A heron rises above the water in “Taking Off,” a serene watercolor painted by a man who murdered a woman in her Bakersfield home after sexually assaulting her. The image is being used to advertise “Inside Out,” which opened at REDUX Studios & Gallery on February 14, featuring artwork from some of the more than 700 men on San Quentin’s death row. Is his crime irrelevant, or entirely the point?

Dawn Leigh was flipping channels and came across a documentary about wine making, which included a snippet on an artist painting with wine. “I never seem to have enough red wine left over,” Leigh said, so she went with “her next favorite elixir,” coffee.

"The Song of the Nightingale," with music, lyrics, and book by Alameda resident Min Kahng, expands upon Hans Christian Andersen's classic tale of how the Emperor of China learns the value of inner beauty and how this revelation ultimately benefits his people. The show opens tonight at Altarena Playhouse, 1409 High Street.

Studio 23 Gallery is run by Wesley and Jessica Warren - Wes and Jess - a couple who met in 1994 at Wes’s coffee house/art gallery in St. Petersburg, Fla. when Jess brought her paintings in and had a show there. The couple moved to Alameda from Atlanta a year ago with the intention of focusing more on their painting.

Contributed photos.

At Spank Salon, getting your makeup done “includes lash application,” according to their price list. Ouch! But that’s not the only reason it’s hard to sit still at this super hip parlor: Compelling art lines its walls, with new work rotated in frequently to keep heads turning.

We’ve come a long way from when redheads were targeted as witches or vampires in the infamous Malleus Maleficarum, but gingerism and its stereotypes linger. Megan Lynn Kott, who describes herself as “a lifelong redhead - in actuality and spirit” and her artistic partner Justin DeVine give some long overdue love to carrot-tops in their show “GINGERLY: an ode to all our favorite redheads,” which opens at Spank Salon on Saturday, March 16.

Hunter House Publishers was founded in 1978 and has made Alameda their headquarters since 1991. Located in a book-filled suite of offices above the Churchward Pub on Park Street, Hunter House employs seven people, most of them local, and publishes 12-16 self-help titles per year. Publisher Kiran Rana has been at the helm of the press for nearly 30 years. He spoke with The Alamedan recently about the joys and challenges of running a small, independent press. You can visit Hunter House Publications online at

While recovering from the shock of what happened in the community of Newton, Conn. after a troubled young man killed 20 first grade students and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in mid-December, Alameda photographer Anne Kohler posed a question to her Facebook friends: “If you could describe, in one word, what we lost in Newtown, Conn. what would that word be?"

Marie Gilmore was shocked when she saw Madeline L’Engle’s award-winning 1962 science fiction novel “A Wrinkle in Time” on a list of banned and challenged books.

“I read it when I was a child and my daughter read it also,” Alameda’s mayor said. “We just happened to be discussing the book a few weeks ago, so when I saw it on the list, I decided to read it.”

No doubt about it, this is a tough time to be an artist. The extended recession is drastically limiting would-be patrons’ disposable income, and forcing some galleries out of business. Autobody Fine Art was one of these. In February 2011 they ceased hosting exhibits on a regular basis, and converted much of its space into artist studios.