Happy Friday East Bay! Listen to this epic mashup of the most popular songs of 2013 as you read our round-up of the five best things to do with yourself this weekend:
Queens of the Stone Age
Josh Homme may have started off his career as an excavator of desert-rock riffs, but he soon made it clear that he’s a far more versatile and appealing songwriter, not to mention a controlled-yet-slightly-unhinged performer. (I once saw him encourage a member of the audience — who he claimed was his brother — to grab his crotch.) Queens of the Stone Age, his primary vehicle of the past seventeen years, has included a rotating cast of players and guest performers, and has fearlessly taken his distinct brand of riff rock into conceptual, experimental, and melodic places. …Like Clockwork, the band’s latest (and its first release since 2007’s Era Vulgaris), shows Homme continuing to stray from the potent riffs on which he built his early career. Still, there’s a bombastic art-rock scale to songs like “If I Had a Tail” and “Kalopsia,” the latter of which is balanced with doo-wop dreaminess. The dirty bluesy riff of “Smooth Sailing,” meanwhile, sounds like an outtake from Eagles of Death Metal (Homme’s other outfit). Throughout, Homme is helped along with an even bigger roster of guests, including former collaborators Mark Lanegan, Nick Oliveri, and Dave Grohl, as well as Elton John, Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, and others. Sadly, those guests won’t perform with the band when it stops by the Oracle Arena on Friday as part of LIVE105’s Not So Silent Night, but count on Homme to be plenty engaging — even from the nosebleed section. Friday, Dec. 6. 5:30 p.m., $37.50-$50. Ticketmaster.com — Kathleen Richards
East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Festival
Hang out with fellow literary nerds at the fourth annual Alternative Book and Zine Fest, which happens this Saturday at Berkeley City College. With more than sixty local writers and artists selling their work, chances are you’ll find something to your liking, whether you’re a comic-book fiend, graffiti-art enthusiast, or a seeker of radical polemics. Don’t miss the performance by the local all-girl literary spoken-word group Sister Spit, hosted by Michelle Tea, and the reading by New York Times bestselling author Steve Almond. Get crafty at workshops on book- and ’zine-making, cartooning, and screen-printing, or do some holiday shopping and find local treasures for your bookworm friends. Saturday, Dec. 7. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., free. EastBayAlternativeBookandZineFest.com — Z.M.
Winter Cookbook Extravaganza
Sure, presents are great, but what really makes the holidays a shared experience is food. But don’t just settle for the typical green-bean casserole and eggnog. On Sunday, Diesel Bookstore will host a Winter Cookbook Extravaganza to help you add some gastronomic creativity into your holiday festivities. Cookbook authors Lauri Pastrone, Allison Arevalo, Erin Wade, and Emma Christensen will be dropping by to share some of their recipes, including those for home-brewed kombucha, Kosovan sticky donuts, mac ’n’ cheese, and more. Join these Bay Area chefs to see how you can spice up your holiday this year. Sunday, Dec. 8, 2 p.m., free. DieselBookstore.com — Ivy Kim
Plus... 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 Zaineb.Mohammed@EastBayExpress.com.