Creativity Is in Their Blood

Three upcoming diverse cultural events by modernist fans who love making art, music
Creativity Is in Their Blood
Streng homeowner Tony Natsoulas' sculptures, often outrageous caricatures like the two pieces pictured here, are on exhibit now
at the Transmission Gallery in Oakland. Check 'em out!

Creative people are attracted to creative architecture, as several upcoming events of an artistic sort suggest.

Streng Owner's Amusing Sculpture
Tony Natsoulas, who lives in a Streng home in Sacramento and is a well-known artist in the Central Valley, with many of his striking, often amusing sculptures on display at prominent sites, is showing a recent series at a lively gallery in Oakland.

The show at Transmission Gallery (770 West Grand Avenue, Oakland) runs through May 16, noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Open till 9 p.m. on the first Friday of the month.

It is a two-person show, also featuring Pam Dixon, another 'funk' artist who shares Natsoulas' Meckel Way studio.

The works by Natsoulas are inspired by Basil Wolverton (1909-1978), whose garish, outrageous comic book tales, and caricatures of people both real and made up ('Miss Poontney Spadafront'), have been deeply influential—but remain one of a kind.

That's why it's appropriate that Natsoulas' works don't try to mimic Wolverton's cartoons. But they do share his irreverence.

For more on the Natsoulas' show, click here.


Creativity Is in Their Blood

Michael Murphy's 'Architectural Simplicity'
Michael Murphy, a San Francisco architect, painter, and printmaker who has made a name for himself with simple, beautiful images of modernist buildings, will be showing recent work in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

At the Studio Gallery (1641 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco), Murphy will show an image of a modernist Buddhist temple in the city's Chinatown, plus images of buildings from his Outer Richmond neighborhood. The show runs April 16 to May 11.

Murphy will also have a solo show June 18 to July 25 at the Neutra Institute Museum and Gallery (2379 Glendale Boulevard, in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Silverlake). This will include images of Neutra buildings, naturally, but other work as well.

"I'm starting to focus more and more on my own architectural designs, through paintings and pencil drawings," Murphy says, "developing my architectural ideas a lot further than I did before."

For more on Murphy's shows, click here and here.


Creativity Is in Their Blood
Bonnie Rasmussen of the Lucas Valley Chamber Orchestra

Date for Lucas Valley-Based Orchestra
And, on the musical front, the orchestra based in the Eichler neighborhood of Upper Lucas Valley in Marin County has an upcoming performance.

The Lucas Valley Chamber Orchestra, which proudly performs without a conductor, will perform 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 17. Featured will be Gershwin's 'Lullaby' for string orchestra, Beethoven's 'Romance in F' for violin and orchestra, and Mozart's 'Paris Symphony 31.'

The concert benefits Enriching Lives through Music, which helps music students in San Rafael's low-income Canal district, and Christ Presbyterian's Camp Scholarships for children and adults with developmental disabilities. For information, contact (Eichler owner) Frank Lahorgue at frank@lahorgue.com.

As the orchestra's concertmaster, Bonnie Rasmussen is the closest they have to a conductor.

"I set the tempos and do cutoffs and things. I just get the group started, and lead in certain situations. I don't stand up and have a baton. I lead from the chair," she says. She will play a violin solo during the Beethoven.

About the concert, she says, "It's a really nice variety—music from the Baroque era, the Classical era, and modern."