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"Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws: Gay San Francisco 1985-1988" San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin, SF. www.sfpl.org. Through Feb. 10. Just as the first onslaught of HIV/AIDS attacked his community, photographer Thomas Alleman was shooting the scene in Castro. Protest, activist portraits, and nightlife are all visible among this exhibit's photos.
"Life and Death: A Community Conversation on Capital Punishment" SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan, SF. www.somarts.org. 6-8pm, free. As part of the "Speak Your Peace" exhibit, which brings together different artists' visions of social justice, SOMArts hosts a panel of people affected by the death penalty: a mother of a child who was killed and a representative from Death Penalty Focus among them.
"Unknown But Knowable States" Gallery Wendi Norris, 161 Jessie, SF. (415) 346-7812, www.gallerywendinorris.com. Through March 2. Opening reception 5-8pm, free. The surrealist artist's work takes up all 5,000 square feet of this gallery's showfloor.
Future Esoteric: The Unseen Realms book launch Project One, 251 Rhode Island, SF. www.p1sf.com. 7pm-late, $5 or $20 with signed copy of book. Those of us feeling particularly woo-woo this new year would do well to head to Project One art bar tonight for author Brad Olsen's party celebrating the release of his new read, which explores the magic of the unseen.
"Love, Life, Art, and the Devil" works by Sacha Eckes Fouladi Projects, 1803 Market, SF. www.fouladiprojects.com. Through Feb. 23. Opening reception: 6-8pm, free. Can we see traces of a pre-Twitter San Francisco in this retrospective of hometown artist Eckes? Her work is often colorful, jumbled heaps of heads, feet, cloud forms so yes, we think so.
Mochi pounding party Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin, SF. (415) 581-3500, www.asianart.org. Noon, free with $12 museum admission. Recovered from your holiday sugar hangover yet? This is way more fun than candy canes and chocolate coins though family-friendly activities are featured during this demonstration of the art of pounding rice into pillow-soft mochi balls, just steps away from the Asian Art Museum's highly-touted new calligraphy exhibit.
Free dance classes Luna Dance Institute, 605 Addison, Berk. www.lunadanceinstitute.org. Noon-3pm, free. This dance school celebrates its return to Berkeley with first modern dance instruction for older kids, then a family dance classes that everyone can shake a hip to.
Ten years of Root Division Root Division, 3175 17th St., SF. www.rootdivision.org. Through Jan. 26. Opening reception: 7-10pm, free. The Mission's advocates for art education celebrate a decade of service today and they're marking the occasion by, what else, a community art exhibit of creative types that have been associated with the group going back 10 years.
Family birding SF Botanical Gardens, 1199 Ninth Ave. www.sfbotanicalgardens.org. 8am-12:30pm, free. Citizen science, anyone? Bring the kids to take part in the Christmas Bird counts, which has long served as a barometer for how our avian populations are doing. Bring a lunch and learn how to really wield a pair of binoculars. The day's activities are geared towards kids between the ages 8-16.
San Francisco 1906 treasure hunt Sports Basement, 1590 Bryant, SF. www.go-terraloco.blogspot.com. Registration opens at 8:30am, game starts at 10am, $10-35. Grab your history buff friends and take off with a map of buildings that have been standing since before the big quake of '06. Snacks will await your return after the game is done, and you'll even get 10 percent off at Sports Basement for playing.
"Images from Chinatown: Four Decades of Photographs" Chinese Cultural Center of San Francisco, 750 Kearny, SF. (415) 986-1822, www.c-c-c.org. We're lucky to have one of the most vibrant Chinatowns in the country, and this photography exhibit should show you why. Shutterbug Maurice H. Edelstein has captured neighborhood residents of all ages, and even documented the protests against the shuttering of the I-Hotel.
Young Artists 2013 exhibition Healdsburg Center for the Arts, 130 Plaza, Healdsburg. www.healdsburgcenterforthearts.com. Through Feb. 3. Opening reception: 4-7pm, free. Elementary school students are the stars of this annual group exhibition, which assembles 2D and 3D works alike.