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Keep It Real

It's a Black August

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SUN 8/22

A former "mobb" rapper who kept it real with lyrics about fast hustles and homicides, T-KASH -- who raps for the East Bay hip-hop-agitprop outfit the Coup -- now grounds his authenticity in his ideals. He says it's crucial to discuss issues currently facing black folks, given the rising tide of gentrification, the injustices of a prison system that functions "like a modern-day plantation," and the fact that African Americans spend billions of dollars annually, yet see few resources funneling into their own communities. "I'm not trying to sound like Bill Cosby," KASH says, "but I gotta say we have a habit of outsourcing our money. We need to start spending it at local barbershops, soul-food shacks, and the car dealership up the way." Black August Convergence Day serves to initiate this kind of dialogue, and to situate today's communities of color in a history of oppression and revolution. Journalist and activist Kiilu Nyasha says the impetus for the event was to memorialize what she calls two incidents of armed struggle on August 7, 1970, and August 21, 1971 -- the first, when Jonathan Jackson took hostages at Marin County Courthouse and was shot by prison guards; and the second, when George Jackson was murdered in the San Quentin Prison yard in what was alleged to be an escape attempt. Mumia Abu-Jamal links the events of 1970 and 1971 to battles that predated them by nearly two centuries: the Haitian slave revolt of 1803, and Nat Turner's rebellion of 1831.

Black August is about the importance of armed struggle in black revolutionary thought. This year's celebration combines turf-oriented hip-hop from artists like JT the Bigga Figga and Mistah Fab, with righteous rants from Dead Prez and T-KASH, and speeches by Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. and the Native Youth Movement, among others. It's a day to rise up, boogie down, and help usher in a new wave of black scholarship and social reform.

Black August Convergence Day takes place from 12-9 p.m. Sunday at EOYDC, 8200 International Blvd., Oakland, 510-658-7079. $20. -- Rachel Swan

8/18-8/22

Lit Happens

Yellow Fever

The yellow stuff pours freely for all third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders who bring bag lunches to this week's meeting of the Lafayette Public Library's Lunch & Lemonade Book Club, where the buzz is all about Judy Blume's Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing (Wed., 12:15 p.m.). ... Under all that chalky pancake makeup is a real live girl. Geisha: Beyond the Painted Smile is the current exhibit at SF's Asian Art Museum, and a lecture and slide show based on the exhibit at the Pinole Public Library will get you pondering Kawabata (Wed., 7 p.m.). ... She sees dead people -- but they never talk back. Salon science writer Mary Roach, author of the best-selling Stiff, chaffs about cadavers at Goodenough Books (Thu., 7:30 p.m.). ... You can't get more prolific than local husband-and-wife mystery novelists Bill Pronzini (Crazybone, Bindlestiff, The Snatch, and about fifty more) and Marcia Muller (Cyanide Wells, There Hangs the Knife, and about forty more). They'll keep you guessing on the first floor of the Oakland Public Library's main branch (Sat., 1 p.m.). ... Rhapsodize till you just can't rhapsodize any more as the Bay Area Poetry Marathon presents ten hours of bards including Robert Hass, Gloria Frym, and many more at Oakland's 21 Grand (449 23rd St.). Tickets are sliding scale, $4-$15 (Sat., 12 p.m.). ... A composer, a bandleader, and an optometrist who has performed more than 100,000 exams, UC Berkeley grad Robert Schoen discusses his book What I Wish My Christian Friends Knew About Judaism over afternoon tea at Montclair's A Great Good Place for Books (Sun., 4 p.m.). ... What happened before Dune? Brian Herbert -- son of original author Frank Herbert -- and Kevin Anderson's coauthored prequels to the classic includes Dune: The Butlerian Jihad. They'll discuss the latest and last, Dune: The Battle of Corrin, at Cody's Southside (Sat., 7:30 p.m.). ... Even alternative healers have to put their noses to grindstones. How to Create a Successful Holistic Practice author Shaun Brown hosts a workshop at Berkeley's Elephant Pharmacy (Sun., 3 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus

8/20-8/21

New Yawk State of Mind

If you're going to New York to protest (or, heaven forfend, participate in) the Republican National Convention next week, be warned -- you never know what you're going to get when you wander the streets of the Rotten Apple. Fortuitously, the Long Haul Infoshop (3124 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) has plans to get you ready for your journey, whether they mean to or not. Most obviously, it's throwing a New York Film Fest to get you in the mood. Not so intentionally, though, it's preparing you to expect the unexpected by advertising two different films for Friday night's showing: TheLongHaul.org lists Woody Allen's Manhattan, while Craigslist says Taxi Driver is the film du nuit. Saturday night, however, you can definitely check out Attica, a documentary about the 1971 prison uprising in western New York State, made by Cinda Firestone of the Liberation News Service, and stick around afterward for a discussion on prisons. Films show at 8:30 p.m. 510-540-0751--Stefanie Kalem

WED 8/18

Punk Rock Gold

No bull at the new Bull

The East Bay Chasers like their punk speedy and street and their rock snotty, but they just like their booze, period. So it's fitting for them to throw down in Oakland's newest dive-bar venue, the venerable Golden Bull. Sure, the tavern at 412 14th St. has been around for ages, but it's under new management, so expect some changes. New manager Jamal Perry will have DJs five nights a week, live music one or two (every Sunday and some Wednesdays -- like this week's Chasers, Grannies, and Night Crawlers show). The rest of the week is chock-full of prerecorded goodness, with rock on Wednesdays and Fridays, hip-hop on Thursdays, '80s music on Saturdays, metal on Mondays, and an old-school mix ("everything from Devo to Elton John to Marvin Gaye," Perry says) on Tuesdays, which will also be service industry night ($1 PBR cans, yo!). This Wednesday's show starts at 9 p.m., and cover charge is $5. 21 and up always. Call 510-893-0803 for further details. -- Stefanie Kalem

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