Here's what you're doing this weekend, friends:
Sistahs Steppin' in Pride
After two different lesbian nightclubs went belly up, there was a joke making the rounds in Oakland: You can build it, but maybe they won't come. But they do show out for Sistahs Steppin,' an annual festival which will celebrate its tenth — and final — edition this week. Moore launched the it as an offshoot of the dyke march at San Francisco Pride, after noticing that many participants had actually commuted from the East Bay; the first iteration took place in 2002, beginning at Lake Merritt and snaking along the sidewalks of Grand Avenue, to wind up at Snow Park, where the marchers banged their drums, blessed their ancestors, and enjoyed a celebratory fair with live entertainment and artisan vendor booths. It was a rousing success. And since then, Sistahs Steppin' grown tremendously: With the help of Oakland police, Moore and company blocked off one lane of traffic on Lakeshore and Grand avenues, so the sistahs could march right alongside traffic. She said that at its height, the event had several hundred participants. Last year it also included a bicycle contingent, and speeches by mayoral candidates. But putting on a festival of this scale requires a lot of work and a lot of logistical know-how, so this year, organizer Peggy Moore is pulling out, and the event as a whole will be ending, too. Catch the final Sistahs Steppin' at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27. Participants will meet at the pillars by Lake Merritt. Free. SistahsSteppin.org. — Rachel Swan
Urban Jazz Dance
Like any contemporary dance artist, Oakland's Antoine Hunter loves to blend ballet, modern, hip-hop, and even African styles into unique new movement. Unlike most, he also includes American Sign Language — born deaf, the accomplished dancer and choreographer incorporates signing into lyrical, high-energy pieces that his company, Urban Jazz Dance, performs Friday and Saturday, Aug. 19-20 and 26-27, at Shawl-AndersonDanceCenter (2704 Alcatraz Ave., Berkeley). Urban Jazz comprises deaf, hearing, professional, and nonprofessional dancers who share Hunter's belief that anyone can reach their dreams — a message that will be powerfully clear, even to audience members who don't sign. On the second weekend, the company is joined by Fred Beam & the Wild Zappers, a nationally recognized all-deaf male dance company. Advance tickets are highly recommended. 8 p.m., $15-$35. 510-654-5921 or Shawl-Anderson.org. — Claudia Bauer
Small Press Distribution Sidewalk Sale
When it comes to fighting the good fight (literary division), few contenders punch at a higher weight class than Berkeley’s Small Press Distribution. It’s been around for more than four decades and is now the only nonprofit lit distributor in the nation. Support that mission and your own filthy reading habit at Small Press’ third annual Sidewalk Sale on Saturday, Aug. 27, where hundreds of books from more than four hundred small and independent presses will be offered for $1 and $3 each, with nothing above $10. 10 a.m.—2 p.m. 510-524-7553 or SPDBooks.org — Stefanie Kalem
High on Fire
It's been an eventful year for Oakland metal band High on Fire. After a three-year hiatus, it released its fifth studio album, Snakes for the Divine, last year to critical praise and an even wider audience. Then, in February, while in Christchurch, New Zealand, to play a string of shows, the band endured a 6.3-magnitude earthquake. Shaken but unscathed, High on Fire headed to Tokyo a couple weeks later, only to once again get pummeled by an 8.9 earthquake and tsunami. The band members are certainly no strangers to floor-shaking — but they're usually the ones causing it. In any case, surviving two colossal natural disasters seemed an apt allegory for the band's career, which was built up through nothing but sheer hard work and determination despite some challenging circumstances. High on Fire plays the Uptown Nightclub (1928 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) on Saturday, Aug. 27, with fellow local metal bands Black Cobra and Embers, and Radio/Ruby Room owner Tim Tolle spinning vinyl in between. Let's hope the Hayward fault doesn't get any ideas. 9 p.m., $20. UptownNightclub.com — Kathleen Richards
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.
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