Richmond Roundup

'Heroes' get free admission into Academy

The California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park is offering free admission through March 15 for members of the military, police officers, firefighters and teachers. The offer is to honor their service to our communities and country. To participate, individuals must show proof of occupation and a valid ID at the ticket window. For more information, call (415) 379-8000 or go to the Web site at

Students read for Africa

Argonne Elementary School third and fifth grade students of teachers David Allyn and Kim Towsley enjoyed a day of reading on Dec. 16, to benefit needy, disabled children at the Khulani Special School in KwaZuluNatal, South Africa.

This year's Read-A-Thon at Argonne generated a record $2,000 in donations from family and friends of the young Argonne readers. The donations will help purchase educational supplies for needy children at the Khulani Special School.

After reading for most of the day, the Argonne students took time to write letters with artwork to the young students in South Africa. This is the fourth year for the reading and fundraising event, which has already helped build four classrooms at the rural Zululand Nkomo Primary School.

British film fest at Vogue

The Mostly British Film Festival returns in February with an ambitious program of 33 movies from the U.K., Ireland, South Africa and Australia. Highlights include two animated features that have been shortlisted for Oscars and new works from Brenda Blethyn, Peter O'Toole, Jeremy Northam, John Malkovich and Jean Simmons, back on the big screen after 15 years.

Presented by the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation and the California Film Institute, the second annual Mostly British Festival takes place February 4 - 11 at the Vogue Theater on Sacramento Street, with selected screenings February 7 - 10 at the Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.

For screenings at the Vogue, located on Sacramento Street near Presidio Avenue, call (415) 346-2288 or visit the Web site at

City's Russian history revealed

Arcadia Publishing has released a new book with the pictorial history of the Russians in San Francisco.

"Russian San Francisco" explores the influence of Russians starting with Fort Ross on the northern coast and including the large migration of Russians in the 1920s after the Russian Revolution.

To get a copy of "Russian San Francisco," $21.95, go to local bookstores, call (888) 313-2665 or go to the Web site at

Shanghai sister-city celebrations begin

The Shanghai Celebration is an unprecedented, year-long festival presented by more than 30 San Francisco Bay Area organizations commemorating the 30th anniversary of the sister city relationship between San Francisco and Shanghai.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom kicked off the celebration at a press conference held at the Asian Art Museum Jan. 19. Spearheaded by the Asian Art Museum, the celebration runs throughout 2010, coinciding with the World Expo presented in Shanghai from May to October. The more than 50 Shanghai-related programs feature exhibitions, concerts, performances, films, lectures, book readings, artist demonstrations and other special events and cover topics such as Shanghai's architecture, jazz, historic Jewish communities, Art Deco design, filmmaking industry, contemporary art, cuisine, high-rise urban planning and fashion.

The cornerstone of the celebration is the Asian Art Museum's presentation of Shanghai, a major exhibition examining the visual culture of one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities, scheduled for Feb. 12 to Sept. 5.

For the Shanghai Celebration program calendar of events, and a list of participating organizations, visit the Web site at