Performing with the Cardew Choir in the Garden of Memory Event at Chapel of the Chimes on Summer Solstice, June 21, 2016, from 5:00-9:00 p.m. PDT

Laura Inserra 1
photo by Michael Zelner, June 21, 2011 Laura Inserra

Garden of Memory — a Columbarium Walk-Through Performance Event at the Chapel of the Chimes

The Garden of Memory walk-through performance event is held every June 21st, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. PDT, to celebrate the Solstice, at The Chapel of the Chimes, in Oakland, California.

It is recommended that you purchase tickets in advance, because there are usually lines at each door — but tickets are available on-site.

I have participated in the annual Garden of Memory event at the Chapel of the Chimes since its first year, in 1996, when Sarah Cahill founded this extraordinary, one-of-a-kind, site-specific concert. In the first few years, as a walking “audient,” I recorded audio, took photos and shot video of the who’s who of Bay Area musicians and other performers, and the audience members, a fascinating cross-section of Bay Area residents.

The historic landmark columbarium, designed by architect Julia Morgan, contains elegant, winding staircases and passageways on each level that lead one through a labyrinth of over 110 chambers, replete with beautiful, tropical indoor gardens, water fountains and pools, and the quiet inner rooms where the deceased rest peacefully in “urns” that look like bound books in bronze and other elements. The lovely stained glass windows and roof skylights bathe the building in a remarkable light, even more magical during the late afternoon golden through sunset hours (5:00-9:00 p.m.), when the Garden of Memory event occurs on the Summer Solstice (June 21st) each year.

In the early 2000s, I started performing there, usually with the Cornelius Cardew Choir. In 2005, one of the pieces we performed was one I had composed specifically for the location and occasion, with written text, entitled Wings of Silver Light. Since then, I have written an updated version of the piece, which now has jazz/gospel elements, much different and more complex than the original version. This piece has an anti-war and anti-violence theme, which unfortunately, is still very relevant today.

In fact, many of the composers and performers have created works specifically for the Garden of Memory event. There are also a number of very creative electronic and computer-based musicians, as well as dancers, poets, theatre artists, and occasionally, a few video artists, who have performed or presented contemporary work at the event. Some musicians build their own instruments or use other technologies they have developed, including some that utilize ambient sounds from the flowing water fountains, ponds, or plants nearby.

Last year, I dedicated my own improvisation on composer Pauline Oliveros’s Heart Chant to the memory and honor of the people killed in Charleston, North Carolina, and their families and friends. This year, sadly, I will be dedicating my Heart Chant to the memory and honor of the people killed and injured recently in Orlando, Florida, and sending healing sounds to their families and friends. I will also meditate as I sing, on passing reasonable gun control laws, and turning hate and discrimination into love and peace everywhere, for all beings.

On a more joyous note, what is especially wonderful, for a walk-through audience participant, is the cross-blend of delightful sounds you hear in the passageways, between musical performers in different, adjacent chambers; and your sense of discovery, as you “find” a performer hidden away in a remote warren-like corner of the building. Children love the event, and I am sure that the deceased members of the audience must appreciate being serenaded in their quiet slumber by the annual collection of musicians performing next to their spaces of internment. Indeed, there are a number of prominent musicians and other Bay Area citizens who are interred at Chapel of the Chimes. When you enter the building, you get a map at the ticket table, so that you can find your way around, and locate any performer friends you may know at the event.

For those who may not be able to walk for an hour of more at a time, or if you’re bringing small children, there are at least two concert spaces on the main floor, where a number of the musicians perform over the four-hour period. There are elevators in the building, so much of it is wheelchair accessible.

There are vendors near the Piedmont Avenue entrance that sell food and beverages, and there are water fountains in the building, but you may want to carry bottled water with you and wear comfortable shoes. The event has become very popular, and seating is limited in some of the smaller chambers of the building.

Although Garden of Memory is known as an interactive “New Music” event, you’ll actually find quite a diversity in musical styles among the performers, and sometimes, there have also been performing ensembles that have included dancers, text, video and other elements.

Following are a few selected photos from previous Garden of Memory events, and other information about the Cardew Choir’s performance this year (below the photos).

Stephen Kent and Beth Custer

photo by Michael Zelner, June 21, 2011 – Beth Custer & Stephen Kent

Henry Kaiser at Garden of Memory at Chapel of the Chimes 2014. Photo by Stuart Steinhardt

Henry Kaiser at Garden of Memory at Chapel of the Chimes 2014. Photo by Stuart Steinhardt

Randy Porter 1
Randy Porter June 21, 2011. Photo by Michael Zelne

Edward Schocker at Garden of Memory, Chapel of the Chimes 2014 - photo (c) by

Edward Schocker at Garden of Memory, Chapel of the Chimes 2014 – photo (c) by

Eli Wirtschafter and Dylan Mattingly
photo by Michael Zelner, June 21, 2012 Eli Wirtschafter and Dylan Mattingly
Luciano Chessa
Photo by Michael Zelner, June 21, 2012 Luciano Chessa
Ellen Fullman and Theresa Wong
Photo by Michael Zelner, June 21, 2012 Ellen Fullman and Theresa Wong
Miya Masaoka and Larry Ochs
Photo by Michael Zelner, June 21, 2012 Miya Masaoka and Larry Ochs
Chapel of the Chimes 2008
Larnie Fox’s Timeharp, June 21, 2008. Photo by Cherri Lakey

Members of the Cardew Choir who will perform include (this list may be updated):

Tom Bickley (Co-Founder, Director)
Nancy Beckman
Chiara Viscomi
Eric Theise
Jaime Robles
Joe Kuta
Rae Diamond
Cathryn Hrudicka
Jed Holtzman
Katherine Setar
Brad Fischer
Patti Deuter
Juliayn Coleman
Ian Saxton
Diane Caudillo
David Samas
Nina Bayley

Several of the Cardew Choir members are also performing in other ensembles for part of the evening. Check for updates at the Garden of Memory web site.

The audience is invited into our circle to sing composer Pauline Oliveros’s meditative piece, Heart Chant, which includes improvisation by audience and the Cardew Choir. Although we usually perform a repertoire of works at other performances, often composed by members of the choir, this piece has been performed at nearly every annual Garden of Memory Walk-Through Concert by popular demand, and is now a tradition at the event. The Heart Chant is followed by the sunset bell-ringing ceremony at approximately 8:30 p.m., when the entire chapel is filled with the echoes of song and bells drifting down all three floors, unforgettable in the rose and mauve sunset glow through skylights and stained glass windows.

There are several sets of photos on my Flickr account of past Garden of Memory events, including of a previous year’s Heart Chant. There is also a set of YouTube video clips of Heart Chant, beginning with this one.

In addition to the photos above, you can also view the Flickr photo pool for previous Garden of Memory events. A previous blog post about this event can be found here.

More photos of this year’s performers are available at the Garden of Memory web site.

Media coverage of past Garden of Memory events has been archived on their web site.

It is recommended that you purchase tickets in advance, because there are usually lines at each door — but tickets are available on-site.

List of Composers and Performers:

Hannah Addario-Berry
Sharmi Basu and Alexander Brown
John Benson
John Bischoff
Krys Bobrowski & Karen Stackpole
Chris Brown & Vân Ánh (Vanessa) Võ
Sarah Cahill & Kate Stenberg
Cornelius Cardew Choir
Cvbe ov Falsehood
Beth Custer & Stephen Kent
Paul Dresher & Joel Davel
Adam Fong, Brent Miller & sfSound
Larnie Fox
Gautam Tejas Ganeshan
Phillip Gelb & Tim Perkis
Phillip Greenlief
Laura Inserra
Andrew Jamieson
Jaroba & Keith Cary
Henry Kaiser & Brandy Gale & Knut Reiersrud
Danny Paul Grody
The Lickets
Lightbulb Ensemble
Living Earth Show
Dylan Mattingly with Eli Wirtschafter and Alex Fager
Richard Mix
Mobius Trio
Lisa Sangita Moskow with Guillermo Galindo
Amy X Neuburg
Maggi Payne
Robin Petrie and friends
Dan Plonsey with Goggle Saxophone / Live Art Collective
Larry Polansky & Giacomo Fiore
Randy Porter
Wendy Reid
Eric Glick Rieman & Wayne Grim
Rova Saxophone Quartet
Santiomeri-Farhadian Duo
Sheldon Brown’s Distant Intervals
William Winant Group
Theresa Wong
Pamela Z

This list may be updated as the program is finalized.

There is a downloadable map of the locations for all the performers here. Additional maps and programs will be available at the door on June 21st.

Are you curious about what you’ll experience during the entire event? Want a sample preview? You can read more, and watch and listen to the video, at New Music Box: “Let’s see what this is!” — Garden of Memory 2013.

Come join the Cardew Choir in singing the Heart Chant! Whether you sing with us, or just listen, you’ll want to take photos, shoot video, or record some of the sounds you’ll hear in this magical environment.

Please subscribe to this blog or ask to be added to the Creative Sage Arts e-letter list for news about other events, projects, books, and performances coming up in the next year, in which I’ll be participating.

Please feel free to ask questions or comment below this post — and come say hello afterward, if you attend this event. We look forward to seeing you there!

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The Cardew Choir Celebrates its 15th Anniversary with May 1st and May 6, 2016 Performances

For the past fifteen years, I have performed intermittently with the San Francisco Bay Area-based choral ensemble, the Cornelius Cardew Choir. I was drawn to the group after having performed in many classical choral groups, jazz ensembles, and as a singer-songwriter.

The Cardew Choir appealed to me because it was experimental, using the voice as a starting point to create sound art and sound design, occasionally also with acoustic musical instruments, electronics, or “found object” instruments. The choir’s work is based on the Deep Listening techniques created and taught by composer Pauline Oliveros, with whom many of the choir members have studied or worked at Mills College, Deep Listening Retreats, or in other capacities.

In 2001, when I first performed with the Cardew Choir, I had been working in the field of Sound Design for media, as well as in other areas of the arts. Using the voice and body in a nontraditional choral format was very intriguing to me. Many of the past and current members of the choir are also instrumentalists and composers, so we have enjoyed a rare opportunity to workshop and perform each other’s compositions, as well as performing the works of notable 20th and 21st Century composers such as the choir’s namesake, Cornelius Cardew, Pauline Oliveros, Phillip Glass, and others in the “new music” or “avant-garde” genres.

DSCN5458We have also been invited to perform some amazing and magical site-specific works, such as Tower Ring, the Garden of Memory at the Chapel of the Chimes, performances at the old and new BAM/PFA (Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive), and others, which have involved movement, gestures, text, and theatrical elements. Part of the joy of being a member of the Cardew Choir is that you never know when and where you might be asked to perform next, and it will probably be an experimental adventure that you can enjoy in community with your fellow choir members, and the individuals in our audiences, who are often invited to participate in one way or another. There is always a certain amount of risk, improvisation and fun involved in our work!


I can hardly believe that fifteen years have gone by, but they have, and I have enjoyed the friendships and feeling of community that has always been an essential part of the Cardew Choir experience. To celebrate, we are going to perform in two upcoming events, on May 1st and May 6th, and we invite our friends to come and join us!

This is the poster designed by co-founder Bob Marsh for the first Cardew Choir concert, on November 11, 2001. The Choir’s 15th Anniversary performances are taking place in May, 2016.

Program One:

Mayday Celebration!
Sunday, May 1, 2016, 8:00 p.m. PDT
Berkeley Arts (wheelchair accessible)
2133 University Av., Berkeley, CA 94704
Suggested donation: $10 at the door

Wind Horse, by Pauline Oliveros
Conduction, by Bob Marsh
Tuning Fork Mosquitos, by Tom Bickley
Frog Haiku, by Brenda Hutchinson
The Great Learning Paragraph 7, by Cornelius Cardew

Program Two:

Cardew Choir at Canessa Gallery (wheelchair accessible)
Friday, May 6, 2016, 7:30 p.m. PDT
Canessa Gallery, San Francisco
708 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, California
Suggested donation: $10 at the door.

Conduction, by Bob Marsh
Forest Walk, by David Samas
Temperamental Vessels, by Brian Day
Frog Haiku, by Brenda Hutchinson
The Great Learning Paragraph 6, by Cornelius Cardew

Performers (in no particular order):

Tom Bickley, Director and Co-Founder
Bob Marsh, Co-Founder
Katherine Setar
Brad Fischer
Nancy Beckman
Joe Kuta
Rae Diamond
Cathryn Hrudicka
David Samas
Laurie Polster
Derek Drudge
Jaime Robles
Brenda Hutchinson
Eric Theise
Patti Deuter
Diane Caudillo
Dean Santomieri
Kalonica McQuesten
Suki O’Kane

In addition to the musical performance, there will also be an artwork exhibit in honor of the Cardew Choir’s 15th Anniversary:

Graphic Scores, Lab-Coats and Ephemera
Opening Reception: May 6, 5:00-8:00 p.m., prior to the performance

The retrospective exhibit at Canessa Gallery celebrates 15 years of experimental music and community with the Cardew Choir. The exhibit features original scores from choir members and other composers whose work we have performed, on display from May 4-29, 2016.

Exhibit of Graphic Scores by: Pauline Oliveros, Bob Marsh, David Samas, Rae Diamond, Bryan Day, Brenda Hutchinson, Phillip Greenleaf, Philip Blackburn, Jamie Robles, and Tom Duff, as well as text scores and ephemera by members and associates of the choir. For more information about the Cardew Choir, please visit our Facebook page. There are many web sites with information about composer/social activist Cornelius Cardew, including a Wikipedia biography.


After these two May performances, our next performance will be at the annual Garden of Memory walk-through performance event at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, California, on Tuesday, June 21st, 2016, from 5:00-9:00 p.m. By popular request, we’ll be inviting audience members to join us for Heart Chant, by composer Pauline Oliveros. I’ll publish another blog post about that event in June.

Please come and say hello after the performances, if you’re able to attend. Watch or subscribe to this blog for updates about our future arts events!

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Pamela Z, Richard Mix, and the Cornelius Cardew Choir Perform at the new BAM/PFA on March 23rd!

This is just a quick blog post to mention an upcoming performance at the wonderful new Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA), in the Full: Voice series curated by Sarah Cahill! (There has been quite a bit of other publicity, so you may have heard about it already).

Here are the details:

Full: Voice @ BAMPFA:
2155 Center Street (in the Berkeley Arts District)
Berkeley, California

Phone: (510) 642-0808

Wednesday, March 23; 7:00 p.m. PDT

This performance is an exploration of the human voice with virtuoso singers. The internationally acclaimed, multidisciplinary artist, Pamela Z performs, working her magic with live electronic processing and sampled sound. In addition, bass vocalist Richard Mix joins us, reprising his performance of unaccompanied works by renowned composer Julian Eastman that thrilled L@TE audiences four years ago. You can read a recent article about Pamela Z’s groundbreaking work in the East Bay Express.

Also filling our space with music is the Cornelius Cardew Choir, a “Deep Listening” inspired musical ensemble that pushes the boundaries of vocal performance practice. More information about the choir is available on Facebook, and on our web site.

Admission to the performance is included with gallery admission. Please note that seating is limited, although there is standing room, and wheelchair access near the seating area.

I’ll be performing with the Cornelius Cardew Choir, named after the late British composer, Cornelius Cardew. Among his unusual pieces, which include text, sounds and musical phrases plus passages of silence, mapped out for performers in a complex series of instructions, are his seminal, numbered Paragraph works, overall entitled: The Great Learning. The choir has performed most of the Paragraph pieces intermittently since 2001, when the Cardew Choir was founded. We’ll be performing one piece, Paragraph 6, at this BAM/PFA performance. In addition to vocal sounds, we’ll be using small percussion and found object instruments in this version of the piece.

Members of the Cardew Choir for this performance (not in any particular order):

Tom Bickley (Director and Co-Founder)
Eric Theise
Suki O’Kane
Dean Santomieri
David Samas
Jaime Robles
Laurie Polster
Kalonica McQuesten
Joe Kuta
Cathryn Hrudicka
Derek Drudge
Rae Diamond
Patti Deuter
Juliayn Coleman
Diane Caudillo
Nancy Beckman

Part of the performance will be the resonance and incredible architecture of the new BAM/PFA museum, with its wonderful mural in the performance space. You can explore the exhibition galleries and discover simultaneous performances throughout the building.

The New York Times’s arts writer David Gelles spotlights the new BAM/PFA in a trend piece on how museum administrators and architects are incorporating sustainable features in the building design process.

“By recycling the building on Center Street in downtown Berkeley, Mr. Rinder not only found an elegant solution for the institution’s needs, but he also placed Berkeley at the vanguard of sustainable building practices in the museum world.”

Please come and say hello after the performance, if you’re able to attend! There will also be two other Cardew Choir performances coming up in May, 2016, at two different venues, in San Francisco and the East Bay. Watch this blog for updates!

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Cardew Choir + Oa Perform First Music / The Human Instrument on Dec. 19; Long Tone Choir + Thicket Ensemble Perform on Dec. 20, 2015

A musical ensemble I often perform with, the Cornelius Cardew Choir, will be performing this Saturday, on December 19th, as well as another vocal group, the Long Tone Choir, on Sunday, December 20th, with several additional musicians. Members of both of these vocal ensembles compose original contemporary music pieces, which are often performed by each group. The two vocal ensembles have several members in common, so it seems appropriate to include them both in the same blog post.

If you’re interested in experimental, original, non-traditional choral music that features the human voice in all its sonic colors, and you’ll be in the San Francisco Bay Area this weekend, you might want to catch both of these performances. The one on Saturday, Dec. 19th, is in San Francisco; and the other, on Sunday, Dec. 20th, is in downtown Berkeley, a few minutes’ walk from the main Berkeley BART station:

First Music / The Human Instrument:
An Evening of, for, and from the Voice


The Cornelius Cardew Choir — Tom Bickley, Director

Oa (instrumentalists / electronics) — Matt Davignon and Hugh Behm-Steinberg


~ Paragraph 7, by Cornelius Cardew, the composer, musician, and social activist for whom the choir is named.

It is noteworthy that December 13th is the anniversary of Cardew’s tragic death from an auto accident in London, in 1981. Our performance will be in honor of the composer’s life. More information about the turbulent life of Cornelius Cardew is available here. We are glad to be performing one of Cardew’s most noteworthy pieces, Paragraph 7, which is part of his Paragraph series.

~ Ternary Canon, composed by Rae Diamond, for the Long Tone Choir

~ The Burning Book + The Ives Family Christmas, composed by David Samas, with community participation, and original improvisations for processed voice by OA.

Performers in the Cornelius Cardew Choir:

Nancy Beckman
Tom Bickley
Juliayn Coleman
Rae Diamond
Derek Drudge
Tom Duff
Cathryn Hrudicka
Joe Kuta
Suki O’Kane
Jaime Robles
David Samas
Eric Theise

The performance will take place on Saturday, December 19, 2015, at 8:00 p.m. PST.


Turquoise Yantra Grotto (a house concert space)
32 Turquoise Way, San Francisco, California
Phone for information: (415) 218-9341

Tickets: $10-$15, sliding scale

Email in advance for reservations, due to limited space. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door.

Founded in 2001, the Cornelius Cardew Choir is a vocal performance ensemble based in the San Francisco Bay Area. The choir represents a dynamic intersection of community and experimental music brought together by singing. Occasionally, as in this performance, there are musical instruments or electronics in some of the pieces, along with vocal parts. The ensemble members collectively work to turn their ideas into improvisations and composed pieces. All participants feel free to make suggestions about ways of performing a given piece, or to try new approach to singing, and most of the choir members are also composers and instrumentalists. Sometimes, there are elements of text, gesture, movement, and video or visual art in the choir’s performances.

Some of the Cornelius Cardew Choir members are also members of the Long Tone Choir, and will be performing in both concerts, on December 19th and 20th (see below).

The Turquoise Yantra Grotto is located near the Diamond Heights and Glen Park neighborhoods in San Francisco. More information, and a map are available on the Facebook page (or see below).

The Turquoise Yantra Grotto is a cozy venue offering a diverse blend of ethno-modernist music in an intimate house concert setting.

The hosts curate a monthly concert juxtaposing acts from among the San Francisco Bay Area’s most notable contemporary composers, performers and instrument inventors. Chinese tea service in the planted atrium offers guests an opportunity to mingle with each other among a menagerie of tropical birds and unique invented instruments, including the gamelon piano (an upright re-tuned with two Indonesian scales, and a set of haunting bell tones), and the zen industrial carillon (an arrangement of over 20 bells cut from high pressure gas cylinders). A classic Steinway grand piano rounds out this Eichler-style environment, with an ever-changing gallery of artworks by local artists.

For more information about the Cornelius Cardew Choir, visit their Facebook page, or web site.

In one of the darkest days of the year, the audience is invited to close their eyes and open their ears, in an evening of immersive sonic experience with the Long Tone Choir and Thicket Ensemble.

The Long Tone Choir will steep the audience in a variety of mesmerizing vocal soundscapes, some of which will include optional audience participation. They will perform composer Rae Diamond’s Circling Intervals, along with other original pieces. Thicket Ensemble’s RITUAL 1 will bathe the audience in water-inspired sound from the inner ear-out.

RITUAL 1: Thicket Ensemble is comprised of musicians Mateo Lugo (Totonoko) and Suki O’Kane. They convened with Katherine McDonald and Tim Kim for the first time in early 2015 to accompany the movement performance of Mari Osanai, with Dana Iova-Koga and Shinichi Iova-Koga (inkBoat). Combining voice and acoustic strings with processed water and found objects, through the process of empathic listening, they later participated in a performance of inkBoat’s 95 RITUALS, presented in Summer, 2015. InkBoat is an artistic collective that developed and performed a monumental set of works informed by veteran Bay Area dancer/choreographer Anna Halprin’s work.

“Ritual is another word that needs a new definition… Ritual, as I use the term, refers to an artistic process by which people gather and unify themselves in order to confront the challenges of their existence.” —Anna Halprin

The Long Tone Choir, which celebrates its two-year anniversary with this performance, is a movement in several variations, based on the cornerstones of listening, breathing, mindfulness, and a biotic and responsive experience of time. The variations: 1), a loose community of listeners and sounders; 2), a growing body of meditation-compositions; 3), a path of exploration. The Long Tone Choir is facilitated by composer/performer Rae Diamond.

This performance will be held on Sunday, December 20, 2015, at 7:00 p.m. PST.


Subterranean Arthouse Collective
2179 Bancroft Way (near Fulton), Berkeley, California

(Directions are available on their Facebook page.)

Tickets: $10-$15, sliding scale at the door.

Phone for information: (510) 981-1281

This venue is wheelchair accessible.

For more information, visit the Long Tone Choir’s event Facebook page.

The Subterranean Arthouse Collective is an interdisciplinary community art space that offers diverse opportunities for local, national, and international artists to teach, create and present their artworks. Through weekly classes, performances, film showings and visual art exhibitions, the Collective encourages dialogue between disciplines and between artists. They inspire a sustained curiosity about life through the practice of art. The Subterranean Arthouse Collective is rooted in a tradition of experimentation unique to the Bay Area, as it extends its branches to the terrain of other arts communities.

We hope to see you at either or both performances, which promise to be intriguing, immersive experiences, and substantially different from each other. I’ll only be performing with the Cardew Choir on Saturday, 12/19, as I have a conflicting recording assignment with Links Sound on Sunday. Please stop by and say hello, if you come to the Cardew performance, and I hope you’ll also be able to enjoy the Long Tone Choir performance.

Happy Holidays to all my readers! I’ll be posting more in the next year about upcoming book, art, media, and music projects here at the Creative Sage Arts Blog…and email me to get on my mailing list! In the subject line, please indicate whether you only want to be on my arts mailing list, or if you also want to be on our company e-letter list as well. Season’s greetings!

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Shop Local, Shop Small Businesses, Support Local Artists, and Give to Do More Good!

Every year, I look for alternatives for buying holiday gifts that have personal meaning, help support local artists and small businesses, and do more good for my local community and the world. Making gifts is always a wonderful option, as well as buying hand-made gifts from artists and craftspeople. Here are a few favorite sources of gifts and related holiday events that take place in my two “home” communities — in Berkeley, California, and on the incredibly beautiful Mendocino Coast, which is about a three-hour drive north from Berkeley and San Francisco:

Berkeley Artists Invite You into Their Studios!

Over one hundred professional artists, craftspeople and galleries at studio buildings in Berkeley, California will open their doors to the public during the 24th annual Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios, on Saturdays and Sundays, November 28–29, December 5–6, 12–13, and 19–20,from 11:00-6:00 p.m. PST. Some studios will be open on additional days, December 21–24. Call individual studios for dates and hours.

NEW: Many studios will also be open on First Saturdays every month, January-November, 2016, from noon-5:00 p.m. (Please call individual studios first to confirm hours.)

For more information, visit: Berkeley Artisans.

All media of fine arts and crafts will be shown, including blown glass, functional and decorative ceramics, ornaments, Menorahs, lamps and unusual lighting fixtures, painted and custom furniture, garden art, floor cloths, one-of-a-kind clothing, textiles, dolls, leather bags, many styles of jewelry, sculpture, photography, paintings in different media, original prints and works on paper, mosaics, and work from recycled materials. All work is handcrafted, and many pieces are one-of-a-kind.

This self-guided tour presents a unique opportunity to meet the artists, to buy original and creative gifts, and to see working craft studios. The art walk gives participants a glimpse into the creative process, and the opportunity to sign up for classes and workshops. Many studios are in the same building, or are clustered within walking distance. Delightful, free foods and beverages are available at many of the studios.

This much anticipated, popular event is known for the high quality of the work shown. A free Map and Directory in list form are available, showing the locations of all participants. This event is FREE.

You can find Berkeley Artisans on Facebook.

Places to get a Map and Directory of Studios:

Go to the Berkeley Artisans web site and print out the Map and Directory.

All participating artists will have the printed Map & Directory at their studios.

Pick up a printed Map and Directory at Berkeley Artisans, 2547 Eighth St. #24 A, Berkeley, CA 94710.

All participants will have the directory at their studios.

Maps will be printed weekly in the East Bay Express during the event.
The maps will be at many bookstores, cafés and art supply stores.
For other directory distribution points, call (510) 845-2612 or email Berkeley Artisans.

If you’re from out-of-town, you may want to spend a weekend exploring Open Studios. For hotel accommodations, see Visit Berkeley.

Berkeley Artisans gratefully gratefully acknowledges sponsorship by the East Bay Express, Oakland Magazine, Alameda Magazine, and Parents’ Press.

Wherever you live, support your local artists. Bring more art into your life!

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can come visit my studio building…

Cathryn's Sawtooth Pictures 023

Cathryn's Sawtooth Pictures 022

Our Creative Sage™ studio/office building, the Kawneer Building (also known as the Sawtooth Building, due to the jagged sawtooth shape of its roof), located in West Berkeley, is a central point in the Open Studios events. There are a number of prominent artists of all genres working there, including visual/fine artists, writers, musicians, composers, filmmakers, sound designers, photographers, web designers, graphic artists, illustrators, theatre artists, dancers, ceramicists, woodworkers, jewelers, and more. There are also a number of interesting, arts-related small businesses and nonprofits headquartered in our historic Berkeley, California landmark.

Cathryn's Sawtooth Pictures 047

In fact, the entire neighborhood of West Berkeley, bordering on Emeryville, is an intriguing one, full of artist studios, cafes, unusual shops, tech and biotech companies, creative businesses, and the historic Fantasy Studios, part of what was formerly known as the Saul Zaentz Film Center, now Zaentz Media Center (photo above). It’s also a short drive from West Berkeley to Pixar and other Emeryville landmarks.

Cathryn's Sawtooth Pictures 072

You can see the entire set on Flickr.

If you plan to tour the Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios and want to stop by and meet me (Cathryn Hrudicka) in person, please contact our office first to arrange a date and time, as we’re not usually there during the entire Open Studio hours. You can email us, preferably at least 24 hours in advance, or call and leave a message, at: 1-510-845-5510 (PDT), and we’ll get back to you to arrange a visit! You can also make prior arrangements to visit our building at a time other than the Open Studios events by contacting us at least 7-14 days in advance.

You’ll want to visit the studios of the outstanding artists and craftspeople in my building. In my section (the Dwight Way and 8th Street wing), talented artists work in all media of the fine arts; and in the past few years, we’ve had some especially outstanding women artists move into the nearby studios. I think you’ll find it a fascinating and festive place for a holiday season outing, and it’s perfect for the whole family — children are encouraged to visit with their parents.

We hope you’ll enjoy touring our historic Berkeley building, and the Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios. Happy Holidays to all of you in our community, and thank you for your year-round support!

In my lovely second home community on the Mendocino Coast in Northern California, there will be a #ShopSmall event in the City of Fort Bragg, developed by the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with the Fort Bragg Promotion Committee, to help support local businesses and organizations:

From a post by Sharon Davis, CEO, Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce:


This year, we’re bringing the power of social media to our neighborhood with a #ShopSmall Selfie event, and we want YOU to be a part of it.


As a consumer, you are a key part in helping small businesses thrive. By shopping or dining at small businesses throughout the year, you’re showing your support for the small businesses in your neighborhood in the community you call home.

#SmallBizSat is Nov 28, and the businesses in Fort Bragg are going to celebrate with a #ShopSmall Selfie event. Show your support by taking selfies at your favorite local businesses. Tag the businesses in each photo and share them with #ShopSmall.


Think of a unique selfie for people to take at your business on Small Business Saturday. Have some fun with your ideas — try anything from getting your entire staff in a picture to showcasing an item your business is known for. You can also write the name of your business on the “I #ShopSmall at…” sign you receive and ask people to include it in their photos.

Fill in the poster you receive with your social media information (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Hang the poster to remind people to tag your business in their selfies on Small Business Saturday. We’ll also provide you with a table tent card. Place it next to your register as another way to remind shoppers about the event.


Stop by local businesses on Saturday, November 28th and take photos of yourselves with owners, staff, or signage. Post your selfies on social media and tag the business to show support. We will recognize the person with the best photo.

This year, show your love for local businesses by participating in our #ShopSmall Selfie event!

Even though Saturday, November 28th is the official #ShopSmall event in Fort Bragg, we hope you’ll continue to support local businesses, organizations, and artists wherever you live, on an ongoing basis. (By the way, you can see some of my past photos and selfies from Fort Bragg, California businesses on Instagram). — C.H.

Another Holiday Event: Festival of Lights, at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens — from a post by Sharon Davis, CEO, Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce:

Celebrate the season of lights. . .

The Festival of Lights is better than ever this year, with new displays, dinner options, wine, beer, hot cocoa and spiced cider, home-baked goodies in our Holiday Treats Café, a heated tent to sit in and listen to one of our many musical guests, and so much more! The event will take place, rain or shine.

The lights make their triumphant return the weekend after Thanksgiving beginning Friday through Sunday, November 27, 28, and 29. This community event continues each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 5:00pm to 7:30pm through December 20. Adult tickets are $10 and children age 16 and under are free thanks to the funds raised by our spectacular annual benefit, the Festival of Lights Gala.

Join us at the Gardens for live music, food, drinks, and fun in the big tent each evening of the Festival. Have an affinity for calories? Our Holiday Sweets Café is filled with all kinds of goodies baked by Friends of the Gardens members. You can also warm up with hot cocoa or cider. This year we have added a special surprise… Santa Claus is coming to town! He will be taking wish-lists on November 27, December 12, and 18. Candy canes are free as usual.

Outside the tent, an unbelievable show of glittering color draws you into the Gardens. Stroll the twinkling pathways through underwater ocean fantasies, shooting stars, and a fire-breathing dragon. This year’s new additions are sure to turn heads! Children of all ages can warm up by the campfire and roast a marshmallow or two.

LIVE MUSIC NIGHTLY at Festival of Lights

11/27 Calvary Chapel Choir – Holiday Carols and Choral Music
11/28 Nancy Joy and the Whole Hearted – American
11/29 Sergei Bassehes – Classical Guitar

12/4 The Smokey Jalapeños – Blues, Reggae, Americana, Celtic
12/5 The Dorian May Trio – Jazz
12/6 Fort Bragg High School Choir – Holiday Carols and Choral Music

12/11 The Groovinators – Blues, Jazz, Swing
12/12 The Groovinators – Blues, Jazz, Swing
12/13 Gabriel Yañez Trio – Jazz

12/18 Shug-A-Pea – Eclectic Contemporary
12/19 Pura Vida – Afro-Caribbean Salsa
12/20 Nancy Joy and the Whole Hearted – American

Santa Claus will be visiting Nov 27, Dec 12, and Dec 18!

Tickets are now available at The Gardens Store: $10.00 for adults, children age 16 and under are FREE. Visit the website for information about musical acts, sponsorships, and more.

Helpful web sites for information about visiting Fort Bragg and the Mendocino Coast:

Fort Bragg Promotion Committee web site and blog

Fort Bragg Promotion Committee’s Facebook page

Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce web site

Visit Mendocino County web site (covers the entire Mendocino County).

Finally, my favorite kinds of gifts are those that give people wonderful, memorable experiences; and gifts that do more good in the world. Several members of my family and I have a tradition where we give donations to our priority causes in each others’ names, as well as memorial contributions in memory of deceased loved ones.

If you aren’t sure where to start, as far as choosing organizations for contributions, you may want to join #GivingTuesday, which takes place on Tuesday, December 1st. This event raises money for many local, national and international nonprofit and arts organizations. For more information, visit the Giving Tuesday web site. I hope to catch up with you at one of these in-person or online events, and Happy Holidays to all of my readers!

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Performing with Cardew Choir & Gusty Winds at the Richard Waters New Music Festival, 6/27/15, at Berkeley Arts Gallery & Performance Space

The 3rd Annual Richard Waters New Music Festival celebrates invented instruments and extended techniques, and features composers, musicians, and instrument builders from the greater Bay Area. The festival is inspired by the late Richard Waters and his invention, the Waterphone (pictured above). This year’s festival includes a Waterphone Orchestra and a guest appearance by Rayme Waters and Waterphone builder Brooks Hubbert.

Richard Waters

“The late Richard Waters was a sweet, fun-loving, adventuresome instrument designer/builder, sculptor, musician who always brought magic to the moments one spent with him. Almost always with a smile, Richard knew how to enjoy life and live it to the max! He is known throughout the world for his invention, the Waterphone. So, give up a prayer, a meditation, or just a quiet thought for Richard in appreciation of his kind presence.” — Tom Nunn, Artist, Musician and Instrument Builder.

The Festival will take place on Saturday, June 27, 2015, from 1:00-10:00 p.m. PDT.


Berkeley Arts Gallery & Performance Space
2133 University Avenue
Berkeley, California

An all-day pass is $10.00 at the door. You can attend any or all of the performances for that admission price. The space is wheelchair accessible.

Schedule of Performers and Ensembles:

1:00 p.m. PDT Beak
Jordan Glenn – conduction, Jason Hoopes – bass, Bob LaDue – percussion, Will Northlich-Redmond – guitar/kalimba, Mark Clifford – vibes, Karl Evangelista- guitar and Jon Arkin- drums

1:35 Dapplegray
Tara Sreekrishnan – piano/electronics, Nava Dunkelman – percussion, Jeanie-Aprille Tang – electronics

2:10 Kattt Atchley & Ron Heglin – vocals

2:45 Fuzzy Bunny

Chris Brown – electronics, Tim Perkis – electronics, Scot Gresham-Lancaster – guitar

3:20 Bad Jazz
Bryan Day – inventions, Tania Chen – piano, toys, Ben Salomon – electricity

3:55 Bart Hopkin – inventions, waterphone/Peter Whitehead – stringed inventions duo

4:30 The Full Disclosure Band
Keith Cudaback – piano, Gary Knowlton – homemade instruments, waterphone, Tom Solinger – violin, Mike Knowlton – guitar

5:00 Break

6:00 Amy X Neuburg – vocals, toys, electronics/Thea Farhadian – violin duo

6:35 The Waterphone Orchestra introduction by Rayme Waters & Brooks Hubbert — Brooks Hubbert, Bart Hopkin, Tom Nunn, Karen Stackpole, Dave Tilton, Todd Barton, Ed Herrmann and Cindy Webster – saw

7:00 Dean Santomieri – storyteller

7:20 Scott Looney – “Three views inside the piano” with guests Doug Carroll – cello and Tom Djll – trumpet

7:55 Gusty Winds May Exist, with The Cardew Choir

Tom Bickley, Nancy Beckman, Bob Marsh, Rae Diamond, Joe Kuta, Cathryn Hrudicka, and Patti Deuter

8:30 Eli Wallace/Karl Evangelista – piano/guitar duo

9:05 Ghost In The House
Karen Stackpole – gongs, Tom Nunn – inventions, David Michalak – lap steel, John Ingle – saxophones, Karen Stackpole – gongs, percussion and Kinji Hayashi – dance

For more information, please see the Bay Improviser web site and the Facebook event page.

I will be performing with the Cardew Choir and Gusty Winds May Exist. Together, we will perform three intertwined pieces: Waterfall Meditation, composed by Pauline Oliveros; Takiochi, a traditional shakuhachi piece performed by Nancy Beckman; and Environmental Dialogue, by Pauline Oliveros, which will involve vocal improvisations on a timed score, interwoven with shakuhachi and contrabass recorder solos and duets. Tom Bickley will perform on contrabass recorder.

The Berkeley Arts Festival Gallery and Performance Space is dedicated to the notion that in Berkeley, every day is an arts festival. The venue presented its first month-long Arts Festival in 1997, with the support of the City of Berkeley. In addition to art exhibitions, the venue hosts events for writers, and concerts featuring some of the most creative artists in the San Francisco Bay Area.

At Creative Sage Arts, we will be going on vacation for the rest of the summer, while continuing to work on writing, music and other arts projects. We will post again as soon as another event is confirmed. We are also planning to update our entire web site over the next several months, so you may see some gradual changes.

Meanwhile, please keep in touch with me (Cathryn Hrudicka) by getting on my artist email list. I’m looking forward to an exciting 2015-2016 season of multidisciplinary arts projects!

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