Puppets of Renown 

Fairyland continues the tradition with An Irish Tale

2/20-4/8

A few years ago, Fairyland's Open Storybook Puppet Theatre received a major award, for more than forty years of consistently excellent puppet shows, from the Puppeteers of America (similar awards have gone to Fred Rogers and Maurice Sendak). But national attention hasn't changed the wonderfully homegrown style of puppet master Lewis Mahlmann's presentations. This week he and Randal Metz offer a new production called An Irish Tale, about three brothers who all want to marry the same girl, and a leprechaun who tricks two of them but is outwitted by the third. Like all fairy tales, it also contains messages, this time about compassion and the magic of renewal. An Irish Tale plays at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. every day that Fairyland is open, and between shows there's always a dizzying choice of rides, art projects, fire jugglers, theater acts, Caribbean music, magic shows, and visits from the Blue Fairy or Lady Emerald. Fairyland is at 699 Bellevue Avenue by Lake Merritt in Oakland. Info: 510-452-2259 or Fairyland.org -- Sarah Cahill

SUN 2/22

Baby Talk

Organized Labor

Planning for your child starts early. The Nurture Center, a store and resource center in Lafayette (3399 Mt. Diablo Blvd., 925-283-1346), offers a wide range of workshops for expecting parents and parents of babies, including HypnoBirthing Child Preparation Classes. The labor-preparation training, conducted by Heather Morrison, teaches self-hypnosis and deep relaxation techniques to deal with the pain of childbirth. Sunday morning classes run through March 7. Find out about this and other family workshops -- including a New Moms Group and Photographing Babies classes -- at NurtureCenter.com -- Kelly Vance

SUN 2/22

Follow the Bouncing Songs

Parents of a certain age may remember Gunnar Madsen from the Bobs and the group's a cappella song stylings. They were big in the '80s. But kids know Madsen as Old Mr. Mackle Hackle, from his national hit children's CD of the same name, or as the singer who has Ants in My Pants!, his latest CD. Madsen entertains his young audience Sunday from 1 to 2 p.m., at the Berkeley Richmond JCC Theater, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. The Buddy Club children's show also stars celebrated juggler and funnyman Keith Eveslage, whose energetic routine, "The Keith Show," combines acrobatics, comedy, and even dangerous stunts (don't try this at home!) with his amazing juggling -- just as he does regularly at SF's Pier 39. For tickets ($7, BRJCC members $6) and info, phone 510-236-7469. -- Kelly Vance

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