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

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Hi guys. Hopefully your food hangovers (slash alcohol hangovers let's be honest) have worn off because there's actually a bunch of stuff to do if you're in town this weekend. Funtimez, ahoy!

Plaid Friday
While tartan attire is making something of a comeback (you may have noticed the resurgence of flannel in recent years), donning plaid the day after Thanksgiving is beginning to represent more than just a fashion statement. It's also the official garb of followers of Plaid Friday — a sort of Black Friday antithesis by which independent businesses hold sales, parties, and other incentives for people to casually peruse their shops in lieu of cramming into notoriously crowded chain stores. As Plaid Friday founder Kerri Johnson summarized it, "Instead of waking up at 4 a.m. to go and stand in a line, you can wake up at noon, get some coffee, wander around and find out who your local business people are." She said the plaid element is a nod to the colorful mishmash that results when the diverse types of existing small businesses join forces. this year at least fifty businesses, from bars to book stores, are holding formal Plaid Friday sales and celebrations on Friday, November 25; Visit PlaidFriday.com for a list of participating businesses and their offerings. — Cassie Harwood

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Los Rakas
That suggestive bilingual remix of Goapele’s “Play” is only a small hint at what Panamanian hip-hop duo Los Rakas can do. Emcees Rico and Dun Dun hail from Veranillo and Panama Viejo, respectively — cities that they compare to North Richmond and East Oakland (where they eventually wound up after immigrating to the US). In other words, they both came up in the barrio, listened to a ton of Caribbean dancehall, studied folkloric music at the behest of their aunties, and ultimately kept it gully. Their group, which also includes Cuban DJ Leydis, is one of several vibrant, polyglot hip-hop acts to emerge in the Bay Area. They incorporate dancehall tracks and son clave rhythms with lyrics that veer from Spanish to English. Even if you aren’t bilingual, the libretti usually aren’t hard to understand. Eres como mi droga: Cocaina! Rico chants in the song “Abrazame,” which filches its beat from reggae-pop artist Gyptian. English speakers, take note: That’s a great pickup line. Los Rakas perform at The New Parish (579 18th St., Oakland) on Friday, Nov. 25. 9 p.m., $10-$15. TheNewParish.com — Rachel Swan

Train Week
Train-loving tykes will find themselves in choo-choo heaven at the Habitot Children’s Museum’s (2065 Kittredge St., Berkeley) annual week-long train exhibition. Throughout the week, kids ages one through six can ride miniature locomotives on make-believe tracks throughout the discovery museum, help decorate a giant train sculpture, construct their own conductor’s hats, make railroad-track-patterned pictures, and partake in other train-themed high jinks. Monday through Saturday, Nov. 28-Dec. 3. Mon.-Thu. 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sun. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; $9. 510-647-1111 or Habitot.org — C.H.

Pick Your Poison
The show’s title may suggest happy-hour conviviality, but Gregory Roberts is serious: The forms of his wall-hung sculptures derive from the bridge plugs used in hydraulic fracturing, “fracking,” a controversial gas/oil mining practice that can cause fish kills, acid burns, and pollution of air and water. The artist sees the rounded cylindrical forms also as pharmaceutical capsules and phallic totems or lingams, equating machismo and intoxication (in both senses) — as hubris meds: take as needed. Ironically, the crackle pattern on the pieces is produced by dunting, i.e., opening the kiln suddenly, so the process replicates industrial fracking on a smaller scale. These faux-archaic vessels, totems, or bombs, bereft of handles and bases, yet decorated with photo decals of contemporary Anglo-Saxon life, could be time capsules from the Late Petroleum Age. Pick Your Poison runs through November 26 at Roscoe Ceramic Gallery (473 25th St., Oakland). 510-515-3174 or RoscoeCeramicGallery.com — DeWitt Cheng


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