When you've put together a world-class performing arts lineup year after year for about a century, one of the inevitable consequences is that people start taking you for granted. But Bay Area residents should never forget what a treasure they have in Cal Performances. It isn't just the sheer spectacles we're treated to, such as the Peking Acrobats and their amazing feats of strength and balance, and Yo-Yo Ma doing his thing. Beyond that, we've found the various performances and lectures at Zellerbach Hall and other associated venues to be a consistent source of inspiration: Haruki Murakami (perhaps the world's greatest living writer) has inspired us to write. NPR's cadre of groundbreakers (Ira Glass, Jad Abumrad, Robert Krulwich, and company) have inspired us to think of new ways to tell stories. And countless others have inspired us — rendered us speechless, really — with performances that testify to the power of hard work and the single-minded pursuit of a dream.