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Great news, all you refined snoots! It’s high-culture season in San Francisco. From a skulls exhibit to cutting-edge modern dance, here’s what to do and when to do it.


Pirate's Booty

You’ve finally recovered from Outside Lands, and you’re still pumped up from Hardly Strictly. It’s not too late to score tickets to the final music event of the year, Treasure Island Music Festival, which features Outkast, Janelle Monáe, Massive Attack and TV on the Radio.


Neighborhood Stroll

Over four consecutive weekends, more than 900 artists will open their doors during the annual SF Open Studios. Look out for works by painter Joshua Coffy and sculptor Liz Hickok, who makes scale models of urban sites out of Jell-O.


Dark Matter

Pippin, the 1972 Broadway musical originally directed by Bob Fosse, is a dark tale (the lead character is based on Charles Manson!) about misfits living on the fringe. The Golden Gate Theatre’s upcoming production also has a circus theme.



Book Worm

Litquake, the annual celebration of the literary arts, offers a week’s worth of activities, including readings and book signings by the likes of Paolo Giordano, Molly Antopol and David Chang. If you can make room in your calendar for only one event, go for the famous Lit Crawl, a “bar crawl” of sorts in which 100 bars, galleries, coffeehouses and shops host readings around town.

Through October 18; ticket prices vary by event;


Scare Tactic

Halloween is big here (locals will take any excuse to dress in costume), but the cultural traditions of Día de los Muertos are bigger. SOMArts hosts its annual Day of the Dead exhibition of altars, this year titled Visions at Twilight.



Justice of the Peace

Keith Haring famously devoted himself to spreading messages of social justice and change through contemporary art. Now, his oeuvre is on view at the de Young Museum. Keith Haring: The Political Line is geared to the younger generation and features subway drawings, murals, diary entries and sculptures.

November 8 to February 16, 2015; tickets, $16 to $46; de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr.; 415-750-3600 or


Bone Density

Didn?t get enough skeletons at Halloween? Check out the exhibit Skulls at the California Academy of Sciences. Expect to see sea-lion skulls, flesh-eating beetles (used as bone cleaners) and much, much more. It?s gross but oh so amazing.

Through November 30; tickets, $25 to $35; California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr., 415-379-8000 or


Stage Left

Willem Dafoe and Mikhail Baryshnikov star in The Old Woman, an abstract story of black comedy and vaudeville put on by Cal Performances. Expect an Odd Couple-like bromance that mimics the slapstick comedy of The Three Stooges.

November 21 to 23; tickets, $40 to $95; Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley; 510-642-9988 or


Light Force

Local choreographer Alonzo King and his sinuous team of dancers always stun the masses. (Remember last year’s performance of Rasa with live accompaniment by tabla master Zakir Hussain?) Don’t miss this season’s world premiere, set to four Shostakovich string quartets. 

November 14 to 23; tickets, $25 to $165; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard St.; 415-978-2787 or

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