James Wu: WC Little League President | Marlene Weinstein: Artist

Wu_James_webJames Wu: Walnut Creek Little League President

interviewed by Nicole Mills

“Take me out to the ballgame! Take me out with the crowd!” Yes, it is that time again. Our A’s and Giants are both hitting it out of the park this summer, but closer to home there are other, smaller, ballplayers that we like to watch. That’s right—Little League!

There are more kids’ baseball teams, leagues and games around here than you can shake a stick at, and for each one there are legions of parent volunteers (many of whom happen to be local attorneys) who make it happen. There are coaches and assistant coaches; there are people who set up the field before the game, and people who break it down after the game; there are drivers, and don’t forget the Team Mom!

Local attorneys are among the many parents who fill these roles, but there is one local attorney (and CCCBA Board Member) who goes above and beyond.

By day, James Wu is a mild-mannered employment attorney (and member of the Contra Costa Lawyer Editorial Board), but by night (ok, late afternoon), his secret identity is revealed—Walnut Creek Little League President! Ok, it’s not really that big of a “secret.” After all, James was an ever-present figure at the ball fields this year.

Like many of us, he was at every game his son played in (Go Rangers!), but unlike the rest of us, he was also working hard to make sure there were games to be played. James devoted more hours to Little League than I think he would care to admit, so on behalf of all of us whose children play in the WCLL, I would like to say “Thank you, James.”


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Marlene Weinstein: Artist

I grew up with art all around me. My parents had paintings all over the walls, and my father sold art supplies for what was then one of the biggest art supply stores in New York City, having worked there since the age of 16. My dad later opened his own art store in Manhattan, where he sold supplies and did picture framing.

He also created dyes and special wax-coated paper for the textile industry—we literally ironed the wax onto the paper in our garage. It was not until much later that I realized my dad was an artist himself, and I have one small painting of his that I believe he painted when he came back from France after World War II.

Although I wanted to go to art school—FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) to be exact—my parents (especially my dad) knew what the life of an artist was like and “gently” pushed me to go to a liberal arts college … and so here I am.

After many years, I returned to my art. I have since exhibited in galleries and sold my work. My second marriage is to another artist, Mark Read, and together our art has flourished. My evolution as an artist is best explained by my Artist Statement:
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My art has truly been a reflection of the evolution of my spirit …
My life as an artist … where do I begin … when I think of it … it’s always been with me …
from my earliest days I can remember I loved to draw … each report I prepared for school inspired a picture … even then I was drawn to the impressionists … especially Van Gogh …
as I grew … I drew fashion … my art always being a depiction of the physical world outside of me …
When I first entered college I planned to study art … but it was the days of Warhol and Lichtenstein … and I became disillusioned … and instead … I developed my intellect …
and so for many years that’s the world I lived in … and through which I experienced a connection to my own creativity …
But art is not intellectual … it is spiritual …
and to me it has become the expression of my inner spirit …
as a reflection of a greater universal energy from which I draw my creative inspiration …
It has been over fifteen years now since I became aware of a world greater than myself and the physical world around me.
I began to understand that there is a universal energy … nature made me a believer of a greater power … whether it be God or Buddha or just an absolute being or energy force … something must have created all of the beauty and power that we see in nature … it is truly the majesty and magnificence of the natural physical world that inspires me to create …
For now my medium is pastels … although I have explored the use of water colors and am delving into acrylics so that I can work larger … it is the immediacy and vibrancy of the chalk that excites me … and the intimate connection between my fingers and my paper canvas … the energy I feel from within … some spark that generally ignites in an explosion of color …
The beauty of nature moves me to paint … but not what I see … it is not the flower or the mountains that I paint … but the energy I feel … the essence and vitality of nature … the nature of beauty.

Please view my website at www.marleneweinsteinart.com (although it has not yet been updated with my most recent works).

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