Arts & Events

Armenian Folk Singer Hasmik Harutyunyan Performs with Kitka

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday October 19, 2019 - 06:32:00 PM

In a series of concerts October 17-19 in Rohnert Park, Oakland, and San Jose, renowned Armenian folk singer Hasmik Harutyunyan teamed up with the Oakland-based women’s choral ensemble Kitka. I attended the Friday, October 18, concert in Oakland’s St. Vartan Armenian Church. The program was entitled “Gorani: Love Songs to Lost Homelands.” Between 1915 and 1923, Armenians lost much of their several thousand year-old homeland when the Turks committed genocide on the Armenian population, driving survivors into the Armenian diaspora. This October 18 concert in Oakland’s St. Vartan Armenian Church thus presented a celebration of the resilience of the Armenian diaspora. It also offered Armenian-Americans the opportunity to celebrate the 150th anniversary of their revered national composer, Komitas Vardapet (1869-1935, generally referred to simply as Komitas), who gathered centuries-old Armenian folk songs and composed his own music based on these folk traditions. Some of the folk songs Komitas transcribed were featured on this concert program. -more-

Around & About--Theater, Dance: Ancient Kathakali Theater from South India in Special Performances Through This Weekend in Oakland Studio

Ken Bullock
Thursday October 17, 2019 - 09:51:00 PM

Kathakali, the ancient South Indian theater, one of the very earliest theater forms still surviving, featuring great virtuosity in stylized acting, dance and mime by actors in lavish costumes and stunning, colorful make-up that's like a facial sculpture, taking hours to apply, like a big, animated storybook of episodes from India's mythic epic poems, often full of humor and charm, backed by percussion and singing ...
And an excellent visiting ensemble from South India will be here performing episodes from a Kathakaki epic, from Thursday, October 17, through this weekend, at an intimate private studio in Oakland (advance tickets only--see below), with Kalamandalam Manoj, the same principal actor who performed beautifully at the Berkeley Hillside Club three years ago, almost to the day. (See my preview then, )
The four performances, including a Sunday matinée with a reception with the artists & a special event, are presented by Graeme Vanderstoel, that indefatigable guide to world arts, in association with the Paul Dresher Ensemble, with support from SACHI ( )
The artists are the splendid Kathakali principal Kalamandalam Manoj (from the most famous Kathakaki institute, Kalamandalam, founded 90 years ago by a famous poet, in Kerala state) supported by Roshni Pillai, Jan Zeitlin (who some will remember from Kathakali performances with the Kunhiramans' Kalanjali dance company) and Janhari Pillai, with introductions by a fine speaker, Kaladharan Vishwanath.
Three episodes from an old tale will be performed: the hunter in the forest (Thursday night), the hunter discovers an abandoned princess asleep (Friday night), and the princess meets the Golden Swan with its song of love.
Kathakali's a rare thing to see anywhere, especially the episodes Graeme and the artists have chosen for these performances. And Manoj is a particularly fine actor in this ancient style. This's a performing arts and cultural event of the highest caliber.
This Thursday through Saturday, October 17-19, 7:30, and Sunday the 20th at 3. Tickets $10, children; $20, students and teenagers; $30, general--at:

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, October 20-27

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday October 19, 2019 - 06:28:00 PM

Worth Noting and Showing Up:

The Update Report on Vision 2020 (racial equity in Berkeley Public Schools) which is to be presented Tuesday evening at City Council is quite startling and can be read online.

The links and agenda highlights for the October 29 City Council meeting follow the weekly meeting list.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

City Open House, 11 am – 3 pm, Civic Center Park, Family oriented event to introduce residents to City Services and Staff -more-