Island Arts

Express Yourself! a local, open- mic event will celebrate its 20-year anniversary tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 17, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at The Home of Truth, 1300 Grand St. The open mic was founded 20 years ago by Rev. Nancy Joy Gordon, Rose Gregory and Alameda Poet Laureate Cathy Dana as a place for people to share their talents. 

While the new artwork is currently hanging, a celebration for Rhythmix’ “The Writing on the Wall” will not take place until Feb. 19.

'The Writing is on the Wall" is Rhythmix K Gallery's first exhibit in 2020 (January 11th - February 29th) featuring Japanese calligraphy and carbon copies of typewritten letters from World War II internment camps, artist Najib Joe Hakim’s photographs of Palestinian and Lebanese walls and Salma Arastu’s paintings that are inspired by the scripture of the Quran.

Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft marked the beginning of the Jewish festival of lights, Chanukah, last Friday at the Bridgeside Center by lighting a 10-foot menorah. Chabad of Alameda hosted the lighting, which featured performances, crafts and other fun. Chanukah lasts eight days from the 25th day of Kislev, a month in the Jewish calendar. It commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in 165 BC after its desecration by the Syrians. The holiday is marked by the successive kindling of eight lights.

Toby Schrager, a student at Queener’s Piano Studio, performed at the tea party venue at the First Presbyterian Church associated with the Dec. 14 Alameda Family Services Holiday Home Tour. During one of his songs, an appreciative listener offered him a sandwich as a tip, which he proceeded to eat mid-performance. Carolyn Queener, piano instructor, frequently arranges for her students to play in support of local events. “Don’t eat and play at the same time!” Queener reminds local pianists.

Whether one personally celebrates a particular holiday tradition or not, it can always be fun to experience the celebrations of another culture.

On Friday, Dec. 20, Rhythmix will celebrate the holiday season Caribbean-style with musical group Bululú. This multi-talented 11-piece Bay Area band specializes in the musical traditions of Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Bululú and Rhythmix will host a full-on holiday fiesta, parranda navideña, featuring all the Caribbean music and Venezuelan food just right for the season.