- Photo by John Hefti
- Dancers: Seyong Kim as The Nutcracker.
It is hard to imagine that Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s legendary score has been an East Bay favorite for more than 47 years, nine of which have been under the direction of Oakland Ballet Artistic Director Graham Lustig. Many flock to the Paramount Theatre every year to witness the beloved classic live. Catching this theatrical production is rewarding not only for the magnificent costumes and seamless choreography — Lustig always ensures that young Bay Area dancers are given the opportunity to showcase their talent alongside seasoned professional dancers. As you watch The Nutcracker, make sure you pay attention to the snowballs, mice, soldiers, and candies, as these are the young dancers ages 7 to 17 who are ecstatic to be on stage. If this isn’t enough reason to go, the ballet company dedicates the month of December to doing community outreach and in-school performances for those who can’t afford to attend. — Azucena Rasilla
Saturday, Dec. 22, 1 p.m., 5 p.m., Sunday Dec. 23, 1 p.m., $27-$100, 2025 Broadway, Oakland, ParamountTheatre.com
- Photo courtesy of Hannah Quach
- Christmas tree lighting at Estudillo Plaza
Christmas Tree Lighting
For those who celebrate Christmas, the official kick-off begins with the lighting of the tree, which takes place at different places around the Bay Area. If you want to avoid the insanity that is going to Union Square, Santa’s helpers got your back in the East Bay. There’s Jack London Square’s lighting, which will be hosted by KTVU anchor Gasia Mikaelian and feature a musical performance by Oakland’s own Kev Choice and Friends. Needless to say, bundle up, and take public transportation as parking is extremely limited around the Jack London Square area. If you prefer a place with more parking, then head to over to San Leandro’s Estudillo Plaza, where attendees not only will get to light up the tree but also hang out with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and roam around “Holiday Tree Lane,” a row of holidays trees along the pathway from Washington Avenue to E. 14th Street. — Azucena Rasilla
Jack London Square: Friday, Nov. 30, 5 p.m., free, Broadway at Embarcadero West, Oakland, JackLondonSquare.com
Estudillo Plaza: Friday, Dec. 7, 5:30 p.m., free, 1301 E. 14th St., San Leandro, DowntownSanLeandro.com
20/20 Vision: An annual exhibition and sale of smaller works by Mercury 20 Gallery artists. Participating artists have been invited to respond to the theme of "20/20," including the ability to see clearly, the number 20, mathematical formulas, and the year 2020. Artists reception on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 4-6 p.m.., Dec. 6-29, free. Mercury 20 Gallery, 475 25th St., Oakland, MercuryTwenty.com.
Beloved California III: Paintings of Northern California from the entire roster of Holton Studio artists. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Continues through Dec. 29, free, Holton Studio Gallery, 2100 Fifth St., Berkeley, HoltonFrames.com,.
Beneath the Mask: Artist and clinical psychologist Sharon Strong presents an exhibition of masks. Through Nov. 30, free, Bridge Storage and ArtSpace, 23 Maine Ave., Richmond, BridgeStorage.com.
Hysterical Organs: Aubrey Learner and Mitsu Okubo explore the unsettling corners of corporeality. Paintings, prints and other 2D works will fill the walls of the cavernous showroom as they fill you with a luxurious and colorful unease. Through Dec. 31, free, Classic Cars West, 411 26th St., Oakland, ClassicCarsWest.com.
Loop Melody: United by a mutual appreciation for rhythm, color, and pattern, artists Alexander Kori Girard and Rachel Kaye spiral off into their own personal explorations of hidden symbols and frenetic motion. Through Jan. 4, 2019, free, Johansson Projects, 2300 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, JohanssonProjects.com.
No Other + No Lie: A two person exhibition: Diana Guerrero-Maciá's art practice explores the complexities of meaning inherent in her materials. Ebitenyefa Baralaye's sculptures are formal in approach and rooted in his personal narrative of migration from Nigeria through the Caribbean to the United States, where he has spent much of his life. His work addresses the idea of displacement through a distinct visual language equally emphasizing form, pattern and symbolism. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Continues through Jan. 19, free, Traywick Contemporary, 895 Colusa Ave., Berkeley, Traywick.com.
The Edge: A modern and minimalist exhibition featuring two painters and one sculptor, bringing into focus the lines, curves and forms that make up compositions that can be at once geometric and organic. Through Dec. 29, free,SLATE contemporary, 473 25th St., Oakland, SlateArt.net.
Against the Static: A new retrospective of the painter Harvey Quaytman's career from the '60s to the '90s and his experiments with formalism and materiality as well as sensuality and humor. Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 27, included with admission. Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2155 Center St., Berkeley, BAMPFA.org.
Art in Motion: Airballin presents live body painting, custom cars and motorcycles, paintings and drawings, a live DJ, food, and drinks. Sat., Dec. 8, 5-10 p.m., $18-$50. Blue Dream, 1300 7th St., Ste. B, Oakland.
Crossing Boundaries: An exhibition of Asian multicultural calligraphy, ceramics, and cuisine. Through Jan. 16, 2019, free, Oakland Asian Cultural Center (OACC), 388 9th St., Ste. 290, Oakland, OACC.cc.
Dimensionism: Inspired by Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, an avant-garde movement emerged in the early 20th century, seeking to expand the "dimensionality" of modern art by engaging with ideas of time and space. Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Mar. 3, free with admission. Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2155 Center St., Berkeley, BAMPFA.org.
Light and Color: In a series of paintings, Doug Lawler explores light as the driving force in understanding the universe and the laws of physics. Through Nov. 30, free. Abrams Claghorn | Craft Showroom & Art Gallery, 1251 Solano Ave., Albany, AbramsClaghorn.com.
The Take-Off: An inclusive monthly art exhibit showcasing seven visual artists, two live performances, and a live poetry reading. Sat., Dec. 8, 7-11 p.m., $7. Adelines Lab, 3140 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley.
You're Seeing Less Than Half the Picture: Taking its title from the 1989 Guerrilla Girls poster "You're Seeing Less Than Half the Picture Without the Vision of Women Artists and Artists of Color," the exhibition questions the lack of diverse narratives in cultural institutions by foregrounding the work of traditionally underrepresented artists. Dec. 5-June 2, free. Mills College Art Museum, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, MCAM.Mills.edu.
Health, Wellness, & Sexuality
Nature and Nurture Thanksgiving Yoga Retreat: The yoga will be Vinyasa style, moderate level. Strong beginners are welcome. Participants will have the chance to enjoy guided meditation sessions. Nov. 23-25, $432-$472, WetTravel.com/trips/thanksgiving-yoga-retreat-mendocino-ranch-house-trip-to-hot-springs-shakthi-ganeshan-mendocino-county-51566006. Shambhala Ranch, 21200 Orr Springs Rd., Ukiah.
Take a Break to Meditate: Are you feeling stressed? Ever wonder if meditation would help you stay calmer during the holidays? Head to the Oakland Library for an introduction to meditation to learn the basics of the practice. Beginners and experienced meditators welcome. Sat., Dec. 8, 10:30-11:30 a.m., free, Oakland Public Library, Dimond Branch, 3565 Fruitvale Ave., Oakland, OaklandLibrary.org.
Sales, Swaps, Promotions, & Fundraisers
6th Annual Holiday Tianguis: A tianguis is an open-air market or bazaar that is traditionally held on certain market days in a town or city neighborhood in Mexico and Central America. Browse over 30 local vendors selling handcrafted goods, as well as unique imports from Mexico and beyond. There will also be live music, activities for the kids and traditional foods for sale. Sat., Dec. 1, 12-6 p.m., free, La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, LaPena.org.
Brown Girl Surf Year End Celebration & Benefit: Hosted by M.C. Mama B featuring local DJ set with live performances by hip hop diva and surfer Art3mis Prime and Marlim. Eats from Homeroom and The Little Chihuahua, and beer from Queers Makin' Beers. Sat., Dec. 1, 6:30-9 p.m., $25-$100. Impact Hub Oakland, 2323 Broadway, Oakland, Oakland.ImpactHub.net.