Weekender: The Top Five Things to Do Over the Next Three Days in the East Bay

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Happy Friday, beautiful people. Get your weekend on with help from our critics.

Jacqueline Luckett, Eva Tuschman, and Erin Van Rheenan
Seventh in the popular annual series, The Best Women's Travel Writing 2011 offers tales of lunch with a Japanese mobster, delivering a "Best Testicles" trophy in rural Serbia, camel rides, nudity, and many more adventures in Brazil, India, Cuba, Guyana, Syria, Ireland, Cambodia, and beyond. Contributors Jacqueline Luckett, Eva Tuschman, and Erin Van Rheenan bring it all back home to Books Inc. (1760 Fourth St., Berkeley) on Friday, June 3. 7 p.m., free. 510-525-7777 or BooksInc.net. — Stefanie Kalem

trees.jpg
The Care of Trees
For all its intellectual pretensions and wildly disparate themes — the shortcomings of language, disease as metaphor, environmentalism, philosophy and law, psychoanalysis, memory, the transience of nature — Shotgun Players' latest is, at its heart, a rather traditional romantic folk tale. But don't worry, folks: It's not quite as Seventies as it sounds. The story is about a single relationship that starts off idyllic but runs into a seemingly intractable problem. The two characters, Travis Dekalb (played by a savagely handsome Patrick Russell) and Georgia Swift (the sinuous Liz Sklar) have enough onstage chemistry to make their love scenes extremely sensual, and their arguments frustratingly realistic. They speak in a loopy, elliptical language that's supposed to highlight its own deficiencies. Videography by Ian Winters and a soundscape by Jake Rodriguez enhance Nina Ball's elaborate, tree-house set design. And, fittingly, tree metaphors abound. Through June 26 at The Ashby Stage (1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley). $17-$26. 510-841-6500 or ShotgunPlayers.org — Rachel Swan

Sand Castle and Sand Sculpture Contest
Castles in the sand are the goal at Alameda's 45th-annual Sand Castle and Sand Sculpture Contest, though there's also a place for sand houses, sand condominiums, and sand beach homes. Builders can register between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., then have until noon to build their ephemeral masterpieces. Separate winners will be crowned for the older set, kids under twelve, and whole families. Judges rate the sandy works on their design, detail, neatness, and technique. The very best can dig it. Saturday, June 4, at Robert Crown Memorial State Beach (Westline and Otis drives, Alameda).Awards at 1 p.m., free. 510-521-7090 or CityofAlamedaCa.gov. — Kibby Kleiman

Intermission: Five Bay Area Painters
Intermission: Five Bay Area Painters explores landscape, symbolism, and even photo imagery. David Aipperspach's action paintings paradoxically evoke space, light, and structure, while Lisa Fernald Barker's flattened shapes and sonorous colors and Carol Lefkowitz' fuzzy-edged color rectangles create meditative spaces both visual and visionary. Joanne Fox's oils juxtapose black X's and squares with fluid painterly backgrounds, suggesting musical analogies; and Anne Subercaseaux imbues simplified forms from cropped photographs with quiet mystery. Through June 11 at Slate Contemporary (4770 Telegraph Ave., Oakland).510-652-4085 or SlateArtandDesign.com. — DeWitt Cheng

Albany Adult Basketball League
The city of Albany offers men's and co-ed softball teams, a kickball league, and drop-in women's soccer games — but basketball has been absent from the roster. Until now. Starting Sunday, June 5, local basketball enthusiasts can finally hit the courts as part of the city's new co-ed adult recreational basketball league. "We're trying to create a friendly league that's really inclusive of everyone," said Heather Robinson, the city's adult sports coordinator. "Basketball has a history of getting physical and rough, and we want to avoid that and create a fun and safe environment for people." Teams will play four-on-four games due to the size of the UniversityVillagegym (1123 Jackson St., Albany), with a minimum of six games in the first season. Sundays through July 24. 6-9 p.m., $40. 510-559-7216 or AlbanyCa.org. — Cassie Harwwod


Plus...

Catch a Movie: X-Men, DUH.

Eat Up: Stuff your face with schnitzel, spatzle, strudel, and other German-inflected dishes, not all of which start with S, at Point Richmond's Baltic.

Get Buzzed:Get summertime sloppy on good beer under the stars with Jupiter's high-quality house-made brews (and idyllic beer garden).

Waste Some Time: Hundreds of brilliant photobombs, all conveniently collected under one roof. The world is truly a wonderful place.

Friend and Follow Us: Here we are on Facebook and Twitter.

Feed Us: Got any East Bay news, events, video, or miscellany we should know about? Holler at us at Ellen.Cushing@EastBayExpress.com.

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