San Francisco Symphony

Arts & Culture

Sun
07
Dec
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UCSF Chamber Music Society Performs

Photo credit: Hanna Starobinets

The Chamber Music Society at UCSF performed their winter concert on Dec 5. They also performed a Mendelssohn octet as the opening act for the Vocal Chords winter concert.

Sun
07
Dec
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UCSF Vocal Chords perform their Winter Concert

Photo credit: Hanna Starobinets

The Vocal Chords, UCSF’s a cappella group, performs at their winter concert to a packed Toland Hall on Dec 6.

Wed
19
Nov
Hanna Starobinets's picture

Interview with Indre Viskontas: Who Says You Can’t Mix Neuroscience and Opera?

Left: Indre Viskontas, host of the Inquiring Minds podcast, with MythBusters host Adam Savage (photo credit: Adam Isaak). Right: Indre Viskontas, an operatic soprano, performs (photo credit: American Opera Projects).

By Hanna Starobinets
Web Editor

The Bay Area Science Festival (BASF) ran for 10 days this October, and Dr. Indre Viskontas was heavily involved. A neuroscientist, science communicator and operatic soprano, Indre has a vibrant career and unique story and perspective to share with young scientists. (This interview has been edited and condensed.)

Synapse: I’ve been covering the BASF, and noticed that you were heavily involved. Can you tell me how you became so active with the festival?

Wed
24
Sep
Synapse's picture

A World-Class Deal for Culture Lovers

Staff Report

San Francisco Performances’ Culture Card is the best deal in town for arts lovers. This easy, accessible and inexpensive program, at the low cost of $25 for 25 performances, is a student’s direct connection to world-class arts events in this cultural capital.

The Culture Card is designed for maximum value and minimum fuss for busy, arts-crazy students and fellows. Just show up one hour before concert time with a Culture Card and valid student ID and proceed to the box office to claim a free seat.

Bring a friend and purchase a half-price ticket at the time you pick up your free ticket.

The Culture Card is a program of San Francisco Performances, an organization that presents recitals, chamber music, jazz and contemporary dance.

Thu
22
May
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Contemplating a Good Death

REVIEW: Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death, by Katy Butler

By Hannah Patzke
Associate Editor

An old man lies prostrate in bed, his lips ringed in blue.  His chest rises and falls erratically and his eyes flutter occasionally.  His daughter holds his hand as he takes his last few breaths.  She kisses his forehead and draws the sheet over his face.  Is this a good death?  Would slipping away during sleep with no warning be better? 

As medical professionals we spend years learning how to preserve life.  But how does one learn when it is time to die?  Journalist Katy Butler discusses this question and others in her book Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death

Thu
22
May

Charlie Varon: Storytelling from the Stage

Charlie Varon

By Akshay Govind
Associate Editor

Bernie Schein lives in a Jewish retirement home in San Francisco. He hates yoga, boutique shops, $6 cups of coffee and the people who drink them. Bernie, at 83 years young, has just hitched a ride from a trio of Tesla-driving 20-somethings and bet them $400,000 he can catch a wave his first time surfing. Writer and actor Charlie Varon gives us an engaging blend of humor and social commentary through Bernie’s colorful story, Feisty Old Jew, which he performs as a solo stage work at The Marsh Theater (1062 Valencia St.) in the Mission. It runs on weekends between now and July 13 and is well worth the $25-$35 ticket prices, available at www.themarsh.org.

Thu
15
May
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Tell Me Again Reading Set for May 18

Staff Report

“Expressive writing promotes both spiritual and physical healing,” according to Dr. David Watts, Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF, and his wife Dr. Joan Baranow, Associate Professor of English at Dominican University. As many recent studies suggest, reading and listening to such writing has a similar healing power.

This was the impetus for the weeklong “Healing Art of Writing” Conference that took place at Dominican University in July 2012. Tell Me Again, published by UC Medical Humanities Press in February 2014, was the result.

Thu
24
Apr
Synapse's picture

TABULA 2014

“It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there,” wrote the iconic physician-poet William Carlos Williams.

Williams points out in these lines an intangible power of literature—of all art—to change our world. 

Through artistic expression, we can appeal to emotions, arrive at harder truths, and importantly, we can plant the seeds for change, both within our individual selves and society as a whole.

Thu
24
Apr

Reflections in the Psych Mirror

By Desire Takawira

In my native language Shona, a popular aphorism advises “seka urema wafa.” Roughly translated, it means “laugh at a cripple when you are dead.” In Shona, idioms like this are called tsumo. As with this example, most tsumo are as demonstrative as they are jarring, being rich in metaphorical meaning yet terse in expression. Tsumo collectively represent a form of cultural wisdom in Zimbabwe that older generations use to instill values and ideals in the minds of the young. In a sense, they are not so different from many American idioms. This particular tsumo calls to mind several American-isms most of you probably know, for example: “what goes around comes around”, “life is like a box of chocolates”, and “you reap what you sow.”

Thu
24
Apr

Nephrostomy (for my aunt)

No OFF-button on the frickin' remote;
the tv hangs like an eye
which you watch prophilactically,
in case it might fall.

             (Surgery no picnic at seventy-five,
             not even an after-dinner mint)

Rough green swabs
clear the tongue's thick coating.
No liquid except through tubes.

Past scars of past wars foiled the surgeon,
squashed passages, leaked infections.
The only answer a new hole
to add to the old hole,
drainage, catheter,
four bags attached now,
hanging.

Already editor for the Ostomy Society,
no one in your district
has this most exotic one.

              Nefertiti of the Ostomies.

Always did have to be
different.

- Phoebe Grigg/UCSF staff

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