Arts and Culture

It’s Kwanzaa Time

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Really unfairly, Kwanzaa tends to be the butt of holiday-themed jokes. The multi-day holiday has been around for less than 50 years, honors African-American history and culture, and has, of course, way fewer participants than Christmas or Chanukah. It’s also nonreligious, making that last comparison meaningless.

Not only is Kwanzaa pretty beautiful, though (each day honors one of seven principles like collective responsibility, unity, and self-determination), it takes the cake as basically the last majorish holiday of the year. Meaning: those holiday hounds unwilling to relinquish their grasp on December’s slowly dying poinsettias and melted-down menorah candles can take heart. There’s one more (week-long) party to hit.

Kwanzaa officially begins the day after Christmas; San Francisco kicks off its celebration of the first day, Umoja (unity) at the Westbay Conference Center on Fillmore Street. The 7 p.m. start time gives you just enough time to almost-fully digest that Christmas goose. SF’s celebration is studded with real highlights, according to the website: chicken and waffles, live music, and even a Tuskeegee Airman.

Kwanzaa Celebrations
Monday, Dec. 26 – Friday, Jan. 1
Various locations
Photo from

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Lucy Schiller - Destitute Dispatcher

Lucy Schiller - Destitute Dispatcher

Lucy's been able to live lots of places but holds her cornfed/pie-fueled Midwestern roots most dear, maintaining too loudly and too often that the Outer Richmond is the Midwest of SF: driven through to get elsewhere and knocked around for no reason (but what other neighborhood has bison?!). You can find Lucy letting things languish in her fridge, purposefully (limoncello!) or not (yogurt...), mouthbreathing, scouring Golden Gate Park for apartment-worthy items, sleepily serving up double nonfat half-caf-half-non-caf lattes at a certain cafe, skulking in various other ones, and yelling under cover of night and costume at SF Bike Party.