I have a dear friend and neighbor, Neil Marcus, a playwright, poet and actor, who describes himself as a "fantastic spastic, creatively endowed with disability." As a perfectly healthy eight-year old growing up in Ojai, he was stricken with dystonia, a rare neurological disorder in which powerful involuntary muscle spasms twist and jerk the body into unusual postures. Neil is affected with "generalized dystonia", the most severe and painful form of this disorder. It denies his ability to speak, stand and walk and/or control sudden and sometimes bizarre movements. -more-
Arts & Events
Over the years as the Berkeley Arts Festival has moved around downtown Berkeley it is the arrival of the grand piano that gives the space its allure. This year it is Jerry Kuderna's 9 foot Baldwin that came down from Jerry and Mari's home up in the hills to preside over our University Avenue space and it is bringing a pianist from far away Albany, New York to join the Festival.
Pianist Findlay Cockrell wanted to come to Berkeley to celebrate Liszt's 200th birthday. He had attended Berkeley High many years ago and wanted to revisit the music scene he remembers from his youth . He contacted the DBA in search of a space with a grand piano and they knew where to look.
Coincidentally Findley Cockrell, Emeritus Prof. (Music) UAlbany (SUNY), taught at Julliard when Jerry Kuderna was a 16 year old student there.
Continuing the Adventure: Findlay Cockrell will be playing Jerry's piano in a concert scheduled for Wednesday, November 30 at 8 pm
Jerry Kuderna will be playing every Friday at noon, except for Thanksgiving week.
Sarah Cahill's next concert is on Friday December 2, when she will give a preview of the Lou Harrison Piano Concerto, which she is playing with the Berkeley Symphony on Thursday, December 8th,
Jerry Kuderna will play on the evening of Monday December 12, at 8 pm, a program yet to be determined.
Temporary residence of Jerry''s piano: Berkeley Arts Festival 2133 University Avenue just west of Ace Hardware
For the complete list of concerts please check www.berkeleyartsfestival.com
It started out like a typical community theatre musical, kind of lackluster, some good actors and singers, some mediocre, the set very Japanese but everyone dressed for Guys and Dolls. It was the Point Richmond Masquers Playhouse production of The Hot Mikado, a swing era rewrite of Gilbert & Sullivan. For the most of the first act I was in and out, occasionally nodding. The band was flat and non- ensemble with no drummer (!?). The choreography seemed uninspired. There was a good barbershop-like harmony at one point. There is one truly impressive baritone, a couple of pretty girls, one a guy who had great moves, but pretty unmemorable all around. -more-
"I'm so glad you came to see me ..." -more-