Friday, June 29, 2012

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 7:01 AM

FRIDAY. Here's what's up this weekend:

Alameda County Fair
Last year, the Alameda County Fair made the Guinness World Records for producing the world's largest "commercially available" hamburger (it weighed in at a whopping 777 pounds). This year marks a less caloric (though no less weighty) landmark for the annual fete: the fair's centennial. Festivities are already well underway at the Alameda County Fairgrounds (4501 Pleasanton Ave., Pleasanton), but you can still catch events like the hot-dog eating contest on Wednesday, July 4; the diaper derby on Friday, July 6; and all the barbecued, battered, and fried delights that keep us coming back each year. Through July 20. Tue.-Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m; Fri.-Sun. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; July 4 11 a.m.-9 p.m. $6-$10, free for kids under six. 925-426-7559 or — Cassie McFadden

Mayer Hawthorne
Stones Throw crooner Mayer Hawthorne isn't the only current pop artist to traffic in old paradigms — so-called "revival music" has enjoyed wide currency for at least a decade. And it continues to proliferate, as more young musicians realize that the best way to honor their Seventies forbears isn't via chopped samples, but rather through capable, exacting imitations. That notion helped fuel the success of artists like Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, the late Amy Winehouse, cloying balladeer Bruno Mars, and even Hawthorne's labelmate, Aloe Blacc. But 33-year-old Hawthorne stands out in particular, not only because he's mastered the high falsetto warble and dapper sartorial choices of a doo-wop singer, but also because he's given the style his own contemporary spin. Hawthorne draws as much inspiration from J. Dilla and Madlib as from old Isaac Hayes records — many of his songs have the ultra-clean polish of contemporary hip-hop or R&B. For a nostalgia act, he's remarkably fresh. Hawthorne and his band, The County (a catch-all moniker for a rotating cast of backup musicians) will open for Foster the People at The Greek Theatre (2001 Gayley Rd., Berkeley) on Friday, June 29. 7:30 p.m., $37.50. — Rachel Swan

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Treasure Island Festival Line-Up Announced

by Rachel Swan
Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 3:49 PM

And, as always, it's bifurcated into a day of dance and electronic music — headlined by Girl Talk — and a day of indie rock. Saturday's electronic-oriented lineup features locals The Coup and K. Flay, Public Enemy (making their 25th anniversary), glo-fi hunk Toro y Moi, and the famed Gregg Michael Gillis, who, press materials say, is the first artist to ever return to the festival. Sunday's bill will include Gossip, garage rocker Ty Segall, Best Coast, and headliner The xx.

Girl Talk
  • Girl Talk
A collaborative effort between Noise Pop and Another Planet Entertainment, Treasure Island bills itself as the Bay Area's best "boutique" festival, meaning the lineup is highly curated, juxtaposing tentpole acts with obscure gems. This year is no exception. Two-day tickets are on sale now; look for single day tickets this Friday.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 5:59 AM

Y'all are all obviously going to Pride (and hopefully getting your hands on some aptly-renamed Silver Haze) this weekend, but there's plenty happening on the sunnier side of the bay, too. To wit:

The recent death of 91-year-old Ray Bradbury — the prolific sci-fi and fantasy writer who authored classics like Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles — marked the loss of an innovative and imaginative mind. It's fair to say that his shoes may never be filled. In remembrance, lovers of the late literary giant can fill their stomachs with taquitos at Flacos (3031 Adeline St., Berkeley), during a free screening of the 1966 film Fahrenheit 451 in the vegetarian Mexican restaurant's parking lot on Saturday, June 23. Bring a book listed on the Arizona Ethnic Studies Network banned books list and get a free taquito. 9-11 p.m. 510-981-8081 or — Cassie McFadden

Brett Baumgart Paintings
Every hard-core art-goer loves to be able to say, "I was there when ...." On Friday, June 22, you'll have the opportunity to be present at one of those special occasions when self-taught artist Brett Baumgart will unveil his first-ever show of his paintings, at George Kaye's (4044 Broadway, Oakland). Baumgart has already accrued quite a following for his ability to tattoo startlingly real and (often horrific) images. The Livermore native is now moving into the world of fine art, and his uncanny sense of light and form is a welcome quality in a scene that's so often consumed with concept over technical skill. The venue Baumgart chose for his first show is bar, so you'll have to be over 21 to get a peek at the Bay Area's next star of Realism — and it's in his neighborhood: Baumgart tattoos fulltime at Premium Tattoo (4130 Broadway, Oakland), so don't plan on making it home early. For more on the art of Brett Baumgart, follow him on Instagram @brettbaumgart. Show runs through July 31. — Obi Kaufmann

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 6:37 AM

Happy belated National Bourbon Day! God bless America!!

Father's Day at Lake Chalet
Dad, meet crawdad: To celebrate Father's Day on Sunday, June 17, Lake Chalet (1520 Lakeside Dr., Oakland) is hosting its first-ever all-you-can-eat Louisiana-style Crawfish Boil. Think pink and get cracking as crawfish, potatoes, corn, vegetables, bread, and more will be served outdoors on the restaurant's private dock to the tune of live Cajun and zydeco music. Lake Merritt pinch-hits for the bayou. 3 p.m., $35 (reservations required). 510-208-5253 or DadsLakeChaletCrawfishBoil.Eventbrite.comAnneli Rufus

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rules for the New NBA Fan

by Sean Keane
Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 2:00 PM

The NBA finals are here! It’s a very exciting time of year, when even non-basketball fans start watching games. In the interest of increasing one’s enjoyment of the game, and helping you look smart in front of your bro-ier friends, here’s a guide to the rule and lingo of basketball.

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Influential East Bay Musician Jef Leppard Killed in Motorcycle Accident

by Rachel Swan
Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 11:11 AM

We were saddened to hear about the death of Jeffery Davis, aka Jef Leppard, guitarist for the hardcore band Voetsek, former member of STFU, sound man at Oakland Metro Operahouse, recording engineer at Lennon Studios, and beloved member of the Bay Area punk scene. He was killed Sunday evening after his motorcycle hit a gray Audi in San Francisco's Richmond district, SF Appeal reports. Davis' wife Nikki had been sitting behind him on the motorcycle. When it struck the Audi at the intersection of Fulton Street and 30th Avenue she was ejected and critically injured.

Jeff Leppard
  • Jeff Leppard
According to blog posts from close friends she remains in the ICU at SF General Hospital, where she is able to communicate through sign language and written notes. Nikki incurred several broken bones and internal injuries, but she appears to be lucid and even managed to flip the bird to a petulant relative.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Awesome Book Alert: 'Hand Me Down' and the Shelter of Fiction

by Alison Peters
Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 3:09 PM

How do you take your life story and craft it into a compelling, interesting novel? It can be challenging to write your story in nonfiction, especially when dealing with issues that would scar most people into silence, or at least willful memory loss. And after the Oprah-James Frey smackdown, the world began paying close attention to every little detail in a memoir, checking for authenticity, for anything that didn’t appear to be true to real life. So you can understand Melanie Thorne’s concern as she wrote Hand Me Down, which chronicles a childhood that started out just fine, but quickly spiraled into a twisted mess of circumstances. Fiction, the first-time novelist noted in an interview, “provides a bit of shelter,” more room to explore a story and craft it as your own, rather than sticking to the confines of what actually happened. “In fiction, I was free to adjust, delete, add, or consolidate in order to serve the greater truths of the story. I had also discovered that fiction, when it’s done well, has the power to tell those truths more cleanly, and often more clearly, than ‘real life.’” Thorne didn’t hesitate to sacrifice the unnecessary details of “what really happened” for the sake of larger emotional truths, to create a narrative from incidents in the life of a young girl.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Art & Soul Lineup Announced

by Rachel Swan
Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 5:22 PM

And this year East Bay Express helped quarterback the event, partnering up with the city of Oakland to bring additional arts programming from The Crucible, NIMBY, Oakland Underground Film Festival, Ex'pression College for Digital Arts, and a slew of other worthy organizations. Not to mention we booked the eponymous EBX Plaza Stage, which will feature DJ Dyloot, Metal Mother, Saviours, Vetiver, Forrest Day, Persephone's Bees, long-standing local hip-hop group Souls of Mischief, indie fourtet Churches, and Oceanography.

  • Dyloot
Then of course, there are the tentpole headliners: Luce and Blame Sally will perform at the KFOG Main Stage on Saturday, while R&B singers Kellye Gray and Lalah Hathaway will dominate Sunday's lineup, under the auspice of KBLX 102.9 FM. Saturday's lineup also features a Community Unity Gospel Stage capped by the Edwin Hawkins Singers, followed, on Sunday, by the Bay Area Blues Society showcase. It's a new spin on the usual format, and we're certainly thrilled to be part of it.

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Two New Clubs in the Works for Uptown

by Rachel Swan
Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Oakland's art scene appears to be spreading southward as it grows more fecund, with new venues cropping up in the retail corridor that abuts Grand Avenue. The latest to come before Oakland City Planning Commission are a Latin dance club called Manny's, which just got approved to open at 2120 Broadway — aka the building with the mural of a man planting an oak tree. Chilean immigrant Manuel Cabello has owned the property since 1995, but he only recently pooled enough resources to launch a club there. He says that Manny's will feature salsa, samba, flamenco, and tango nights, catered gaucho steak dinners, and dance lessons. It's designed to introduce Oaklanders to the whole panoply of Latin culture — not just the Caribbean side to which we're most familiar, he said.

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