West Edge Opera opens new season

West Edge Opera will open its new season at 8 p.m. Feb. 1 with a new edition of "L'incoronazione Di Poppea" by Claudio Monteverdi at the El Cerrito High School Performing Arts Center, 540 Ashbury Ave. Performances continue at 8 p.m. Feb. 2 and 3 p.m. Feb. 3.

For tickets or details, visit www.westedgeopera.org or call 510-841-1903.

Community gathering to watch Super Bowl

Albany Parks and Recreation is holding a free Super Bowl party starting at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 3 at the Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave.

Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. and the game will be on the big screen at the center. Bring lawn chairs and your own food and maybe enter the Super Bowl Squares Pool at the gathering billed as "an indoor tailgate party."

Baxter Creek work day needs volunteers

Friends of 5 Creeks and the El Cerrito Green Team invite volunteers to join them for a Groundhog Day work party maintaining the restored Baxter Creek at the city's northern gateway.

The gathering will meet at 10 a.m. at the creek by the Ohlone Greenway at Conlon Avenue at Key Boulevard.

Free talk on river otters and recovery


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Animal rescuer and naturalist Megan Isadore, co-founder of the River Otter Ecology Project, will give a free slide presentation on Return of the River Otter at 7 p.m. Feb. 4 in the Edith Stone Room, Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave.

Dinner, music and auction benefit Portola

The inaugural Celebrate Portola Auction, a benefit for academic and music programs at the middle school, will be at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 2 at the El Cerrito Community Center, 7007 Moeser Lane. The evening will include dinner, a show featuring Portola jazz bands and jazz ensemble, and a silent auction.

Tickets are $20 adults, $10 students, available online at portolanews.com/Auction/, by emailing CelebratePortola@gmail.com, or by going to the school office. Tickets at the door will cost $5 more.

Albany holding first blood drive of year

A "family-friendly" American Red Cross blood drive will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 6 hosted by the city and the U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory at the Bill Lewis Teen Center parking lot at Ocean View Park, 900 Buchanan St. in Albany.

This is the city's first blood drive of the year and adult donors are welcome to bring children onto the Red Cross bus to teach the importance of blood donations.

To make an appointment visit www.givelife.org and enter sponsor code USDA or call 866-236-3276. For eligibility requirements visit www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/eligibility.

Association holding talk on art of Italy

A slide program on the early Renaissance art of Central Italy will be the subject of the first El Cerrito Art Association meeting of 2013, taking place at 7 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Community Center, 7007 Moeser Lane.

The talk by writer and art researcher Edmund Zimmerman is at 7:30 p.m. and will follow a mini art show at 7:15 p.m.

Free screening of Sutro Baths documentary

A free showing of the documentary "Sutro's: The Palace at Lands End" will be held at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Albany Library, 1247 Marin Ave. The film looks at the entertainment facilities built on the cliffside, including Sutro Railway, Merry Way, the original Cliff House, ice skating rink and Egyptian Mummy Museum.

Garden club to hear talk on orchid growing

Paula Shiu, past president of San Francisco Orchid Society, will discuss "Growing Orchids from Seed to Bloom" at the El Cerrito Garden Club meeting from 9:30 a.m. to noon Feb. 14 at the Community Center, 7007 Moeser Lane. The guest fee for nonmembers is $3, payable at the door.

Waterfront outing will look at King Tides

The Berkeley Path Wanderers and Friends of 5 Creeks are holding a King Tides Walk that starts at 10 a.m. Feb. 9.

The non-strenuous and level walk will take participants along a new extension of the Bay Trail and give them a chance to see the last of the season's "King Tides," when water levels will be at a peak. The outing starts outside the Sea Breeze Deli on the south side of University Avenue just west of Interstate 80. No dogs will be allowed.

Free session on downloading eBooks

The Kensington Library, 61 Arlington Ave., is hosting a free eBooks Tutoring presentation at 6 p.m. Feb. 4. The session for ages 18 and up will show those who bring their electronic device how to download an ebook or audiobook from the Contra Costa County Library's website. Sign up in the library, or by calling 510-524-3043.

-- Chris Treadway