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Alameda Library Shares Balinese Culture

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Tonight, Alameda Free Library is presenting several highlights from the show “Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance,” which is opening at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco on Saturday, February 25.

From 6:30-8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 23, Balinese visual and performing artists will introduce Alamedans to the history, religion, daily rituals and other aspects of life on this Indonesian island.

The venue is the Alameda Main Library Branch at 1550 Oak Street. Visitors should go to the back of the library, where the Regina Stafford Room is located.

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Alameda Photographer Showcases Music, Photos from Bali Trip

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Local photographer Gene Kosoy is hosting a special event at his Alameda studio this evening.

Kosoy spent the month of January on tour with the band Alma Desnuda,visiting parts of Bali, Indonesia, and Western Australia.

From 6:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, February 9, Kosoy will transform his Alameda studio into a story-telling experience through photos, video and live music, featuring the group Alma Desnuda.

Refreshments and Balinese food will be provided at the event, which takes place at 2516 Blanding Avenue.

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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.