Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

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Happy Friday. Here's what you're doing this weekend:

Oaktoberfest in the Dimond
You wouldn't know it anymore, but up until about a hundred years ago, the Dimond District (centered around MacArthur Blvd. and Fruitvale Ave.) was Oakland's own de-facto Little Germany, with beer gardens and other German-owned and -themed businesses dotting what's now known as MacArthur. Prohibition pretty much killed all that, but for the past four years, a group of local residents have worked to bring it back (temporarily, at least) in the form of Oaktoberfest, which organizers describe as an Oakland twist on the classic German beer festival. That means traditional German music and Bavarian dance will share performance space with local acoustic and electro acts; the beer will be provided by local microbrews including Ale Industries, TrumerPils, and Linden Street Brewery; and the traditional bratwursts and strudels will be offered alongside less traditional dishes by some of Oakland's most beloved street food vendors. There will also be a homebrew competition and plenty of kids' activities. But best of all, the whole thing's a fundraiser for various community efforts in the neighborhood. Free admission, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Oaktoberfest.orgEllen Cushing

Merce Cunningham Tribute
Site-specific dance is popping up everywhere, with contemporary troupes leaping around parking lots and bounding off buildings. They owe a debt of inspiration to modern-dance pioneer Merce Cunningham, and on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 5-6, the Mills Repertory Dance Company pays homage by reviving — and re-siting — his 1969 work Event with Canfield. Cunningham dancer and Broadway star Holley Farmer reconfigured the choreography to suit the Jeannik Mequet Littlefield Concert Hall and Haas Pavilion at Mills College, artist Ethan Worden re-created the original lighting and decor, and Mills music faculty arranged Pauline Oliveros' sound score to harmonize with the site's resonant qualities. Held in celebration of the hundredth anniversary of composer (and Cunningham collaborator) John Cage's birth and Oliveros' eightieth birthday, the shows include additional musical works from their legendary oeuvres. 8 p.m., $10-$15 — Claudia Bauer

The Biebs: Consider yourself warned.
  • The Biebs: Consider yourself warned.
Justin Bieber
Probably the first thing you should know about Justin Bieber's Saturday, Oct. 6, show at the Oracle Arena is that venerable Bay Area concert directory The List has bestowed upon the concert its rare official scream warning. BE ADVISED, Y'ALL. That said, the second thing you should know is that this kid isn't going away anytime soon — and, in fact, if his most recent album is any indication, that he's swiftly moving in on making the kind of music actual human adults can enjoy without irony or apology: Believe, which was released in June to sun-eclipsing sales, is still plenty heavy on those sugary pop hooks Kids These Days seem to love, but the syrupy melodies and poppy chord progressions are tempered by sophisticated lyrical choices and a mature, minimal production ethos that, when stripped down to its core, actually has far more in common with R&B than radio pop. That was enough to earn the Biebs comparisons to none other than Justin Timberlake, as well as the grudging respect of many members of the music press, and it's definitely reason enough to see him in concert. Just don't forget your earplugs. 7 p.m., sold out (obviously), but check Craigslist. Coliseum.com Ellen Cushing

Chinglish
Billed as a comedy about the perils of cross-culture communication, David Henry Hwang´s Chinglish, now receiving its West Coast premiere at Berkeley Rep, is actually a salty, political play with nods to the Enron scandal and the current Bo Xilai imbroglio. At its core, though, it's a sweet, star-crossed love story involving a guileless American businessman (Alex Moggridge) and a svelte, canny vice-minister (Michelle Krusiec). David Korins´ sets, built on rotating turntables, conjure images of a gradually modernizing but somewhat staid and traditional China, where politicians are still adjusting to their new position on the axis of global power. The characters consort in a series of intricately designed, but ultimately prosaic environments that fit together like puzzle pieces. Hwang, who also penned M. Butterfly, has created a play that´s at once a fable and a social commentary — a series of hilarious inter-titles bear out the theme as characters attempt to parlay in Mandarin and English. Leigh Silverman directs. Through October 21 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. $14.50-$99. 510-647-2972 or BerkeleyRep.orgRachel Swan

Joel Pickford: "Soul Calling: A Photographic Journey Through The Hmong Diaspora"
The Vietnam War displaced masses of Hmong people, many of who arrived in California to start new lives. Award-winning photographer Joel Pickford spent five years documenting their stories, from the rice harvests in their native Laos to the verdant apartment gardens in Fresno. With more than two hundred brilliant color photos and several essays, Soul Calling: A Photographic Journey through the Hmong Diasporadepicts several generations of immigrants adding their own layer to the Hmong culture. Pickford will discuss his book on Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Berkeley Public Library's Main Branch. 2 p.m., free. 510-981-6100 or BerkeleyPublicLibrary.orgAlison Peters

Plus...
You might've heard that a local baseball team has a game this weekend?
Get your cheapskate on:
This is how much we love you guys: Here are our searchable listings of every single free event happening in the East Bay this weekend.

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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