Chan to Address Local Democratic Club

The City of Alameda Democratic Club will hold its monthly meeting from 7 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 8, in the A Conference Room of Alameda Hospital, 2070 Clinton Ave. The room is on the second floor.

The club’s guest speaker is Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan. Supervisor Chan represents Alameda, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, and parts of Oakland on the County Board of Supervisors. She is a longtime Alameda resident.

The meeting is open to the public, and refreshments will be served.


Kids Film Festival on Tap

The fourth-annual Bay Area International Children’s Film Festival takes place at Alameda Point this weekend.

The venue is Michaan’s Auctions Theater, 2700 Saratoga St.

The films are shown from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both Saturday, January 28, and Sunday, January 29.

They include a variety of animated and other films that focus on U.S.-based and global themes.

For instance, one film being shown on Sunday, is “Circus Dreams,” a documentary about a traveling youth circus that captures the intense work ethic, passion for performance, deep friendships and other aspects of the troupe.


Car Vandalism Reported Across Town

A car window was smashed but nothing taken from a vehicle in the 2400 block of Lincoln Avenue early Friday, January 27.

This vandalism came just four days after someone broke a car window in the 1100 block of Willow Avenue, and several other smashed car windows and tire slashings were reported in the area.

Police advise residents to park their vehicles in sealed garage areas or near bright lights to avoid such incidents.

It appears that the alleged perpetrators may have just wanted to cause trouble rather than steal a specific item from the vehicles.

In the case of the Lincoln Avenue incident, there were no valuables in the car, such as electronic devices or bags, which can attract the attention of thieves.


Kiwanis to Host Annual Chili Cook-Off

The Kiwanis Club of Alameda invites Alamedans and other Bay Area residents to its 13th annual Chili Cook-Off from 5:30 to 10 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 28.

The event includes a barbecue dinner, chili tasting, dancing, a silent auction and other festivities.

The venue is the Al DeWitt Officers’ Club at 641 W Redline Ave., Alameda Point

Tickets are $25 for kids age 5 to 12 and $50 for adults.

A raffle set to take place at the event includes two iPads as prizes.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Alameda Kiwanis Foundation.


Get Ready for Alameda Tax Survey

A West Coast-polling organization, EMC, has been hired to ask Alameda residents about several new tax proposals and other issues affecting the Island.

A call was received by this writer at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26, and included about 30-plus questions on the upcoming early-summer election.

The majority of the questions concerned the possibility of a 1% utility tax to pay for street and sign repairs, which would effectively raise the utility tax to 8.5%. Another option is to raise the sales tax in town 0.5% to 9.25% in order to pay for the street improvements.

Yet one more proposal includes levying a $50 a year fee on boat slips to cover emergency water-rescue and fire services.

It’s clear that opponents and supporters of the tax proposals are gearing up — so get ready to answer the survey call, which will take about 15 minutes of your time.


Museum Preview Sale Slated for Sunday

The Oakland Museum of California is hosting its annual White Elephant Preview Sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, January 29, at 333 Lancaster Street– just across the Fruitvale and Park Street bridges from Alameda.

Museum supporters say this is a “must for serious bargain hunters,” with everything from fine art to gently used ski equipment and appliances for sale.

It also gives shoppers and collectors a chance to buy items for sale before the general rummage-sale event takes place on March 3 and 4. For the price of admission, which is $20, Alameda residents can support a good local cause and have a lot of fun.

Call (510) 536-6800 or visit the White Elephant Sale website.

Donations are still be accepted for those who would like to give items to the museum-support organization.


City Building Rep at Forum

The Alameda Architectural Preservation Society is hosting a meeting with Greg McFann of the city’s Community Development Department.

The event, Ask the Building Official, is set to take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 26, at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1420 Lafayette Ave.

The event is free to members and costs $5 for non-members.

Parking is available at the corner of Chestnut Street and Santa Clara Avenue.


No Go on Berkeley Lab in Alameda

UC Berkeley has decided to build its new research laboratory operations in Richmond, not Alameda, according to news reports on Monday.

“We’re disappointed, but it’s not a death blow,” said Alameda City Manager John Russo in a Bay Area News Group interview. “I truly think we would have been the best choice, but overall I think the process was fair. Kudos to Richmond.”

Thanks in part to its attempt to bring the labs to the Island, Alameda was able to obtain the former base from the Navy for free last year, saving the city about $108 million in conveyance costs, Russo said.

Richmond was chosen over Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville and Albany. Its winning pitch was based on its proximity to the lab’s main campus in the Berkeley hills, its abundance of adjacent open space that can be developed for future expansion and city officials’ eagerness to accommodate the lab plans, UC officials said in a news report.

In addition, the University of California, which oversees the lab, already owns the property in Richmond: the UC Richmond Field Station, where some labs and offices are already located.


Ecclectic Group Comes to Rhythmix

Appearing before the San Francisco 49ers playoff game today, Musical Art Quintet’s chamber music ensemble promises to share with audience members an infusion of rhythms from Argentina, Cuba, Africa, jazz, classical and even electronica beats, according to staff at Rhythmix Cultural Arts.

Members of the Musical Art Quintet — who will perform at 2 p.m. today, Sunday, Jan. 22 — got together in 2008 in the Mission district of San Francisco during chamber music jam sessions every Sunday night at Cafe Revolution. They consider the genre of music they play to be “nuevo chamber music” — i.e, music that is very different from traditional chamber music and full of Latin American influences.

Each week, group leaders Sascha Jacobsen wrote a new piece to be performed at Classical Revolution. “With ink still wet, the ensemble would read through the piece in front of a live audience. As their repertoire grew, a core group of players emerged and the quintet was founded,” shares Rhythmix, which is located at 2513 Blanding Ave.

The name of the quintet is taken from a string quartet formed in the 1940s and led by the great-grandfather and namesake of the bassist and composer of the quintet, violinist, Sascha Jacobsen.

Although classically trained, members of Musical Art Quintet consider themselves to be “skilled improvisors.”

“Whether it is Argentine Tango, Afro-Cuban Son, Klezmer, classical works, or even electronica, the Quintet is at home,” they say.

Tickets are $15-$20 and can be bought online or at the door.


Virago Theatre Group Hosts Special Fund-Raiser

Alameda’s Virago Theatre Company is celebrating six years of its work bringing opera and passion for theater to the Island and throughout the Bay Area at 7 p.m. tonight, Jan. 21, in Berkeley.

Singers Eileen Meredith and Ray Chavez will entertain the audience with selections from Virago’s upcoming production of “Madama Butterfly.” Performers Sally Mouzon, Alex Tate and their colleagues will also present other beloved pieces as part of a special evening of music, wine and fun, the group says.

The event is a fund-raiser for the theater company’s winter and spring productions of “A Taste of Honey” and “Madama Butterfly,” and its members would like to see as many Alamedans and other supports attend as possible.

The suggested donation is $30, and the venue is the Berkeley Piano Club at 2724 Haste St., Berkeley.

“Madama Butterfly” will be presented from March 31 to April 15 at Rhythmix Cultural Works.