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Cirque du Soliels Luzia: a Vision of Surreal Mexico

At some point in our lives, we all have just wanted to run away to join the circus. Cirque du Soleil gives us an opportunity to flee the doldrums of our daily lives and visit a fantastical realm of escape and transformation in their San Jose Grand Chapiteau limited engagement running from February 9th to March 19th.

Described as a waking dream of Mexico, this show is the first to feature water as integral player in the performances. There are additional technical innovations: two moving treadmills housed an intimate art space called the Blue Box designed in a way in which no bad seats are possible. This production features a centrally located stage that itself feels organic and alive. Set designer Eugenio Caballero desired to invoke the feeling of Mexican history, Aztec monumentality, and the complexity of Mesoamerican culture by creating an atmosphere that envelopes the audience in an historical, cinematic aura of the spectacle.

Beginning in a field of cempashuchil, or Aztec marigolds, the main flowers used in Day of the Dead altars, the feeling under the big top is immediately one of otherworldliness. This is enhanced by a dark black interior framed in blue backdrops and floor lighting created to suggest a fluidity of space and time.

Rituals, symbols, and archetypes, and not stereotypes, of south of the border culture guide the spectators from a movie set to the ocean, deserts, a tropical sinkhole, a dance hall, to a gigantic Papel Picado lantern structure all on a journey through the beautiful fusion of Western and Native American civilizations that have blended so exotically for centuries. The effect is that we become both spectators and participants in the richness and complexity of Mexican heritage.

Divergent Figures opens at Olive Hyde

The human figure is among the most captivating subjects in art, having been interpreted in various ways throughout history. Recreating the human figure involves the study and appreciation of body shape and postures. The resulting form and style of this practice have evolved over time, influenced by the cultures and experiences of the individuals who create them.

In the Prehistoric age, carvings were used to somewhat resemble a human figure, but this process was refined during the time of Egyptian civilization, when parts of the body became more proportionate to the whole. While the Greeks introduced contrapposto Ð an asymmetrical arrangement of the human figure with unequal weight distribution on both legs, the Romans rendered it realistic with perspective and mannerism, making accurate and truthful representations of humans in real-life settings. With the advent of Modernism came the experimentation with and abstraction of the human form. Regardless of its expression, the human figure has intrigued artists for thousands of years.

Reinforcing this timeless theme in visual arts, Fremonts Olive Hyde Art Gallery brings its new exhibit Divergent Figures: Artworks of Nagui Achamallah, Zarmine Aghazarian, and Bhavna Misra, which opens with an Artists Reception on February 24, and will run through March 25.

Nagui Achamallah was born in Alexandria, Egypt. His interest in painting developed in college. While at medical school, he enrolled himself in an independent fine arts program at the University of Alexandria Atelier. As a student, he participated in numerous university group shows and won several collegiate awards. Achamallah had his first show at the University Physicians Club in 1973, followed by another at the Centre Culturel Francais in Alexandria in 1975. He immigrated to California in 1981, where he currently resides and practices psychiatry in the San Francisco Bay Area. Although Achamallah has a full-time medical practice, he manages to create more than 25 paintings each year.

It's a Date!
Upcoming Events

February 15
Toddler Time $

Ardenwood Historic Farm

February 15
Hearing Aide Cleaning and Ear Check

Newark Senior Center

February 15
Health and Nutrition for Homeschoolers

Fremont Main Library

February 15
Embroidery for Adults - R

Newark Branch Library

February 15 - March 15
Ballroom Dance Classes $

Ruggieri Senior Center

February 15
PEP: Personal Emergency Preparedness Class - R

Fremont Fire Training Tower

View More Upcoming Events

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