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PostHeaderIcon Name that Tune and Help Girls Rock

What all-female band did Joan Jett join as a teenager? Was the Queen of Soul the first woman inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame? What sample opens M.I.A.'s Paper Planes? Which twin sisters have written songs about cannonballs and hammers?

Want to test your musical knowledge from The Beatles to Beyonce?

Head to the Huminist Hall at 390 27th Street in Oakland on April 20 and support Bay Area Girls Rock Camp, a nonprofit organization that empowers girls through music, promoting an environment that fosters self-confidence, creativity and teamwork.

The organization challenges gender stereotypes, encourages collaboration and tolerance among peers, and provides a comfortable space for people of all backgrounds to express themselves. Through music lessons, workshops, group activities and performance, girls acquire skills that help guide them throughout their lives.

The event, titled “Name That Tune," will be hosted by local music maven Kofy Brown of Bay Area-based band, Sistas in the Pit. 

Trivia will include “Name that Album Cover," “Name That Tune" and other musically-related questions. There will be teams competing against one another but also chances for audience participation.

The TV game show "Name that Tune" was broadcast at various times and with various hosts from 1953 to 1985 and is based on participants naming a song in one, two, three, four or.... notes.

Teams who raise the most money for the organization will compete alongside special guests Mirah, Tara Jepsen, Renee Richardson of KFOG, Tabitha Soren of MTV News, and others.

Teams will compete for titles, such as Worst Score, Most Amazing Costumes, Team Spirit, and prizes, including a private hot tub party on a yacht.  

Tickets are $10-$50 and are available at Paper Brown Tickets: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/233040. Refreshments will be available at a small cost.  

Questions? Visit http://www.bayareagirlsrockcamp.org/NTT, or contact either This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 510-267–1808.--MM

 

PostHeaderIcon Chairs Made of Skis Give Charities a Lift

Barry Mendelson, the founder of Chairs 4 Charity, has taken the woodworking skills he learned from his dad, old skies and some elbow grease and turned them into dozens of Adirondack chairs that are auctioned at charity events and nonprofit fundraisers.

 

 

While on a ski trip in Squaw Valley, the 39-year-old Concord father, athlete and business man, had his interest peaked when he spotted some Adirondack chairs made of skis at a resort restaurant.

Earlier, he had constructed a bench from a used snowboard and decided to pursue the idea further as a step to express himself in an artistic endeavor. As the thought kindled into a reality, his concept morphed: to keep wood from landfills and to raise funds for Bay Area charities. His sister in Danville also inspired him with her talent for making quilts to donate in support of funding public education.

 

About four years ago Mendelson (left) launched Chairs 4 Charity in his home, garage and backyard. Being an avid cyclist and skier, who also coaches his two young daughters’ soccer games, he retrieved donated skis that had been traded in at Tri-Cities Sporting Goods and Walnut Creek Sports Basement, where he is a familiar face.

 

A sampling of Mendelson’s colorful Adirondack chair designs are on display at Sports Basement at 1881Ygnacio Valley Road in Walnut Creek. Beneficiaries of proceeds from auctioned chairs are: Green Valley Elementary in Danville, Highlands Elementary in Concord, Pleasant Hill Middle School in Pleasant Hill, Woodside Elementary in Woodside , International Mountain Bike Association, Have a Ball Foundation, Clayton Valley Rotary and the San Ramon Valley PTA.

Building the chairs is often a family endeavor for Mendelson, a registered investment advisor who founded his own company in Walnut Creek, Elevation Wealth Management. His children, Sydney, 8 and Eliot, 6 help their dad by doing some sanding and adding screws to the chairs where needed. His wife, Kristin, is also very supportive, he said.

 

Mendelson said that being a 14-year cancer survivor, he wanted to give something back. In addition to Chairs 4 Charity, he has raised about $10,000 in a 100-mile cycling event for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

 

He also sits on the board of directors of Cancer Support Community of the San Francisco Bay Area, which offers free services, support groups and educational programs to cancer patients and their famlies. To donate used skis, snowboards and lumber, or for more information, send an email to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .--- KRB

 

 

Karen Balch is a retired nurse, avid traveler, freelance writer and San Ramon resident. She writes regularly for allnewsnoblues.com

 

PostHeaderIcon Finding Your Perfect Color - March Designers Log

As spring arrives, and thoughts turn to refreshing your home, The Designers Log updates and revises this previous post from 2 years ago.

You've probably seen them too, people at Home Depot or the local paint store, holding a handful of paint swatches with puzzled looks on their faces.

For most of us, selecting a paint color is difficult.  Beyond deciding which blue matches your eyes or which green is closest to your daughters bedspread, there is a psychological impact of color in our lives.

Every color we encounter in a space has some impact on how we feel.  It can make us happy or sad, literally give us a headache or put a warm fuzzy feeling into our hearts.  A recent study by Olympic Paints found that yellow, an old standby for babies rooms, can actually provoke anxiety and babies in yellow nurseries tend to cry more.

Color can also affect our appetite, work productivity and even our lovemaking.  The saturation or intensity of a color can alter how you feel.  A soft blue can bring back fond memories of childhood while a strong dark blue can be depressing.

Cultural preferences can be another factor in color selection.  In China and India white is the color of death, as opposed to black in this country.  We think of white as meaning peace, virginity and it's usually the color for wedding dresses.  But in many Latin America countries, it's considered good luck to wear bright colors, not white. 

Here's a quick primer on how some colors can affect your psyche. 

Yellow -  A very invigorating color, yellow can also bring on anxiety.  Don't use it for high energy areas like the kitchen, but keep it to smaller areas like hallways or laundry rooms.  If you enjoy this color, opt for one with honey or golden tones.  This will add an elegance to the room

Red - Did you know research brought the use red for stop signs?  Red literally tells the brain to slow down.  It's often used in bars, casinos and restaurants to keep customers engaged and remove any feeling of being rushed.  Red is perfect for dining rooms and sexy reds, like the color of Merlot, is soothing in the bedroom.

Blue - It's not a stretch to understand that blue is a calming color.  It's the color of the sea and the sky.  Be careful that the blue you select isn't what I like to call "little boys room" blue, but choose a turquoise or navy for large rooms.  Blue is also an appetite suppressant.  When was the last time you ate blue food?

Green - Again a color associated with nature,  greens make us feel secure and tranquil.  Green is not a good color for skin tones, so shy away from using it in a bathroom or bedroom where you look in the mirror.  However, mossy green is a great neutral, while apple green feels fresh and clean.

Brown - Another color that prompts comfort and security, brown really runs the spectrum from organic to muddy.  Don't use a dark brown in small rooms, it only intensifies the feeling of claustrophobia.  But a light brown, like soft suede is very conducive to dens or home offices as it cuts down on eye fatigue.

Don't let the paint color you choose have the wrong effect.  That pink in the store can look like Pepto-Bismol in your bedroom.  Terra Cotta might seems like the perfect selection for that Italian look, but can be dreary and depressing when it surrounds you.

The next time you are stymied and overwhelmed with the choices at your local paint store, think beyond what might be netural or safe.  Color is a psychological tool and can hugely affect your mood and life.  Use it well. - SEW

An established Interior Designer for over 20 years, Steve Wallace Design is based in Walnut Creek, California.  His work has appeard in Palm Springs Life and other interior design publications, and he is the author of a soon to be published book about design and the way we live.  He can be reached at  925 915 1005, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or visit www.SteveWallaceDesign.com.



 

PostHeaderIcon Meredith Maran Shakes Things Up

 

Oakland’s bestselling author Meredith Maran has released her first novel: “A Theory Of Small Earthquakes" and will be at San Francisco  bookstore talking about the book next week.

On Thursday, March 15 at 7;30 p.m. Maran will be at The Booksmith at 1644 Haight St. in San Francisco in conversation with Michelle Richmond.  More info. here.

You might remember Maran’s gripping book, "Class Dismissed," about the lives of three high school seniors from Berkeley High School’s class of 2000. The school is known for its diverse mix of teenagers -- children of judges and carpenters, software consultants and garbage collectors, homeless kids and those who are Harvard-bound --and Maran did an incredible job of chronicling the trials and tribulations, successes and setbacks of the teens.

In fact, Maran had penned ten nonfiction books before turning her journalistic eye to novel writing. Her new book is a family story spanning two decades and set against the social, political, and geological upheavals of the Bay Area, she said.

Maran lives in Oakland and has two grown (and growing) sons, Jesse and Peter. She's also the proud aunt of Nick and Josie. She said she's been happily married to the horticultural genius Katrine Thomas since long before "gay wedding" yielded 1,120,000 hits on Google.For more information, check out her web site at meredithmaran.com-- KB

 

PostHeaderIcon Hootenannies Alive and Well in the Bay Area

 

Although the Grammy Awards jammed Contemporary Folk and Traditional Folk music into just one category, folk music of all types is alive and well and even growing in the Bay Area. The real folk action is not in the struggling nightclubs but at a series of open jams – what were once called hootenannies – held virtually every weekend in Oakland, Berkeley and beyond.

A good introduction to the scene would be the East Bay Fiddlin' and Pickin' Potlucks (http://www.pickinpotlucks.com/index.htm), held at private homes on the 2nd Sunday of each month. In addition, folk singer/retired teacher Hali Hammer hosts a jam/potluck on the 1st Sunday of the month at her home in Berkeley, and folk singer LaWanda Ultan hosts one every 3rd Sunday at her Berkeley hills home.

There's also a San Francisco Folk Music Club, with Faith Petric, the 96-year-old woman pictured at the left,  that hosts a jam every other Friday night on Clayton between Carl and Parnassus Streets.

And in Marin County, banjo player and sound tech John Bowman hosts a jam on alternate Fridays at his home in San Anselmo.

“I've been doing this for years and each year the turnout has increased,” Bowman told me at a jam I attended on a recent Saturday at a large private home near Lake Merritt.

At the jams I've attended, turnout often looks like about 50 people, and it's an older crowd than you'd see in the nightclubs, though there are usually a few players in their 20s and 30s. Instruments include guitars, banjos, fiddles, mandolins, bass, autoharp, flute, accordions, clarinet, harmonicas, kazoos, a musical saw and an occasional harp. Many players are quite accomplished, others still learning.

What's it all about? The official description of the SF club says it best:

“San Francisco Folk Music Club (SFFMC) is a non-profit corporation of singers, instrumentalists, performers, song writers, dancers and listeners who embody a set of personal and musical relationships whose longevity and hybrid vigor attest that what we do is something in which we deeply believe. Its purpose is the enjoyment, dissemination and preservation in individual, family and community life of that acoustic music roughly defined as folk.”--ST

 

PostHeaderIcon Reel Blondes Returns With Colorful Show

 

The Blondes are back!  Reel Blondes, the wacky musical that cavorted around at the hair salon known as Victoria’s Hair on Stage for 14 seasons is returning to Danville after a 4-year break.  There is a new venue, The Village Theater, and a new dimension, live music.  Otherwise, there is a lot of familiarity to be found in the revitalized show.

Reel Blondes began as a concept by Victoria Brooks, a lifetime Danville resident, who has always had a flair for theatrics.  In kindergarten, she entered a talent show as a tap dancer even though she had never tapped before.  Her love for theater continued throughout her life.  She eventually performed in musical productions and eventually brought her talents and drive to her two Danville hair salons.  At first, in the early ‘90s she put together a show in her Blackhawk salon with music and dancing which had been her lifelong dream.   In 1993 Barrett Lindsey-Steiner, a well-known local director and performer, saw her show and offered to help make it bigger and more special.  He took over the writing and directing and the show was moved to the larger salon in Danville, Victoria’s Hair On Stage.


Dubbed ‘Bleach Blondes’ at first, the show was set on the stage in the salon and immediately generated positive reviews.  Comparisons were made to the long-running San Francisco icon, Beach Blanket Babylon.  So much so that a lawsuit was initiated, claiming that the Danville show idea as well as the similar title, were copyright infringements.  Discussions ensued and the case was made that Bleach Blondes was, indeed, unique so the show title was changed to Reel Blondes, the lawsuit was dropped, and an East Bay legend was born.

Reel Blondes played for 8 months out of the year on Saturday nights to sing-along and laugh-until-you-cry crowds for 10 years.  During that time, a new show was created each year.  It would change throughout the season, depending on the headlines and celebrity news.  Some of the titles included, “Rooting Around Planet Rogaine,”  “Hair We Go Again,” and “Perms of Endearment.” 

In 2004 Victoria and her husband and co-producer, Bob sold the salon and the show along with it to their son-in-law Don Greene.  The name was changed to “Wigged Out!” and perked along in the same format with most of the talented ensemble cast intact until the salon was sold again.  In June of 2008, Wigged Out! took its final bow and Victoria’s Hair on Stage became a memory.
But Victoria and Bob Brooks were not through.  Victoria’s dream was just on hold.  She has assembled much of the original writing staff, which is, coincidentally, also comprised of performers in the show.  She has reserved performance dates at the Village Theater through 2014.  She participates in the making of costumes, uses her Danville home for rehearsals, sells tickets, works on sets and props, and does everything she can to bring her show back to the thousands of locals who have missed it during the interim.

As in all of the previous shows, the setting is on the hair salon of our heroine, Blondie (portrayed by Peggy Stratton, a 14 year veteran of the show), who is not only quirky and funny, but also has political aspirations.  Director/performer Jeff Seaberg also returns along with Choreographer/performer Paula Wujek, performer/Assistant Director Bob Stratton (also a 14 year returnee), Donna Turner and Danny Santero.  The show also boasts newcomers Debra Knox (who is also the Musical Director), Nick Quintell, Jen Kosta and a cameo by former Danville Mayor Mike Doyle!
In August of 2008, John Stenger, a long time friend and cast member and favorite of many Reel Blondes fans, passed away.  The cast is dedicating their new season to his memory.

So Danville gets to share in Victoria’s-dream-come true starting February 24th.  There are 14 performances stretching to the end of May.  Tickets are $30.  For tickets or details go to: www.VictoriasReelBlondes.com or call:  (925) 736-2858.--BS

 
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