New Year's Eve is an infinitely flexible holiday. Unlike Christmas or Thanksgiving, there aren't a whole lot of expectations regarding family, location, decor -- or decorum. You can dress to the nines and obliterate your mind on expensive cocktails. You can wear sweats and a t-shirt and drink beer from a can. You can can drink nothing at all. You can be low-key and stay indoors with a sweetie, waiting for the midnight kiss. Or you can be by yourself, reflecting on the year that was and what's to come in 2012.
What follows are a number of things we deemed worthwhile from the hundreds possible in San Francisco. First up is the high end at Davies Symphony Hall.
Take the High Road to 2012: New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball
The dawning of a new year signifies renewed promise. Yet too often, we seize this opportunity to focus on our faults: We're too fat, too lazy, too complacent. So tormented are we by our expectations that the rest of the year can be spent in an endless battle to escape. Escape to 2012 and refashion your very identity at the New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball. Here, on the heels of its 100th year, the San Francisco Symphony offers the opulence of anonymity -- a festive night of mystery, elegance, and glamour captured in a masquerade ball. Ring in the new year with the symphony's tantalizing dance program, featuring the music of Strauss, Britten, Shostakovich, and Brahms, as well as a live performance by the dancers of Dance Through Time. Pre- and post-performance revelry includes cocktails and swing music by The Martini Brothers, a 1980s-themed dance party, big band music by New Year's staple the Peter Mintun Orchestra, and sparkling wine, desserts, and a patented midnight kiss.
New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball with the San Francisco Symphony starts at 8 p.m. (and continues through midnight) at Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness (at Grove), S.F. Admission is $85-$195. --Jessica Hilo