Worth a Look: Ceramic art, Messiah singalong and more

This week's A&E highlights

This week, check out ceramic art in Portola Valley, catch a classical holiday concert in Palo Alto and attend a Messiah singalong at Stanford.


Ceramic art open studio

From Jeonju, South Korea, to the Imperial Ancestral Temple of the Forbidden City in Beijing, Lee Middleman's pots get around. This weekend, the Portola Valley-based ceramic artist opens the doors of his studio to the public.

Known for his use of complex textures, rich glazes and experimental firing techniques, Middleman has established himself as a respected ceramic artist both in the States and abroad; his works are included in the permanent collections of museums from India to Turkey to Japan. The artist also has an interesting back story: Prior to devoting himself to ceramic art, Middleman earned his doctoral degree in physics at Stanford University and spent many years in the high-tech industry.

Those who venture into the hills above Portola Valley this Saturday or Sunday, Dec. 12-13, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. will discover a wide selection of works that share an earthy palette and a distinctly Asian aesthetic. The pieces range from round, stippled bowls reminiscent of urchin shells to elegant vases bearing swirling patterns to vessels with bark-like surfaces and perforated lids.

Middleman's studio is located at 16 Coalmine View, Portola Valley. To learn more about the artist, go to leemiddleman.com or call 650-851-0295.


An evening with Anita Diamant

She made her name with the 1997 bestseller, "The Red Tent," but Anita Diamant has written numerous novels and nonfiction works since then. The author will appear at Palo Alto's Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, on Tuesday, Dec 15, to discuss her latest historical novel, "The Boston Girl." Tickets are $15-$30. Go to goo.gl/FHUUlH or call 650-223-8649.


Messiah singalong

Baroque composer George Frideric Handel may not have intended for his famous "Messiah" oratorio to be sung by bands of cheerful amateurs, but Messiah singalongs have become a beloved holiday tradition. Stanford University holds its annual Messiah singalong at Memorial Church, 450 Serra Mall, this Saturday, Dec. 12, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10-$15. Bring your own score, or purchase a copy at the door. Go to goo.gl/LdyYtC.


Public art open house

Meet the commissioners, take part in a hands-on workshop and share your vision of the future of public art in Palo Alto when the Public Art Commission hosts a holiday open house and master planning workshop on Monday, Dec. 14, 6-8 p.m. The event takes place in the Community Meeting Room at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave. Go to goo.gl/1Wr3qR or call 650-617-3517.


'Women's Power to Stop War'

Ever heard of the "Raging Grannies?" Now through Jan. 23, Palo Alto's Rinconada Library at 1213 Newell Road hosts an exhibit titled, "Women's Power to Stop War." The collection of photographs, text and memorabilia examines the history of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, whose local chapter was founded in 1922. Go to goo.gl/G0aGTA or call 650-326-1235.


'Holiday Extravaganza'

Young musicians take the stage this Sunday, Dec. 13, at 3 p.m, when the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra hosts its "Holiday Extravaganza" concert at the Cubberley Community Center Theatre, 4000 Middlefield Road. The program features excerpts from Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Ballet" as well as appearances by Palo Alto's iSing Girlchoir, dancers from Mountain View's Pacific Ballet Academy and PACO's youth ensemble, the SuperStrings Orchestra. Tickets are $10. Go to goo.gl/OQwGOI or call 650-856-3848.

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