Two events coming up this month each show a different facet of Jack London State Historic Park, events that distinguish the Sonoma Valley sanctuary from most other state parks. But given the diverse interests of the polymath for whom the park is named, that should come as no surprise.
On Sunday, Feb. 12 the musical side of the London legacy will be aired with an afternoon Valentine’s Day Concert, presented by the Jack London Piano Club. Naturally, the concert will be performed on the Steinway Grand Piano that the writer’s wife, Charmian London, played with regularity and felicity.
The Valentine’s Day performance features love songs and piano solos, ranging from classical to popular music. Performers include several members of the club, including piano solo and songs by Michael O’Brien, and vocals by Ralph Hoyal (aka “the Singing Podiatrist” and a frequent talent on local stages), with piano accompaniment by Jenny Jones.
The concert will be held at the House of Happy Walls, the museum at the park, 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen. Tickets – which include parking – are $20, available at the museum store or online at jacklondonpark.com.
It should be noted that the Piano Club meets upstairs at the House of Happy Walls, where the piano is on permanent display, which can only be reached by stairway. To inquire about disabled access, call the park at 938-5216.
The following weekend, on Saturday, Feb. 18, park docent Jeff Falconer will read aloud from “The Water Baby,” London’s philosophic tale set in Hawaii, written by the author late in life and published in 1918. The reading will be followed by a discussion of the book. The event is free; parking at the park is $10.
The prolific London wrote hundreds of short stories, most culled from his own wide-ranging experiences and travels. “The Water Baby” explores one of the creation myths of the islands, contrasting them with the Biblical myths that the missionaries have brought to Hawaii.
The reading and discussion will take place from 4 to 6 p.m., and refreshments will be served at the break. Admission is limited to 20, so pre-reservation is appreciated either online at jacklondonpark.com/jl-short-story.html or by calling 938-5216.