Sequoia 'Big Picture' High School is an alternative education charter school projected to open this fall. Learn about school at this community meeting. Jan. 23, 7-8:30 p.m. Free. Bethany Lutheran Church, 1095 Cloud Ave., Menlo Park. www.eventbrite.com/e/community-meeting-sequoia-big-picture-high-school-tickets-10030795379
Menlo Park City School District Transportation Dept. hosts town hall meeting about traffic, student commutes, safety and parking at Encinal and Laurel schools. Jan. 23, 7-8:30 p.m. Free. Encinal Elementary School Large Multipurpose Room, 195 Encinal Ave., Atherton. www.district.mpcsd.org
Conversation: 'Mysteries of Mental Illness' Lifetree Cafe Menlo Park hosts hour-long conversation. Jan. 16, 9:15-10:15 a.m. Free. Bethany Lutheran Church, 1095 Cloud Ave., Menlo Park. Call 854-5897. www.facebook.com/LifetreeCafeMP
Mental Health Panel and talk Community event on mental health, stigma, suicide prevention and advocacy. Co-sponsored by city of Palo Alto, LPCH, Project Safety Net and Stanford Public Psychiatry Series. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Free. Cubberley Theatre, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. Call 725-3772.
Benefit Concert for the Lighthouse for the Blind Retired Menlo School teacher Steve Gill presents "The Song is You: Kern and Kahn Go to Hollywood." Among Menlo School graduates who will perform are local residents Jenn Mitchell, Derek Yecies, Evanne Riskas, Tony Espinoza and Kari Hall. Jan. 18-19, 7:30-9:15 p.m. $15 donation requested. Menlo School, 50 Valparaiso Ave., Atherton. Call 948-4648.
Portola Valley Library Book Club discusses "Cocktail Hour under the Tree of Forgetfulness" by Alexandra Fuller. Jan. 16, 1-2:30 p.m. Free. Portola Valley Library, 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley. Call 851-0560.
Portola Valley Library LEGO Club The library provides LEGOs for kids to build with. Jan. 18, 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Free. Portola Valley Library, 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley. Call 851-0560.
Benefit Concert at Eastside Prep "Let Freedom Ring: The Resounding Music of African American Composers" features jazz and classical music performed by Bay Area musicians of the African American Composer Initiative and guest artists. Jan. 26, 3-5 p.m. $20 adults; $5 seniors and students. Eastside College Preparatory School Performing Arts Center, 1041 Myrtle St., East Palo Alto. www.aacinitiative.org/
Master Sinfonia Concert Maestro David Ramadanoff conducts Chabrier's "Fetes Polonaise," Shostakovitch's Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major with cellist Amos Yang, and Schubert's Symphony No. 9 in C Major, "The Great." Jan. 25, 8-10 p.m. $15-$25. Free for youth under 18. Portola Valley Presbyterian Church, 945 Portola Road , Portola Valley. Call 348-1270. www.mastersinfonia.org/season.aspx?c=Concert2
Thomas Schultz performs on piano "Piano Piece in E-flat" by Schubert, "Ballade in g & Fantasie in f" by Chopin, "North American Ballads" by Frederic Rzewski, and works by Hyo-shin Na. Jan. 26, 4-6 p.m. $22 general; $20 seniors; $10 students in advance; $27/$25/$15 at the door. St. Bede's Episcopal Church, 2 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park. Call 854-6555. www.bedesblog.wordpress.com/performing-arts/
Family and Kids
Jennifer Holm discusses latest installment in her graphic novel series, "Babymouse #17: Extreme Babymouse." Jan. 21, 7 p.m. Free. Kepler's Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Call 324-4321.
Karen Quest performs comedy show with trick roping, music, magic and audience participation. Jan. 22, 4-5 p.m. Free. Portola Valley Library, 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley. Call 851-0560.
Puppet Art Theater Co. Jan. 18, 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Free. Woodside Library, 3140 Woodside Road, Woodside.
Lectures & Talks
'The Transaction Society: Origins and Consequences' Lecture series, hosted by Stanford Center for Ethics in Society, features lectures by Nicholas Lemann, professor and former dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He will discuss how he thinks American society fundamentally changed in the second half of the twentieth century. Jan. 15-16, 5:30 p.m. Free. Koret-Taube 130, 366 Galvez St., Stanford. Call 736-6247. www.ethicsinsociety.stanford.edu/events/lectures/tanner-lectures/nicholas-lemannthe-transaction-society-origins-and-consequences
'Healthy Ways to Get a Good Night's Sleep' Little House hosts Dr. Posner, a psychologist working with the National Institute of Health, for a discussion of the latest research in effective, non-drug insomnia treatments. Jan. 16, 10-11 a.m. Free. Little House Activity Center, 800 Middle Ave., Menlo Park. Call 326-2025. www.penvol.org/littlehouse/contact.cfm
Deany Brady discusses her memoir, "An Appalachian Childhood." Jan. 25, 2 p.m. Free. Kepler's Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Call 324-4321. www.keplers.com/event/deany-brady
Gretchen Rubin discusses her new book, "Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and My Other Experiments in Everyday Life." Jan. 23, 7:30 p.m. Free. Kepler's Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park.
Howard Steven Pines discusses his new science fiction novel, "The Whale Song Translation," about an acoustics professor's scientific expedition to decode the language of whale songs. Jan. 22, 7:30 p.m. Free. Kepler's Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park.
Ishmael Beah discusses his first novel, "Radiance of Tomorrow," about postwar life in Sierra Leone. Jan. 16, 7:30 p.m. Free. Kepler's Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park.
Peninsula Railroad History Peter Hansen, editor of Railroad History, talks about 150 years of San Francisco Peninsula railroad history. Jan. 25, 1-4 p.m. $5 for adults; $3 for students and seniors. San Mateo County History Museum, 2200 Broadway St., Redwood City. www.historysmc.org
Thomas Moore, former monk and author of "A Religion of One's Own: A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World," discusses religion and spirituality. Jan. 15, 7:30 p.m. Free. Kepler's Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park.
Young Authors Event Three young authors and their books will be feature: "Independent Study" by Joelle Charbonneau, "Going Rogue" by Robin Benway, and "Starry Nights" by Daisy Whitney. Jan. 17, 7 p.m. Free. Kepler's Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park.
'Spirit of Uganda' A project of Empower African Children, the "Spirit of Uganda" presents programs of music and dance for audiences of all ages. Performers, ages 13-21, are from Uganda. Jan. 17, 7-8:30 p.m. $25. Sequoia High School - Carrington Hall, 1201 Brewster Ave., Redwood City. Call -269-6068. www.eventbrite.com/e/spirit-of-uganda-2014-at-carrington-hall-sequoia-high-school-tickets-9520559249
'Rx' at the Dragon Theatre "Rx" is a play by Kate Fodor, directed by Jeanie Smith, about a pill that relieves all the stress and strains of life. Jan. 16-Feb. 9, Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. $30. Dragon Theatre, 2120 Broadway St., Redwood City. www.dragonproductions.net
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