If you belong to a church group, your kids are in boy scouts/girl scouts, or some similar groups, you might have your volunteer schedule for the holidays covered.
If you are still looking to give back this season I might have an idea for you.
Have any of your coworkers displayed Family Giving Tree wish cards? Please grab one of these cards and give the gift of giving. I know that some large companies in the Bay Area have cards like these in the reception area and you would drop off your purchased gift with them.
You can also lead a drive. This means you will pick up these cards from Family Giving Tree and post specific wish cards in a well-traveled area, or give them out to your coworkers, friends, or family members . Then you would collect the gifts and drop them off at the warehouse. I don’t know why they don’t call it something like elf helper?
Since 1990 the Family Giving Tree (FGT) has provided more than one million gifts for Bay Area children, low income families and seniors. Their promise is to give an exact gift. If a person only gets one gift in the Holiday season, an exact gift, something he or she really wanted, can make all the difference.
Last year I answered the call of FGT to help out at a warehouse in Santa Clara to wrap gifts. This was a two hour shift in a cold warehouse, but you just joined some people, made new friends, and shared some scissors and wrapping paper and off you went to beautify these gifts.
It was amazing to see all these volunteers; the volume of gifts warmed my heart.
Seeing Picasso is the title of an exquisite exhibit at the Pace Gallery in Palo Alto. I urge every art lover to drop by and see the collection.
Currently the windows are covered up at the Pace Gallery. Only the front door is announcing the opening hours. It feels like some mysterious, secretive place.
When you enter you are greeted by the friendly staff. If you like, you can borrow an iPad and a headset to enjoy an audio tour for a “chronological survey of Picasso” led by Alexander Nemerov.
The audio tour was fun and informative. The poetic explanations definitely point you in new directions while admiring the artwork.
My favorite painting was The Dead Casagemas (1901) which is considered to be the start of Picasso’s Blue Period. Casagemas, Picasso’s best friend killed himself; he obviously left Picasso in sorrow.
After seeing a huge Picasso exhibit once in Berlin I highly recommend taking your toddler. Mine, at the time, had a blast and sometimes a better access to the art.
I liked the timeline in the foyer, starting with Picasso’s birth (1881) till his death (1973). Picasso’s milestones are interspersed with inventions and other important events at that time, putting Picasso in the context of his generation.
Seeing Picasso will be shown till February 16th, 2020 at the Pace Gallery, 229 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto. Admission is free.
Usually I try to tell you about things that you can do after reading this. For this post you have to make a note and make sure you will check this out next year.
The Dia de los Muertos Festival in Redwood City is an annual celebration of the Mexican holiday, also known in English as the Day of the Dead. For the ninth time last Sunday, the Casa Circulo Cultural, a Redwood City Hispanic cultural organization, in collaboration with the San Mateo History Museum, the Friends of the Library, and Redwood City Parks and Arts Foundation organize one of the largest festivals of Hispanic culture in the Bay Area.
The Dia de los Muertos was made popular outside of Mexico by the Pixar/Disney movie Coco. One of the performances at the festival sang a Coco song.
Largely celebrated in Mexico, and by Mexicans in the US, the festivities span for three days. It is a lively event that remembers the dead and believes that in this window of time you can spend time with lost ones.
On altars they put a picture of the ones who have passed and their favorite things and food items. The marigold seems to be the predominant flower of this day. People also wear ‘skulls’ as face paint and traditional clothing.
The Dia de los Muertos Festival has altar displays, traditional music and dances. There were food stands and lots of gift items for sale. Each year the event seems to grow in popularity. We waited in line almost 45 minutes to see the altars in the Courthouse building!
With all the wildfires going on, (I hope everyone is safe! ) I felt the need to visit a forest. I thought the air might be purer, which it was, and I would find some serenity, which I did. I decided to do a short hike at Huddart Park in Woodside. I was aware of the $6 parking fee, which I paid.
I passed several bikers going up the hills. I was surprised how high in elevation Huddart Park actually is.
The Redwood Trail I picked for my forest adventure is a 0.7 mile hike, a short loop with minimal elevation changes. I liked the markers that point out shrubs and trees – yes, the Redwood Trail has more to offer than just redwoods! I saw big leaf maples, douglas fir and sword ferns to name a few. I very much appreciated the poison oak sign, always confused on where it might lurk and what it looks like.
I also enjoyed the different shapes of the tree barks. One was a puzzle with pieces lying on the floor to complete. The mostly wood trail makes for a nice shady hike.
I crossed a few bridges which would hold a stream in the winter time. Overall, it was nice to be out in the woods.
You might find some public art objectionable. If part of the art is providing free Wi-Fi, will you still object?
Since December 2013 there is a Tesla statue providing free Wi-Fi in Palo Alto with a time capsule to be opened in 2043, 100 years after Tesla died.
A successful kickstarter campaign was held for the sculpture and free Wi-Fi. It also has it’s own website: https://www.teslastatue.com/ and can be counted as a true Silicon Valley experience.You can also support this artwork and the Wi-Fi by buying a small replica on Amazon (this is the final year of sale).
Dorian Porter of Northern Imagination LLC ran this successful campaign and Harold Hohbach a landowner provides a place in front of one of his office buildings, 260 Sheridan Ave, Palo Alto.
Yes, your local coffee shop provides Wi-Fi, but I still love the art created by Terry Geyer.
Have you ever noticed the four round lights on top of the Adobe Almaden Tower in San José? They look like cat eyes turning to a rhythm. Every 7.2 seconds they change their position.
This is a semaphore – in the early days a semaphore was the person holding two flags to send messages by changing the arm positions. In computer terms it is a variable used for multitasking operations. This semaphore has four wheels each of them can change into four different positions. Enabling it to have a 256 item vocabulary. It is transmitting a code that you can spend weeks to crack.
Ben Rubin was chosen as the media artist to install this artwork in 2006. By 2007 Bob Mayo and Mark Snesrud cracked it. It took them 3 weeks to find out the semaphore was spelling out Thomas Pynchon’s Crying of Lot 49.
The code has been solved twice now. The most recent update was in October 2012.
You can spend hours in front of the building or check out Adobe’s website to study the pattern. If you are successful in deciphering the code you can submit it to Adobe and they will award you bragging rights and a year’s subscription for the Adobe Creative Cloud. In 2017 the Tennessee math teacher, Jimmy Waters figured out that the code at that time was a sound file voicing Neil Amstrong’s famous sentence: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.
I had heard of the Kaiser Center rooftop garden on top of a parking garage in Oakland, near Lake Merritt. Naturally intrigued I went to check it out.
You can see greenery from the street level on 21st St. I thought it was a bit tricky to get up to the 4th floor. I went around the parking garage and turned right into a side alley. The stairs there advertised the rooftop garden. As a bonus exercise I took the stairs.
When I arrived at the destination I was blown away. There is a little lake with some fountains and a bridge that crosses the lake. A lot of people used the garden as an after lunch walk. Some were just chilling on the shady benches that are plentiful.
A nice size walk that I bet brings joy into a lot of people’s daily lives.
I was early and most of the musicians were still setting up at 6 pm. But by 6:30 pm every corner of downtown was filling the air with music. All different styles are present from polka to rock and folk.
Livin la vida loca was the opener from a band that played on one of the larger stages on the corner of State and Main. To the side were the girls from the dance school, nervously awaiting their turn; around the picnic tables, people feasting on carry out; an elderly group enjoying wine and tapas; a couple dancing. Los Altos knows how to party!
I liked the Ruse, a trio of high schoolers that played next to the Tasting Room. Ready to rock, they were constricted by someone who thought the drums were too loud. They made the best of it while waiting for a damper. I’m sure they will play a lot of First Fridays, and who knows, eventually stand on a large stage.
First Fridays are, of course, happening on the first Friday of the month in Los Altos from 6 to 8pm. Some stores might be open longer and the two galleries in town usually have receptions.
What a great way to invite you to linger downtown.
Across this gallery is the O Belcher Gallery that also has a digital media installation with some techno music.
While wandering the hallway I found two more galleries. I really liked that it wasn’t just art ‘presented’, but one could feel that a lot of thought went into how it got presented. Not a straight line, for example, had the outline of the exhibit on six papers on the wall.
Every gallery had a notepad for you to write and critique the exhibit.
You could feel that art in its myriad forms was present throughout SJSU.
During the academic year the galleries are open Monday – Friday 10 am – 4 pm. Tuesday evenings 6 pm – 7:30 pm. Admission is free.
50 artworks created in 50 days by more than 60 artists. Now in its eleventh year the 50|50 show held by the Sanchez Art Center in Pacifica is a great success. Artists challenge themselves to create 50 pieces of artwork each on a small canvas in 50 days.
The work is arranged in 7 x 7 grid and the 50th piece on the side. Everything was for sale, right there. You can be the owner of some special creation and take it home right away. I’ve seen price ranges from $45 to $150. Some artists give a discount if you buy 2 or more.
If you get overwhelmed by the mass of images you can grab yourself a single image viewer to experience only part of the collection.
Opening night was August 30th, 2019. We visited on Sunday there were a lot of missing images. Some artists put up a photo of the whole project, so you could identify both what was sold and how the whole collection looked.
Gallery hours are Fridays to Sundays from 1 pm – 5 pm. The exhibit runs until September 22.