Holiday by the Bay

From Eames to ZooLights—there’s plenty to do this season for cheer and entertainment
Fridays on the Homefront
In this season to be jolly, the Eichler Network has assembled a handy array of Bay Area holiday cheer for all ages. Lots going on in Union Square of San Francisco, including ice-skating…and the view above at Macy's.
Fridays on the Homefront
Holiday cheer #1: Eames exhibit at Oakland Museum.
Fridays on the Homefront
Holiday cheer #2: Sea Ranch exhibit at MOMA.
Fridays on the Homefront
Holiday cheer #3: Fairy Winterland in Oakland.

Holidays are here, and for many that means guests visiting from out of town. But what to do with them?

You can only watch It's A Wonderful Life so many times—well, present company excluded. (We could watch it endlessly.) And, of course, you don't want to be accused of sexual harassment by uptight family members just for reminding them that, baby, it's cold outside.

Fear not, intrepid host. Your friends at the Eichler Network have assembled a handy array of Bay Area holiday cheer for all ages. Heck, you can even show off your mid-century modern chops to the out-of-towners with a couple of your moves.

"Most people know their work for their furniture," said Lindsay Wright, associate director of communications at Oakland Museum of California (OCMA), speaking of Charles and Ray Eames, the greatest husband and wife team in design history and subjects of a traveling exhibit currently at the museum.

'The World of Charles and Ray Eames' was developed at the Barbicon Museum in London, and OCMA is its only California stop so far. Featuring multi-media exhibits, films, photos, drawings, personal letters, rare prototypes and, of course, chairs and tables, the exhibition continues its four-month stay at the museum through February 17.

All told, the exhibition features more than 380 Eames works divided into four sections: the couple's life story; the experimental ideas behind their designs; their multimedia projects and ongoing work; and instructional tools, which includes one of their most popular films, 'Powers of Ten' (1968, rereleased in 1977).

If the combination of modernism and museums makes your holiday season sing, then you also won't want to miss 'The Sea Ranch: Architecture, Environment and Idealism,' opening December 22 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Sea Ranch was master planned in 1963 as a modern seaside utopia on the former Del Mar Ranch in Mendocino County by the Berkeley firm of Moore, Lyndon, Turnbull and Whitaker.

According to publicity for the MOMA showing, which runs through April 28, "This exhibition brings together original sketches and drawings from the project's designers, along with archival images, photographs of the Sea Ranch today, and a full-scale architectural replica. The environmentally attentive design philosophies explored at the Sea Ranch, along with the now-iconic graphics, resonated globally and continue to influence architecture and design today."

While there are numerous hands-on activities at the Eames exhibition, we realize that some of the younger visitors may need some sugar along with their museum substance. Fortunately, both these museum locations have plenty of traditional holiday fare to offer just blocks away.