Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Fun in a Park Near You

SF Mime Troupe's For the Greater Good

We all know about these events, but somehow the summer can glide past without remembering to go and do.  Especially now that there seems to be so many fewer posters hanging up in store windows to give the old memory a jog. Or maybe I just don't get out very much any more.

For a few ideas before the August fog rolls in and the official summer is over (we all know that "real" summer begins in September 'round here):

Now in its 53rd year (my goodness, almost as ancient as I am), the San Francisco Mime Troupe is very busy presenting For the Greater Good in a large number of local parks.  Free to all, although expect to be hit up for a donation (well, duh...).

I saw the performance at Mosswood Park with some good friends and I strongly recommend the good friends part.  The music, the singing, and especially the dancing were great (as always) but the preaching part has been better before. Or at least funnier. But with friends, a picnic and some sunshine, I couldn't complain.

And the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival is putting on Henry V this summer - their 30th season (we're all getting old).  I remember watching their production of Henry IV (same Henry, but with Falstaff for entertainment) a number of years ago.  Can't say exactly how many years, but I do remember that it was very good. And this one should also be good. Sadly, SF Shakes no longer holds performances at Lake Merritt, so you'll have to go further afield with your picnic, blanket and friends to see it.

Lastly, across the Bay, the venerable Stern Grove Festival has for 75 years(!) presented world class concerts and other musical events free and open to all during the summer. Cross your fingers for the sunshine.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Got an Oakland Library Card?

If so, then you can go to wide variety of wonderful museums and other cool places in the Bay Area for free!  Places such as the Asian Art Museum, the California Academy of Sciences (save a bundle!), the California Shakespeare Theater and the Exploratorium.  

This brilliant program is called Discover & Go.  The only thing you need is an Oakland library card.  If you already have one, it's very easy.

And if you don't, sign up - it's free, but you have to be a California resident and apply in person.  So just come on over here one day soon, grab a bite for lunch and meet some lovely people at one of the many branch libraries.  For hours and locations, click here.

Then, with your library card in hand, sign up for a PIN. (It's really simple. The library card number that they require is right on the card itself.)

Next, go to the Discover & Go page which lists the participating organizations. Read the instructions - you will have to enter your library card number and that new PIN.  After that, you can see which venues have free passes available on a particular date.  Some places have other restrictions as well, so click on the name, read the details, and get ready to see some great sights. You may even catch us at the Cal Shakes' production of Hamlet in September.

All brought to you by your (my!) local public library.  I love it.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cat? What Cat? I Don't See Any Cat...#2

A while ago, Princess wasn't feeling so great - she threw up twice in the hallway, each time just missing the rug.  All before 8:00 am.  It was a masterful performance.

So she spent the afternoon on the furry blanket in the bedroom.  Only we couldn't find her for hours.  And then she turned up, or rather, turned over....

Yes, thank you.  She's feeling just fine now. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Put a Cork in It

At our house, we joke that we'll really know that we truly are in deep economic trouble when we have to drink wine from a box. Thankfully, we're not there yet, but there are other worries.  Like what to do with all those corks.

(I really dislike the plastic jobbies. They are difficult to get out of the bottle, impossible to get back in, and, well, they're just trash.  The metal screw tops are OK, but relatively few wineries use them.)

For a long while I would throw corks in the green bin - it's tree bark, after all - and they became compost.  At least that was better than the trash can.  And sometimes I would take them over to the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse for someone else's artistic pleasure (There are lots of ideas for projects using corks, but I'm not about to do any of them.  I mean, com'on, corks through the blender?).

Now there are more options for their re-use.  ReCORK will help turn your old corks into sandals (by SOLE), if you drop them off at one of their many participating partners around the country, including BevMo! locations.  And Cork ReHarvest has set up drop-off locations throughout the country for corks, including the entire chain of Whole Foods grocery markets.

And if you really want to wake-up in a WineLand fantasy (and I don't mean a wicked hang-over.  For that, consider Blowfish, where our friend Erin Anderson works), imagine an entire (tiny) living space made out of cork.  The Portuguese designer Gabriela Gomez has created such a space.  And she should care: Portugal is the largest producer of corks in the world.  (Believe me, it's worth the bother: the cork oak forests of the Mediterranean are among the loveliest places on the planet that I have ever been.)

If nothing else, you can always have a contest as to how long the corks wait in the car until you finally drop them off.  They are patient: I have one bag which has been on the back seat since last December.  Maybe this week...

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Shameless Plug #3: Kathy Kenny

If you want to find me on a Tuesday morning (and not many people usually do,  but that's OK, I can handle it), go over to  Mountain View Cemetery and most often I'll be walking with my friend, Kathy Kenny.

Kathy does other stuff too.  Like make wonderful jewelry out of her very own handmade glass beads, along with vintage beads, buttons and other cool findings.  On-line, her work can be seen on Etsy.

But if you happen to be around here this Friday (that's the 6th), you can see her work in person.  She will be participating in this month's Oakland Art Murmur, a most amazing "art walk" which takes place every first Friday night of each month of the year.  Kathy will be showing her work at Uptown Body and Fender, 401 26th St..

I'm planning on going, and even considering going on my bicycle (don't tell my husband; he'll just laugh and roll his eyes. Most juvenile and rude.).   It gets busy there and parking can be tight, so plan ahead - wear your helmet, or consider public transit.  Just don't do both.