Bubble Up 

They're magical and perfect

SUN 23

If someone mentions the "Bubble Lady" to you, you might immediately envision Julia Vinograd peddling her poems and blowing bubbles on Telegraph Avenue. But no, this Bubble Lady is just for children; in fact, she's also a clown. She waves her magic bubble wand and creates a space-bubble ballet as she toots out the theme to Star Wars on a kazoo. In her repertoire of bubble sculptures, she claims, are mermaids, unexplored planets, castles, trumpets, and spaceships. Can she really make all those things? "Well, in the world of make-believe and imagination the bubbles can become anything to children," she explains.The Bubble Lady, aka Rebecca Nile, studied the art of bubble-making with Louis Pearl, known as the Amazing Bubble Man. She uses a base solution of Mr. Bubbles cut with Joy or Dawn, glycerin, and distilled water. With it she can make a bubble around your child, with the use of a hula hoop outfitted with a handle and a "bubble pool." She also makes bubbles within bubbles. "The world of bubbles is quite magical," she says. "We're amazed by their perfection, how ephemeral they are." Opening for the Bubble Lady is singer-songwriter Dan Goldensohn, best known for his award-winning album The Truth About Dinosaurs.

The Buddy Club presents the Bubble Lady and Dan Goldensohn on Sunday, February 23 from 1 to 2 pm at the Berkeley-Richmond Jewish Community Center Theater, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. For information, call 510-236-7469. -- Sarah Cahill

Saturday's storytime at Barnes and Noble in Emeryville celebrates the pluck of two awesome little girls in its African-American Heritage Celebration. The titular heroine of Mary Hoffman's Amazing Grace wants to play Peter Pan in her class play, but is told she can't because she's not white, and not a boy. With some encouragement from her mother and aunt, Grace gets the part and proves a point. The illustrations by Caroline Binch are both playful and lovely. The protagonist of Michael Wenberg's Elizabeth's Song would have been a real-life idol of Grace's. The book, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright, is based on the youth of real folksinger Elizabeth "Libba" Cotten, who taught herself how to play left-handed on a borrowed guitar, and wrote the blues standard "Freight Train" at the tender age of eleven. 5604 Bay St., Emeryville, 11 a.m. 510-547-0932. -- Stefanie Kalem

Puppet Regime
Children's Fairyland by the side of Lake Merritt is justly famous for its puppet shows, with visitors -- many of them grown-up -- coming from all over the world to see the art of puppetry and renowned guest performers. Kids don't care about all that, of course. They want to see if kindly old Mrs. Witherspoon can avoid being branded a witch by the townspeople, and whether or not her magic potion can help the knight defeat the wicked Sir Grounch's dragon and save the princess. Or something like that. This does indeed happen in Lettie Schubert's Mrs. Witherspoon's Busy Day, a charming original kids' tale that the Marin resident first performed for Oakland's Vagabond Puppet Program in the '60s. From Friday, February 21 through April 10, Mrs. Witherspoon will be performed at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m., Fridays through Sundays. Check www.fairyland.org for details, or call 510-452-2259. -- Kelly Vance

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