Museums offer more than art on walls 

Museums are hotbeds of activity, offering lectures, films and concerts, to name a few. Here are some examples happening in the coming weeks:

British ad awards

A band of hamsters playing music in their cage on behalf of the bottled-water Drench is one of dozens of fascinating “art of funny commercials” samples at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

This new edition of the British Television Advertising Awards pushes the boundaries of the advertising world with innovative use of graphics, fascinating and hilarious subjects and strange images. [2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. today-Sunday. $6-$8. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., S.F., (415) 978-2787,]

‘Textural Rhythms’

For opening day of the Museum of the African Diaspora’s exhibit “Textural Rhythms: Constructing the Jazz Tradition, Contemporary African American Quilts,” Executive Director Grace Stanislaus will welcome the participation of “young professionals with the goal of expanding the community of art enthusiasts and MoAD supporters.”

“Textural Rhythms” is curated by Carolyn Mazloomi, who blends two of the most popular artistic forms in African-American culture, jazz and quilts. The exhibition of 64 quilts includes work from well-known practitioners such as Michael Cummings, Edjohnetta Miller, Tina Brewer, Jim Smoote and, locally, Marion Coleman and Alice M. Beasley. [7:30 p.m. Friday. $5-$10 museum admission. Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission St., S.F., (415) 358-7200,]

Genius winner

Chinese artist and MacArthur Genius Award recipient Xu Bing speaks at the Asian Art Museum about influences on his art and his current work.

Bing is known for exploring language and meaning. In “Book of the Sky,” an installation using traditional Chinese printing and bookmaking methods, the artist invented a lexicon of characters, which he hand-carved into typesetting blocks and printed on books, panels and scrolls.

The artist is expected to discuss how language defines culture and what it means to strip meaning from language. The talk will be followed by a question-and-answer session. [2:30 p.m. Friday. $7-$17. Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., S.F.,  (415) 581-3500,]

Mathis homecoming

San Francisco native Johnny Mathis, who grew up listening to Jewish melodies in local synagogues, will appear at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in connection with the current exhibit “Black Sabbath: The Secret Musical History of Black-Jewish Relations.” Mathis’ 1958 recording of “Kol Nidre,” the Aramaic prayer intoned at the beginning of Yom Kippur, inspired the idea for the show.

Mathis will reflect on his life in music, and receive special awards for his contributions to the musical life of The City. Also, the evening includes a conversation among exhibition curators about the history of Black-Jewish musical collaboration. [7 p.m. Feb. 3. $15. Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., S.F., (415) 655-7800,]

About The Author

Janos Gereben

Janos Gereben

Janos Gereben is a writer and columnist for SF Classical Voice; he has worked as writer and editor with the NY Herald-Tribune, TIME Inc., UPI, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, San Jose Mercury News, Post Newspaper Group, and wrote documentation for various technology companies.
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