Virago Theatre Seeks Community Support

Alameda-based Virago Theatre Company says it needs to raise $3,500 to bring the world premiere of Jon Brooks’ “Shoot O’Malley Twice” to the newly restored StageWerx 446 in the Mission District of San Francisco. The theater troupe says it has raised about 85 percent of this amount and has roughly five more days to collect online pledges for the remaining 15 percent.

According to Virago, the $3,500 will be used for costumes, hair, make-up, original sound design by Ryan Lee Short, and special effects to create two alternate universes in this fast-paced, existentially comic production.

In the play, “Alternate realities and baseball meet predestination wrapped around a child’s game in this fast-paced, mind-bending new comedy by Bay Area playwright Jon Brooks,” the group says on its website. The stage for the play will resemble a shabby hotel room in New York City, circa 1957.

The production of “Shoot O’Malley Twice” in San Francisco takes Virago “into new territory, bringing this existentially comic world premiere to the heart of the Mission District,” according to the group, which adds that all donations are tax deductible.

The group’s 2011-2012 season includes “Shoot O’Malley Twice”, “A Taste of Honey” and “Madama Butterfly.”


Ballena Bay Hosts Acrobats, Party

There were Halloween parties all over town last night as Halloween approaches, including a gathering at the Ballena Bay Yacht Club.

Those at the yacht-club event and at the nearby Pier 29 Restaurant were treated to two evening shows on the water performed by the French family now touring the Bay Area on their sailboat La Loupoite.

The couple performed earlier this month at the Encinal Yacht Club in the daytime and was given lots of support by Alamedans and other audience members. Last night’s crowd at Ballena Bay also enjoyed the display of talent and donated funds for the family to continue their world cruise.

On Sunday, October 30, the troupe will put on their shows — “The Sailors” and “Between Wing and Islands” — at Jack London Square at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Enjoy!


Bonta’s Raised $100K for Assembly Campaign

Alameda Vice Mayor Rob Bonta announced on Sunday, October 30, that in less than four months he has raised more than $100,000 for his run for the California Assembly slot being vacated by Andre Swanson.

Bonta set up his campaign committee in July. His campaign committee now says he topped the $100,000 mark without the need of loans or transfers from other committees. After hitting this fund-raising target — at events hosted in Alameda and elsewhere — the Bonta campaign announced he will set a new goal of reaching $150,000 by January 1.

“The toughest thing to do when running for office is asking for money,” Bonta said in a statement. “I am gratified that so many family, friends, colleagues and a broad range of other supporters have stepped up early. My hope is to raise what is necessary as soon as possible so that by next spring I can focus on talking to voters about the challenges we face in the East Bay regarding the economy, public schools and violence in our communities.”

Given a series of hot controversies on the Island over the past year or so — the latest of which include tree removal on Park Street and the proposed swap of land on Harbor Bay — it will be interesting to see how much support he can garner at the polls from his fellow Alamedans.


Big Search Held Near Fruitvale Bridge

Members of the Alameda Fire Department, U.S. Coast Guard and Alameda County Sheriff’s Office spent much of Thursday, October 28, trying to find the body of a supposed missing person reported out of Oakland.

The emergency squads, including divers and water-based crew, combed the area around the Fruitvale Bridge for most of Thursday.

Despite the extensive search conducted on both sides of the estuary, no body was found in the area, sources told Alameda Journal staff.

During the search, several members of the Alameda Fire Department were wearing pink AFD shirts in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.


Bladium Hosting Kids Event, Cancer Benefit

Bladium’s KidFest is set for 12:30-3:30 p.m. this Saturday, October 29, according to event organizer Farah Nations.

Those attending the KidFest are asked to visit “the pink table,” where donations can be made and T-shirts will be given out in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The Bladium Sports and Fitness Club is located at 800 West Tower Avenue in Alameda Point.

KidFests are great opportunities for community members to check out what the sports and activities center has to offer both kids and adults, while supporting a worth cause. This Saturday, the cause is Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which supports research and other efforts to combat breast cancer.

During the fall and winter months, the Bladium hosts indoor lacrosse, soccer, baseball and other camps and training programs.


Shelter Volunteers to Take Over in Alameda

Alameda has reached an agreement with Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter, according to a Bay Area News Group story published on Tuesday, and the Island shelter will remain open.

“The city will pay Friends of Alameda Animal Shelter $300,000 a year to run a facility that now costs the city $935,000 annually,” according to the report.

Several city employees who now work at the shelter will lose their jobs, the story explains, and the police department will eliminate half its animal control enforcement staff.

This plan should help the city save more than $600,000 a year, but still needs to cut $4.4 million from its general fund next year, the news story reported.

On Wednesday, October 26, FAAS will host a fund-raiser starting at 7 p.m. at Rock Wall Wine Company on Alameda Pointe to benefit its work running the shelter. Tickets to the event are still available.


Perforce Team Plays Dodgeball for a Cause

Staff of Alameda-based Perforce Software competed in the first Octocat Dodgeball Invitational, competing against teams from other tech firms like Twitter, Github, New Relic, Twili and Plum District. The 19 teams were paired randomly for each round, according to the software firm, up to the final showdown. (Games followed the rules of the National Amateur Dodgeball Association.)

“We won the first round, two out of three games. We were out by the second round. It was hysterical…. and there were lots of outfits spoofing the movie, ‘Dodgeball,’ ” said Allison Banks, director of human resources for Perforce and the team’s coach.

“We wore armbands and T-shirts and came with ‘cheerleaders’ with black and gold pompoms. There were lots of short-shorts, knee socks, headbands and wigs,” Banks explained.

The friendly competition among the tech companies gave employees a chance to socialize outside work, according to Perforce. Plus, it was a successful charity benefit.

Perforce played on behalf of the Alameda Food Bank and donated $1,500 to local cause and $1,500 to the tournament as part of its participation. Some $27,000 was raised for the winning team’s charity: Heifer International, which works to empower families worldwide through sustainable development. (The event took place at the Mission Recreation Center in San Francisco.)

Perforce Software has its own foundation that makes donations to the local community and beyond on behalf of the company, according to its website. Every year, each employee is encouraged to choose up to three charities or causes to receive (or share) a $1,500 donation paid by the foundation.


Live at the Library Series Continues Tonight

Tickets for benefit shows being held at the Main Library and organized by the Alameda Library Foundation have been selling fast. However, the group says it will try to accommodate as many guests as possible.

This year’s series of Saturday-night concerts includes cabaret performers Wesla Whitfiend and Mike Greensillm who perform tonight, October 22, and jazz and cabaret singer Amanda King on November 19.

“Tickets for the shows have been selling extremely well,” said Ruth Belikove, who put together the program with Luzanne Engh and Eileen Savel of the Alameda Library Foundation. “We will have a limited number of tickets available at the door.”

Greensill, who performs for the weekly public radio show “West Coast Live,” is married to his co-star Whitfiend. “They performed for the first season of Live at the Library and were so popular that we asked them to do a second show,” Belikove said.

Doors open at 7 p.m., with music starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are priced at $30 each.

The events’ main sponsors are Perforce Software, First Community Bank and Bank of Alameda.

In late February, library benefactors will present a concert with Alameda opera star Frederica von Stade and the Cal Young Musicians at the Alameda Theatre & Cineplex.

“She’s always there for young artists, developing the next generation, which will be proud to showcase on stage,” said Belikove. “For all our shows, we have worked hard to share a very exciting program,” she added. “We have brought some tremendous talent to town and hope to continue to do so for the sake of our libraries.”


Special Art Workshop at Frank Bette Center

The Frank Bette Center for the Arts in Alameda is hosting a one-day workshop on creating altars from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday, October 22, with Mary Loughran.

No previous art experience necessary, though a fee of $100-$120 is required.

The program aims to train those who want to work creatively with their hands by creating personal altars. “Creating in a time of relative quiet in the company of others may be described as a spiritual journey,” according the event organizers.

Loughran is an exhibiting artist with Frank Bette, and the first prize winner in the 2008 Frank Bette Poetry Contest. An exhibit of her oil paintings, collage, and poetry will be on display at Alameda Main Library early next year. She is a member of Alameda Island Poets.

She has studied with Bay Area artists Beverly Romanchuk and Seamus Berkeley, as well as at Laney College and at the College of Alameda. Loughran has a master’s in divinity from the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, and an M.A. in English kiterature from the UC-Santa Barbara.

The center is located at 1601 Paru Street at Lincoln Avenue.


Estuary ‘Fun-Raiser’ Brings in $3,000-Plus for Schools

Alameda Education Foundation’s “Pirates in Paradise” Fun-Raiser held last Sunday, October 16, on the Alameda-Oakland Estuary raised $3,055 for the Alameda public schools — which is $555 more than last year, reports event organizer Deborah Wright.

Wright says that AEF would especially like to thank members of the Alameda Firefighter’s Association IAFF Local 689 and the Alameda Police Department “for taking their own personal time and giving back to the community. They put the fun in ‘fund raiser!’ ”

Organizers also want to express their appreciation for all the local boat group and yacht clubs for stepping up and providing time, energy and equipment to ensure that the event included a successful boat regatta. “If it weren’t for their love of ‘floatin’ in boats’ none of this would be possible,” Wright shared.

Other thanks go the CB Richard Ellis for providing the space around Nob Hill on Blanding, announcer Jim Franz, Greg Canales, Skip Henderson, Tim Lutzko, USCG, Bryan Castleberry, Jim Smallman, Jim Morin of Nob Hill, all the clubs, organizations and associations who helped sponsor the event, John Platt, Hawaiian BBQ, Alameda Copy & Fast Imaging, Jeff Cambra, Brad Shook of the Bladium, A Sound Explosion, Mayor Marie Gilmore, Vice Mayor Rob Bonta, Councilmember Lena Tam and other city officials and staff.