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RJD2, Lyrics Born at UCB

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SUN 12/4

Live performances are intense cardiovascular workouts for Def Jux DJ RJD2. On stage he resembles a harried bird or insect, flitting from one turntable to another (he used four of them during a show at the Great American Music Hall in 2003), flipping records, turning knobs, and trying to keep apace with all the sounds swirling around him -- which usually requires this poor diminutive guy to move faster than a whore's drawers. But all the sweat and bloodshed pays off. RJD2 is so adept at tweaking and combining sounds that it often seems as though he's inventing a new genre on the spot. He's known for splicing original raps or instrumentals with backing tracks from such '80s rockers as, say, Tears For Fears -- or in one famous instance, the drum beat from a KFC commercial -- and then scratching up the record to make it sound raggedy around the edges. What results is a collision of hip-hop, funk, and rock elements that actually works. You've never seen so many bemused, consumptive Pitchfork readers (i.e., hipster kids who collect Def Jux twelve-inches with the same devoutness they once reserved for Marvel comics or D&D cards) explode in ecstasy and glee. This Sunday, RJD2 takes the stage at UC Berkeley's Pauley Ballroom (2475 Bancroft Way, third floor, MLK Jr. Building) with the beloved El Cerrito-based rapper Lyrics Born, a dude who lacks the zippiness of his DJ compadre, but who usually has a more commanding presence. Aside from his long-held ties to Bay Area indie labels Solesides and Quannum, his cameos on Blackalicious' classic 2002 album Nia, and the originality of his beats, the best thing about this emcee is actually his backup. No, seriously. LB's main squeeze, the soul singer Joyo Velarde, swaddles her hubby's lyrics in funky R&B hooks and vocal adornments. On the whole, LB and Joyo are tamer than their DJ counterpart (mostly because you're not anticipating something really monumental and dazzling, like a cardiac arrhythmia or a full-body paroxysm), but they'll still make those shoegazers go wild. Lyrics Born and RJD2 perform at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $20. Ticketweb.com or 510-642-7477. -- Rachel Swan

11/30-1/29

Wall Mart

Hang 'Em High

For most people, tapestries are huge, representative fabric artworks depicting ancient battles or landscapes that typically hang on the high walls of museums or European castles. But not anymore. Magnolia Editions, a fine art print studio in Oakland, has developed an electronic process for transforming two-dimensional art into tapestries. Imagine the possibilities -- painters Chuck Close (his woven portrait of composer Philip Glass is below), Hung Liu, Rupert Garcia, Squeak Carnwath, Katherine Westerhout, the Art Guys, and Bruce Conner did, among others. Their new-style works are on display in Majestic Tapestries , a show at Walnut Creek's Bedford Gallery (1601 Civic Dr., 925-295-1417), now through January 29. For more info, visit BedfordGallery.org -- Kelly Vance

12/3-12/30

Clowns Royal

You've got to be serious to make it as a clown these days. Unique Derique and Moshe "YooHoo" Cohen don't kid around when it comes to humor. Unique Derique began clowning at fifteen, apprenticing with the Pickle Family Circus and Make-a-Circus, before hitting the big time with appearances on PBS, the Disney Channel, and at the Lincoln Center. Meanwhile, YooHoo, a member of the fake-nose, big-shoe activist group Clowns Without Borders, is the principal instructor of the Institute of Contemporary Clowning. Together, they mix traditional clown antics and butoh in Cirque Do Something , opening Saturday at the Marsh Berkeley (2118 Allston Way). Through December 30. TheMarsh.org -- Eric K. Arnold

12/5-12/19

This Is Your Life

Life has evidently been different for artist Monika Del Bosque since the birth of her daughter two years ago. In one of the mixed-media paintings (left) in her show Dishes, Diapers + Divinity , Del Bosque depicts a female figure (herself?) floating in the air above a kitchen table. Wishful thinking? You make the call. The exhibition, in which the artist "documents both her awareness of the inner psychological experience of being a woman, mother, and artist; and the outer experiences of daily life," opens Monday at John F. Kennedy University's Arts and Consciousness Gallery, 2956 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, and stays through December 19. Info: 510-649-0499. -- Kelly Vance

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