Wednesday, December 6, 2017

BridgeStorage and Artspace to re-open doors soon - pre-launch open house set

   RICHMOND - The BridgeStorage and Artspace is having a pre-launch open house at its 23 Maine Avenue Richmond facility.
     The open house will be Wednesday, Dec. 13 from 4 to 8 p.m.
A work in progress - but almost ready
     There will be guided tours of co-working space, art space (in shared and private studios) gallery and meeting space, Bridge FilmSpace (a new facility for independent filmmakers) and Maker Space.
     There will be food and drink - and live music performed by Brian Lawrence.
     And every hour there will be a mini-film festival provided by Bridge FilmSpace.
     Attendees will also receive information about how to obtain a free month at the new facility.

AOPR Holiday Faire in The Point Saturday

   POINT RICHMOND - The annual Arts of Point Richmond Holiday Faire this Saturday will feature paintings, drawings, jewelry, photographs, textiles and books, all for the public to peruse - and purchase.
     The creators of the various pieces of art and books will be on site to chat also.
     And there will be refreshments.
     The event begins at 11 a.m. at the Point Richmond Community Center, 139 Washington Avenue in Point Richmond.
    The faire will close at about 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

AOPR Holiday Faire set for December 9

   POINT RICHMOND - The annual Arts of Point Richmond Holiday Faire will be Saturday, Dec. 9 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Point Richmond Community Center, 139 Washington Ave.
     The public is invited to come to meet AOPR artists and authors.
     There will be artwork and books on sale as well as tasty homemade cookies for anyone who stops by.
     For more information about Arts of Point Richmond, follow this link: AOPR

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Book releases celebrated Saturday at Saluté

   RICHMOND - Richmond residents Lily Iona MacKenzie and Michael Zimmerman celebrated publication their recently released books Saturday at Saluté Restaurant in Marina Bay from 4 to 6 p.m.
     As part of the festivities, there were appetizers and drinks.
      Lily's book - Curva Peligrosa - is described by author Steve Bauer as "a wildly inventive and amusing novel."
     Michael's book, Tyrants of the Heart is a look into the brilliant and often impenetrable literary world of James Joyce. Michael draws upon his years of experience as an English professor and psychoanalyst to uncover conflicts in Joyce's characters.
     Both books are also available through and Barnes and Noble.

Monday, October 9, 2017

'A Night in Venice' Friday in The Point

   POINT RICHMOND - Kaleidoscope Cafe in Point Richmond Friday night will feature music, a talk by local author and a performance by an acting troupe directed by Masquers Playhouse all beginning at 7 p.m.
     Beer, wine, coffee, tea and other refreshments are available to purchase from Kaleidoscope.
     A Night in Venice is a celebration of the publication of the novel, Venetian Blood by Point Richmond author Christine Evelyn Volker.
    The evening will begin with music played by the Town Quartet, followed by a presentation by Volker - including a short reading.
     Following the reading, actors will perform an dramatic scene of an interogation featured early the novel.
Christine Volker
     Volker's novel will be on sale at Kaleidoscope during the evening. She will also be available to sign copies of her book.
     Venetian Blood has been getting excellent reviews since hitting the market this summer - including this one published in July in The Point - Arts: Mystery & Intrigue Flow in 'Venetian Blood'

Thursday, September 21, 2017

'Hillbilly Elegy' filled with cultural insight

   POINT RICHMOND - The tales recounted in J.D. Vance's memoir, Hillbilly Elegy (published in 2016)  can be as disturbing as they sometimes seem farfetched - the stuff of fiction or some badly written television program.
     But Vance's anecdote-packed book is true - at least to the best of his memory. And his memory is good, frequently backed up with research included in this enlightening portrait of growing up in Kentucky and Ohio.
     The full title of the book is Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a family and Culture in Crisis. It sounds almost like an academic study. But Vance's recounting of his growing up is not the stuff of academic tomes. It's real life, gritty, and at times almost too painful to read.
J.D. Vance
    "Teachers didn't tell us that we were too stupid or poor to make it. Nevertheless, it was all around us, like the air we breathed."
     Vance takes the reader on a cultural odyssey through Kentucky and Ohio while talking about growing up. He grew up in an big, extended family which by most measures would be labelled dysfunctional. Yet it worked, sort of, and Vance eventually did a stint in U.S. Marines, and graduated from Ohio State and Yale Law school.
     Vance explains in detail how for the hillbilly-Appalachian communities, everything was family.
     Hillbilly Elegy provided some special insights for me, growing up in the Southern Tier of New York State.
     That region, shown in the map below had - and probably still has - a sprinkling of people who resemble folks with the cultural norms and attitudes Vance talks about at length.
     Hillbilly Elegy is Vance's first book, but likely not his last.
     It's on the new book shelf at the Point Richmond library.
(Review by Michael J. Fitzgerald)

Friday, September 8, 2017

'Wicked Bugs' - all those not-so-nice insects

   POINT RICHMOND, Calif. - The shelves at the Richmond Public Library's Westside branch on Washington Street are filled with plenty of thrilling mysteries penned by familiar authors like Nelson DeMille, Tom Clancy, James Patterson, Janet Evanovich and local mystery writer, Christine Volker.
    But among the books is a non-fiction, science-based tome that will make your skin crawl.
    Or at least itch a bit if what you read makes wonder if some many-legged critter is about to bite.
    Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon's Army & Other Diabolical Insects is a well-documented compendium of tales about bugs of every shape and size.
    There are lots of familiar names: Brown Recluse, Cockroach, Deer Tick, Scorpion and Sand Fly.
     But chapters talking about the lesser-known - the Formosan Subterranean Termite, the Death Watch Beetle and the Assassin Bug - could keep you awake at night, too.
    The Formosan Subterranean Termite is one of the culprits behind the massive levee failures in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit.
    The termites love to munch nearly everything. That includes the walls that were supposed to protect the city. The walls are partly made of sugar cane waste, a termite snack. And officials had been warned five years before Katrina that the termites had weakened the flood barriers.
    Another fun fact for New Orleans residents? The Formosan Subterranean Termite can live for up to 25 years.
    Wicked Bugs was written by Amy Stewart, whose other writing includes the book, Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln's Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities.
   Wicked Bugs was published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, North Carolina and is on the shelf at the Richmond Public Library's Westside branch.
    Below is the first page of the introduction.
(Review by Michael J. Fitzgerald)