Strike Up the Band 

The Music Man with an all-kid cast


Alameda is the town that boasted at a recent street fair: "We're not retro -- we just never caught up." It's a sort of Oakland-meets-Mayberry where pleasantries are exchanged over the back fence and family life actually includes spending time together -- a place, in fact, reminiscent of River City, Iowa, where tradition and character blend seamlessly, and there's plenty of nice and naive to set the soil for some nasty weeds. In that fictional River City, one such weed named Harold Hill takes root and hoodwinks the whole town, including Marian the pretty librarian, and suddenly "Ya got trouble/Right here in River City." Will the charlatan get away with his underhanded plot? Will the people ever learn to trust again? Will straw hats with black grosgrain bands come back in style? This may all sound a wee bit familiar, like a high school play you once auditioned for, but chances are your younger friends haven't yet heard the story of The Music Man. Indulge the family in an evening of wholesome entertainment, including favorite old tunes and a bevy of kids in ruffles and pinstripes. The production is performed by an all-youth cast from the locally popular troupe Kids Take the Stage at the grand Veterans Memorial Building in Alameda (2003 Central Avenue) through August 9. Tickets ($5-$10) can be reserved online at -- Justine Nicole

TUE 8/12


Weird science

James Isaac "Jimmy" Neutron is a nerd -- a little dweeb with hair like a chocolate-dipped ice cream cone. But when outer-space aliens abduct all adults from Earth, he and his science-minded friends build a fleet of spaceships to rescue them. Why? Don't kids always hope and pray that will happen, that all the grownups will simply disappear? Clearly something is wrong with the animated feature, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. Young cultural anthropologists are invited to investigate this subversive movie Tuesday (9:30 a.m.) when the Summer Movie Clubhouse at CineMark's Blackhawk Movies 7 (4175 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville, 925-736-0367) plays it. $1. -- Kelly Vance


Tiny Toonsters

At the age of twelve, illustrator Brandon McKinney was already a pro, selling his friends drawings of their D&D characters -- a dime for black and white, a quarter for color. This early success prepared him for a career that has seen McKinney contributing to Marvel, Dark Horse, and Warp Graphic, working on the Mighty Chronicles Star Wars adaptations, and creating his own series, Journeyman. Now kids eight and up can participate in McKinney's Comic Workshop , learning to draw popular characters with materials provided by the Oakland Public Library. The dates and branch locations are: Wednesday, 1 p.m. at Elmhurst; Wednesday, 4 p.m. at Melrose; Saturday, 11 a.m. at Lakeview; Monday, 3:30 p.m. at MLK; Tuesday, 10:30 a.m. at Main; and Tuesday, 3 p.m. at Golden Gate. -- Stefanie Kalem


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