Arts & Events

Don't Miss This: October Surprises

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Monday October 18, 2010 - 09:02:00 AM

Ah, yes — October. Surely the most beautiful month of the year, when, as James Whitcomb Riley eloquently put it, "The frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the stock." 

With the soaring temperatures in the bay area this week, "punkins" are in little danger of frost. I'm not too clear on what fodder is, but believe it refers to hay and straw. In any event, pumpkins are all over the place now — in supermarkets, drug stores and empty lots, in all shapes and sizes, lovely to behold. 

With all those mind-numbing campaign commercials flooding TV for the upcoming election, it would appear that nothing else is happening in the East Bay. Fortunately, this is not the case. There are any number of entertaining and informative events out there. For one, there's the Oakland Museum "Day of the Dead" Community Celebration on Saturday, October 23, 12:00 to 4:00 p.m., demonstrating the meaningful connection that can be made between a cultural organization and the community that enlivens and participates in its programs. 

The Contra Costa Civic Theatre will stage the delightful "A Chorus Line" October 22nd through November 20. Located in El Cerrito at 951 Pomona Avenue, this show is certain to be a sell-out, so you'd be wise to make a reservation — (510) 524-9132. 

We're all concerned about the environment, right? On Thursday, October 28th the Environmental Film Festival, a benefit for the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, will be held at 1451 66th Street, Emeryville, starting at 5 p.m. There'll be food and drink, music and prizes, and, of course, great films. 

On Sunday, October 24th you can take in the East Bay 2010 Mini Maker Faire (Makers, Crafters, and Hackers) at the Park Day School Campus, 360 43rd Street, Oakland, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

And for something completely different on Sunday night, try Sonic Harvest (formerly Harvest of Song), a concert featuring works by local composers including Allen Shearer, Peter Josheff and Ann Calloway. It was formerly at the Berkeley Art Center, but this year will be at the Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar, at 7:30. 

For you deep thinkers seeking intellectual stimulation, Ian Hacking, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, of the College de France, will speak at 4 p.m., October 27th, at the Berkeley City Club Auditorium, 2315 Durant Avenue, on "Proof, Truth, Hands and Mind." Pretty classy, wouldn't you say? Best of all, free admission! 

If you're in dire need of a hearty laugh in these stressful times, you might take yourself over to San Francisco to see the A.C.T. play, "Scapin", starring Bill Irwin in a wild physical comedy and high class hilarity, described as "The Funniest Show of the Year." By going over at noon and standing in line at the Geary Box Office, you can get tickets at greatly reduced prices 

Right here in Berkeley, the Shotgun Players, regarded as one of the best theatrical companies in the entire bay area, is staging "Mary Stuart", about the oft-maligned Queen of Scotland, in a hyper-modern setting. It runs through November 7 at the Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Avenue, directly across from the Bart Station (thus free parking). 

Skipping ahead to November, the Verismo Opera Company will perform Verdi's "Rigoletto" at the Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar Street, November 14. $15 advance, $18 at the door. 

Then of course there are those splendid Wednesday Noon Concerts at Hertz Hall on the Berkeley campus that have delighted this community for 58 years! On Wednesday, 

October 27th there's be a faculty recital celebrating the bicentennial of Robert Schumann. 

O.k., so tell me there's nothing much going on in October. The above events and activities should tide you over nicely, wouldn't you agree?