How has humans' use of water impacted the Santa Clara Valley, and what does the future look like, water-wise? An exhibit of art, artifacts, photos, maps and stories is currently delving into these questions at the Los Altos History Museum.
"Shaped by Water: Past, Present & Future" starts with a look back at the indigenous tribal people of the valley, telling their stories and depicting the ways they used creeks and the Bay, and moved from place to place during wet and dry seasons.
Moving forward in time, models and other installations look at the rock dams and irrigation ditches that arrived with Spanish missionaries, the artesian wells of Mexican ranchos, and the more recent dam-building. Historic film footage gives visitors a look at the 1937 Santa Clara Valley flood.
Present-day topics include the ways we look at water as a threatened resource. One display depicts how much water residents use every day; other exhibit sections deals with groundwater pollution, waste-water treatment and other subjects. And then there's the water-related artwork, including San Francisco artist-surfer Kathleen Egan's giant "Barreled by Plastic," an installation constructed from a surfboard and recycled plastic bottles.
"Our main goal for 'Shaped by Water' is to educate the community about the past, present and future of water while inspiring appreciation and action for this precious resource," said Linda Gass, the exhibit chair and a Los Altos textile artist and painter.
The exhibit runs through April 22 at 51 S. San Antonio Road in Los Altos. Admission is free, and opening hours are Thursday through Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Go to losaltoshistory.org or call 650-948-9427.
'The Legend of Rex Slinkard'
He was a rancher-turned-painter who became an influential California modernist and teacher. But Rex Slinkard didn't have many decades to make his mark on the art world: Born in 1887, he died in the 1918 influenza epidemic while serving in the military.
Now Slinkard's work is lighting up a gallery at Stanford's Cantor Arts Center. A new exhibition called "The Legend of Rex Slinkard" features 60-some works by the late artist: oil paintings, charcoal drawings and sketches in pen and watercolor paint. Portraits and nature scenes are among them.
The museum has a large collection of art by Slinkard thanks to a 1955 bequest by Florence A. Williams, who was the sister of the artist's fiancee, said Cantor curator of education Patience Young in a press release. In addition, Geneva Gano, who has taught at Stanford, did research into Slinkard's painting and teaching career in Los Angeles.
"Until Geneva's research this past decade, little has been known about the artist and his work in our collection," Young said.
The museum hosts the exhibition through Feb. 26 on the Stanford campus, off Palm Drive at Museum Way. Admission is free, and the Cantor is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursdays until 8 p.m. Go to museum.stanford.edu or call 650-723-4177.
This Saturday, Kepler's Books in Menlo Park recalls the 1956 Hungarian Revolution with a film night. The store will hold a public screening of the 2006 documentary "Freedom's Fury."
Directed by Colin K. Gray and Megan Raney, the film looks at the revolt against Soviet domination that the Soviets ultimately put down. Instead of focusing on the street fighting or the thousands of Hungarians fleeing the country, the filmmakers centered their documentary on the 1956 Olympic semifinal water-polo contest between Hungary and Russia. Needless to say, it was a rather politicized faceoff, referred to by many as the "Blood in the Water" match.
The film is narrated by Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz, and its executive producers include Quentin Tarantino and Lucy Liu. It will be shown at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at Kepler's, 1010 El Camino Real. Tickets are $12 in advance and $16 at the door. Go to keplers.com or call 650-324-4321.
'Gershwin and Friends'
George Gershwin's got rhythm — and a running commentary.
In Sunday's event "Gershwin and Friends," pianist Jeffrey Siegel presents what he calls a "keyboard conversation." He'll play music by Gershwin, Edward MacDowell, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein and Scott Joplin after giving lively mini-talks about their composers and their art. A question-and-answer period concludes the evening.
Siegel, a New Yorker, has soloed with many an orchestra, including the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic. He's also been on Oprah Radio and recorded Gershwin's complete works for piano and orchestra.
The Nov. 13 program is planned for 7 p.m. at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center at 3921 Fabian Way in Palo Alto. Works to be played include Joplin's "Wall Street Rag," Copland's "The Cat and the Mouse" and Gershwin's "Rialto Ripples" and "Sleepless Night."
Advance tickets are $35 general and $30 for JCC members and students; admission at the door is $40. For more information, go to paloaltojcc.org or call 650-223-8609.
A saxophone in a chamber concert? It's certainly not unheard-of, especially if you're performing Bernhard Heiden's Intrada for Woodwind Quintet and Alto Saxophone.
The Palo Alto Philharmonic's fall chamber concert is one of less common mixtures and sounds, including the Heiden piece, which blends a saxophone's sound into the winds. The viola, clarinet and piano also make up an unusual troika in works by Max Bruch.
Also on the program is "Saxiland," written for saxophone quartet and piano by the contemporary Spanish composer Ferrer Ferran. Germaine Tailleferre's Serenade en la Mineur for sax quartet and piano, and Mozart's Grande Sestetto Concertante for string sextet round out the evening.
The performance features Palo Alto Philharmonic orchestra musicians and their friends. It begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at the First Baptist Church, 305 N. California Ave., Palo Alto. Tickets are $20 general, $17 for seniors and $10 for students. Go to paphil.org.
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