31 Things to Do This March: See the Sonoma International Film Festival, Immersive Frida Kahlo, and the Marin Arts & Crafts Show

With spring almost here, there’s lots to do as people start heading outside. There’s lots going on to our north, with the Sonoma International Film Festival (featuring a special Plates & Places lunch with Joanne Weir) and Wine Road’s Barrel Tasting Weekend making the drive worthwhile. In the city, the arts are flourishing, from Immersive Frida Kahlo to Alice Neel at the DeYoung Musuem, as well as culinary art in the pairing of Headsburg’s SingleThread and New York’s Atomix. Closer to home, Don Carlos will be showing at the Lark Theater, the Marin Arts and Crafts Show offers the chance to shop for unique local finds, and Marin artist William Wiley is honored at MarinMOCA.

Featured: Sonoma International Film Festival


March 23–27th

Celebrating its 25th year, this walkable, all-encompassing eating, drinking and movie-watching event in downtown Sonoma is chockablock with films and food. Iconic chef and TV host Jacques Pépin will be honored in person this year with the first-ever Sonoma International Film Festival (SIFF) Culinary Excellence Award and a $10,000 honorarium to the Jacques Pépin Foundation at the Devour! Chefs & Shorts dinner on March 24. Chef Joanne Weir, co-owner at Sausalito’s Copita restaurant and the forthcoming Copita in San Jose, headlines Joanne Weir’s Plates & Places Lunch Presented by Northern California Public Radio on March 25. A three-course meal inspired by her PBS cooking and travel show, plus show highlights await ticket holders. Good eats aside, the event is always a showcase for new films — more than 100 are planned — with visiting filmmakers and talent on hand to discuss their projects. The festival has long prioritized the community, and actively works to support and sustain creative endeavors at Sonoma Valley High School, donating more than $725,000 to the Media Arts Program since its 2002 launch. What will pique your interest?

Mar 1 With Harry

NYU adjunct assistant professor and Marin resident Harry Chotiner returns to The Lark Theater for a live group discussion of a pre-chosen movie; this program also runs on March 8.

Mar 2 Gipsy Nation

gipsy nation

A concert event featuring the kings of flamenco includes a seated dinner and a show or a standing room only concert at Berber, a North African/Moroccan restaurant and supper club in San Francisco, through March 3.

Mar 3 Barrel Tasting Weekend

Sonoma winemakers fling open their cellar doors for tastings direct from the barrels in a weekend-long event hosted by Sonoma Wine Road, through March 6.

Mar 4 Marin Arts & Crafts Show

After an extended absence, independent and studio artisans and makers descend on San Rafael’s Embassy Suites Hotel with metalwork, stained glass, textiles, recovered architectural objects and other discoveries, through March 6.

Mar 5 The Healing Project

From composer and artist Samora Abayomi Pinderhughes comes an exhibition that is part digital archive and music album and part exhibition exploring the daily realities of violence, incarceration, detention, policing and healing in communities across the United States, through May 28.

Mar 6 Reimagining Sondheim

Fifty composers come together to interpret the works of the recently deceased, legendary musical and film composer and lyricist, as played by pianist Anthony De Mare.

Mar 7 Snowflakes are Dancing

In what is billed as a listening event at a 32-speaker, immersive audio experience venue, Isao Tomita’s 1975 album, which consists entirely of arrangements of Claude Debussy’s “tone paintings,” reached the Top 50 on US music charts, and was nominated for four Grammys, is explored.

Mar 8 Laura Shin

The “Unchained” podcast host, cryptojournalist, and author of The Cryptopians: Idealism, Greed, Lies, and the Making of the First Cryptocurrency Craze, will hone in on Ethereum, the crypto network whose success fanned the current craze surrounding today’s cryptocurrencies, in an in-person and livestreamed event.

Mar 9 What Is Art For?

This tribute to William Wiley, a Marin artist who passed away earlier this year, honors his preference to showcase famous and unknown artists on a level playing field with works by Wiley, Patricia Leeds, Debbie Dicker and others, through March 20.

Mar 10 Pauly Shore

The stand-up comedian perhaps best known for his 1990s MTV show

“Totally Pauly” jumps back onto the stage at Cobb’s in San Francisco.

Mar 11 Airplane Family

Members of Jefferson Starship, Grateful Dead, Bob Weirs Rat Dog and others join together to perform Paul Kantner’s “Blows Against the Empire” in honor of the album’s 50th anniversary at Sweetwater Music Hall.

Premieres Mar 12 Immersive Frida Kahlo

frida exhibit
Photo courtesy of Kyle Flubacker

The West Coast premiere of a show focused on the 20th century Mexican artist is brought to life by the Immersive Van Gogh team, renowned master of digital art, Massimiliano Siccardi, and accompanied by composer Luca Longobardi’s resonant score.

Mar 13 Russian Chamber Orchestra

Featuring violinist Jennifer Cho tackling “The Devil’s Trill” sonata by Italian composer Giuseppe Tartini (a Vivaldi contemporary), this program welcomes spring with works by Haydn, Debussy and Shostakovich.

Mar 14 Alice Neel at the DeYoung

Portrait of American artist, painter Alice Neel (1900 – 1984) as she sits in her home (21 East 108th Street), a collection of brushes in her hands, surrounded by her portraits of other artists, New York, New York, February 10, 1961. (Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images)

A retrospective considers a 20th-century champion of social justice and features a multitude of her paintings, drawings and watercolors, as well as a section dedicated to the artist’s stint in San Francisco, through July 10.

Mar 15 La Sylphide

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Ballet choreographer Alexei Ratmansky’s “The Seasons” reimagines the story of a Scotsman enchanted by a spirit, in a program known for challenging choreography and use of en pointe for aesthetic rather than acrobatic purposes, through March 20 at the SF Ballet.

Mar 16 Lilan Kane

Featuring her own lyrical stories of love and heartbreak, the jazz singer will also pay homage to some of her favorite singers, including a tribute to Nancy Wilson at San Francisco’s Black Cat Jazz Supper Club.

Mar 17 Mostly British Film Festival

Today is the last day of a week-long festival that opens with Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren in The Duke and closes with the documentary The Beatles and India, and in-between showcases movies from English-speaking countries that are not the United States.

March 18 Dress for Success’ Casino Royale Gala 

With a Bond theme, Dress for Success celebrates their Sweet 16 with a gala at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel, with proceeds to helps empower and support women so they develop and thrive.

Mar 18 City of Ghosts

Inspired by his 30 years in San Francisco and the city’s resilience, adaptation and evolution, choreographer Joe Landini designed a dance meditation on loss and memories as a part of civic life, through March 19 at ODC. 

Mar 19 A Song for Cesar

Civil rights activist and labor leader Cesar Chavez’s legacy is burnished through the music of the era in this documentary that includes archival photographs and footage and interviews with Carlos Santana, Cheech Marin, Maya Angelou and Chavez’s United Farm Workers co-founder, Dolores Huerta. At the Smith Rafael Film Center.

Mar 20 Peter and the Wolf

Prokofiev’s symphony is typically an introduction to orchestral works for children more familiar with YouTube; the Marin Symphony Youth Orchestra will be playing, sitting side-by-side with the professionals on stage.

Mar 21 Nature x Humanity

Bringing together knowledge, principles and tools from art, architecture and design, engineering and science, a review of Oxman Architects from 2007 to the present asks: What is the role of an architect in the age of climate change?, through May 15 at SFMOMA.

Mar 22 Comedy Blast

Danny Dechi, said to be the world’s first pencil musician, emcees an evening of raw local, national and sometimes international comedic talent, with karaoke after the comedy at Neck of the Woods SF.

Mar 23 Edith Heath

The founder and designer of Sausalito’s Heath Ceramics, is the focus of a show and retrospective, “A Life in Clay,”at Oakland Museum of California. Known for rejecting traditional white clay in favor of locally sourced, and definitely not white, California clays, Heath developed a new style of ceramics that helped define a California aesthetic for tableware and long-lasting products for the home, through October 30.

Mar 24 Conversations About Landscape

Part of the After Dark program at the Exploratorium, this discussion series turns up the music and the disco lights and invites guests to grapple with a theme that this time looks at environmental change through geography, ecology, environmental sciences, policy, design and the arts.

Mar 25 Fefu and her Friends

Utilizing the multistoried, multiroomed Strand Theater as a nontraditional theater space, a story is told as the audience, broken up into groups, tour Fefu’s home, where a comedy-drama of eight women gathering at a New England country home in 1935 unfolds in gossip, flirtations and provocations, through May 1.

Mar 26 Don Carlos

don carlos

A live broadcast of Verdi’s epic opera from the New York Metropolitan Opera receives a new staging by director David McVicar that marks his 11th Met production, rebroadcast on March 30 at the Lark Theater.

Mar 27 Quartet San Francisco

A tango concert celebrating the 100th anniversary of tango maestro Astor Piazzola turns the work of a standing-while-playing group into a feat of athleticism from cellist Andrés Vera that is akin to the dance itself.

Mar 28 The Art of the Brick

In an ongoing exhibit, walk beside a 20-foot-long T-Rex dinosaur skeleton, come face-to-face with a giant skull or marvel at a sculpture of a man ripping his chest open with thousands of yellow — you guessed it — LEGO bricks cascading from his chest in an all-things LEGO exhibition from contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya.

Mar 29 Billie Eilish

The teen singing sensation (she’s 19) and youngest-ever winner of a Grammy for Album of the Year hits the road in support of her latest album, Happier Than Ever.

Mar 30 Bomba Night

The dance floor will be open when multimedia artist Dizzy Jenkins takes the stage to teach the rhythms and the cultural and spiritual significance of Puerto Rico’s traditional dance and musical style.

Mar 31 SingleThread X Atomix

atomix diane kang

In what can only be billed as a one-night only battle of the coupled-up (Michelin) stars, husband and wife team Connaughton of three-Michelin starred SingleThread host two-Michelin starred husband and wife team Park (Chef JP and Ellia Park) of New York’s Atomix, reciprocity for when the Healdsburg team cooked at the Park’s restaurant in 2019.

March 31–Aug 14 Imagination Unlimited

With more than 25 beloved puppets and more than 150 artifacts, this show at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in SF attempts to capture the groundbreaking work of Jim Henson and his creative teams as they built stories and worlds that represented the breadth and diversity of the very messy and sometimes confusing real world.

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Christina Mueller

Christina Mueller is a long-time Bay Area food writer. She hails from the East Coast and has spent way too much time in South America and Europe. She discovered her talent as a wordsmith in college and her love of all things epicurean in grad school. She has written for Condé Nast Contract PublishingSunset, and the Marin Independent Journal, among others. She volunteers with California State Parks and at her child’s school, and supports the Marin Audubon SocietyPEN America, and Planned Parenthood. When she is not drinking wine by a fire, she is known to spend time with her extended family.