Arts Listings

Where to Find Holiday Season Entertainment, Part One

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Wednesday November 25, 2009 - 09:00:00 AM
The Revels bring holiday music, song, dance and pageantry of the Winter Solstice, featuring the folklore of 19th-century Bavaria, to Oakland’s Scottish Rite Theater.
The Revels bring holiday music, song, dance and pageantry of the Winter Solstice, featuring the folklore of 19th-century Bavaria, to Oakland’s Scottish Rite Theater.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of two holiday event roundups. The second will appear in the Dec. 10 edition. 


On the brink of The Holidays—and many feel a bit of vertigo—there is, as in past years, a dazzling array of both traditional and up-to-date ways to celebrate, or distract yourself, all around the East Bay and throughout the Bay Area.  

Starting with the ultra-traditional, even revivalistic, real Yuletide stuff, MusicSources (1000 The Alameda, at Marin) has announced its early music supergroup-in-residence, the remarkable quartet Canconier, will perform “Now Is Yool Coming,” festive music of the Middle Ages, 7:30 p. m. Fri., Dec. 16. For ticket info: 528-1685;  

And what would a Bay Area holiday season be without The Revels, the annual celebration in music, song, dance and pageantry of the Winter Solstice, with the audience joining in song and a dance, this year featuring the folklore of 19th-century Bavaria, with Berkeley’s Robert Sicular as Sankt Nikolaus, Friday, Saturday and Sunday matinees and evenings, Dec. 11-20, at the Scottish Rite Theater on Lakeside Drive, by Lake Merritt, Oakland. $12-$50. 452-8000; 

Another, non-European Solstice celebration, Return of the Sun, features Indian, Afro-Peruvian, Mayan and Korean dance with Brenda Wong Aoki’s storytelling, in Noh and Kyogen styles of theater movement, appropriately of the Shinto myth that’s claimed as the origin of Japanese performing arts, the tale of the sun goddess, Amaterasu, wooed from hiding to fill the dark earth with light. Accompanied by musicians led by Mark Izu, Asian American jazz pioneer. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sat. Dec. 5, San Francisco Jewish Community Center, 3200 California St. (at Presidio Ave.), San Francisco. $15–$25. 415-292-1233; 

And another perspective on characters familiar to many in biblical story, Moses and the Shepherd, from the great sufi poet Rumi’s Masnavi, staged with Persian and contemporary music, with an accomplished reciter of the Quran in the title role, will be performed at 6 p. m. Dec. 6 at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California, a beautiful century-old Moorish-style building at 1433 Madison, near the Main Library in downtown Oakland. $10. 

Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir uplifts the spirit with their annual show of gospel and spirituals, under the direction of Terrance Kelly, 7:30 p.m., Dec. 5, at the Paramount Theatre on Broadway (near 19th St.), Oakland. $10–$40.  

Also at the Paramount, the annual Let Us Break Bread Together, which brings together the Oakland East Bay Symphony, Michael Morgan conducting, with the Oakland Symphony Chorus, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Mt. Eden High School Choir and klezmer band Kugelplex. $15–$40.  

One more at the Paramount—and cause for holiday rejoicing for fans of ballet: despite Ronn Guidi’s departure, 28 dancers from the Oakland Ballet Co. and Peninsula Ballet Theatre will join forces to dance Carlos Carvajal’s acclaimed version of the holiday classic The Nutcracker to Tchaikovsky’s music on the choreography’s 15th anniversary. Four performances, including matinees, Dec. 24-27. Tickets: $11.25–$50. Paramount Box Office: www. 

An old holiday treat for the family was watching The Wizard of Oz on TV. Better yet, Berkeley Playhouse has it onstage through Dec. 6 at the Julia Morgan Center, 2640 College Ave. $19–$33. 

An unusual holiday fair, Chaat & Chats, with authors offering autographed books and artists with their work, will be at Taste of Himalayas Restaurant, 1700 Shattuck (at Virginia) 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., Dec. 5.