Feel the magic of the season this week in San Francisco. Start with Illuminate SF, a month-long lights festival that spans 12 city neighborhoods. Then continue the giving spirit of Thanksgiving at Slim’s, which is hosting a show to benefit the families of two San Franciscans who were gunned down by police this year. Hug it out with Hindu spiritual leader Sri Mata Amritanandamayi, or lighten up at CCSF’s Festival of the Moving Image.

AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.

November 21 | Now open: Restaurant
Babu Ji
An exciting new restaurant from Australia and New York City has arrived in San Francisco. Chef Jessi Singh’s third location of his playful Indian restaurant Babu Ji is on the food-loving Valencia Street in the Mission District, where Singh first met his wife and business partner, Jennifer. Diners can go à la carte or explore Singh’s tasting menu, pairing everything with selections from a self-service beer fridge, a wine list curated by star sommelier Rajat Parr, and a menu of cocktails. The restaurant is running on a slightly modified schedule for the opening week, but will be open for service on November 25–27 and on November 30.
280 Valencia St., San Francisco | website

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November 24 - January 1 | Art festival
Illuminate SF Festival
Illuminate SF, San Francisco’s light art festival, returns on Thanksgiving day and runs through the beginning of 2017. This month-long event is all about styling your own experience. Create an adventure through the city at your own pace, whether following a self-guided itinerary or by taking a free guided tour of some light installations. Two to check out by artist Leo Villareal are “The Bay Lights,” which is returning to the Bay Bridge, and “Buckyball,” a more recent installation at the Exploratorium. All in all, there will be 35 different installations in 12 different neighborhoods. This week’s free tours include Winter Walk SF in Union Square and a Neon Light Tour in Cow Hollow.
Times and locations vary | Free | website

November 25 | Music
Homegrown: Taking Back Thanksgiving Show
A night of music with a truly giving purpose, Homegrown is a benefit for the families of Alex Nieto and Mario Woods, citizens who were both killed by San Francisco police. Hosted by Equipto, the rapper who organized this year’s #Frisco5 hunger strike against police injustices, the show features performances by local artists and activists including Gina Madrid (aka Raw-G), Dregs One, and Rich Iyala, and it can be expected to foster community and conversation that extends past the last note.
8:00 PM | Slim’s, 333 11th St., San Francisco | From $15 | website

Babu Ji

November 25 - 30 | Escape the city
Amma
Do you find yourself more in need of a good hug than ever? This week offers the special chance to get one from Amma (Sri Mata Amritanandamayi), the revered Hindu spiritual leader who has hugged over 35 million people. She will appear at free events at the Fairmont San Jose on November 25, 26, and the evening of the 29th, all open to the public.
Fairmont San Jose, 170 S. Market St., San Jose | Free | website

November 30 | Film festival
6th Annual CCSF’s Festival of the Moving Image
Each year, top students from the Cinema and Broadcast Electronic Media Arts programs at City College of San Francisco feature short films at CCSF’s Festival of the Moving Image. This year’s event takes place across two repeated shows in Big Roxie, the larger of independently operated Roxie Theater’s screening rooms. Specifics of the lineup are still under wraps, but it will feature winning submissions across genres.
7:00 PM | Roxie, 3117 16th St., San Francisco | From $12 | website

Tamara Palmer is a daily news writer, rapper confidante, DJ, and celebrity chef ghostwriter from San Francisco.

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