Best Of Editor Picks

January 2008

06/02/08

Lakers vs. Celtics at the Stadium Pub

I'm lying in bed in a hotel in Memphis, TN, watching an ESPN classic game from the 1980s, Lakers vs. Celtics. It's not hard to be excited about the upcoming NBA championship matchup between these two teams. The series starts this Thursday, and I thought I should throw a shout out to the Stadium Pub in Walnut Creek as a great place to watch a game or two. The Stadium Pub has been an institution in downtown WC for many years—they have a nice menu of pub food, tons of great beers, and big screen TVs on every wall. It's a really fun sports bar.Stadium Pub, 1420 Lincoln Ave. (Lincoln and Main St.), (925) 256-7302

Posted at 04:25 PM | Permalink | Comments: 1

05/29/08

Green-friendly activites this Sunday!

The Green Thing is here to stay, as more cities and communities are making an effort to highlight environmentally friendly programs and initiatives. This Sunday, June 1, there are two interesting green-themed events. The first is athe East Bay Green Home tour, focusing on Alameda and Contra Costa homes that have eco-conscious designs, solar paneling etc. Find more information at: www.builditgreen.org/green-home-tours/eastbay08Second is the Green Arts and Jam celebration at Civic Arts education's ShadelandsCampus. The event run from 11 a.m.-4 pm, and its free. More information here: In step with the City's "Going Green" initiative while promoting arts education, this fun-filled event is free and open to the public.  There will be live music and performances, adult art...

Posted at 01:33 PM | Permalink | Comments

05/27/08

Harden vs. Halladay this Wednesday

The Oakland A's are off to an amazing start this season, and are coming off a three game sweep over the world champion Boston Red Sox. If you haven't been to a game this season, Wednesday night's match-up against Toronto is a good one. First thing to notice is the pitching match-up. The A's will send Rich Harden—who, when he's healthy, has great stuff— to the mound against the Blue Jay's former Cy Young winner Roy Halladay. Second, this is the first series in which A's slugger Frank Thomas faces his former Jays teammates, since leaving the team earlier this season in an ugly fallout with management. The A's signed Thomas for a steal, and it would be extra sweet to see him do some damage against his former team. Third, every Wednesday at the Coliseum is Double Play Wednesday, meaning...

Posted at 01:31 PM | Permalink | Comments

Hawaiian Airlines now flies out of Oakland

05/19/08

Hawaiian Airlines now flies out of Oakland

I was surprised—and a little sad—when Aloha Airlines closed for business on March 31. Just a few years ago, I flew on Aloha's first flight out of Oakland International Airport, and had a lovely stay on Oahu's spectacular North Shore. While stuck in 680 traffic, I often dream of hopping on another such flight, catching some waves and basking in the lush, tropical air.Fortunately, I can still act on that fantasy if I want to. So can you. This month, Hawaiian Airlines filled the void left by Aloha by offering daily service from Oakland to Honolulu. Everyday at 9 a.m., Hawaiian's Flight 47 departs Oakland, landing in Honolulu at 11:05 a.m. Similarly, Flight 48 departs Honolulu daily at 1:30 p.m., and lands in Oakland at 9:25 p.m. Fun facts: Hawaiian Airlines has been in business since...

Posted at 11:31 PM | Permalink | Comments

Animal lovers convene at Broadway Plaza this Sunday!

05/16/08

Animal lovers convene at Broadway Plaza this Sunday!

Meteorologists are predicting the current heat wave will break by Sunday, May 18—which is perfect, because that's the day of the annual pooch parade in Broadway Plaza. Here's the 4-1-1 about Animal Rescue Foundation's annual Animals on Broadway event, from www.arf.net:Animals on Broadway: Sunday, May 18, 2008Broadway is not just for CATS anymore, it’s for dogs, birds, rabbits, and even potbellied pigs! No, we aren't talking about the theatre, we are referring to “Animals on Broadway”, a festival for people and pets alike to join together and spend the day celebrating their animals on Broadway — Broadway Plaza in downtown Walnut Creek, that is.Join us on Sunday, May 18, 2008 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. as we celebrate the wonder of animals with “Animals on Broadway”!At “Animals...

Posted at 01:10 PM | Permalink | Comments

05/13/08

Golf with the A's for a good cause

I'm a huge Oakland A's fan, and it's looking like this is a great season to be able to say that. The A's are surprising all of baseball with a hot start through the first quarter of the season. But win or lose, it's nice having the A's in the East Bay—as a family-friendly entertainment option, and because the team contributes to the community in lots of interesting ways. Thursday May 22, the A's are hosting their Community Fund Golf Classic at Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton, to raise money for a wide variety of local charities and non-profit programs. If you're a golfer and a baseball fan, this is a must-do event: A's players and coaches and broadcasters are distributed into foursomes with regular Joes for a day on the greens. A cocktail reception and auction follows the round...

Posted at 02:32 PM | Permalink | Comments

05/12/08

May is the month for teachers to eat at Lark Creek, Yankee Pier

Governor Schwarzenegger's budget cut has hit California classrooms the hardest, leaving teachers's careers hanging by a pink slip. Well, the Lark Creek Restaurant Group wants to ease some of that hardship for local teachers, who, lets face it, get treated worse than 13-year old babysitters.Throughout the month of May, every restaurant in the Lark Creek group, including Lark Creek Walnut Creek and Yankee Pier in Lafayette, will offerteachers $10 off their bill when they show their teacher ID card. The best part? There is no limit to the number of times a teacher can receive the discount, nor is there a minimum beyond $10. Normally $11.95, the Tamale Pancakes with Shredded Barbecue Chicken, Avocado Salad, and Tortilla Strips at Lark Creek Walnut Creek could go for less than a Whopper. Now...

Posted at 01:52 PM | Permalink | Comments

Dog lovers! Check out this book signing at George

05/08/08

Dog lovers! Check out this book signing at George

File this one under too cute to be true. San Francisco author Vivienne Flesher's new book, Alfred's Nose, introduces dog lovers to Alfred the Bulldog, a good looking pooch with a penchant for wearing costumes. See, Alfred is self-conscious about his nose, so he tries on a variety of fake noses, masks, and other accoutrement to change his look.  The color photography is gorgeous and the book's message is very sweet—a great gift for a little one, or, any bulldog owner.In the spirit of full disclosure, author/photographer Flesher is a freelance artist who Diablo has used many times for illustrations, and couldn't be a nicer person—we wish her the best of luck with her adorable new book! Flesher will be hosting a book signing at the terrific 4th Street pooch store, George this...

Posted at 12:12 PM | Permalink | Comments

05/03/08

SPCA Dog-Friendly Bay Cruise

I'm a huge animal lover, like so many Diablo readers. I love the events that ARF offers, and try to cover them in the magazine as often as possible. Another amazing animal rescue and pet friendly organization is th San Francisco SPCA. From their Bark and Whine Ball to myriad other events, there's a commitment to fun, education, and animal rescue here that deserves some attention. They're having another cool party tomorrow on a Hornblower Cruise. Check it out:Ahoy Furry First Mates!The San Francisco SPCA and Hornblower Cruises & Events Present the 4th Annual‘DOG DAY ON THE BAY’ ~ Sunday, May 4, 2008********************************************************************WHAT: Set sail with your canine companion! The San Francisco SPCA, in conjunction with Hornblower...

Posted at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments: 1

05/01/08

Changes Salon and Day Spa supports the Wellness Community

Changes Salon and Day Spa is putting on a fabulous event this Friday, May 2 from 6–9 p.m. to support the Wellness Community. Looks like there will be some great food and wine—and with Changes recent remodeling, this is a great place for a party! Information is as follows:The Beauty of WellnessJoin Changes as we support The Wellness CommunityAn evening of Celebration, New Beginnings and Hope.Gourmet Food & Wine Tasting, Spa Tours, Raffle, VIP Area and much more.Friday May 2, 20086:00–9:00 P.M.About The Wellness CommunityThe Wellness Community provides support, education and hope for people with cancer at over 100 locations worldwide including 24 U.S.-based and two international centers with 73 satellite and offsite programs and online at The Virtual Wellness Community,...

Posted at 06:08 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/23/08

Dining at The Patio

Despite an error in Diablo's May print edition, the Patio restaurant in Lafayette is still up and running. In fact, with our days getting longer, outdoor dining—one of the big pluses of this deck-centered restaurant—is just getting underway. Kick off your al fresco season with a feast of Peruvian chili–spiked seafood paella and bold, delicious Latin American wines. The owners clearly took the time to select interesting vintages that are also a great value. They put the same care into their cuisine. The mixed green salad, for instance, comes with tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, parmesan, and a lively cilantro-based dressing. And don't even consider leaving the premises without dessert: the dulce de leche mousse, a melt-in-your-mouth creamy pudding on a delicate crunchy crust, will...

Posted at 07:40 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/14/08

Dining Out For Life

In hard economic times, it’s often those with the least who struggle the most. In the East Bay, many people living with AIDS are also low-income or even homeless. On Thursday April 24, you can help these neighbors by dining out. Just make sure it’s at one of the more than 70 restaurants participating in Dining Out for Life, a fundraiser for Vital Life Services, an Oakland-based non-profit organization that assists AIDS patients.Restaurants from Danville’s Amber Bistro to Moraga’s Amoroma to Walnut Creek’s Havana will give a quarter of their profits for the day to Vital Life Services. Shelby’s in Orinda and Digs Bistro in Berkeley have pledged to give 50 percent of their profits to the cause.“Dining Out for Life is a national event,” says Simona Fino, event and volunteer...

Posted at 02:28 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/11/08

Port Costa's Warehouse Cafe

Whenever I have friends from far away visiting the East bay, a place I love to take them for a drink is the Warehouse Cafe in Port Costa. I've written about it in the magazine a few times over the years, but thought I would mention it as as an Editor Pick here on the Web, because the weather's getting nice, and this really is a fantastic bar. Back in the day (say, 125 years ago), Port Costa was one of Contra Costa's most happening towns. It was a grain shipping port, with hotels, taverns, and all the Wild West action anyone could hope for. By today's standard's it's sleepy...but well worth a visit. Especially when you see the beer selection at the Warehouse, a giant cement building that houses a pool table, jukebox, and the body of a polar bear.  They have a couple of beers ...

Posted at 05:47 PM | Permalink | Comments: 2

04/04/08

Secret Show on Cal Campus Today!

I just got a hot tip that there's going to be a very cool free concert on the UC Berkeley campus today. I'm not allowed to say which band is playing but I can offer three hints: They got their start in the East Bay. They have sold millions of records. They have recently been on the cover of Diablo magazine.This should be a sweet show, and it starts at 5:30 p.m. at lower Sproul Plaza. I'm going to be there taking pictures, so come hang around...if you get my drift. Seriously, this is worth checking out. Especially for free.

Posted at 01:27 PM | Permalink | Comments

Midsummer Night's Dream in Walnut Creek

03/28/08

Midsummer Night's Dream in Walnut Creek

A romantic Shakespearean frolic comes to Walnut Creek as Center Repertory Company re-invents A Midsummer Night’s Dream.In William Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a Greek noblewoman named Hermia runs off into the woods to escape marriage to a man she doesn’t love. She is accompanied by her true love, Lysander. Others follow in pursuit, included her jilted fiancé, Demetrius, and the woman, Helena, the woman who loves Demetrius. Yes, everyone at the center of this classic romantic comedy is stuck in a muddle of misplaced desires, meddling parents, and rigid social conventions. But there’s a good chance that everyone’s love connections will get sorted out over the course of a long, magical night and with the help of some fairies named Oberon, Titania, and Puck....

Posted at 05:23 PM | Permalink | Comments

03/25/08

Oakland A's Opening Day/Night Fever Dream Blog

3:00: Good morning, all. Coming to you live from the Goldman Dome in Walnut Creek, here’s my running diary of the 2008 Major League Baseball season opener, pitting our hometown Oakland A’s against the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox. I figured that, with this game airing live at 3:00 a.m. Pacific time, most of you A’s fans are too smart to actually stay up and watch this game. Well, not me. I’ll be recording my thoughts tonight (this morning?) in this running dairy. Is this a good idea? Well, my dog looked at me like I was crazy when I got out of bed a few minutes ago, but anyway, I’ve got the game fired up on the tube, an Irish Coffee in hand (is it still an Irish Coffee if you use American bourbon?) and I’m ready to go. As an A’s fan, I know I’m supposed...

Posted at 12:07 PM | Permalink | Comments

03/24/08

Play Ball! A's vs. Red Sox in Tokyo, 3 a.m.

The 2008 baseball season gets started early for the Oakland A’s. Really early. Like, 3 a.m. early.Major League Baseball selected the A’s and the Boston Red Sox to play the first two games of the 2008 regular season at the Tokyo Dome in Japan. The A’s played a pair of exhibition games over the weekend, one against the Yomiuri Giants and the other against the Hanshin Tigers (winning both), and tonight—well, Tuesday morning—they take on the Red Sox. Joe Blanton gets the opening day start for the A’s, who traded mainstays Dan Haren, Nick Swisher, Mark Kotsay, and Marco Scutaro during the offseason in an attempt to get younger. Taking the hill for the defending World Series Champion Red Sox is Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Japanese All Star that Boston brought to America for $100...

Posted at 04:25 PM | Permalink | Comments

Diablo Ballet’s new ballroom dance classic

03/17/08

Diablo Ballet’s new ballroom dance classic

Ballet companies may win fans and critical acclaim for presenting short, one-act-play-like dance pieces, but they truly earn their professional cred when they mount a Swan Lake or Giselle—the equivalent of a three-act play. Aiming higher than ever before, Diablo Ballet is presenting its first ever feature-length ballet this Friday and Saturday night at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. However, true to its mission to create bold, original dance works, Diablo Ballet isn’t reviving a classic. Rather, the 15-year-old company will premiere a totally new work, Once Upon a Ballroom, devised by its coartistic director Nikolai Kabaniaev. This production takes audiences to the ball with music inspired by opera’s most lush arias and duets. It tells the story of Dalila, a...

Posted at 05:35 PM | Permalink | Comments

Canetti’s Bookshop opens in Orinda

03/11/08

Canetti’s Bookshop opens in Orinda

For everyone who’s still grieving the impending loss of Bonanza Street Books (the Walnut Creek institution is due to close the weekend of the March 23), the spirit of the store is not totally lost. Jeff Koren, a former manager at Bonanza, recently opened his own store, on Moraga Way in Orinda, just down the block from the Orinda Theater. Canetti’s Bookshop (named after Nobel Prize–winning author Elias Canetti) is a small store that offers a nice selection, particularly for those who lean toward biography and literary fiction. So next time you head over to catch a movie at the wonderful old Art Deco Orinda Theater, give yourself a few extra minutes before showtime to browse Canetti’s.Canetti’s Bookshop, 39 Moraga Way, Orinda, (925) 258-9076.

Posted at 06:59 PM | Permalink | Comments

Monday, March 10: Author Fritjof Capra in Lafayette

03/09/08

Monday, March 10: Author Fritjof Capra in Lafayette

One thing I love about the East Bay community is the enthusiasm for literary events. (The annual Bookies event at the Lafayette Park Hotel is on Thursday, March 13, and I'll blog about that later in the week.) One of the real treasures of the area is Dave Simpson, of the Lafayette Bookstore, who is constantly bringing authors to readers at events in his bookstore and newarby venues. Dave left me a voicemail about, 1.) his excitement that No Country for Old Men, one of the truly perfect book-to-film adaptations of all time, wone the Oscar for Best Picture, and 2.) local author Frijtof Capra would be appearing at an event this Monday, March 10. The info below is from the Lafayette Bookstore website.FRITJOF CAPRAMONDAYMARCH 10th7:00 pm (6:30 wine reception for Book Culture members)Bank of...

Posted at 07:24 PM | Permalink | Comments

Dog Lovers Alert: The Bark and Whine Ball is a blast

03/04/08

Dog Lovers Alert: The Bark and Whine Ball is a blast

Hey, dog lovers, you're in for a treat! This event requires a bridge toll, but its well worth it. The Bark and Whine Ball is always a blast, as pet lovers  dress up their doggies and dance to a full orchestra. I've been going for the past two years, and I look forward to the event in a big way. So does my girlfriend, and her coonhound Henry—our first date was the 2006 Bark and Whine Ball. Info below:(CLAW) hosts the 13th Annual Bark & Whine Ball benefiting The San Francisco SPCACLAW (Critter Lovers at Work), a volunteer fundraising arm of The San Francisco SPCA, presents the 13th Annual Bark & Whine Ball, a tail-wagging evening for human guests and their elegantly attired canine companions. The event features a delectable cocktail buffet from McCall Associates, dancing to...

Posted at 03:46 PM | Permalink | Comments

Top local author offers reading at Pleasanton Library

02/27/08

Top local author offers reading at Pleasanton Library

Author readings are always a treat, a great way to hear firsthand what inspired a new novel, memoir, peom, etc. The Pleasanton Public Library is hosting Peggy Orenstein this Thursday evening at 7 p.m. Orensteing will discuss her new book, Waiting For Daisy, which has been receiving great reviews and should be of interest to Diablo readers. Info below:Peggy Orenstein to speak at Pleasanton Public LibraryThursday, February 28, 2008, 7pm Peggy Orenstein's WAITING FOR DAISY is about doing all the things you swore you’d never do to get something you weren’t even sure you wanted. It’s about being a woman in a confusing, contradictory time. It’s about testing the limits of a loving marriage. And it’s about trying (and trying and trying) to have a baby. Peggy Orenstein is the...

Posted at 12:10 PM | Permalink | Comments

02/21/08

Mills College oral history project

Diablo's edit team is excited about this Editor's Pick blog because it offers us a chance to promote timely events that come to our attention after we've gone to press in any given month. Here's a great example: Mills College in Oakand has just announced that it is providing a fascinating oral history project called In Our Own Words. The project will record and reference negro spirituals, a vital part of African American musical history.Here's more information from Mills College:Just in time for Black History Month, Mills College has announced it will be the depository of a unique collection of African American musical history and tradition, In Our Own Words—The Negro Spirituals Heritage Keepers, recordings of Oakland’s first oral history project on negro spirituals.“This...

Posted at 08:02 PM | Permalink | Comments

02/20/08

Lunar Eclipse Viewing at Chabot Space and Science Center

Last minute tip for watching tonight's lunar eclipse. The amazing Chabot Space and Science Center in the Oakland Hills is having an awesome guided hike and viewing...space is limited, so give them a call to see if they are still spots. "Red Moon Rising" - Wednesday, February 20, 5pm-8pm.Celebrate the Total Lunar Eclipse with your family in the center or on a guided hike. Inside Chabot, see lunar eclipse live planetarium presentations, hands-on activities, and telescope viewing from the observation deck. The guided hike (approx. 3 miles, round trip) will start from Chabot at 5:00pm. You'll watch the moonrise and eclipse on the trails near the center and return to Chabot after the eclipse. For the hike, bring warm clothing, water and a flashlight. The Moon rises above Chabot between...

Posted at 05:29 PM | Permalink | Comments

02/15/08

Misto Lino opens in Lafayette

Ever since Diablo reported Misto Lino was providing sheets for HBO's Sex & the City, this bedding and homestyle boutique has been a local favorite. That was way back in 2001—seven years later, a Sex & the City movie is heading to theaters, and Misto Lino has moved its second location in Walnut Creek to a great corner space in Lafayette's new Mercantile Building. Stop by, and you might find Carrie Bradshaw shopping for silk sheets—or at least find some beautiful bedding for your boudoir.           Misto Lino, 3585 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, 925.284-6565. Open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sundays from 12 p.m.-5 p.m.

Posted at 07:13 PM | Permalink | Comments

02/12/08

Romantic horse-drawn carriage rides in Livermore

Valentine’s Day is here! And if you’re still looking for great date ideas, consider taking your sweetie on a classically romantic horse-drawn carriage ride.The private 20-minute rides through downtown Livermore include all the lovey-dovey goodies for night to remember, including a red rose for the lady, as well as a box of See’s chocolates and split of bubbly wine to share. The resulting sparks (and marriage proposals) are up to you.Offered February 14–15. Rides depart every half hour from 5 to 9p.m. and cost $55–$60. A nonalcoholic option includes a bottle of sparkling juice. To reserve your spot, call Livermore Downtown Inc. at (925) 373-1795.

Posted at 06:28 PM | Permalink | Comments

V-Day Classic: Singer Etta James in San Ramon

02/11/08

V-Day Classic: Singer Etta James in San Ramon

Here's a can't-miss Valentine's Day dinner and concert. Blues legend Etta James is coming to San Ramon, to debut the new Patrick David's Event Center at 2460 Old Crow Canyon Road. I saw Etta perform at Wente Vineyards two summers ago, and she was fantastic, rolling through saucy blues numbers like "I Just Want To Make Love To You," as well as her signature love ballad, "At Last." If you haven't ever heard Etta James' music, check out her Live From San Francisco disc. It's one of my favorite live albums, ever!Dinner and concert tickets, priced at $250 per person, include a cocktail hour, a three-course dinner, and seats to the James concert. General admission concert tickets, sans dinner, are available for $100 each. If you're willing to splurge, tickets are $750 each—seats around the...

Posted at 01:21 PM | Permalink | Comments

02/08/08

Great Teen Fun in Lafayette and Danville

There's some great kids and teens activities happening in Diabloland this weekend.1. The world premiere of the musical Sherman's Lagoon wraps up this Sunday, February 10, after performances Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. The musical is based on cartoonist Jim Toomey's nationally syndictated strip and was developed at the Bentley School in Lafayette by Toomey with his longtime friend, Bentley drama teacher Winter Mead. Check it out this weekend before it heads to Broadway!WHAT: Sherman's Lagoon: the Musical, by Jim Toomey, Winter Mead and Ahmed El-GassierWHERE: The Bentley School Student Performing Arts Center, 1000 Upper Happy Valley Road, LafayetteWHEN: 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; through Feb. 10COST: $12 adults, $8 children,...

Posted at 11:43 AM | Permalink | Comments

Truffles, Tidbits, and Wine Tasting in Pleasanton

02/06/08

Truffles, Tidbits, and Wine Tasting in Pleasanton

It's still a week until Valentine's day—but that doesn't mean you can't have some chocolate and bubbly this week. The Pleasanton Downtown Association is sponsoring the Truffles, Tidbits, and Wine Tasting downtown stroll. The Truffles, Tidbits & Wine Tasting event will kick off at The Rose Hotel, 807 Main Street, Pleasanton. Participants will receive a commemorative wine glass and map. Wineries of the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association will be pouring red and white wines, ports, dessert wines and champagnes. Each participating business will feature sweet treats and/or hors d’oeuvres to pair with the selections being poured. There's still time to buy a $25 ticket for Thursday, Feb. 7th's wine stroll through downtrown Pleasanton. Tickets will sell out by Thursday, the event,...

Posted at 02:07 PM | Permalink | Comments

The Federalists Album Release Party

02/05/08

The Federalists Album Release Party

Attention fans of the rock 'n' roll music: Keep your eyes out for the March issue of Diablo magazine. We're just putting the finishing touches on an amazing feature story about the biggest rock bands to  come from our backyard. We've got a major celebrity interview, profiles on some genuine rock legends, and we're  keeping an eye on the next generation of top local artists. One of the great local bands we've come  across in researching this story is The Federalists,  an indie rock outfit based out of Concord. My pal Jason Jurgens, publisher of the outstanding local music magazine Theowlmag.com, likens the band to indie-darlings Spoon with vocals by Elvis Costello. In other words, a rock geek's dreamThe Federalists are releasing their second album, Self-Titled, on...

Posted at 01:23 AM | Permalink | Comments: 2

Mimosa Mondays at M Clothing

02/04/08

Mimosa Mondays at M Clothing

The newish Danville clothes boutique, M Clothing, is serving free mimosas in the store from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Browse the spring lines and sip some bubbly—sounds like a fun way to start the week!  402 Railroad Avenue, Suite 102, Danville, (925) 314-0911, www.martymclothing.com

Posted at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/31/08

Oakland Art Murmur

It’s time to flip the pages on your calendars, which means one thing for East Bay art lovers: First Friday. Kick off your evening at the Oakland Museum of California, which will be hosting an event to celebrate Black History Month. The Many Cultures, One Night, Your Museum festivities start at 5 p.m. and include live music from the Zydeco Flames and appearances by spoken word artists Sistahs Wid’ Gaps and memoirist Adam David Miller. Admission is included with the museum entrance fee.If you’re still in the mood for a little gallery-hopping after you’re done at the Oakland Museum, head uptown to the Oakland Art Murmur. Every first Friday, a group of art galleries, many of which sit within a couple of blocks of the intersection of Telegraph Ave. and 23rd St. Have a beer at...

Posted at 08:40 PM | Permalink | Comments

Animal Rescue Foundation Canine Fashion Show

01/30/08

Animal Rescue Foundation Canine Fashion Show

I'm a big fan of anything and everything Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation does—from the rock star-studded concerts in January to various celebrity golf tournaments to the Animals on Parade day in downtown Walnut Creek, this organization's events are always fun and first-class. Even more important is the amazing work ARF does finding good homes for rescue animals, educating children about caring for animals, etc.Looks like ARF is planning another winner this Thursday night. Check it out:WINEMAKER'S DINNER AND CANINE FASHION SHOWIf you’re looking for a great post holiday season treat for yourself, friends and family, please join the Concord Hilton for its second annual Winemaker’s Dinner and Dog Fashion Show on Thursday, January 31 at 6 p.m.Come watch the cutest canines...

Posted at 05:50 PM | Permalink | Comments

Nunsense II

01/25/08

Nunsense II

Before Whoopi Goldberg ever donned a habit, the Little Sisters of Hoboken charmed audiences in New York City. Nunsense is the second-longest running off-Broadway show in history (after the Fantasticks), and its many sequels are mainstays at Willows Theatre Company’s cabaret theater.Opening tonight and running through February 24, Willows presents Nunsense II: The Second Coming. The singing sisters are preparing a thank-you show for their supporters, but chaos erupts when two Franciscans come to claim Sister Mary Amnesia, who has won the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. With audience-participation Bingo and the riotous duet, “What Would Elvis Do?”—plus in-theater snacks like Nunsense Nachos, the Pope’s Popcorn, or the Sister Mary Rita margarita—it’s a sinfully good...

Posted at 04:54 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/24/08

Bye-Bye to Bonanza Street Books

I love hanging out at bookstores. I don’t mean trying to keep from spilling a Starbucks mocha latte in the antiseptic aisles at Barnes & Noble, and I don’t mean surfing the bestsellers list on Amazon.com. I mean flipping through a book of beat poetry at City Lights in San Francisco; staring in awe at the huge stacks at Powell’s in Portland; squeezing through the overstocked shelves at Bonanza Street Books in Walnut Creek. That last pleasure is one I won’t get to enjoy for much longer: Bonanza, which has been open in downtown Walnut Creek for over 20 years and has been named the East Bay’s best indie bookstore in Diablo many times, recently announced it will be closing in March. Due to a variety of factors, including the changing downtown landscape, revenue lost to Amazon...

Posted at 01:07 PM | Permalink | Comments

Champagne artist reception in Lafayette 1/18/08

01/18/08

Champagne artist reception in Lafayette 1/18/08

The Lesa Johnson Fine Art Gallery is having a Champagne reception to meet artist Sam Nejati on Friday, January 18th, from 7-9pm. Nejati's exhibition, called "Sharing the Moment," showcases his abstract expressionist paintings and runs until February 16th.Lesa Johnson Fine Art Gallery, 1041 Stuart Street, Suite B, Lafayette, (925) 962-0980

Posted at 01:36 PM | Permalink | Comments

An Evening with Khaled Hosseini

01/16/08

An Evening with Khaled Hosseini

If you read The Kite Runner, the blockbuster debut novel by Khaled Hosseini, or his best-selling follow-up A Thousand Splendid Suns, this is an event you won't want to miss. Hosseini's appearance is a benefit for the Trust In Education (T.I.E.) non-profit, dedicated to providing health care, education and economic development programs in Afghanistan, and to educating Americans about U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, past, present and future. T.I.E.'s founder, Budd MacKenzie, has invited Hosseini to speak at the Dean Lesher Theatre on Friday night, January 18th. What: An Evening with Khaled Hosseini (Interviewed by Lynn Carey and Budd MacKenzie)Where: Lesher Center for the ArtsSponsors: Contra Costa TimesWhen: Friday, January 18th Time: 6:00 – 7:00 Cocktails/Appetizers/Book signing...

Posted at 05:14 PM | Permalink | Comments

Walnut Creek Yacht Club is bigger than ever

01/14/08

Walnut Creek Yacht Club is bigger than ever

On the first Friday of 2008, I went down to the Walnut Creek Yacht Club on Locust and Bonanza, to order an appetizer. WCYC's Monterey Bay Calamari, rolled in cornmeal, is my favorite calamari dish in the Bay Area. To my horror, the restaurant was not just closed, but EMPTY.Fortunately, the Yacht Club wasn't closed for long. Turns out owners Ellen McCarty and Kevin Weinberg had been dreaming of expanding their space for years, and finally got the chance when they took over the neighboring space on Locust formerly occupied a pizza restaurant. The Walnut Creek Yacht Club reopened today, January 14, after being closed for just two weeks.The renovated Yacht Club is 25% larger, and the bar has been opened up to accommodate twice the customers. WCYC's beloved raw bar has been moved to the new...

Posted at 06:26 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/14/08

Metropolitan Opera at a Multiplex Near You

Who says the East Bay suburbs don’t have culture? We have opera, regarded by those who decide such things as the queen of all performance art forms. First, of course, there is Walnut Creek’s Festival Opera, which presents two live shows each summer at the Lesher Center for the Arts. But if you want to get your fix for grand musical spectacle much sooner—and without battling Bay Bridge traffic to see San Francisco Opera—head this weekend to one of three local multiplexes in Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill and Dublin. And watch the curtain rise on a live, high-definition simulcast of Verdi’s Macbeth, presented by New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The Met, one of the world’s premiere classical music companies, launched its groundbreaking series of live performance transmissions...

Posted at 11:05 AM | Permalink | Comments: 7

A sneak peek of Yankee Pier in Lafayette

01/10/08

A sneak peek of Yankee Pier in Lafayette

From the minute I grabbed the lobster door handle to get a sneak peak at Lafayette’s new Yankee Pier last night, I knew I was in for a New England treat.Yankee Pier, in the Lafayette Mercantile, is scheduled to open this Saturday, but I was invited to a preview training dinner last night. Even the owner, Michael Dellar was busy hanging a three-foot trout (or was it a salmon?) on the wall near our table. And since every employee was on hand for the training, the dinner guests were quite outnumbered. But none of that mattered when they brought the chilled Florida shrimp and hot Dungeness crab. The seafood was fresh and absolutely delicious.Dellar, who also heads the Lark Creek restaurant chain, is a former long-time resident of Orinda. This is his fourth Yankee Pier location. When I...

Posted at 01:21 PM | Permalink | Comments: 7

Great Sales at Twenty Two Shoes and Hush

01/07/08

Great Sales at Twenty Two Shoes and Hush

Everyone knows the only things more blissful than fine champagne and great sex are fabulous shoes at fantastic prices. That's why we have to let you know about the sale that Twenty Two Shoes in Oakland is having from January 11–13. Samples will be on sale from $25–$100 per pair, and regular inventory, normally priced from $200-$550, will be discounted from 40%–90% off. So, obviously, get there early!Twenty Two Shoes are designed by Oakland couple Alexandra and Chris Silverman and then handcrafted in Italy—their boots have recently been spotted on celebs Brad Pitt, Jessica Biel, and Sienna Miller. The Oakland store is located at 5856 College Ave. (510) 594-2201. Twenty Two Shoes' San Francisco store (2277 Union St., (415) 409-2277) will also have an inventory sale, but the sample...

Posted at 07:09 PM | Permalink | Comments

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