It’s a Wonderful Season - Page 2

Scores of holiday-themed activities warm the Bay—from radio plays to outdoor ice
Fridays on the Homefront
Children’s Fairyland on Oakland’s Lake Merritt.
Fridays on the Homefront
Oakland Zoo’s annual Zoolights extravaganza.
Fridays on the Homefront
The Mistle-Tones at the San Francisco’s Gateway Theatre.

Down 580 a stretch from the lake is the Oakland Zoo and its annual Zoolights extravaganza, replete with swirling snowfalls, festively lit gondola rides, a sing-a-long laser light show, and about a million tiny white lights. The spectacle is open nightly from 5:30-9 p.m. through January 5. All attractions are included in the price of admission, which is $12 for those over 14, $11 for those younger, and free for infants and those over age 76.

If the holidays aren’t the holidays without your seasonal music fix, the local choices are many, especially this weekend. There are three performances to choose from of ‘Christmas in the Americas,’ performed by the 30-voice California Bach Society with a trio of instrumentalists and led by artistic director Paul Flight. They take place at 8 p.m. Friday December 13 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco and Saturday December 14 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palo Alto, and then wrap up with a 4 p.m. show at First Congregational Church in Berkeley Sunday December 15. Tickets are $35.

Of course, there are still a few performances left of ‘The Nutcracker’ by San Francisco Ballet at War Memorial Opera House, Valley Dance Theatre at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore, and at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, as well as a hip-hop version by Peninsula Ballet Theatre.

If you prefer your holiday tuneage on the less formal side, you might want to take in a performance of the Bay Area debut by The Mistle-Tones at the Gateway Theatre, 215 Jackson Street in San Francisco. Dubbed “part acapella, part comedy, part rock’n’roll,” the Christmas-celebrating quartet has been performing all over Southern California for some 20 years and now finally ventures north.

And for a little good, old-fashioned exertion, winter (and refrigeration) provides even us coastal Californians the chance to ice skate outdoors this time of year. Outdoor rinks are open through early January in San Francisco—at Civic Center, Union Square, and Embarcadero Center—and also at Bishop Ranch in San Ramon, and in downtown Napa, Palo Alto, San Mateo, San Rafael, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale. So, you see, George Bailey, you really have a wonderful life this time of year in the Bay Area. It’s time to get out there and live it!