Worth a Look: comedian Maria Bamford and more

This week's A&E highlights

This week, catch comedian Maria Bamford at Stanford, enjoy a musical tribute to MLK Jr. and check out Ballet San Jose's new Palo Alto kids' program.


Maria Bamford

From "Benched" to "BoJack Horseman," "Arrested Development" to "Louie," Maria Bamford has a way of repeatedly landing roles on some of television's funniest sitcoms and series. The actress, comedian, writer and star of her own web series, "The Maria Bamford Show," will make an appearance at Stanford University on Monday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. to talk about her life and career.

Though she's adept at taking on other comic characters and delivering laugh-out-loud voice-overs, Bamford's arguably at her best when she's doing autobiographical stand-up. Among her recurring themes are depression, anxiety and the challenges of growing up in a dysfunctional family.

Bamford's talk is sponsored by the Stanford Storytelling Project and the Immersion in the Arts: Living in Culture (ITALIC) program, and will take place at the Cemex Auditorium of the Stanford Graduate School of Business (655 Knight Way). Admission is free; early arrival is recommended. To learn more, go to events.stanford.edu or call 650-736-7298.


'Walk Together'

Two concerts featuring music inspired by and dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. and performed by a bevy of accomplished Bay Area and New York musicians are scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 24 and 25, at Eastside College Preparatory School (1041 Myrtle St.) in East Palo Alto.

The event, which is in its sixth year, is a benefit for the school, and is titled "Walk Together -- a Musical Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act."

The program includes spirituals, freedom songs and instrumental music in traditional and jazz styles. Among the many performers in the line-up are soprano Yolanda Rhodes, pianists Josephine Gandolfi and LaDoris Cordell and New York jazz artists Dr. Valerie Capers, piano, and John Robinson, bass and cello. The Eastside Preparatory School Choir will also perform.

Alongside jazz classics by the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Fats Waller will be several original compositions. Valerie Capers' multi-movement work, "In Praise of Freedom," is based on Dr. King's March on Washington speech. Her arrangement of "Hold On: Keep your Eyes on the Prize" is a new version of a spiritual frequently sung by freedom singers of the 1960s.

Concert tickets are $20 general and $5 for students and seniors. For tickets or more information, go to aacinitiative.org or call 650-688-0850.


Ballet open house

Know any little ones who love to dance? Ballet San Jose will hold a free open house for families of young children at the Cubberley Community Center dance studio (4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto) on Friday, Jan. 23, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. The event marks the launch of the company's new Palo Alto program for young dancers, which will run through May 22.

From 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., families with children age 3 to 4 will get an introduction to the creative movement program; the session for 5- to 7-year-olds runs from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. All classes offered at Cubberley will feature the American Ballet Theatre's National Training Curriculum, and are designed to foster strong technique, creativity and self-confidence.

The event includes fun activities for kids including face painting, a dance-along class and a photo opportunity from Cinderella, the star of Ballet San Jose's upcoming spring production.

To learn more about the company's new Palo Alto children's program, go to balletsj.org, email school@balletsj.org or call 408-288-2820, ext. 223.

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