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Top Tickets: March 26-31

Can’t-miss events of the week: Fun for everyone, including classical music fans, half marathoners, cinephiles, and man’s best friend.

Clockwise from top: The Second City, Doggie Day Downtown, and Ballet Folklorico Mexicano


With this week’s “Top Tickets” column (and “The List” in the March issue), I am retiring from my role as calendar editor at Diablo magazine, one I’ve held, off and on, for over a decade. It’s been a pleasure promoting, covering, and reviewing the East Bay arts community and city/regional events. I hope you have found my picks helpful in scheduling fun outings and activities for your family and yourself. While “Top Tickets” will be on hiatus indefinitely, the monthly calendar “The List” continues with the April issue under Assistant Editor Rachelle Cihonski. So be sure to look for it each month, and keep enjoying all the fun the East Bay has to offer!

Diablo Ballet / Aris BernalesSTARTS THURSDAY

COMEDY // March 26: The Second City
The Chicago-based sketch and improv comedy troupe (which launched the careers of Tina Fey, Steve Carell, and Stephen Colbert) visits the Tri-Valley on a national tour, with a hilarious music-filled and headline-satirizing show. Bankhead Theater, Livermore, livermoreperformingarts.org.

DANCE // March 26: 21st Anniversary Performance
Diablo Ballet celebrates with a one-night-only performance of George Balanchine’s Apollo pas de deux, Hamlet and Ophelia by Val Caniparoli, the tango Incitations, and two works choreographed by Diablo dancers set to Mendelssohn. Wine tasting and dinner follows at Scott’s Garden. Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, diabloballet.org.


MUSIC // March 27: Notes from Mexico
Oakland East Bay Symphony presents selections from Silvestre Revueltas, Carlos Chávez, Rubén Fuentes, Diana Gameros, José Pablo Moncayo, and a medley of traditional Mexican folk songs, with special guests Ballet Folklorico Mexicano. Paramount Theatre, Oakland, oebs.org.


Gold StrikerATTRACTION // March 28: California’s Great America
California’s Great America opens for its 40th season with a weekend of special events, longer hours for 2015, and the grand opening of the expanded Planet Snoopy kids area. If you missed its debut last season, ride the tallest and fastest wooden coaster in Northern California, the Gold Striker. Santa Clara, cagreatamerica.com.

ANIMALS // March 28: Feast for the Beasts
The first 250 Oakland Zoo visitors on this day will receive a golden ticket, giving them the opportunity to place watermelons, lettuce, and apples throughout the elephant exhibit and watch the animals find and eat it. Don’t miss scheduled feeding times for other animals throughout the day. Oakland Zoo, oaklandzoo.org.

FITNESS // March 28: Livermore Half Marathon
Surely, running 13.1 miles won’t feel too rough when it’s through a landscape of lush, rolling vineyards—and ends in a downtown festival of wine tasting (from 13 vineyards, of course) and live music. Livermore, runlivermore.com.

ANIMALS // March 28: Doggie Day Downtown
Put Fido on a leash, and head to downtown Pleasanton for this day dedicated to man’s best friend. More than 20 shops and restaurants will have free treats for your pup and special deals for you. Plus, participating businesses are making donations to the Valley Humane Society. Pleasanton, pleasantondowntown.net.


Feast for the BeastsFILM // March 29: Steven Spielberg Double Feature
Re-watch some contemporary cinema classics, or introduce them to your kids, with a double feature of Jurassic Park (PG-13) and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (PG). It starts at 2:00 and includes a 15-minute intermission. Village Theatre, Danville, villagetheatreshows.com.

MUSIC // March 29: Immortal Beloved
Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra offers an all-Beethoven program, including selections from The Creatures of Prometheus, Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major Op. 73 (“Emperor”), and Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major Op. 55 (“Eroica”). Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, cccorch.org.


LECTURE // March 31: Gloria Steinem
The Oakland Speaker Series concludes with feminist activist and Ms. magazine founder Gloria Steinem. Series subscriptions have been sold out for months, but you can sometimes find a last-minute single ticket up for grabs. Paramount Theater, Oakland, speakerseries.net.

For even more events happening this week, or to submit an event for consideration, visit Diablo’s Community Calendar. Follow Diablo on Twitter or Facebook, or subscribe to the A-List e-newsletter, and you’ll be notified when Top Tickets is posted each Wednesday. Questions? Comments? E-mail events(at)maildiablo(dot)com.