STEP RIGHT UP and see a man twist himself into an aerial pretzel. It’s all under the “big top” at Trapeze Arts in Oakland. Stephan Gaudreau is the owner of this popular circus school and is himself a professional trapeze artist. In fact, he’s one of the only performers who can do a triple somersault high in the air on the flying trapeze. I had a chance to see his school in action the other day, and was duly impressed. Kids and teens were learning tricks on the trampoline, and there were trapeze bars and tight ropes and all kinds of other fun stuff in his indoor circus center at Ninth and Pine in West Oakland.
Trapeze Arts is coming to the Lawrence Hall of Science on Aug. 15 for a free show (with the price of admission). Catch their act and you might just catch the bug to be in the circus yourself one day.
E-MAIL BAG: A chorus of readers has chimed in on my recent column about parking problems in the hills. Laura Curtis says she notices how hard it is to get around congested streets on her way to Sibley Regional Park. She also worries about the impact the expansion of St. John’s Church might have on parking along Thornhill Drive.
Reader Charles Bret blames the high homeowners’ insurance costs, in part, on “all the cars parked on our narrow streets while garages are full of junk or illegal in-laws.” He wishes Oakland would have the guts to do what they do in San Francisco and either ticket or tow cars if they are creating a hazard.
Chuck Harrison would like the Town Crier to keep a running log of reader complaints on this subject, including problem locations and even license plate and photo identification. Chuck — I don’t mind getting in the mud, but this sounds like quicksand to me.
CAT TRACKS: Living in the hills has its hazards. Kristi Hanelt says her son, Kristian, spotted two mountain lion cubs on Villanova Drive a couple of weeks ago. If that weren’t surprising enough, one of the kitties hissed and growled at him. “One cat was on the side of the road and the other was camouflaged in the grasses,” she says, adding they were pretty big for cubs, about 18 inches tall and between 20 and 30 pounds with lots of spots on their coats. While it’s a thrill to see these cats up close, the danger, of course, is that “mom” may be nearby. Kristian realized this, got back in his car, and contacted the the East Bay Regional Park District as fast as he could. They haven’t been spotted since.
FEATHERED FIASCO: Speaking of animal tales, Lynn Orloff Jones has been having some bad luck with her bird. She’s run over it twice with her rolling desk chair. The first time it happened, the little guy had to wear a cast on his leg. The second time, she flattened part of the wing, too. Apparently the bird still adores her, but now when he enters the study, it’s on a wing and a prayer.