Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events


Congratulations, you made it! The weekend weather is looking safely non-dismal, so feel free to replicate 4/20 freely and/or enjoy the following fun activities:

Since 1965, the Oakland Ballet Company has gained international recognition for its deferential nods to the classics and its innovative breaks with tradition. After closing briefly in 2006, the company was revived the next year at the hands of a new artistic director, Graham Lustig, who on Saturday, Apr. 27, joins the rest of the company in hosting their annual fundraiser gala at the Oakland Kaiser Center. The evening will be emceed by Cheryl Jennings of ABC7 and includes a champagne and hors d'oeuvres reception, a preview of the company's spring program, dessert with the dancers, and a silent auction — which includes the chance to appear in the company's December production of The Nutcracker. 7-9:30 p.m., $100 and up. 510-894-3132 or OaklandBallet.orgAzeen Ghorayshi


Presented chronologically, a partial list of the descriptors used in Oceanography's three-paragraph official bio: "brooding," "lost," "heav[y]," "distorted," "world weary." And yes, the band — which is fronted by Livermore native, self-described "sad bastard," and, full disclosure, Express art director Brian Kelly — does have its heavy moments, both musically and existentially, its December EP, Parachutes of Plenty, is much more interesting and much more variously influenced than that description implies. Take, for example, "Reggie Jackson," the EP's opening track and perhaps the best distillation of why, exactly, Oceanography works: It's named after a debt collector who used to be after Kelly, abstractly references a period Kelly described to the Bay Bridged as "a low point," and starts off expectably slow, just a steady, slowish, unadorned drum beat. But soon enough, it's morphed and metastasized into something wholly different: something marked by triumphal, U2-but-better builds; driving, giddy drum work; and a catchy, compelling, singing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs-with-the-windows-down chorus — something bizarrely uplifting, even. See for yourself when Oceanography plays with Couches, Mosshead, and the There There at the Night Light on Friday, Apr. 26. 9 p.m., $5. TheNightLightOakland.com — Ellen Cushing

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
In 2011, Robert Battle rose to the helm of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater as the third leader in its 55-year history. Returning to the East Bay during his second full season, he's steering what he once called the "big Ailey ship" towards exuberant signature displays and expansive, unchartered territory with four different programs featuring two Bay Area premieres. If there's feasting in dance — or a not-to-miss local world series of dance — this is surely it. Highlights include premieres by Battle and Kyle Abraham, JiríKylián'sPetite Mort, Rennie Harris' Home, and a tantalizing Ailey Classics program. Performances run Tuesday through Friday, April 23-26, at Zellerbach Hall. Tue.-Fri. 8 p.m.; Sat. 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sun 3 p.m. $30-$92. 510-642-9988 or CalPerformances.orgLou Fancher

Juhu Beach Club
With its bright pink paint job, funky wallpaper, and hipster clientele, former Top Chef contestant Preeti Mistry's Indian street-food spot joins a small handful of standard bearers for the Oakland food renaissance — hip, casual restaurants that serve food that's steeped in tradition but feels thoroughly modern. The centerpiece of the menu is the street-food sandwich known as the pav — India's answer to the slider — and Mistry's serves several stellar versions, filled, variously, with tender beef short rib, perfectly grilled green-chile chicken, or fried potato puffs. But man cannot subsist on street snacks alone, and the menu at Juhu Beach Club has plenty of other delights: a hearty entree-size curry featuring whole, slow-cooked chicken leg; a slightly salty, grown-up take on a mango lassi; and Straus soft-serve ice cream served with a variety of interesting, South-Asian-inspired toppings. — Luke Tsai

Polish-born artist Andrzej Michael Karwacki strives to register neither emotion nor thought in his abstract paintings, aiming instead for a sort of silent expansiveness. Equanimity, his series now at Slate Contemporary Gallery, is certainly cucumber-cool. The artist's process of mixing thin layers of paint and water helps to efface any overt gestural quality, and the ultimate encasement of each birch panel in resin freezes the set into definite objecthood. With the works, which come in different proportions of rectangle, sequenced along the wall with rhythmic spacing, the display reads as classic minimalism in somewhat more cheerful, Zen garb. But there are some cracks in this "equanimity": In one work, full pages torn from a copy of The Age of Innocence show clearly through the thinned layers of paint. Can this really claim to carry neither ideas nor emotion? That will probably depend on the viewer. Equanimity runs through April 27 at Slate Contemporary Gallery. 510-652-4085 or SlateContemporary.comAlex Bigman

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 Azeen.Ghorayshi@EastBayExpress.com.

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