El Cerrito: Free performances continue Sept. 12 and 19 at Down Home Music

pete madsen
Blues Guitarist Pete Madsen

More free in-store concerts are coming up at Down Home Music, 10341 San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito.

Blues guitarist Pete Madsen performs
at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12.

If you’re a pre-war acoustic old-time blues kinda gal, come out to Down Home Music THIS SATURDAY to hear local guitar maestro Pete Madsen take us on a journey through early blues traditions as we celebrate the lives of Gus Cannon (b. 9/12/1883), Texas Alexander (b. 9/12/1900), and Frank Stokes (d. 9/12/1955). A professional guitarist and educator for over twenty years, Pete has authored three books of guitar instruction for Hal Leonard, and written numerous lessons and reviews for Acoustic Guitar, Play Guitar and Frets magazines. Pete’s solo act (which is what you’ll hear Saturday) is rooted mainly in acoustic blues, ragtime, and slide guitar, but he can also be heard at times playing with the whacky Bungee Jumping Cows — a group of musicians and educators who play science-themed Rock and Roll.

Bay Area country music group Crying Time will put on a show at Down Home at 2 p.m. Sept. 19.


Point Richmond presenting string band and slide guitar at free show Friday

Slide guitar artist Dennis Johnson.

Here is the lineup for the next show in the Point Richmond Music concert series from 5:30 to 7:45 p.m. Sept. 11 on the outdoor stage at Park Place and Washington Avenue:

Friday, September 11th
The Rusty String Express (Bluegrass) www.facebook.com/therustystringexpress
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
The Rusty String Express (RSE) celebrates string band traditions of the past while stretching into the unknown, creating original music with unique and familiar flavors. The RSE is an exciting mash up of acoustic excitement, bubbling creativity, and excellent musicianship, with Aaron Balano on dobro, Alison Bailey Streich on violin, Greg Dunn on bass and Morgan Cochneuer on guitar. These four magnetic musicians are masterful wielders of their instruments, and their music ranges from sensitive and soulful interpretations to wild and unexpected music you’ve never heard before.

Dennis Johnson & the Mississippi Ramblers (Slide Guitar) www.dennisjohnsonslide.com
6:45 pm – 7:45 pm
Slide guitarist Dennis Johnson is one of the elite slide guitar players performing today. Drawing comparisons to Robert Johnson and Roy Rogers, Dennis Johnson masterfully elevates the art of slide guitar across many genres of music including Blues, New Orleans, Rock, and Swing. Dennis Johnson and his band, The Mississippi Ramblers, deliver stirring live performances that move audiences and get people dancing!

This year’s series concludes with this concert on Sept. 25:

Soji & The Afrobeats (Nigerian) www.sojisoundz.com
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Nigeria’s legendary guitar master and singer Soji Odukogbe was the lead guitarist for the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s groundbreaking Afrobeat band. Odukogbe draws on an extensive background in Nigerian Afrobeat, highlife, and spiritual music, bringing a unique sensibility to his highlife guitar interpretations. His Afrobeat Band features guitars, drums, and horns. He and the band set the dance floor afire with a churning, polyrhythmic style that he simply calls “authentic original Afrobeat like Fela’s type of music, the traditional Afrobeat that nobody does” in a world of endless Afro-fusions.

Sol (Latin) www.solrocks.com
6:45 pm – 7:45 pm
SOL’s infectious Latin beat warms the souls of all audiences and gets people dancing to the rhythms of Salsa and Funk and Soul. Led by the versatile vocalist Myrna Farias, SOL covers popular songs from Santana to Celia Cruz and Tito Puente to Tower of Power. The high energy band is driven by a hard rocking rhythm section, Latin percussionists, and four horn players. Based in San Francisco, The SOL musicians bring a diverse blend of influences from Latin, Rock and Jazz to create their own unique mix of Latin music for the 21st century.


Richmond restaurant Salute holding event Sunday to launch new charity fund

A public gala will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23 at Salute e Vita Ristorante, 1900 Esplanade Dr. in the Marina Bay area in Richmond to kick off a new charity being created by restaurant owner Menbere “Menbe” Aklilu.

Aklilu has already received recognition for holding free annual Thanksgiving feasts for veterans and others in need at the waterfront restaurant and the launch party on Sunday will benefit the new Menbe’s Way Fund.

Entertainment will be by Oakland-based jazz quintet the Clifton Street Regulars and several wineries will offer tastings, according to an announcement.

“Donations to support this year’s Thanksgiving meals are optional but greatly appreciated, and there will be a small silent auction at the event.”

Akilu has provided more than 3,000 free, Thanksgiving meals over the past four years and hosts free etiquette courses on manners and life skills for young people at the restaurant.
“She also donates to the Richmond Rescue Shelter, sponsors girls who attend Northern Lights School, and contributes to Delta Academy, which educates underprivileged boys and girls,” notes the event announcement.

The Menbe’s Way Fund will be managed by the nonprofit Richmond Community Foundation and will support current efforts in the community as well as new programs.

“Aklilu has suffered unspeakable hardships in her life, including witnessing the murder of her mother in Ethiopia, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and giving birth to her son in a homeless shelter.

“Today this remarkable woman is an inspirational community leader in the East Bay. Earlier this year, she was honored with the prestigious Jefferson Award for her outstanding achievements in public service.

“The Menbe’s Way Fund launch party is one of several events being held this year to raise funds for Thanksgiving meals and other programs. For more information, please call (510) 215-0803.”


Richmond: Entertainment, activities, classroom supplies at RPAL Back to School Carnival

rpal carnival

The Richmond Police Activities League (RPAL) and Richmond Police Explorer Post are hosting a Back to School Carnival and Festival today through Sunday (Aug. 21-23) at 25th Street and Barrett Avenue.
Today is opening day from 5 to 11 p.m., with games, face painting, food and vendors along with carnival rides from Helm and Sons Amusements.
The carnival rides will be offered all three days, with a 10-ride ticket book available for $20.
The carnival continues From noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, with a giveaway of backpacks and school supplies and a chance to meet community leaders.
“We plan to encourage youth to go back to school with a positive mental attitude and better prepared for school. PG&E and the Hotel Mac, along with other supporters, will sponsor the backpack give away, including school supplies and other important information and safety tips to help our youth succeed in school and feel safe,” write event organizers.
The event concludes with Family Day from noon to 11 p.m. Sunday, with a picture booth, games, more giveaways and other attractions.
For more details contact Richmond PAL at 510-621-1221.


El Cerrito: Former childhood home of rock greats Tom and John Fogerty is up for sale; open house on Sunday

fogerty house for sale

The earliest home where future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members Tom and John Fogerty grew up in El Cerrito is on the market.
The three-bedroom, one-bathroom home at 7251 Eureka Ave. has an asking price of $729,000 according to the listing, but not because of its connection to music history, which isn’t mentioned.
The house has undergone extensive interior remodeling and exterior landscaping, including a backyard hot tub, since the Fogerty family lived there in the first years after the end of World War II and young John attended El Cerrito Preschool Cooperative.
fogerty 1947
Oakland phone book listing for the Fogerty family from 1947.
The family later moved in the early 1950s to a house on Ramona Avenue.
The Eureka Avenue location is scheduled for open houses on July 12 and 19, according to the listing.



Bay Trail in Richmond to be featured on television segment

bay trail 1
The Bay Trail in Richmond will be featured on television this weekend, advises the Trails for Richmond Action Committee in an announcement.

On Sunday, June 28 at 6:30 PM, Doug McConnell’s “OpenRoad” program on NBC Bay Area will feature Richmond’s scenic Bay Trail. In his words:
“We’ll explore the longest protected shoreline of any city in the Bay Area……..on segments of the Bay Trail in Richmond. We’ll see where ships were built that helped win World War 2, where passengers on transcontinental trains once boarded ferries for their final leg to San Francisco, and where explosives were made that helped build the west. Along the way, we’ll also encounter a lovely habitat for birds rubbing shoulders with an oil refinery and an old landfill and giving way to glorious views of San Pablo Bay.”

NBC Bay Area is channel 3 for those on Comcast Cable. On Direct Satellite TV and over-the-air it’s on channel 11. Enjoy!

TRAC Steering Committee

bay trail 2


Richmond: Still time to get tickets to benefit comedy show on April 26


A few tickets are still available for the comedy shows on April 26 headlined by Ronnie Schell and Will Durst to benefit the Richmond Museum of History.
Shows will be at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Topline Theater, 1402 Marina Way South in Richmond.
A handful of tickets remain for the afternoon show and there are more than 30 available for the evening show, said museum Executive Director Melinda McCrary.
Richmond native Schell will emcee the shows and do some standup of his own between sets by Will Durst, Kivi Rogers and David Gee.
All of the comedians are donating their time and talents for the benefit show.
Tickets are $30 each, available at the Richmond Museum of History, 400 Nevin Ave.; online at richmondmuseum.org; or by calling 510-235-7387.


Berkeley: Giveaway on Sunday of seats from UC Theatre

The UC Theatre in Berkeley is offering a unique opportunity to longtime fans on Sunday: Free original theater seats, available first-come, first serve. The new owners of the funky and beloved movie house, who are raising funds to turn the theater into a performance venue, posted the following Friday on their Facebook page:

Memories that last a lifetime available Sunday Noon to 4pm at The UC Theatre!
We’re giving away some of the UC Theatre Rocky Horror nourished, Landmark Theatre initiated, historic theatre seats…
FREE – ONE TIME ONLY this Sunday, March 1st, from 12noon to 4pm.
If you are interested, here are the conditions we ask you to follow:
1) First come, First Served.
2) Seats are in sections – no single or double or triple seats available – the smallest sections available are 4-6 seats. Larger sections are also available. The seats are VERY HEAVY!
3) Seats must be removed as is.
4) You must have a truck or van, and a minimum of 2 strong people to load them. They are VERY HEAVY!
5) We cannot give away the chairs unless you meet the criteria above. No exceptions.
Please spread the word to people who will adopt, cherish, and give these seats a good home!
Donations to the Berkeley Music Group in support of The UC Theatre “Turn on the Lights” Capital Campaign are much appreciated. www.theuctheatre.org/support.
See you at the Theatre this Sunday!


When baseball great Jackie Robinson came to Oaks Ball Park in Emeryville

jackie robinson billy raimondi

Program page from the 1951 exhibition game at Oaks Ball Park between Jackie Robinon’s All Stars and Billy Raimondi’s Major-Minor Leaguers.

Saturday, Jan. 31, is the birthday of baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson, who was 28 years old in 1947 when he broke Major League Baseball’s longstanding unwritten ban on black baseball players.
Robinson made at least three visits to Oaks Ball Park in Emeryville on barnstorming tours.
The first two were in October of 1946, when Robinson, still about six months away from breaking the major league color barrier when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers, came to the East Bay with a group of black baseball players to face the local black baseball team, the Oakland Larks, in an exhibition game.

jackie robinson montreal
Jackie Robinson caused something of a sensation in 1946, when he was signed to play with the Montreal Royals, a Brooklyn Dodger farm team.

(Robinson and team also made a stop in San Francisco to play a team led by another future Hall of Fame player, Cleveland Indians ace Bob Feller.)
Robinson was an established big league star when he made a return trip to Emeryville in November of 1951, when his barnstorming All Star team played a squad of current and former Pacific Coast League players led by Oakland Oaks catcher Billy Raimondi.

jackie robinson oakland october 19 1946
Jackie Robinson had just finished his first and only minor league season with the Montreal Royals in 1946 when he came to Oaks Ball Park in Emeryville with a team of Negro League players and black teammates as part of a barnstorming tour. Their opponents that day were the Oakland Larks, a black baseball team whose members included Lionel Wilson, future judge and Oakland mayor.

jackie robinson oakland October 1946
Robinson’s barnstorming tour made a second visit to Emeryville in October of 1946.

jackie robinson oakland 1951a
Players on Robinson’s touring team that came to the East Bay in 1951 included Larry Doby, the first black player in the American League, and his Cleveland Indian teammate Luke Easter.


Richmond: Students invited to free screening of “Selma” on Monday

Students will be admitted free to the 10:50 a.m. Jan. 19 showing of the film “Selma” at the Century Hilltop 16 Movie Theater, 3200 Klose Way, in celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Admission is on a first-come, first-serve basis and the ticket price for adults will be $7.
All other screenings that day will be at the regular ticket price.
Free bus transportation to the showing, leaving at 10 a.m., will be available at Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, 684 Juliga Woods St.
The shpwing is sponsored by Richmond Cease Fire/CCISCO and Cinemark Theaters.