Town Crier: In search of a club without homework


Everyone I know belongs to a book club. For some reason, I can’t commit. If there were a newspaper club, I might think about joining. But then it would probably be made up of dinosaurs like me – and what fun would that be?

I did give one book club a try, recently. A local moms group put novels aside, to view photos of the host’s trip to Thailand and Laos. I was happy to attend as it didn’t involve “homework” and featured an authentic Thai meal.

But even more to my liking is the club that meets monthly for munchies and movies. The Film Club was formed five years ago by Tina Banda (a local cinematographer) and her guitarist husband Michael Papenburg. The rotating host calls the evening to order, introduces the film (anything from an obscure foreign art film to a box office hit) and afterwards, a lively discussion ensues over dessert. How sweet is that?

So while most of my friends now have kindle – and are straining to read pages of print that make my eyes cross – I’m looking for other options. I want to be part of a club – really, I do – I’m just too lazy to do the homework.

Urgent plea: If you have room in your house (and your heart) for a homeless kitty – please read on. A frightened black cat with a spot of white fur has been fending for itself in a feral colony near Montera Middle School. By all reports, kitty is affectionate to the point where it tries to get into the car of the woman who comes by to leave food each night. I’m told the woman has been able to round up the cat but she can’t keep it. Can you give this young kitty a home? Contact Helene at for more information.

Email bag: More brown-box cell phone towers are springing up in the hills, and that has some homeowners hopping mad. Bud Means and Dina Seritis say the equipment is not only unsightly, it may be causing the spate of power outages they’ve had in their neighborhood near Snake and Gaspar. “There is also a periodic loud humming noise from this cell phone receiver,” Seritis says, “as though it’s coming from a data center.” She says they’ve had PG & E come out six times in recent weeks. Meanwhile, there is already a group pushing for legislation to outlaw deal with these cell phone boxes and antennas. If you’d like more information, send an e-mail to

Celestial seasonings: Last week reader Jon Kawamoto shared a tidbit about the new offering Dinner, Movie and the Universe at Chabot Space & Science Center. After checking it out, I found the venue romantic, the food superb and the service impressive. The space center is already magical at night – with its powerful telescopes and state-of-the art theater and planetarium. Add a savory four course meal (with entrees like blackened salmon and citrus chicken) cooked by talented local Chef Sims Brown, and you have a terrestrial home run. And speaking of romantic – Chabot Space & Science Center is planning a special Valentine’s Day brunch. For more information, see

Heavenly sounds: Oakland’s Cathedral of Christ the Light is hosting two outstanding concerts this weekend. Tomorrrow night, (Jan 23) the choirs and orchestra from Head-Royce School, featuring Grammy nominated organist Jonathan Dimmock, perform for the public at 8 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Sunday night, if you haven’t heard by now, is a benefit concert for Haitian relief featuring Alameda Opera singer Frederica von Stade and the San Francisco Boy’s Chorus. Suggested donation is $20 at

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by phone at 510-273-9418, by email at or on the web at


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