Arts & Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, Jan. 6-13

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday January 05, 2019 - 10:10:00 AM

In the changing climate of drought and fire storms, Local Hazard Mitigation Plans are not an exercise to place on a shelf. First read the LA Times December 30, 2018 article “Here’s How Paradise ignored warnings and became a deathtrap” by Paige St. John, Joseph Serna and Rong-Gong Lin II. Then dig into the Berkeley Local Hazard Mitigation plan draft.

The deadline for Commissions and the community to comment on the Local Hazard Mitigation plan draft (the Plan for preparing for natural disasters and reducing the impacts) is February 28.

Please note the location of Commission meetings. The North Berkeley Senior Center is closed for renovation until mid 2020. -more-

Puccini and Passion: Berkeley Chamber Opera Presents Manon Lescaut on Friday, Jan. 11 and Sunday, Jan. 13

Friday January 04, 2019 - 04:41:00 PM

If you like to experience genuine opera up close and personal, the Berkeley Chamber Opera production of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, at Berkeley’s Hillside Club on January 11 and 13 is your opportunity. If your only exposure to opera has been recordings, videos in movie theaters, or cavernous auditoriums like the San Francisco War Memorial Opera house, you’re in for a revelation.

The BCO, a non-profit, presents locally-sourced professional casts singing with a chamber orchestra in a human-scale venue evocative of the many intimate opera houses in Italy. This is their sixth fully costumed and staged production, the last five mounted at the historic wood-paneled club.

Conductor Jonathan Khuner is a veteran of many operas, including several for BCO. The title role will be sung by Bay Area soprano Eliza O’Malley, whose last BCO role was Joan of Arc in Verdi’s Giovanna D’Arco, which Khuner also conducted. The stage director is Lisa Houston. All three, as it happens, are Berkeley High School graduates who have gone on to regional, national and international careers. Many of the cast and chorus are also local residents. -more-

Creativity Unhoused: Homeless Art Exhibition in Berkeley, CA on March 9, 2019

Marcia Poole
Friday January 04, 2019 - 06:00:00 PM

On March 9, 2019 an art show dealing with multiple aspects of homelessness within our communities will open at Expressions Gallery, 2035 Ashby Ave., Berkeley, sponsored by the advocacy group, First They Came for the Homeless. The main focus of the art will be on the efforts of homeless people to survive within urban environments and, especially, on the benefits created by the communities that develop within and around homeless encampments and shelters, as well as among people sleeping in the rough. The exhibition will explore the differing ways utilized by individuals in these communities to insure safety, solidarity, camaraderie, and other positive aspects of the communal experience. The show will also address the problems faced by the homeless on a daily basis. -more-

A Baroque New Year’s Eve with American Bach Soloists

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday January 04, 2019 - 05:24:00 PM

Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen and soprano Mary Wilson joined American Bach Soloists for a splendid 4:00 pm concert on New Year’s Eve at San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre. Musical Director Jeffrey Thomas announced from the stage that he intends to offer similar concerts every New Year’s Eve. If future such events are anything like this one, Bay Area audiences are indeed fortunate, for this was magnificent. Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen lived up to his advance billing. His countertenor voice is superbly rich in tonal variety, and his range is stupefying. Moreover, Cohen is an immensely gifted interpreter of the music he performs. With exquisite diction in Italian, Cohen brought immediacy and intensity to everything he sang at this New Year’s Eve concert. Perhaps the highlight of the whole affair was Cohen’s interpretation of “Che farò senza Euridice” from Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. This aria, of course, is a familiar chestnut; but Aryeh Nussbaun Cohen made it sound new and fresh. Likewise, veteran soprano Mary Wilson, who needs no introduction to Bay Area audiences who have heard her many wonderful performances over the years with Jeffrey Thomas’s American Bach Soloists, brought her refreshingly bright, gleaming tone to this concert’s selection of soprano arias from George Frideric Handel. -more-