace, arts and crafts, gourmet food booths, a large family area, and cafe seating areas.

Learn more about the Polk Street Blues Festival

The Mill Valley Film Festival

3-13 October 2013

This prestigious yet non-competitive event is known for its consistent presentation of quality films. Founded in 1978 by California Film Institute Director Mark Fishkin, the festival programme includes international features, documentaries, shorts and children’s films in a celebration of independent and world cinema. The event runs over 11 days and typically attracts a crowd of over 40,000 filmmakers and cinema enthusiasts to its film screenings, gala celebrations, workshops, panels and seminars. The Mill Valley Film Festival was named by Screen International as one of its top 10 US film festivals.

Learn more about the Mill Valley Film Festival


11-19 October 2013

Litquake began in 1999 as a day long series of public readings in Golden Gate Park and quickly grew as organisers recognised that lack of a San Francisco literary gathering akin to the city’s bounty of music, film, and cultural celebrations. The festival is now the largest independent literary event on the West Coast of the United States. In 2013 Litquake welcomes an exciting list of notable figures including the Reverend Cecil Williams, novelist and short story writer TC Boyle and Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black. On October 19th the festival will close with a ‘Lit Crawl’ through more than 80 venues in the city’s Mission District.

Learn more about Litquake

San Francisco Magazine’s FallFest 2013

12 October 2013

FallFest, organised by San Francisco Magazine, brings together the best of the Bay Area’s local and sustainable restauranteurs, vintners, mixologists, and producers of artisanal foods to engage in wine and food tasting, chef demonstrations, cocktail competitions, and panel discussions. The array of culinary events will take place at Justin Herman Plaza, which is turned into a bustling marketplace along the waterfront for this festival of food and drink.

Learn more about FallFest

The Brewery Art Walk

12-13 October 2013

The Brewery Art Walk occurs twice a year in the spring and the fall to offer visitors an inside look at the over 100 artists studios housed inside the Brewery Arts Complex. The industrial building, which offers artists true loft-style studios, was opened in 1903 as the Edison Electric Steam Power Plant before it became the Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery. It was converted to the current arts complex in 1982 upon purchase by Carlson Industries. In 1997 LA Weekly named the Brewery the ‘world’s largest artist-in-residence community’, and in 1999 the Los Angeles Times called it the ‘world’s largest arts complex’. During the opening days, visitors can walk freely around the studios and purchase art directly from resident artists.

Learn more about the Brewery Arts Walk

Calder and Abstraction at LACMA

Nov 24 2013- July 27 2014

Alexander Calder’s iconic kinetic sculptures are the subject of the retrospective exhibition Calder and Abstraction: From Avant-Garde to Iconic at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The exhibition will feature works spanning the entirety of Calder’s career, from his famed flat metal mobiles, to his monumental, painted iron sculptures. Running from November 2013 through July 2014, the exhibition is the artist’s first in Los Angeles, although LACMA established a relationship with Calder when they commissioned a major work from him for their opening in 1965.

Learn more about Calder and Abstraction: From Avant-Garde to Iconic

By Ellen Von Wiegand