Big Bang Gala: The California Academy of Sciences’ 25th annual benefit bash Thursday featured presentations by science pioneers Elon Musk (co-founder of PayPal and Tesla Motors), Craig Venter (human genome biologist and National Medal of Science winner) and Eric Schmidt (chairman of Google), and an after-dark party with tours of the gem and mineral vault and a talk by eco-adventurer David de Rothschild. Randi Fisher and Wendy Schmidt chaired the event, and proceeds go to research and education programs.
2011 SFJAZZ Gala: On Friday at Bimbo’s, Bay Area jazz fans celebrated the groundbreaking for the new SFJAZZ Center (to be located at Franklin and Fell streets), which is billed as the first free-standing concert hall dedicated specifically to jazz. The evening benefit featured performances by vocalist Mary Stallings, the SFJAZZ Collective, SFJAZZ High School All-Stars and a salsa jam led by keyboardist Rebeca Mauleón.
Cool Comedy — Hot Cuisine: Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken of “Top Chef Masters” prepared the meal, Bill Bellamy, Dana Carvey and Bob Saget supplied the big-time laughs, and Counting Crows played music at Wednesday’s benefit for the Scleroderma Research Foundation. Held at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel, the event raised some $500,000 toward funding efforts to find improved therapies and a cure for scleroderma.