Central Contra Costa

'Homage' nudes exhibit Jan. 2-26

With "Homage to the Nude in Art," at the aRt Cottage in downtown Concord from Jan. 2-26, several Contra Costa County artists (including representatives from Walnut Creek and Lafayette) aim to show that capturing the essence of the human form is akin to artistically recording the beauty of nature.

The exhibition will feature drawings and paintings -- from realistic to abstract -- representing the beauty of the human form. Artwork includes quick gestural drawings and long studies, some in pencil and pastel, others in watercolor, oils and acrylics.

There will be an artists' reception Saturday, Dec. 5 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the aRt Cottage, 2238 Mt. Diablo St., Concord. Gallery hours 9-5 weekdays; 1-5, weekends. Jan. 5. Call 925-381-9584, or go to aRtCottage.com.

Lafayette

A night of 'Petty Theft' at Town Hall Jan. 26

Petty Theft, a Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers tribute band, makes its return to Town Hall Theatre for one night only, Jan. 26, for a show of Petty music ranging from his revered classics to his most current hits.

Tickets range from $10 to $30. Doors open at 7, music begins at 8. To buy tickets, go to Thttp://www.townhalltheatre.com; to learn more about the band, go to http://www.pettytheftrocks.com

ORINDA

Next installment in 'Showcase' series

"Shun Li and the Poet," directed by Andrea Segre, is the next film in the International Film Showcase series at the Orinda Theatre, set to run Jan. 11-17.

This 2011 film is a study of the friendship between a Chinese woman and a fisherman who came to Italy from Yugoslavia many years ago, who live in a small city-island in the Veneto lagoon.

There will be several showings each day. For more information, go to www.lfef.org or www.orindatheatre.com

Moraga

'Princess and the Pea' for the kids in January

The Saint Mary's College Performing Arts Department will present a stage adaptation of the classic Hans Christian Andersen story "The Princess and the Pea" Jan. 30-31 at the college's LeFevre Theatre, 1928 St. Marys Road, Moraga.

This is the department's annual fairy tale performance, which are popular and often sell out before Jan. 1. The short story is made into an almost-full-hour of children-focused entertainment, all aspects carried out by Saint Mary's College students enrolled in the "Jan Term" Children's Theatre course under Michael Cook. Staying faithful to the Andersen text, the students will add their own imagination, theatricality, acting, sets and costumes.

Performances are: Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. and Thursday, Jan. 31 at 4 p.m. All tickets are $8; call 925-631-4670 or go to brownpapertickets.com for more info.

'Carnaval!' exhibition begins Feb. 2

The exuberant creativity, color, and pageantry that is Carnaval comes to the Saint Mary's College Museum of Art in a spectacular exhibition opening Saturday, Feb. 2.

The sights and sounds of Carnaval in New Orleans, Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil, Trinidad, Italy, Spain and Switzerland will be on display. Costumes, headdresses, masks, musical instruments and videos of performances and parades, show the history and traditions of Carnaval and its often outlandish and ribald behavior.

Carnaval is a rich tradition of partying before Lent's 40 days of penance. In Carnaval, everything shifts -- the social order is overturned as masks and elaborate costumes conceal identities. The poor and powerless can become kings and queens for a day. Everyone-rich or poor, young or old-breaks loose in spectacular ways. Yet it is distinctly different in each region, and the Carnaval exhibition will show this diversity.

Opening Day -- Saturday, Feb. 2 -- will also feature a documentary by Robert Jerome, an award-winning, internationally published travel photojournalist who specializes in topics related to folklore and culture. Over the past 30 years, Jerome has photographed Carnaval celebrations in more than 20 countries.

The film will be part of the exhibit's artists reception, Feb. 2 from to to 4 p.m. in Studio 105 at the Museum of Art on the Saint Mary's campus in Moraga.

WALNUT CREEK

'Shellies' performing arts award dinner Jan. 12

The 34th annual Shellie Awards dinner, where outstanding achievement in the performing arts in Central Contra Costa and the Diablo Valley will be recognized, will be held Jan. 12 at the Lesher Center for the Arts in downtown Walnut Creek.

Patterned after the Tony Awards on Broadway, the work of 11 regional theater companies and their individual actors, writers, musicians and support personnel will be featured. Nominees are selected by each participating organization, and winners are chosen by members of the Shellie Committee who attend every local production. The time period for consideration is Sept. 1, 2011 through Aug. 31, 2012.

Tickets for the Jan. 12 event are $30. For more information, go to http://www.lesherartscenter.org

ARF's 'Stars' benefit to feature Robin Williams

Stars to the Rescue XXII, as of this week including appearances by actor/comedian Robin Williams, singer Tony Orlando and singer/actor Rich Hebert, is set for Saturday, Jan. 5 as a benefit for Tony La Russa's Animal rescue Foundation.

Proceeds from Stars to the Rescue provide support for ARF's programs for animals and their people. There also will be a silent auction, also to raise money for ARF.

Williams, based in San Francisco, is famous for his standup comedy and for appearances in films including "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Good Morning Vietnam" and "Night at the Museum."

In addition to five hit singles in the 1970s, with the backup singers Dawn, Orlando has been on variety TV shows, in movies and on Broadway.

Hebert's past performances include Broadway and National tours such as Sunset Boulevard, Les Miserables, Cats and Saturday Night Fever.

Tickets range from $45 per person to $250 for VIP tickets. For more information, call 925-943-SHOW; for details on VIP tickets, contact Judy Bentley at 925-296-3154 or jbentley@arf.net.

'Broadway Revealed' reveals itself at the Bedford

"Broadway Revealed: Behind the Theater Curtain" is scheduled to run through Feb. 17 at the Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center for the Arts.

It reflects the breadth, ambition, and showmanship of New York's iconic theater district to the gallery with a behind-the-scenes look at world-class theater production via artist Stephen Joseph's photographs of some of Broadway's most critically acclaimed productions.

The performance images are bolstered by photos of theatrical props, costumes, and other artifacts.

The exhibit is designed to showcase the complex support network of design, lighting, directing, and staging that come together to create the magic world of the theater.

The artists of "Captured" have been committed to exploring the unfamiliar and unknown creatures and environments that share our world. That exhibit demonstrates the complex dialogue between the arts, scientific exploration and organic, found materials is being expressed in a contemporary context.

The gallery, in the Lesher Center for the Arts, is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and from 6 to 8 p.m. on dates of evening performances at the Lesher.