The Junior League of Oakland-East Bay sprung into existence more than 70 years ago, but the history of the larger organization dates back to the turn of the 20th century. In 1901, Mary Harriman and 85 other women founded the Junior League for the Promotion of Settlement Movements, a charity devoted to the improvement of the human condition. Today, the Oakland-East Bay branch carries on that do-good philosophy. They've launched such nonprofits as The East Bay Children's Theatre, the Volunteer Center of the East Bay, the Family Stress Center, and Super Stars Literacy.
The California Symphony has treated the tunefully inclined to artful performances of both new music and classical classics for nearly a quarter of a century. Audiences for the March 6 concert, "In the Spotlight," will witness the skilled batonery of guest conductor George Cleve as he leads the world-premiere performance of Bay Area composer Cindy Cox's most recent work. With a unique voice noted for its tunings, harmonies, and textural colorations, Cox's piece will showcase regional orchestral musicians, such as flutist Monica Daniel-Barker, clarinetist Jerome Simas, and violist Marcel Gemperli. The evening will also include selections from Chaminade's Flute Concertino, Bruch's Concerto for Clarinet and Viola, and Dvořák's Symphony no. 7, generally considered the luckiest of all Dvořák's symphonies.
Deemed 2012's Best Dance Troupe in East Bay by Diablo magazine, Diablo Ballet's 10 international dancers have enthralled audiences of all ages with live performances since 1993. During contemporary and classical ballets, the performers call upon their experience pirouetting with prestigious dance companies––including the Bavarian National Ballet, Venezuela’s Ballet de Caracas, and the Colorado Ballet––to execute precise footwork to an array of musical compositions. In its free time, Diablo Ballet exposes youngsters to the arts by switching fast-food toys with Rothko paintings and participating in the PEEK Youth Outreach Program, which brings art education to more than 5,000 elementary-school students in Contra Costa County.
Trapeze School New York’s expansion west meant Angelenos no longer had to cross the country to join the circus. At their outdoor studio on the Santa Monica Pier, highly trained instructors teach beginner, intermediate, and advanced maneuvers during classes on the flying trapeze, aerial silks, lyra, trampoline, and Spanish web. All of Trapeze School New York’s countrywide facilities in New York, Boston, Washington, DC, Chicago, and LA hold themselves to high safety standards that account for everything from equipment to instructors and safety belts. In an effort to bring their flying-trapeze instruction to surrounding communities regardless of funding, the school also gives lessons through their nonprofit branch of operations.
At Kinetic Arts Center, students run away to the circus because it's a more fun way to stay fit than running around a track. There they learn circus arts such as modern dance steps, adventurous trapeze routines, and physics-bending parkour moves. And not only do classes keep students, who range from toddlers to adults, in good shape, but they also prepare them for performing in front of a crowd. Pupils can also study juggling and clowning. They're taught by a roster of teachers whose long r?sum?s include backgrounds in dance, theater, and the circus arts.
Experienced comedians on Comedy Off Broadway Oakland’s black-swathed stage extract laughs with jokes honed during appearances on HBO, BET and Comedy Central. Veteran yucksters Joe Gleckler and Samson Koletkar host 90-minute shows three nights a week and recruit all-female and all-Southern lineups for Thursday theme shows. Chortling viewers can dig into plates of Cajun and Southern fare from the kitchen of Miss Pearl’s Jam House, which hosts the proceedings in a private dining area, or covertly film spit takes with wine and beer from a full bar.