Local Jewelers, Artists Have Lots to Share

Alameda resident and merchants are talking about all the local holiday shopping events on tap throughout the Island.

For instance, Deborah Porterfield — formerly of Harbor Bay Jewelers and an important donor to the recent Dance for a Cure benefit — is hosting a special showing and sale of Touch of Class Jewelers at Rhythmix Cultural Works this coming Tuesday, December 15, from about 5 p.m.-9 p.m. (RSVP for a slot by calling 510-714-8035.)

Rhythmix is also offering the community arts and crafts in the K Gallery, which hosts an opening tonight from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. as part the Estuary Art Attack.  The gallery features “the world’s tiniest craft fair.”

Over at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts, a holiday gift boutique is open for shoppers and visitors daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. through December 21.



HGTV Designer Shares Tips with Alameda Shoppers

Eddie Ross, the talented decorator, HGTV guest designer and former style editor of “Martha Stewart Living,” came through town on December 6. He visited the Alameda Point Antiques and Collectibles Faire and toured the event with about 30 individuals from around the Bay Area and other parts of the West.
Later, he and partner Jaitan Kochar (both pictured above, from left) talked with Alameda residents and other guests at Daisy’s boutique on Park Street.
How was the day’s antiques fair? “It’s a big, great mix of mid-century and Victorian furniture and other items. We saw lots of glass, silverware and everything,” said Ross. “There’s great variety, and you can do your one-stop shopping there.”
Shoppers and wanna-be decorators shouldn’t be afraid to mix things up a bit, Ross says. “You don’t have to use a lemon fork for just lemons. You could use it to go with a tomato salad.”
And when buying gifts, places like the antiques fair — and local estate sales — are perfect, explains Ross. “You can pick up a few sugar tongs, for instance, and then share them as a hostess gift by pairing them with some sugar cubes.”
The trick is to do a little bit of work before you go out to shop, he shares. Take some paint samples or cloth swatches along when you are trying to match furnishings or table decorations with other colors in a room. Likewise, have a photo or sample of the china or silverware patterns you’re trying to add to or complement.
“When you go to a flea market, you really what to know what to look for,” Ross said. “Take measurements of the areas you want to fill or the wall space you want to decorate. This is key.”
Doing this kind of “homework” means you will walk out of such events having successfully found what you wanted, the designer shares.
He also suggests that shoppers keep their expectations low. “A flea market will not solve your life’s issues. In other words, a few items won’t do it all for you. But it’s fun. Go browsing, be consistent and enjoy it.”
Taking an experimental approach is also helpful at times. “You might think you have to have a wooden chair, when a non-wooden chair could work just fine,” he explains. Blending antiques and new items is also fine. “You can mix it up. I love an eclectic mix,” Ross said.
And give yourself the freedom to mix items from different price points — like a used sofa for under $100 and a nice slipcover for $200. (Ross admits he shops for bargains at the Salvation Army where he lives, in Port Chester, N.Y.)
Likewise, when decorating and setting a table or other area of your home, remember, it’s OK to go back to basics. “It doesn’t have to be expensive to be beautiful,” Ross said.
For more tips on decorating and designing, check out Eddie’s blogs and send email to eddie@eddieross.com 
Daisy’s owner Barbara Mooney said she was glad to host the afternoon event for Ross. “I love the blog and read him in the magazine. He’s got quite a history.”

World Premiere of Balinese-Hip Hop Dance Staged in Alameda

Rhythmix Cultural Works held two sold-out shows on December 4 and 5 as two Oakland-based groups came together for the world premiere of a blend of Balinese and hip-hop dance, music and spoken word.

Gamelan Sekar Jaya, which includes about 50 musicians playing instruments such as gongs, drums, flutes and metallophones, was led by I Made Arnawa (top photo, right).  The group presented several original instrumental compositions by their guest music director and two numbers from “Legong,” a traditional palace dance.

In the second part of the show, Emiko Saraswati Susilo — guest dance director of GSJ — and Rashidi Omari — artistic director of Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company presented “Tjak Box,” (second photo, standing center).   This new work merged hip-hop and urban dance with Balinese dance and gamelan music. The inspiration for the piece was the story of Kunti and Karna in the Nahabarata, a great Hindu epic.

“Tjak Box” came after several other performances by Destiny Arts that included poems, or monologues, performed by teens in the program. The spoken word part of the presentation highlighted themes like teenage insecurity, loss of innocence, violence, environmental issues, peer pressure and personal growth.

In much of the second half, Destiny Arts and GSJ performers worked together to demonstrate how different cultures communicate both physically and emotionally and how these cultures, when combined, create a mesmerizing mix of ethnicity, talent, music and movement that dramatically conveys a message of empowerment and hope.

The audience was clearly moved by the unique performance on December 4 and gave the groups a standing ovation.

Rhythmix, located at 2513 Blanding Avenue, will host a show put on by students now taking classes at its facilities at 7 p.m. on December 11. And each Wednesday its K Gallery is open from 6 to 9 p.m.


A Great Show on the Estuary

Even though it was a cold night, revelers had lots of fun on and off the water Saturday night during the 33rd annual Oakland/Alameda Estuary Lighted Yacht Parade.

Guests packed the special ferry that took visitors around the parade route, and lookouts like Pasta Pelican were full, too.

This year’s theme was “Christmas carols,” and the event was held to  benefit the Oakland Firefighters Random Acts and Alameda County Community Food Bank. (We’re not sure what Christmas carol Sponge Bob and Squidward were singing during the parade, but they sure were the life of the party on one boat!)

The gold sponsor was Celebrations on the Bay; silver sponsers were Stem to Stern and Fast Imaging.

Encinal Yacht Club, Oakland Yacht Club and Marina Village Yacht Harbor were the 2009 hosts.

Congratulations to Botany Bay, the Grand Prize winner, owned by Kris Jensen, and all the other winners in the power, sail and other divisions.

There have been no reports yet of  VIP wanna-be  party-crashers at the Alameda Firefighters dinner, held at Pasta Pelican. But stay tuned for any news on that front.

And rumor has it that Sausalito holds its annual lighted yacht parade this coming Saturday, December 12, including fireworks.


This Weekend: Come Join the Holiday Boat Parade, Tree Lighting & More

There will be even more than a beautiful harvest moon to see on Saturday night when the city of Alameda hosts the 33rd Annual Lighted Yacht Parade on the estuary.

Visitors are encouraged to come to the Main Street Terminal at 2990 Main Street before 5 p.m. on December 5 to get a seat on the special 5:15 p.m. ferry for the event.

On Thursday, December 3, when the harvest moon was particularly bright over the bay and estuary, the Toys for Tots bin on the ferry was sadly empty.

Parade enthusiasts bringing toys to donate will ride free during the event. Otherwise, tickets are $3.50-$6.25. Refreshments will be on sale.

Too bad the Mayor Beverly Johnson is busy and can’t be on the ferry. The city hosts its annual tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, too.

And there are lots of other events on tap this weekend, which is dubbed the Mayor’s Hometown Holiday Weekend. Grab a warm coat and enjoy!


Theater Comes to Park Street

This Monday at 7 p.m., Autobody Fine Art — at 1517 Park Street — will host a free presentation by Alameda’s Virago Theatre Company.

The December 7 event features actors reading “Three Knocks” by Robert P. Marcus with direction by Robert Lundy-Paine. 

The actors are George McRae, Dennis McIntyre, Michaela Greeley, Jeremy Vik, Harold Pierce, Stephen Pawley, Laura Lundy-Paine and Brittany Kilcoyne McGregor.

“Three Knocks” is the story of a man who stands wrongly accused and fights against corrupt law enforcement at the risk of losing his family, love and life … the three knocks that changed him forever, according to Virago.

A discussion, as well as wine and cheese, will follow the presentation.


More Details on J World Rescue

The latest issue of Latitude 38 sailing magazine shares the story of the October 28 events surrounding a J World sailboat and the rescue of its Alameda-based captain and other crew.

The boat was participating in the Baja Ha-Ha rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, when it literally ran into a pod of whales and sank about 200 miles southwest of San Diego.

Captain Eugenie Russell of Alameda and Barry Demak, the general manager of the J World sailing school in Alameda, and three students were on board. (The school’s office is in Marina Village at 1070 Marina Village Parkway.)

The rescue effort by the U.S. Coast Guard included flight mechanic Jeremy Treichel (see above photo, from left), rescue swimmer Scott Mochkatel, commander Jonathon Ralston and co-pilot William Burwell.


Pacific Pinball Museum Opens in Alameda

There is a new place to play, retro-style,  in town: the Pacific Pinball Museum at 1510 Webster Street.

The joint is affiliated with the Lucky Ju Ju Pinball arcade on Santa Clara Avenue and brings 40 more pinball machines to Alameda.

Hours for the new entertainment spot are 2 p.m. – 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, with extra hours (through midnight) on Friday and Saturday.

Murals by Dan Fontes have been completed, and pinball aficionados and their pals are welcome to come and explore the new space.

This should be a really special place to visit during the holidays, when it’s time to take a break — or even to celebrate New Year’s!


Alameda Sports Cards and Comics Finds New Home Across Town

About a month ago, we got word that the Alameda Sports Cards & Comics shop at 1412 Park Street planned its own obituary — for the unique business it’s shared with the area for the past 24 years. Now, it’s got a new neighborhood and a bright future, says owner Patty.

The business is relocating to 1515 Webster Street, where it will be located across from the new Pacific Pinball Museum, at 1510 Webster, and near the Lucky Ju Ju pinball arcade.  “It’s a good fit for us,” said Patty.

Due to issues regarding its lease and rental playments, the cards and comics business will finish up on Park Street on December 24. It should reopen on Webster Street on January 5, just after a fresh order or comics has been delivered.

“Everything is on schedule,” Patty explained. She’s restored the space for the shop and let the 3,000-plus customers on her e-mail list know about the new address. “We got the right space,” she added.