Palo Alto Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - October 22, 2010

Worth a look

Film

African Film Festival

A new Peninsula film festival makes its debut this weekend, showcasing 30 creations from 16 African countries. The Silicon Valley African Film Festival kicks off Saturday at 11 a.m. with a flag- and drum-filled opening ceremony.

Hosted by the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View, the event is co-sponsored by Mountain View's Oriki Theater. Feature films, shorts and animated movies by new and experienced filmmakers are set to be screened.

"The festival's mission is to promote an understanding and appreciation of Africa and Africans through moving images," festival director Chike C. Nwoffiah of the Oriki Theater said in a press release.

Films will include "Origins of Sin," a Ugandan film directed by Patrick Sekyaya. It follows a married young woman who incurs the gods' wrath in a traditional society. Sekyaya is scheduled to speak after the 2 p.m. screening on Oct. 23. "Wrestling Grounds," directed by Cheikh N'Diaye, screens at 11 a.m. on Sunday; it's about a 17-year-old joining an African champion wrestling team.

The festival runs 11 a.m. through 1 a.m. on Oct. 23 and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Oct. 24. Ticket prices vary from $5 to $30, with options including single tickets and day passes. The school is at 230 San Antonio Circle in Mountain View. Go to http://svaff.org or call 415-774-6787.

Music

Swinging strings

Two separate concerts this weekend demonstrate the variable nature of the stringed instrument in its vast range of sounds.

Palo Alto cellist Michelle Djokic, whose regular gigs include playing with Quartet San Francisco and the New Century Chamber Orchestra, will be featured with the youthful players of the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra in a concert called "Musical Maiden." The program includes Schubert's "Death and the Maiden" and music by Jean-Baptiste Lully, Felix Mendelssohn and Northern California's Lou Harrison.

PACO performs at 8 p.m. in the Eagle Theatre at Los Altos High School, 201 Almond Ave. Tickets are $15 general, $10 for seniors and $5 for students. Go to pacomusic.org or call 650-856-3848.

Meanwhile, Palo Alto's Tuttle family explores the bluegrass side of stringed instruments with a concert that also celebrates the players' new CD, made with musical cohort A.J. Lee. Mandolin, guitar and banjo tunes will be among the sounds mingling with bluegrass singing.

The show is the first of the season for Redwood Bluegrass Associates, which presents concerts at the First Presbyterian Church at 1667 Miramonte Ave in Mountain View. Jamming starts at 5 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m. and the concert at 8. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 on the day of the show, with some discounts available. Go to rba.org or buy tickets in person at Gryphon Stringed Instruments, 211 Lambert St., Palo Alto.

Toshi Reagon

Born in Atlanta and based in Brooklyn, Toshi Reagon first took the stage at 17. She's been quoted as saying that she sees "a oneness" in many styles of music, and her sound certainly reflects that: It's a blend of gospel, rock, R&B, blues, folk, funk, spirituals, reggae and others.

On Oct. 29 at 8 p.m., the singer/songwriter/guitarist will bring her band BIGLovely to Stanford University for a Stanford Lively Arts concert at Dinkelspiel Auditorium.

Frequently, she collaborates with her mother, Bernice Johnson Reagon, who founded the gospel a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock. She has also scored dance works, performed with Elvis Costello and Lenny Kravitz, and had her music featured in the film "The Secret Life of Bees."

Tickets for next Friday's concert are $38/$42 for adults and $10 for Stanford students, with discounts available for young people, groups and other students. Go to http://livelyarts.stanford.edu or call 650-725-ARTS.

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