Worth a Look: This week's A&E highlights

A book discussion, plus collages inspired by silence

This week, see collages at the Palo Alto Art Center, journey to Hidden Villa for a book discussion and check out a piano concert designed especially for kids.


'Stuffed and Starved'

What's wrong with our system of growing, distributing and consuming food? And how can we make that system more sustainable and just? These questions lie at the heart of "Stuffed and Starved," the 2008 book by food activist and academic Raj Patel. On Thursday, Jan. 15, at 6:15 p.m., Hidden Villa organic farm in Los Altos Hills will host a public book discussion on "Stuffed and Starved." One week later, on Saturday, Jan. 24, at 4 p.m., Patel will speak at Hidden Villa.

In his book, Patel shares the results of his investigation into what he sees as an international crisis in which more than one billion people suffer from malnourishment while another billion battle obesity. The solution, he suggests, is to wrest power away from the corporate food monopoly and to regain "food sovereignty."

Patel's latest undertaking, Generation Food Project, draws together stories of sustainable farming and harvesting, from Japan to Malawi to Cuba, presenting them as examples of the way forward. He'll discuss both Generation Food Project and "Stuffed and Starved" at his Hidden Villa appearance.

Admission to both events is free, though registration is required. Go to hiddenvilla.org or call 650-949-9702. For more on Patel, go to rajpatel.org. For those interested in purchasing the book, Kepler's Books in Menlo Park is offering a 15 percent discount.



Photographs and found objects, scraps of old newspaper and magazine clippings: All these and more serve as materials for collage and assemblage artists. Starting next week, Palo Alto's loose collective of more than 60 artists known as the "drop-in collage group" will present their work at the Palo Alto Art Center (1313 Newell Road). The show is titled "Silence," and group members went to great lengths to explore the theme, from experimenting with meditation to studying deafness and sign language. The resulting works express their discoveries in a wide variety of media and forms.

Among the works on display will be Dianne Kochenburg's collage, "Silenced," in which the body of a bird is splayed across a page announcing obituaries, as well as Marilyn Proffitt's "Silent Spring," a three-dimensional work in which bare white branches sprout from the pages of a book.

The show was organized as a response to a larger Art Center exhibition, "Hear This!," which takes sound as its subject and opens to the public on Saturday, Jan. 17.

"Silence" will be on view at the Palo Alto Art Center from Jan. 15 through March 24. The Center is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. For more information, go to cityofpaloalto.org or call 650-329-2366. The drop-in collage group meets Wednesdays from 10 a.m-1 p.m in Studio B at the Art Center. No registration is required; the fee is $5 per meeting.


'Musical Journeys'

Hoping to instill the next generation with a love of classical music? Look no further than Frank Lévy. The acclaimed pianist has enjoyed an international career, from studies with Emmanuel Ax at The Julliard School to recitals at Carnegie Hall. This Sunday, Lévy comes to Palo Alto with a special program for children. "Musical Journeys with Frank Lévy: Animals, Seasons & Other Musical Fantasies" invites young listeners on an adventure. Though the program is designed for children, it's no snooze for grown-ups, who'll get a chance to hear the world-class musician play works by Aaron Copland, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven and others.

"Musical Journeys" will take place at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center (3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto) on Sunday, Jan. 11, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Go to paloaltojcc.org or call 650-223-8664.

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