Closing the distance

Locale : 19h00
Paris : 04h00
Villa San Francisco 100 edgewood avenue, San Francisco, US

Last February, more than 5,200 revelers from all corners of the Bay Area, and even as far as Portland, Oregon, flocked to the Main Library to enjoy a seven-hour marathon of speakers and performances at the second San Francisco edition of the Night of Ideas.
While gathering in person is out this year, the local event partners, Villa San Francisco, KQED, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), San Francisco Public Library and California Humanities, are reuniting to produce a free two-hour virtual showcase of some of the Bay Area’s leading performers and thinkers on January 28, 2021 from 7–9 p.m.
For San Francisco’s 2021 Night of Ideas livestream, keynote speakers and performers were asked to meditate on the theme of “closing the distance,” an adaptation of the international theme “proche” or “close.” The program will present a variety of perspectives on how we can collectively move closer to each other and to a better future by reimagining our civic spaces to be more inclusive and by advancing racial equity. The program is also designed to bring people closer to the Bay Area and to the individuals who make it special. Viewers can expect to see performances featuring some of the area’s iconic scenery and tributes to our artists and essential workers that have kept spirits up during these challenging times.
Hosted by Mina Kim, KQED journalist and host of Forum, this year’s Night of Ideas will include:
– A special conversation between Mina Kim and San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed on how the mayor plans to lead San Francisco through the recovery ahead.
– Co-founder/Co-director of Sogorea Te’ Land Trust Corrina Gould (Lisjan Ohlone) will share her vision for returning ancestral lands in the San Francisco Bay Area to Indigenous stewardship and cultivating more active, reciprocal relationships with the land.
– A performance by Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu will honor the ongoing fight to preserve Indigenous land and that fosters connectedness among the hula community during COVID times.
– Activist and author Alice Wong of the Disability Visibility Project will discuss how closing the distance toward full accessibility is not only about infrastructure and accommodations but also civic participation.
– Community Arts Stabilization Trust Executive Director Moy Eng will provide a walkthrough of the Dempster Building and her vision for preserving art space in our cities.
– Destiny Arts Center’s mission is to inspire and ignite social change through the arts. A performance from The Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company and The Elders Project will explore intergenerational connection.
– A performance from Antoine Hunter and members of the Urban Jazz Dance Company will explore connection through movement.
– San Francisco Public Librarian Naima Dean will discuss her Racial Equity work as a librarian serving the Western Addition community and as Chair of the Mill Valley Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force.
– Young reporters and storytellers from YR Media will discuss what it means for young people to claim space and extend it for others and a timelapse of the painting of Rachel Wolfe Goldsmith’s mural at the YR Media building.
– Artist Tucker Nichols will give a tutorial on creating flowers for sick people. This stems from a project where Nichols made a drawing, print or photograph of flowers and delivered it by mail as part of a free service.
– Nikiko Masumoto, farmer, artist and writer, will speak to us from her family farm in the Central Valley about the importance of place.
– Artist and activist Favianna Rodriguez.
– Join Lycée Français de San Francisco students from multiple clubs (including Dance, TedEx, DEI and LGBTQ) on a « ballade » through the vibrant and colorful San Francisco Mission district. In this playful and student-led piece, movement combines with words, images, music and colors to allow participants to creatively express their message and how they approach closing the distance.
– Amira Yahyaoui, Human Rights Activist and Entrepreneur, is the Founder and CEO of, a San Francisco–based start-up whose mission is to tear down all financial barriers to opportunity.
– Roberto Hernandez of the Mission Food Hub, will reflect on the role of mutual aid efforts are playing in closing the distances created by the disproportionate impacts of COVID.
– VivvyAnne ForeverMORE! and Work MORE! will pay tribute to San Francisco drag queens and call for the preservation of queer performance space.
– Performances by young poets with Youth Speaks and Chapter 510 will highlight iconic Bay Area locales.