And the Oscar goes to

Robin Fryday

Novato-based filmmaker-photographer Robin Fryday will head to Los Angeles later this month for the Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 26. Her documentary film “The Barber of Birmingham,” which she directed and produced with the late Gail Dolgin of Berkeley, was nominated for best documentary, short subject. The film chronicles the civil rights movement through the life and work of barber and activist James Armstrong, who carried the American flag at the head of the iconic Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights march in 1965. It’s a bittersweet honor, says Fryday, as Armstrong died in November 2009 and Dolgin lost a battle with breast cancer in October 2010. However, “It’s a great tribute to both of them to have their work recognized in this way,” she says. “It’s been very exciting, and we know their spirits are with us.”

‘Betsy’ in Tel Aviv

A 2005 painting by Berkeley’s Ethel Lebenkoff, “America Series: Betsy,” is now hanging in the American embassy in Tel Aviv. The artist, who has a master’s in fine arts from Mills College, was contacted by the Art in Embassies program of the State Department for her submission. The work will hang for two years and shows a woman holding a disheveled American flag with the words “One Nation Under G-d.” In her artist’s statement, Lebenkoff notes, “My seemingly simplistic paintings are hybrids: conceptually complex, visually expressionistic and abstract. They are often playful. Paradoxically, I am serious about everything I do.” This painting and her other work can be seen at www.ethelethelethel.com.

Designing for good

Bob Herman

Susie Coliver and Bob Herman, principals and founders of San Francisco’s Herman Coliver Locus (HCL) Architecture, were honored by Episcopal Community Services for the work they’ve done to provide beautiful living spaces for the homeless. As noted in the invitation to the Feb. 1 award event, “The San Francisco-based ECS’s Canon Barcus family housing and our Bishop Swing single adult housing display HCL’s signature use of light and space in architectural designs that support our formerly homeless residents’ needs and give shape to their dreams and aspirations.” Coliver, Herman and the firm also have designed and renovated other sacred spaces and areas in the Bay Area, including Peninsula Temple Sholom in Burlingame, Congregation B’nai Israel in Sacramento and the chapel at San Francisco’s Jewish Home. You can see photos on the group’s website: www.hclarchitecture.com.

Short shorts

Instead of personal gifts, Jake Luria, 13, of San Anselmo, asked those celebrating his bar mitzvah last year to make a donation to enhance open space in Marin County. In his honor, the San Anselmo Open Space Committee received $2,500, and the Marin County Department of Parks and Open Space $1,900! … Barry Finestone, CEO of the JCC of San Francisco, is among 19 community leaders selected for the inaugural Zin Fellows Leadership Development Program of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Participants will experience in-depth immersion on issues relevant to the Negev and its development … Val Hornstein of San Rafael has been named an associate board member of the Marin Economic Forum … From Howard Zack of Tiburon, on Jan. 23: “I could not believe my eyes when I read in mice type in the bowels of the Chronicle’s Sporting Green this morning, a rundown of the top prep hoopsters in the entire Bay Area … There, remarkably, as the fifth-most proficient rebounder in all of the Bay Area varsity boys hoops, was one Anthony Gumberg of Jewish Community High School, averaging 11.5 rebounds a game.”

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