Years from now when you move from the city (and you'll move from the city; everyone does), you'll look back fondly on these days when everything strange and enchanting was right on your doorstep. Take tonight: At the "Red & White" art opening, you can celebrate Agoston Haraszthy, the man known as the "Father of California Viticulture." That might seem rather tame, but consider: The Father of CA Viticulture was not only a Hungarian, but the very first Hungarian-American in these United States, and he had one of those lives screenwriters strip-mine for material. To wit: He founded Sonoma's Buena Vista Winery, ran the first commercial steamboat on the upper Mississippi River, became the first sheriff of San Diego, and was named the first assayer of the new San Francisco Mint (He was also the first person charged with embezzling gold from said mint). It just goes on and on -- and so can tonight, for you, because one of the men you can be drinking wine with is Janos Majer, the mayor of famed Hungarian wine-city Tokaj. He'll be there because this little "Red & White" art exhibit is really just one stage of a cross-continent Haraszthy blowout, with other celebrations happening in Sonoma, Budapest, and Tokaj. As for tonight's art, it's 20 Hungarian and American artists, including locals like Jesse Gottesman and Peter Dimick, working off the theme "the color of wine." That's a lot to drink in -- and with the John Brothers Piano Company setting the Barbary Coast mood, you'll want to.
Thu., Aug. 30, 6 p.m., 2012