Arts and culture

Main Library gets grant for new flooring, lighting, elevator, other upgrades

At the Main Library in Richmond, time seems to stand still. The two-story building’s glass façade — said to be the first of its kind for a public library in the United States — allows the sunlight to filter in but keeps the hustle and bustle of city life out. With time-worn floor tiles and antiquated ceiling lights, the library makes very clear that it’s been around for a long time  — actually, since Harry Truman was president. Romanticization of…

Richmond Art Center celebrates Dia de los Muertos ‘to educate people about such an important cultural event.’

Amid the drug store offerings of Halloween consumer goods, any Dia de los Muertos-themed item invariably sticks out. Decorations featuring iconic skulls and cempasúchil marigolds, or candy branded with characters from Pixar’s film “Coco” speak to the growing commercialization of a holiday once outside of the corporate limelight. But the holiday has more cultural significance in Mexico, where it orginated. And on Saturday, the Richmond Art Center will share that tradition with a Dia de los Muertos-themed Fall Family Day,…

About 100 players to compete at Richmond chess festival, as more kids take up game

On a Sunday afternoon in late September, TC Ball entered Richmond’s Multicultural Bookstore with a cart full of kings, queens, bishops, rooks, knights, and pawns and boards to start the first of several chess classes for children. “Cool people play chess,” said Ball, 69, founder and director of the West Coast Chess Alliance in Richmond, as he prepared to start the class.  He fell in love with chess about 40 years ago when he was at college, and then 13…

Trick-or-treat returns to the East Bay, with Covid risk sharply reduced but not gone

Robin Donovan’s 13-year-old son didn’t get to trick-or-treat last year because of the pandemic. Instead, he and some friends shared a big bag of candy in the family’s El Cerrito backyard. Donovan’s son wasn’t alone.  “Normally we got a lot of trick-or-treaters, hundreds in the past. Last year we didn’t have any,” Donovan said. “When I talked to people last year, nobody was planning to send their kids trick-or-treating.”  Donovan’s son, 12 at the time, was old enough to understand…

Richmond Art Center opens doors to free event for Indigenous People’s Day

In honor of Indigenous People’s Day, the Richmond Art Center will host “Gathering in the Spirit of Gwarth-ee-lass,” a free event on Sunday featuring spoken word, candid conversations and live music, all in the backdrop of artist Rigo 23’s newest exhibit “Time and Again.” The exhibit’s centerpiece is a 12-foot sculpture created from a self-portrait of Native American political activist Leonard Peltier. Peltier has been in prison for about 45 years, serving two life sentences after his controversial conviction in…

100-year-old park ranger Betty Reid Soskin feted by national media, honored by WCCUSD

It was a big week for Betty Reid Soskin, who turned 100 years old on Wednesday and was honored that day with the renaming of an El Sobrante middle school for her. Soskin has been an activist in the Bay Area and a park ranger in Richmond for many years and shows no sign of slowing down. She’s familiar to West Contra Costa school children who have taken her tours through Richmond’s National Historical Park, which has sites throughout the…

Spirit & Soul Festival returns in person to Richmond

Live music, food, artists and vendors return to Richmond this weekend, with the 13th annual Spirit & Soul Festival. The annual ticketed event , hosted by the Richmond Main Street Initiative, celebrates the city’s arts and culture scene. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be presented as a hybrid this year.  The free virtual broadcast will stream from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., with an in-person VIP Watch Party from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at El Garage, 1428…

VIDEO: At Tamales Tamazula, food is art

Cruz Arroyo owns and operates Tamales Tamazula in Richmond, where his passion for food and tradition drives his business and keeps his customers returning week after week. The 41-year-old tamalero parks his stand at 23rd Street and Lincoln Avenue, where he sells tamales from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., Wednesday to Sunday. He’s had to move his business to various spots in Richmond in the past eight years and jump a few hurdles to keep it going during a global…

VIDEO: At Richmond glassblowing studio, art is a Slow Burn

Bryan Goldenberg has been a glassblower for 27 years. He holds weekly classes for students of all experience levels in his new studio, Slow Burn Glass, in Richmond. In August, Richmond Confidential filmed one of Goldenberg’s classes and chatted with students. Some were inspired to take the class after watching the Netflix series “Blown Away,” which is about glass-blowing. Others said they were looking for a communal activity after a year of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. For all, the…