Walnut Creek

Local artists' creations for library gala

Five local artists are donating original works of art to be auctioned at the Walnut Creek Library Foundation's 5th Annual Authors Under the Stars fundraising gala, March 8, at the Walnut Creek Library.

Guests will be welcome bid on pieces created especially for the gala by ceramic artist Ed Blackburn, metal sculptor Joe Bologna, landscape photographer Stephen Joseph and two artists who work in sculpture installation, Joyce Hsu and Marta Thoma.

This year's gala celebrates Walnut Creek with the theme "Authors, Artists, and Adventure." Guests will dine with 20 notable Bay Area authors and bid on items of art and adventure, such as a private luncheon with Walnut Creek Mayor Kristina Lawson, a ride-along and lunch with a Walnut Creek police officer, a one-year VIP parking pass for downtown Walnut Creek, a private wine tasting at Wente Vineyards and Murietta's Well, a private home vacation in Tahoe/Donner for 10, and a custom-designed Mount Diablo hike for 10.

Proceeds benefit essential programs and collections for the Walnut Creek and Ygnacio Valley libraries.

Tickets are $225 per person and are available through the Foundation's website, www WCLibrary.org, or by phone at 925-935-5395.


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Festival Opera seeks community help to stage productions

Walnut Creek-based Festival Opera is seeking financial help from the community -- about $50,000 worth of help -- to stage "The Emperor of Atlantis: A Legend in Four Scenes" and "Another Sunrise" April 26 and 28.

In a news release, Festival Opera Executive Director Sara Nealy said her company has set up a fundraising page on www.indiegogo.com to help solicit and field contributions.

"We are doing what we can afford, and using the year to recover from some financial setbacks," Nealy said in the release. "Though smaller-scale, we are very excited about the work."

Donations will be used exclusively to fund production expenses such as the singers, the stage director, the conductor, the production director/technical director, musicians, the stage manager, music licensing, lighting, props, costumes, makeup and wigs, designers, rehearsal accompanist and the rental of the venue and rehearsal space.

Festival Opera's website says that by presenting "two beautiful works that are smaller-scale, more intimate and simpler in design, yet still artistically significant, we hope, in short, to stay alive and relevant -- to keep producing meaningful work, and to allow us time to gather more resources."

"The Emperor of Atlantis: A Legend in Four Scenes" and "Another Sunrise" will be performed April 26 at 7:30 p.m., and April 28 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., all performances at the Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church, 55 Eckley Lane in Walnut Creek. For ticket information, go to http://www.festivalopera.org

Youth Theatre Co. performers excel at competition

Performers with Youth Theatre Company's (YTC) Teen Theatre scored well at the Musical Theatre Competitions of America in Los Angeles Feb. 8-9.

Company members brought home three trophies -- First Place Overall for Ensemble Performance in the Intermediate Division for a performance of "Thoroughly Modern Millie;" third place in the Freshman Division for Clare Brennan's (Danville) solo "Carrie" from "Carrie the Musical;" and fourth place in the Freshman Division for Tate Lipnicki's (Walnut Creek) solo "Different" from the musical "Honk."

YTC producer Rachel Pergamit said three young performers were chosen for the "Cattle Call Audition" performance to perform in a huge musical theater number. Anna Lyubinina and Soly Ramin of Concord and Andy Jacobson of Walnut Creek performed with 37 other students on Saturday evening in "You're the One that I Want" from "Grease" after only a few hours of rehearsal.

In between competitions, the group attended various workshops before the awards ceremony held at Disneyland's backstage.

YTC is a program of Civic Arts Education in Walnut Creek. For more information, go to www.youththeatrecompany.org

Diablo Ballet's 20th anniversary event in March

Diablo Ballet will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a special March 6 performance at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek with performance premieres, ballet alumni and a film retrospective.

Featuring works from the Ballet's history, the celebration includes the company's premiere of Eugene Loring's "Sweetheart Pas de Deux" from Billy the Kid, staged by Patrice Whiteside, the artistic executor of the Eugene Loring Estate.

A new work by acclaimed Diablo Ballet dancer/resident choreographer Robert Dekkers is set to be performed at the celebration.

A gala reception, including dinner with the dancers at Scott's Garden, 1333 N. California Blvd., will follow the performance.

Tickets are $85; buy them online at www.LesherArtsCenter.org or www.DiabloBallet.org by calling 925-943-7469 or 925-943-1775.

Bedford's 'New Neon' closes Feb. 23

The Bedford Gallery's exhibit "New Neon: Light, Paint & Photography" at the gallery, 1601 Civic Drive in Walnut Creek is set to run through Sunday, Feb. 23.

Taking its cue from the re-emerging popularity of this distinctly Californian medium, "New Neon" will examine the ways in which neon has been repurposed -- in both paintings and sculptures -- to reflect the cadence and drama of the modern media-saturated cultural landscape. More than 30 artists -- from the Bay Area, Southern California and beyond, including Australia -- are be showing pieces.

Admission is $5. For more information, go to http://bedfordgallery.org

Donahoes' photos on display at Boundary Oak

"At Play: Recreation Near and Far," an exhibit of photos by Tom and Nancy Donahoe depicting what people do for fun and health, and the seriousness with which they go about those pursuits, is currently on view at the Boundary Oak Golf Club, 3800 Valley Vista Road in Walnut Creek. The photos will be on display in the club house through April 3.

The photos range from the sheer fun of the playground to youth sports, pickup games, individual skills and serious competition. They were taken in locations from Walnut Creek to Russia.

The Donahoes have exhibited previously in the Walnut Creek Library, City Hall and at Civic Arts at the Shadelands.

Open your 'Mindscapes' at Valley Art Gallery

Valley Art Gallery's "Mindscapes" exhibit, featuring the distinctive textured abstract paintings of Lu Buery, which runs through March 1.

Buery layers paints, sand and gesso -- a plaster-of-Paris-like blended paint -- along with intertwining metallic forms with random streaks and shapes, to portray textures and patinas of bark, chipped paint, rusted iron and other surfaces.

In addition to "Mindscapes" will be works from more than 100 other Bay Area artists on the gallery's 30 rolling walls.

The gallery, at 1661 Botelho Drive in downtown Walnut Creek, is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Lafayette

'God of Carnage' premiere shows Feb. 20-21

Town Hall Theatre's production of Yasmina Reza's "God of Carnage" is set to run Feb. 22-March 15, with special preview shows scheduled for Thursday and Friday, Feb 20-21.

Directed by Susan Hovey, this is the story of two upscale couples who meet to discuss a confrontation between their sons. As the conversation devolves, so do the couples, revealing more about themselves that they intended.

All performances of the play -- which is rated PG13 -- are at the Town Hall Theatre, 3535 School St. (at Moraga Road) in Lafayette. For more information, go to www.townhalltheatre.com

MORAGA

'California Revealed' at Moraga Art Gallery

Moraga Art Gallery artist George Ehrenhaft (watercolors) will be joined by guest artist Loreta Landucci (oils) for the gallery's new show "Good Looking: California Revealed," set to run through March 15.

For more information, visit www.moragaartgallery.com or call 925-376-5407. The gallery is open from noon until 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

ORINDA

February's pieces, artists on display at library gallery

Four artists' work is now on display at the Orinda library gallery, and will be through February.

The featured artists this month are Kabir Adejare (African American artists); Barbara Lee (photography); David Vanderjagt (ceramics); and Carol Dwinell (gourds).

Library hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.