Use Your Money: Ashkenaz Bazaar
Voted “Best Place to Dance” in the 2011 East Bay Express Readers’ Poll, Ashkenaz’s dance floor is usually filled with bodies moving to music... whether it’s a daytime class (try the free Zumba classes sponsored by Building Bridges) or one of the over 300 all ages live music concerts the center hosts each year.
But this Sunday, December 4, from 11am to 5pm, the well-loved, well-worn wooden dance floor of the Berkeley landmark building will transform into a bustling marketplace for the center’s 3rd Annual “International Holiday Bazaar,” which brings over 30 local maker-vendors together under one roof (rain or shine) to peddle their wares just in time for the holiday gift-giving season. The event is an important fundraiser for Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, which reopened as a 501(c)3 nonprofit in 1997, the year after the tragic shooting of the club’s founder David Nadel who had originally opened the club in 1973 as a European Folkdance cooperative.
The event is an opportune time to exercise your “Use Your Money” muscle by supporting the local economy via our incredible community of artisans. But above and beyond that, supporting Ashkenaz’s Bazaar is a resounding “YES” vote for the community center’s mission of “peace through music & dance!” Sharing our cultural traditions, expressing ourselves through dance and music, and coming together to celebrate our humanity are essential activities for a healthy and peaceful community… these forms of therapy become even more important in times of hardship. And with music and dance programs at public schools experiencing funding cuts to already meager arts program budgets in recent years, arts organizations like Ashkenaz are being increasingly relied upon to bridge a growing gap for our youth, who need art, music and dance to stay healthy and positive. Supporting Ashkenaz’s regular programming helps to keep the center’s doors open, and supporting special fundraisers such as this weekend’s Bazaar helps the center to thrive, enabling it to respond to the changing needs of its community.
Ashkenaz’s Bazaar organizers were particularly interested in finding vendors of local, sustainable, recycled, and handcrafted goods. This wasn’t too difficult a task; the Bay Area contains a tremendous wealth of artisans who incorporate resourcefulness into their craft. Such as Ryan and Kim of “A Boy Named Coy,” a small Oakland-based business making wallets and iPod holders out of recycled silk neckties (take that, Amazon!) … or Alice Rosenthal of Bee Happy Solutions who sells raw honey, beeswax bars and candles made from her bee hives at home (who needs you, Nestle?)
Other items on the exciting list of Bazaar goods for this Sunday include: Hula hoops, hand-dyed scarves and jewelry, handcrafted gourd shakers & shekeres, cookbooks, bamboo whistles, Whiteriver Apache Reservation jewelry and crafts, Haitian sculpture made from flattened recycled steel drums, gourmet jam, jelly & marmalades, locally designed & produced calendars, greeting cards, aprons, purses, dolls, ceramic spoons, handmade earrings in West African, Ethiopian, Jamaican and Guatemalan styles, hair accessories made from vintage textiles, handmade women’s clothing, t-shirts, more earrings, bags, and jewelry made out of salvaged cutlery. The list goes on!!
Trevor Garrod (of Tea Leaf Green), Sauce Piquante, and other local musicians are donating their entertainment services to provide the live soundtrack to your Use Your Money experience! Full details are available on Facebook: http://bit.ly/nazbazaar Sunday December 4, 11am-5pm. 1317 San Pablo Avenue at Gilman. $2. Food & drink available at the bar. All ages. Wheelchair Accessible.
Maddy Streicek is a local musician, event promoter and graphic designer, and helps Ashkenaz manage its Volunteer Program. www.manamaddy.com
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