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Archive for August, 2011

School Supplies Being Collected Through Saturday

The Alameda Education Foundation is working with Girl Scout Troop 31532 to support the 884 students in Alameda that need school supplies. The donations will support children enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade at Alameda public schools who do not have a fixed place to live.

“We know that 884 kids can’t get the opportunities they need to learn with new school supplies unless we help them,” said Christine Strena of the Alameda Education Foundation. “Last year, when we gave one first-grader her backpack, she was so happy to receive it that she wouldn’t take it off when she got in the car. Like so many other students, she’d only had hand-me-down school supplies before.”

Many local businesses are supporting the cause by hosting donation bins, including Alameda Bicycle, Alameda Parks & Recreation Department, Big O’Tires, Domenico’s Italian Deli, Financial Benefits Credit Union, Millie’s Hair Salon, Quick Communications Cellular, Towne Cleaners & Alterations, Tucker’s Ice Cream and WesCafe.

The school supplies are being collected through Saturday, August 13.

Items most in need for the Island’s students are backpacks, pencils, erasers, markers, scissors, pencil cases, spiral notebooks, binder notebooks, binder paper, pocket folders, tab dividers, pens, glue sticks, crayons, protractors, compasses, colored pencils, post-it notes, calculators (for algebra and higher math) and AA batteries for the calculators.

Cash donations are also requested, says Strena. “It only takes $4 to purchase a backpack for a needy student, and $15 provides a year’s worth of supplies,” she explained. Gifts of $1,000 will be used to purchase art supplies for nearly 300 elementary students, according to the AEF. (Donations made by check can be sent to AEF “School Supply Drive,” P.O. Box 1363, Alameda, 94501.)

For those who would like to give some of their time and talents, “We need volunteers to stuff the bags during the week of August 20,” Strena said. More details on this activity will be posted on the AEF website over the next week or two.

AEF also is collecting new supplies for teachers to use in their classrooms. “We’re searching for dry-erase markers, reams of copy paper, craft paints, paint brushes, glue sticks and other new art and office supplies,” she explained.

Along with classroom and art supplies, the middle and high schools in town are looking for musical instruments. “We ask members of the community to dust off that old instrument and give it a new life!” Strena said. Working musical instruments – new and used – will be given to school band programs.

For more information, go to AEF’s website or call 510-337-7189.

Posted on Tuesday, August 9th, 2011
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Alameda Residents’ Group Meets Aug. 11

The Alameda Citizens Task Force (ACT) will be holding its regular meetings on a new schedule.

Beginning at 7 p.m. this Thursday, August 11, the group will meet for two hours in the evening on the second and fourth evenings of the month.

The venue for its gatherings will be the Boys Girls Club, 1900 Third Street.

Special ACT sponsored community meetings will continue to be held at other times and places.

The group encourages members of the community to take advantage of a free shuttle service for bicycle riders starting between the College of Alameda and the Lake Merritt BART station at 10 a.m. on Monday, August 15.

Members of the community are also encouraged to meet City Manager John Russo at the Mastick Social Hall, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, at 9 a.m. on Thursday, August 25.

Posted on Tuesday, August 9th, 2011
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Library Hosts Seed-Saving Class, Urban-Gardening Film

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Several months after opening a seed and gardening-tool lending library, the Alameda Free Library is holding a class that will focus on seed saving. The event takes place at 2 p.m. today, Saturday, August 6, at the library, 1550 Oak Street.

Rebecca Newburn of Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library will speak about seed-saving basics, and her presentation will include some hands-on practice. She will also explain the basic vocabulary of seed saving and how to save seeds from peas, sunflower and other night-shade plants.

Newburn will also help residents understand how they can return “borrowed” seeds to the library as part of a movement toward sustainable communities. The event is free.

The Alameda Free Library’s seed- and tool-lending library is directed by Joel Butler, a reference librarian at the Main Library. He helped open the seed-lending library on March 1 (see photo above) and the garden tool-lending library at the end of April, which includes about 45 high-quality tools, he says.

“You can take three or four seeds per plant,” explained Butler to the group. “I understand that sunflowers are easy to grow.”

While the seed library has decorative-plant seeds, the project’s emphasis is on edibles, Butler says. It is located behind the reference desk on the second floor of the Main Library.

Butler is encouraging residents to use seeds from library for planting and then bring some seeds that they have produced in their gardens back to the library be shared with others. “When they do this, they are bringing back seeds that are better adapted to our local climate and that will be more robust the next time they grow,” he shared.

At 1:30 p.m. tomorrow (Sunday, August 7), Alameda Backyard Growers will present the film “Urban Roots” at the Main Library. The local group says the film is about urban farming in Detroit. Doors open at 1 p.m., and the event is free.

Another local event, hosted by Ploughshares Nursery, will focus on composting with worms at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 13, at 2701 Main Street, Alameda Point.

Posted on Saturday, August 6th, 2011
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Plein-Air Exhibit Opens at Frank Bette

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The work of artists who paint outdoors around the Island and in other picturesque venues opens from 7-9 p.m. tonight, Friday, August 5, at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts, 1601 Paru Street at Lincoln Avenue.

The show will be on exhibit through Saturday, October 1, and includes the work of more than two dozen painters — such as Beth Bourland, Elaine Carpenter, David Savellano, Nancy Roberts (whose painting of a home on Pacific Avenue is shown above) and others.

Awards are being presented today, and artwork will be for sale during the show in August and September.

For those hoping to learn more about plein-air painting, a workshop led by Edwin Bertolet is set for August 20 and 21. A demonstration of the painting style will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 14, with Markus Lui.

Posted on Friday, August 5th, 2011
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Alamedans in ‘My Fair Lady’ Starting Tonight

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Oakland’s Woodminster Summer Musicals is staging the popular Broadway show “My Fair Lady” from August 4 to the 14 at the Woodminster Amphitheater.

Susan Himes Powers of San Francisco plays the leading role of Eliza Doolittle, and Robert Moorhead – a Piedmont resident and drama teacher at Encinal High School — performs as Henry Higgins. Other key roles in “My Fair Lady” include the part of Colonel Pickering played by Gene Brundage of Granada Hills, and the role of Alfred P. Doolittle performed by Greg Carlson of Alameda (in the center of the above photo).

The show is based on George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” and tells the story of cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle, who is reinvented through elocution lessons.

“This show, with its delightful characters and wonderful music, is always a pleasure,” said Harriet Schlader, managing director of the production. The music was written by Frederick Loewe and the lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner.

The musical opened on Broadway in 1956 and includes a number of well-known tunes and dance numbers, such as “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “On the Street Where You Live” and “Get Me To the Church On Time.” The production was chosen by a large number of Woodminster audience members last fall, when about 650 theater-goers voted for the shows they’d most like to see performed on the outdoor stage at Joaquin Miller Park.

Woodminster’s “My Fair Lady” is directed by Joel Schlader and choreographed by Peggy Nixon. Kim Vetterli and Brandon Adams provide vocal direction. The cast of 33 includes nine members of Actors’ Equity Association and residents of 20 Bay Area cities.

Moorhead says this is the fourth time he’s playing Higgins at Woodminster. “But each time, I play opposite a different Eliza Doolittle,” he said. “Since Susan and I performed together in ‘The Music Man’ last summer, we know what to expect from each other, and that makes it easy.” He says he’s also enjoying the new musical, dance and stage directing of this year’s production.

“I play a lovable drunk, who’s also a con artist. He feels very self entitled and wants to get some money out of Professor Higgins,” said Carlson. “I especially enjoy the fact that there is a lot of physical comedy with my part.”

The actor, who’s been doing shows at Woodminster since 1997, also says the show has “a great cast and great music.” “George Bernard Shaw wrote the book [‘Pygmalion’] on which the show is based, so the dialogue is perfect,” Carlson explained. “Everyone should have fun with it.”

Other performers concur. “It’s a really fun show, and I’m really enjoying being in the ensemble,” said Andrew Moorhead, Robert Moorhead’s son, who is also a Piedmont resident. “Learning to dance for the number ‘Embassy Waltz’ has been a whole new experience. All our numbers are very enjoyable, since this is such a big, show-stopping production.”

While the film version of “My Fair Lady” is known to many, “The live production gives the audience the spontaneity that they just can’t get on a screen,” said Todd Schlader, a Montclair resident and member of the chorus.

“You don’t know if the entrance will work or how the costume change will go, and this makes it enjoyable,” explained Schlader, who’s been doing shows since the ‘70s with Woodminster Summer Musicals (started by his father, the late Jim Schlader, in 1967). “Plus, you get to interact with those around you in your seating area. That’s the really cool part of it.”

IF YOU GO
What: “My Fair Lady”
Where: Woodminster Amphitheater,, 3300 Joaquin Miller Rd., Oakland
When: 8 p.m. Aug. 4-7, 11-14
Cost: $10 on Aug 4; other shows $24-$42; kids free with paying adults
Info: 510-531-9597, www.woodminster.com

Posted on Thursday, August 4th, 2011
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