This week’s entertainment notebook has no theatrical reviews, but lots of pertinent local entertainment news.

You're bound to have fun at the Yellow Wood Coffee emporium in Alamo!

Apparently Rossmoor folks have discovered the Yellow Wood gathering place in the Alamo Plaza Shopping Center, at 215 Alamo Plaza (near Wells Fargo Bank and Richard’s arts and crafts store), according to owner Lauren Duensing. What’s not to like? If you like to talk, sing or do a little standup comedy under the spotlight with a “mic” in hand, Wednesday evenings you can do your thing on “open mic night”. If poetry or reading-out-loud to a friendly local crowd would make you feel proud, then Thursday evenings are perfect for you to do your thing. If you just plain enjoy sitting back and letting someone else entertain you while you have a cup of coffee, tea or a glass of wine along with some really tasty goodies, the Friday and Saturday evenings with professional and professional level entertainers are the evenings to settle in with a smile or a grin.

This coming Friday evening, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., October 9th, Roger Allen and Steve Prochnow are returning to the Yellow Wood to share with you the rich and unique acoustic guitar and vocal selections for which they have become so well known. Their broad range of music tastes cover the scintillating 60’s through today’s popular pieces. Both gentlemen have played individually around the Bay Area until a chance meeting over coffee at Yellow Wood brought them together.

Then, Saturday evening, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., Richie Beltran, singer and songwriter, will entertain, sharing his diverse talent with harmonica and guitar as well. Richie B. has been performing professionally for the last 20 years. A versatile artist, his projects have included “cover bands”, southern rock tribute bands, original a capella R & B groups, an original Latin rock/jazz group, and of course, his own band.

During his career, Richie has had the privilege to perform on stage with members of The Grateful Dead, The Eddie Money Band, Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, Jefferson Starship, The Malibu’s/Malo, Night Ranger, and Hammond B-3 legend Deacon Jones.
Currently, Richie performs in various venues both as an acoustic soloist, in duo or trio combinations, as well as leader of his full electric band. His shows provide a broad collection of original music and styles spanning the 60’s to the present, captivating audiences of all generations.

Richie’s eclectic diversity mirrors his work ranging from Rock, R&B, Soul, Blues, Reggae and Funk. Adding to this, his broad vocal range makes him a strong and dynamic performer. Richie effortlessly combines his harmonica and guitar as if they were one instrument. When his powerful vocals are added to the mix, listeners are often surprised to find a solo artist in a room where they were expecting more than one player. His original single, “Welcome Home,” which honors our country’s soldiers, has aired on internet radio Hot Mix 106, and the video will be featured this fall on San Francisco Bay area TV 20’s Live at the Burro.

Richie B is a seasoned performer, yet current and relevant; a diverse, richly rewarding talent!

Perlman to perform and conduct for the San Francisco Symphony!

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, if you enjoy the Symphony, then you should know that
famed conductor and violinist Itzhak Perlman will lead the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Symphony Hall in performances of Bach’s Violin Concerto No.2, Elgar’s rarely heard Introduction and Allegro, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Opus 74, Pathétique, on October 14th , 15th , 17th and 18th.

Following the performance on Saturday, October 17th, Perlman will hold an open discussion period to allow an informal question and answer interchange with members of the audience. This will be open to all ticket holders. There will also be an Open Rehearsal on Wednesday, October 14th at 10 A.M. at reduced ticket prices. Regular performances will be at 8:00 p.m. for the Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday performances, plus an early afternoon performance on Sunday the 18th, at 4 p.m., in the Davies Hall at 201 Van Ness Ave, in San Francisco .

Tickets and additional information may be secured through the SFS Box Office at (415) 864-6000, or by going on line and visiting their web site at . Concert Tickets range in cost between $15-$135; and the Open Rehearsal is very reasonable at $20-$35 each.

Pleasant Hill announces the 7th Annual Art, Wine & Jazz Fest this coming weekend!

October is a wonderful time to spend the weekend in Pleasant Hill at the award winning 7th Annual Art, Jazz & Wine Fest brought to you by The Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce. This 2-day event, held this year on October 10 and 11, is eagerly awaited by local residents – not only for the arts and crafts exhibits, but also for the excellent wine and lively music. You will be able to enjoy a great diversity of musical styles that ranges from rockin’ banjos and deep throated tubas, to smokin’ hot blues guitars, to vibrant vocalists over the two days. There is bound to be a musical style that will capture your attention and imagination.

Continuing from years past is the Premium Wine Tent, an opportunity to enjoy tasting some premium wine and beer. Kids’ entertainment will be held again in the plaza area on Crescent Drive. And, of course, there will be quality arts and crafts from all over the area for festival-goers to check out and buy.

The Saturday night concert will starts at 6:15 pm after the street booths have closed. Come out in the cool evening, enjoy a glass of wine or beer, and tap your toes to great music – and when it’s over, you can grab a bite to eat at one of the many fine food establishments in the downtown area.

Additional information can be found by contacting the Pleasant Hill Chamber at 925-687-0700 or visit the website at .

Also, when it comes to fall festivals, don’t forget that the next weekend, October 17th, Concord will host the “Oktoberfest 2009” Beer Festival at the Todos Santos Plaza (park) in downtown Concord. I provided full details in last week’s article.

Willows Theatre in deep financial trouble and pleads for your support!

Artistic Director Richard Elliott announced this past week that the Willows Theatre, in Concord and Martinez, is suffering severely in this economic downturn and may have to close if it cannot raise a substantial sum by November 1st. While some very generous donations have already been made, a great deal more money needs to be pledged. I received a press release pleading for assistance and donations from its long time patrons who have enjoyed the company’s many outstanding local productions over the past 33 years.

You may remember that it was the Willow’s Theatre that first brought you the outrageous Dan Goggins’ musical “Nunsense” series about those loveable little Nuns from Hoboken. Richard Elliot’s vision also brought us the “John Muir Musical” in pageant form, a story that resonates every year in the Martinez theatrical venues, dedicated to this purpose. The Willows has even funded terrific new productions such as “Brimstone”, the brilliantly inspired musical story set in the modern Irish revolution in Belfast, Ireland, in the 1980’s, which is planned for an encore next season.

There will be a special “Actors Give Back” benefit evening of dinner, wine and entertainment put on by former and present actors who have walked the Willows stages over the past thirty plus years, on March 18th, in the Campbell Theatre in Martinez. The dinner begins at 5:30 pm with a live auction (including a trip to Hawaii) and the “Actors Give Back” show will begin at 7:30. Tickets will cost $50 each. Karen and I will be attending their new Neil Simon production, “Barefoot in the Park”, which will open that same weekend in the Willows Theatre in Concord at 3 pm, then drive over to Martinez to their Campbell Theater for the dinner and benefit fundraiser. The Fundraiser will be a delightful evening of entertainment.

The theater and I ask that you take five minutes and go to their web site and click on the video where Richard Elliott explains the situation along with clips of some of the Willows’ award winning shows. Once you see what the Willows has been doing and what its grand heritage is, I think you will want to help find a way to keep this outstanding theatrical tradition alive by making some kind of donation, be it small or large. The Willows has been a training ground that has provided many of our young people a place to perform, to learn and to share collectively their burgeoning talents. It would be a terrible shame if this fine company should have to darken its stages forever.

Sacha Boutros a scintillating jazz singer performs for one night only in San Francisco!

If you enjoy the sound of jazz, then you may want to visit the Rrazz Room in San Francisco to see multilingual singer Sacha Boutros, a very talented young lady who has been described as a rising star of Jazz. Miss Boutros will be in San Francisco for one night only, this Thursday, October 8th at 8 p.m, in the Rrazz Room in the Hotel Nikko at 222 Mason Street.

Miss Boutros, a native of San Diego and of Mexican and Lebanese descent, is both singer, composer and producer of her own show, called “Simply Sacha”. Her first album, by the same name, “Simply Sacha”, is among the top 10 jazz albums of 2008. With a four octave range, this rising star of jazz/latin styling’s is receiving rave reviews as she sings her American songbook. She sings in five different languages and has held sold out performances in Japan, Hawaii, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York , Canada and Alaska.

You can contact the Rrazz Room directly by calling (866) 468-3399 or by going to their web site at or order tickets ($30 each) through .

A sweet selection of Shakespeare’s scenes, sonnets and soliloquies will now be performed for you in Concord, this weekend only at Cue Productions Live’s studios near Todos Santos Plaza!

The Butterfield Theatre in Concord, just announced that they are doing an evening of Shakespeare’s scenes, sonnets and soliloquies to benefit the Butterfield 8’s Capital Campaign Fund. This show will feature the talents of Butterfield 8 members Kathleen MacKay, Daniela Quinones, Alan Cameron, David Hardie, Donald Hardy, Nick Wong, Peter McArthur, Edwin Peabody, an Butterfield 8 Theatre Co. Founder and Artistic Director John Butterfield!

This production plays for three nights only!! Friday, October 9th @ 8pm, Saturday, October 10th @ 8pm, and Sunday, October 11th @ 3pm. Tickets are a very reasonable $12 for seniors and students and $18 for regular adult admittance. This series of performances will be held at Cue Productions Live, 1835 Colfax Street, Concord, CA. for tickets call 798.1300. For more info, please visit their website: .

“The Clean House” opens at Gaia Arts Center in Berkeley!

Women’s Will Theatre informed me today that Rossmoor Residents can obtain tickets to their production of “The Clean House”, by author, Sarah Ruhl for only $5 at the Gaia Arts Center, at 2120 Allston Way in Berkeley.

Sarah Ruhl is a very provocative writer and I recently reviewed her award winning play, “In The Next Room – or – The Vibrator Play” at Berkeley Repertory Theatre a few months ago. Check out my March 1st review for more details. This show was brilliantly funny and thought provoking! I have not seen “The Clean House” yet and only wish that I will get time to see it.

The New York Times calls the magically touching and absurd Clean House “…one of the finest and funniest new plays you’re likely to see…” Mathilde, recently orphaned due to a very funny joke, hates to clean, but is hired as a maid. As the play unfolds and the house and life show their messier sides, Mathilde helps a doctor, her sister, her husband and his lover put their lives in order, in this intriguing blend of fantasy and realism.”

Woman’s Will, founded in 1998, is the Bay Area’s only all-female Shakespeare’s company. The company will be presenting a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist, The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl at two locations, the Gaia Arts Center, on Thursday and Friday, October 8th and 9th at 8 p.m., and on Saturday at 1 p.m.. Then the production will move to Buriel Clay Theatre, 762 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 (to assist in locating on MapQuest). In San Francisco, it will play October 16th through the 24th, Fridays and Saturdays a t 8 p.m., and on Sunday the 18th, at 2 p.m., closing on the 24th.

Contact Women’s will at for instructions to get the discount. You will have to ask if they will extend the lower price if you drive to San Francisco, and you will need a “password”. Ask them about it. Tickets can be ordered at