Cast of “The Nutcracker” prepares for opening night

Dancers with the Oakland Ballet Company have spent the past month preparing for this year’s production of “The Nutcracker. The shows, which will be presented at the Paramount Theater, are scheduled for Christmas weekend, but you can listen in on a rehearsal in this audio piece.

Oakland’s Jewish community celebrates eight days of Hanukkah

This Wednesday, Oakland residents who follow the Jewish faith will join millions of people around the world in celebrating Hanukkah. The eight-day “festival of light” begins in the third month of the Hebrew calendar on the eve of Kislev 25, which falls either at the end of November or at the beginning of December on the Gregorian calendar. The religious holiday commemorates the triumph of light over darkness.

Navigating Oakland parking this Thanksgiving

For anybody who drives a car, one Thanksgiving holiday perk, aside from the excess of food, is free time all day in a decent parking space. But this reward also has limits that can lead drivers to pay a heavy price. From this Thursday through Saturday, Thanksgiving Day itself is the only time visitors and residents are allowed to park for free in city-designated spots. The following day, also known as “Black Friday,” is not a parking enforcement holiday. Vehicles parked without meter payment will be ticketed.

Locals celebrate Native American heritage

November, for a number of Americans, brings Thanksgiving and the kickoff of the Christmas holiday season. But for the descents of the country’s first peoples, it also brings an entire month of heritage celebrations.

City Slicker’s farm springs up in West Oakland

Thanks to a $4 million grant from the California State Parks Department, which City Slicker Farms was awarded on November 8, the parcel will soon be transformed into a community farm and park. Although the department allows organizations up to eight years to get their programs established, Finnin estimates that City Slicker Farms will break ground for the community farm at the end of 2011.

East Bay Area nonprofits look for volunteers at local fair

Hundreds of residents, workers, and commuters who visited the downtown fair during the busy work lunch hour. Community members representing a dozen East Bay Area nonprofit organizations had set up informational tables in the center’s walkway area to encourage residents to volunteer and make donations. Participating groups included the Alameda County Community Food Bank, Girls Incorporated of Alameda County, Habitat For Humanity of the East Bay, and Reading Partners, a national organization that uses volunteers to tutor children.

Students: Failure of Proposition 19 impacts recreational use little

Gabriel Rodriguez sat in the student center cafeteria at Laney College the day after the legalization of marijuana in California went down in defeat. Rodriguez, who voted in favor of the initiative, sounded resigned saying that Proposition 19 probably wouldn’t have benefited everyone anyway.

Dance company looks beyond disabilities

Axis performed its unique style of modern dance last Thursday at Dance Access Day: A Day of Dance, Disability, Performance and Fun at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts in Oakland. Audience members included children as well as disabled adults and seniors. Watch the video of the local dance team performing and teaching people of all ages how to dance.

New owners celebrate Habitat “sweat equity” homes

The volunteer group Habitat for Humanity, which helps low-income working families buy homes by investing their own labor in the construction, invited neighbors and first-time homeowners on Saturday to the completion of Habitat’s Edes Avenue development in East Oakland.