Palo Alto Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - February 26, 2010

Worth a look

Art

Charles Grogg and Holly Roberts

Bonsai trees, camellias, magnolias and other botanical subjects take on a dreamy, warm glow when photographed by Charles Grogg.

The fine-art photographer prints these images in platinum palladium on handmade Japanese gampi paper. Then he adds an unusual quilt-like touch by dividing the images into panels and hand-stitching them back together.

Grogg's photos are currently keeping company with those of fellow photographer Holly Roberts in a show at Modernbook Gallery in downtown Palo Alto. Roberts lives in New Mexico and finds inspiration from its Native American heritage and desert scenes. Her mixed-media photo collages, with names such as "Angry Trees Dancing" and "Family With Troubles," have the feel of dreams — and sometimes nightmares.

The exhibition is up through March 28 at 494 University Ave., with the gallery open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 11 to 9. Go to http://www.modernbook.com or call 650-327-6325.

Family

'Tea with Chachaji'

A picture book about an heirloom teacup and an Indian-American boy learning his family's history has been turned into a child-friendly work of musical theater. This weekend, the New York company Making Books Sing brings its stage version of the 2003 book "Chachaji's Cup," by Uma Krishnaswami and Soumya Sitaraman to Stanford's Dinkelspiel Auditorium.

In the show, called "Tea with Chachaji," young Neel shares cups of spice tea and Hindu tales with his great-uncle Chachaji, and Neel and a friend are magically taken back to 1947. That's the year of the Partition of India and Pakistan, and the boys see it through the eyes of Neel's great-grandmother.

Presented by Stanford Lively Arts, the performances are scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 28, at 11 a.m. and 2 and 5 p.m. (Tickets are selling quickly for the 2 p.m. show.) Tickets are $20-$24 for adults, $10-$12 for kids ages 18 and under, and $10 for Stanford students, with other discounts available for groups and other students.

For more information, go to http://livelyarts.stanford.edu or call 650-725-ARTS.

Music

Haiti benefit concert

Palo Alto bluesman Kenny Neal joins teen Haitian songwriter Rosemond Jolissaint in Palo Alto tonight, Feb. 26, for a concert benefiting earthquake relief in Haiti.

Jolissaint was the 2007 winner of Haiti's first Digicel Stars competition, a contest akin to "American Idol." Neal, who has been profiled in the Weekly, is a New Orleans native who has racked up several Grammy nominations in recent years.

The concert is set for 8 p.m. tonight at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 505 E. Charleston Road in Palo Alto. Suggested donation is $10-$50. Proceeds will go to two organizations: S.O.I.L., which focuses on protecting soil resources and turning wastes into resources in Haiti; and the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund.

The event is sponsored by the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center. For more information, go to http://peaceandjustice.org .

Film

'What's the Economy for, Anyway?'

How does the U.S. economy compare with those in other industrial countries, in terms of quality of life and environmental sustainability? According to ecological economist Dave Batker, not well.

In his documentary film "What's the Economy for, Anyway?" Batker holds the U.S. up to other nations, digs into the ways Americans measure economic success, and casts a skeptical eye at such terms as "productivity." He does it in a humorous voice that's meant to be accessible to high school students as well as adults.

The 40-minute movie, directed by John de Graaf ("Affluenza"), is being shown locally on Friday, March 5, as part of a film series at the environmental nonprofit group Acterra.

After that are "In Transition," a film about the Transition movement that seeks to help communities respond to climate change and peak oil, on March 12; and a discussion on the themes raised in the films, on March 19. All events run from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., at 3921 E. Bayshore Road, Palo Alto.

The events are free, and an RSVP is requested at http://www.transitionpaloalto.org/friday-night-movies .

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