Don't Miss This! Summer by the Bay

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Tuesday June 07, 2011 - 02:48:00 PM

So you think things slow down in the Bay Area in June, with little of interest to do? Au contraire! Catch some of the activities and cultural events offered this summer and you'll change your mind. 

Let's start off with theatre offerings -- one of the more intriguing one's being Anna Devere Smith's latest solo show, "Let Me Down Easy", wherein she explores the human body, the spirit and high price of care. This is currently playing at Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre, 2075 Addison Street. $17 - $73. Upcoming at the Berkeley Rep will be Rita Moreno: "Life Without Makeup", written by Tony Taccone. (510) 647-2949. 

"Metamorphosis", by Franz Kafka, a masterful mix of horror and absurdity, starts Jun 10 at the Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison Street. Aurora is one of the best deals in professional theatre in town. (510) 848-4353. 

California Shakespeare Theatre starts its 2011 season with the controversial and gory play, "Titus Andronicus," with James Carpenter as a cruel Roman general. Playing through June 26, at the Bruns Ampitheatre, 100 California Shakespeare Theatre Way, Orinda. $20 - $66. (510) 548-9666. 

Turning now to music, you can't get much classier than "The Ring of the Nibelung" (Das Rheingold, Die Waulkure, Siegfried, and Gotterdammerung) playing at the S.F. War Memorial Opera House through July 3. (415) 864-3330. 

The Crowden Music School, well known for offering inspired daily music programs for 4th to 8th grade students is located at 1475 Rose Street, Berkeley. The famous composer John Adams is a leading supporter of this wonderful school. (510) 559-6910. 

On an altogether different level, an East Bay institution since the mid-1960's, the Junius Courtney Big Band will present its latest project, "Quite Quincy" at Yoshi's in Oakland on June 28th, 8 and 10 p.m. (510) 238-9200 

And now, let's explore the art scene. You might consider taking a free, self-guided tour of Artists' lairs in 14 East Bay cities, June 11 - 12, when more than 400 local artists will throw open their doors to the public. Pick up a free copy of the Directory of East Bay Arts at 15 0 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland. 

You've no doubt watched news anchor Dana King on the nightly KPIX News -- very stunning with her white hair. But were you aware that she's also an artist, doing sculpture at her Sausalito studio? Dana will have a gallery opening of her newest sculpture this Friday evening, June 10th, at the Thelma Harris Gallery, 5940 College Avenue, Oakland. Why not drop in to congratulate her? 

We mustn't overlook "Picasso: Masterpieces From the Musee National Picasso Paris" at the De Young Museum in San Francisco through October 9th. This show fills nine rooms with 150 paintings, sculptures and collages. $10 - $20. (415) 750-3600. 

You'll find original art and fine craft at Live Oak Park, Berkeley, on June 11 - 12, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (510) 227-7110. 

Local history enthusiasts from all over California will gather in Berkeley on June 23, 24 and 25 for the annual meeting of the Conference of California Historical Societies. The meeting will convene at the Doubletree Berkeley Marina. On Saturday, the annual awards luncheon will honor those local historians throughout the state who have made major contributions to the preservation of California history. For details, go to 

Not forgetting gamblers (preferably not the compulsive types) , the Oaks Card Room at 4097 San Pablo Ave. in Emeryville has a popular game room, including traditional poker and Pure Blackjack. It holds a Happy Hour Monday through Friday, 4 - 6 p.m. How happy you'll be depends on your luck! (510) 654-4456 

While not strictly an event, it's interesting to note that Mills College, the oldest women's college in the West, welcomes its first new president in 20 years, Alecia DeCoudreaux, a striking woman with more than 30 years experience as a corporate leader and fund raiser. She's anxious to build on Mills's strengths and mission to advance women. We wish her luck! 

If you can't afford a trip to Paris in our troubled economy, why not settle for an alternative—Woody Allen's superb film, "Midnight in Paris", set in that beautiful city in the 1920's with clever portrayals of artists of that era (Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, etc., etc.) The scenes of Paris, the costumes, and music are pure delight. It's playing at the Landmark Albany Theatre. 

Again, never say there's little going on in the Bay Area in summer!