Friday, May 30, 2014

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, May 30, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Hurray for Friday! Watch this video of of a baby goat in a wheelchair and read our list of the five best events that are happening this weekend:

Curtis Mayfield Superfly Birthday Tribute
After writing some of the most popular songs of the 1960s and 1970s, Curtis Mayfield continues to influence musicians. Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley are among those who have imitated the legendary soul, funk, and R&B artist’s breezy guitar style and distinctive tenor voice; in 2012, members of TV on the Radio and Sinead O’Conner performed at a concert celebrating what would have been his 70th birthday. Mayfield was a master at melding socially conscious lyrics and messages of love with catchy songwriting. On Friday at The New Parish, local musicians who have been profoundly influenced by his work — including percussionist René Escovedo, vocalist Codany Holiday, and producer James Earley’s Superfly Band — will perform songs from the hit soundtrack Mayfield created for the 1972 film Superfly, as well as other classics. Friday, May 30. 9 p.m., $15, 420. — Madeleine Key

Rita Jaroslow & Dancers and Peiling Kao
Many contemporary choreographers make dances about big ideas; the best ones create works that are visual and visceral as well as conceptual. Shawl-Anderson Dance Center will host two such artists this weekend, when Peiling Kao and Risa Jaroslow and Dancers join forces for a salon showing of new works set to premiere later in the year. Jaroslow, who recently relocated to the Bay Area after forty highly acclaimed years in New York, presents What’s the Upshot?, which asks “how we make decisions that bring us to a point of change.” Melding mathematical rigor and lush musicality, San Francisco-based Kao performs Ludic Numerologies, an exploration of numbers, systems, and manipulation that is greater than the sum of its parts. Kao performs Friday and Sunday only; following its Saturday performance, Jaroslow’s company will present a breakdown of Upshot. Seating is limited, so advance ticket purchase is highly recommended. Friday-Sunday, May 30-June 1. Fri. & Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 4 p.m.; $15-$18. — Claudia Bauer

Oakland Listening Sessions
In the face of Oakland’s serious, devastating, and sometimes seemingly intractable violence problem, it’s easy to feel like there’s no end in sight. But listening — to ourselves, to each other, to history — is a damn good start. That’s the idea behind the Oakland Listening Sessions, a series of seven workshops being put on this summer and fall by a coalition of local nonprofits with the goal of “[catalyzing] action and [holding] politicians accountable to low-income constituents of color who are directly affected and in need of solutions that reflect their experiences and priorities.” The full series will include sessions focused on performance and storytelling, but this week’s — the series’ second, held at the Oakland Library’s West Oakland Branch — will center around coming up with grassroots policy recommendations. Saturday, May 31. 2-5 p.m., free. — Ellen Cushing

Eats, Beats & Brews
Nothing says it’s (unofficially) summer like a block party. To that end, the Downtown Berkeley Association will host Eats, Beats & Brews every Sunday in June on Center Street between Shattuck Avenue and Oxford Street. Organizers piloted the block party at the outdoor street fair Sunday Streets last fall, and the enthusiastic response prompted them to bring it back for the summer. The festivities will include an outdoor beer garden hosted by Drake’s Brewing, international cuisine from nearby restaurants, and live music from local bands such as Mad Noise, Muir Valley Settlers, and Into the Pacific. About 2,000 people attended the inaugural block party last October, so prepare for a crowd. Every Sunday in June. Noon-6 p.m., free. Mohammed

Few subjects are more prevalent in today’s cultural cognition than the dichotomy between the natural and the technological — especially in the Bay Area, where a landscape that was once the natural frontier is becoming the frontier of technological innovation and integration into daily life. So, it’s only inevitable that artists across the region should be tapping into this tension as inspiration for their work. The latest example can be found in Degeneration/Regeneration, a split show at Loakal Gallery featuring painter Scott Greenwalt and artistic duo Smith|Allen, made up of sculptor and installation artist Stephanie Smith and architect and designer Bryan Allen. Greenwalt’s large-scale, acrylic paintings use intricate line work to build abstract tangles of color that seem to buzz with electricity while also evoking the organic forms of biological cells or fine, interwoven roots. His color palette is made up of earth tones and neon hues that disregard the distinctions between the traditional and the futuristic, the down-to-earth and the extra-terrestrial. Alongside, Smith|Allen creates 3D-printed sculptures that mimic organic forms like coral reef, yet in the delicately layered and quintessentially manufactured texture of a plastic print. Working with biodegradable plastic, the duo’s work challenges viewers to rethink the opposition between organic forms and pioneering modes of production. Through June 2. — Sarah Burke

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.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, May 23, 2014 at 7:00 AM

It's the long weekend! Celebrate the glorious three days we have off by checking out these awesome events:

Trapped in the Closet Sing-Along
When organizers at the New Parkway Theater decided to add a new program to their lineup last April, they looked for a Rocky Horror-type event that wasn’t already happening in the East Bay. They decided on a sing-along to Trapped in the Closet, R. Kelly’s “hiphopera” about a man, Sylvester (played by Kelly), who has a one-night-stand with a preacher’s wife (and later finds himself in the middle of several other preposterous plot twists). The sing-along, which happens every fourth Friday of the month, regularly draws a crowd of about one hundred people. The night begins with a dance party to the singer’s greatest hits and is followed by the screening of Trapped. If you’ve never seen the production, it’s still easy to sing along because the whole video is subtitled — and if you have seen it before, you’ll know exactly when to shout “Oh my God, a rubber!” Friday, May 23. 10:30 p.m., $8. — Zaineb Mohammed

Eric Prydz
  • Eric Prydz
Audio on the Bay
The Bay Area is finally getting its own multi-day electronic music festival, and it’s happening right here in the East Bay. Produced by Insomniac, the electronic music event management group responsible for the massive annual rave Electric Daisy Carnival, Audio on the Bay is being billed as a “back to the basics” event — meaning there will only be one stage. Notable performing DJs include European house music producers Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Eric Prydz (of “Call on Me” fame), dubstep duo Zeds Dead, bass head Laidback Luke, longtime techno guru Benny Benassi, and pop remix aficionado R3HAB. Compared to other Insomniac events, the three-day festival should be relatively intimate, because the venue, Craneway Pavilion, can only fit 5,000 people. If all that dancing gets you too hot, you can step out onto the pavilion’s enormous open-air patio and take in the gorgeous view of San Francisco. Friday-Sunday, May 23-25. 5:30 p.m., $50-$65 for single-day tickets, $150 for three-day pass. — Madeleine Key

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, May 16, 2014 at 7:00 AM

It's finally Friday! Watch this video of a bunny eating raspberries and then read our list of the five best events happening in the East Bay this weekend:

Over four decades, Oakland Ballet Company built its reputation on reviving famed works from the canon, including modernist masterpieces created by the Ballets Russes. Over the past few years, the company has refocused on the Bay Area’s choreographic talent pool, and this weekend at Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts the spotlight is on Oakland itself. Described as a “portrait in dance” of the city, Oakland-esque comprises four new works by Sonya Delwaide, Molissa Fenley, Robert Moses, and artistic director Graham Lustig. Joining the company will be guest performers from AXIS Dance Company as well as Rayshawn “Looney” Thompson and Garion “Noh Justice” Morgan from turf-dance sensations Turf Feinz, and costumes and décor by local painter Sam Renaissance. With music ranging from grassroots hip-hop and funk to a commissioned score by Kronos Quartet alumna Joan Jeanrenaud, it promises to be an eclectic, artistically vibrant show. How Oakland-esque. Friday and Saturday, May 16-17. Fri. 8 p.m., Sat. 2 & 8 p.m.; $20-$35. — Claudia Bauer

Hillside Nature Area - DAVID WEINSTEIN
  • David Weinstein
  • Hillside Nature Area
Hillside Festival
With its eighty acres of forest, grassland, and creeks, there’s a lot to love about El Cerrito’s Hillside Nature Area, and this Saturday the park will get a dedicated celebration in the form of the first Hillside Festival. Meet near El Cerrito’s Recycling Center and participate in guided hikes led by the El Cerrito Trail Trekkers, a nature walk along the King Court Trailhead, and a workshop on how to garden with native plants, or try the pop-up bike park, constructed by the El Cerrito High School Mountain Bike Team. Berkeley historian Richard Schwartz will be on hand to discuss early California Native American life, and El Cerrito Historical Society president Rich Bartke will talk about the history of El Cerrito’s parks. Organizers also hope to raise awareness and funds for the Madera Open Space Campaign, which aims to help the city purchase an eight-acre piece of land in order to connect the northern and southern portions of the Hillside Nature Area. Saturday, May 17. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Donations accepted. — Zaineb Mohammed

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Live Review: The Brian Jonestown Massacre at The Fox Theater, 5/8

by Jordannah Elizabeth
Fri, May 9, 2014 at 3:21 PM

Legendary Bay Area psychedelic band The Brian Jonestown Massacre played to a packed house at the Fox Theater in Oakland last night. The band — led by singer Anton Newcombe and including founding members Matt Hollywood (guitar) and Ricky Maymi (guitar), along with longtime members Joel Gion (tambourine), Dan Allaire (drums), Rob Campanella (keyboard and guitar), Frankie “Teardrop” Emerson (guitar), and Collin Hegna (bass) — played songs from throughout its 26-year career, as well as new songs off its forthcoming album, Revelation, which is due for release on May 19.

Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Fox Theater. - ISRAEL VEINTIDOS
  • Israel Veintidos
  • Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Fox Theater.

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Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, May 9, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Hey party people, it's Friday! As your reward for making it through the week, we found the five best events for you to check out this weekend:

Returning Current with Daniela Gesundheit and Katy Payne
In the 1960s, Katy Payne became one of the first researchers to discover that whales compose songs. Payne, a graduate of Cornell’s music department, first heard the sounds humpback whales make husband through the work of her then husband. For fifteen years, she recorded and studied the music of two different whale populations, discovering that whales create complex, lengthy sequences of phrases and notes that repeat. At BAM/PFA , she’ll deliver a lecture about her work, while Daniela Gesundheit (of the Toronto-based pop duo Snowblink), a choir, and instrumentalists recreate the whalesongs. Payne taught the performers the principles, structures, and techniques of the cetacean-created music using spectrograms and deep listening exercises with audio recordings she took in the field. The performance should be transfixing. Friday, May 9. 7:30 p.m, $7. — Madeleine Key

  • Lil Bub
The Save a Kitten at OakCatVidFest
Home to the second-largest Internet cat video festival in the world and a (soon-to-open) cat cafe, Oakland is becoming a go-to place for cat lovers. Last year, 6,000 people came out for the city’s first cat video festival, which screened the Internet’s best cat videos, as selected by curators from the Walker Center for the Arts in Minneapolis. This Saturday, the festival will return to the Great Wall of Oakland with about forty new cat videos, plus a visit from beloved perma-kitten Lil Bub, who will be available for “meet and greets” (tickets are limited). Before the video screening, there will be performances by local bands, an aerial cat-themed dance, and cat-related arts and crafts activities. In addition to appealing to the cat-crazed masses, organizers also hope to bring awareness to the growing need for kitten foster parents. Local shelters will be on site with kittens and cats up for adoption, and all event proceeds (after costs) will benefit the East Bay SPCA. Saturday, May 10. 3-10 p.m., $75 VIP admission, $10 for general admission, $5 for seniors and children between the ages of four and twelve, free for children under the age of three. — Zaineb Mohammed

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Writer Zoe Tuck Explores the ‘Terror Matrix’

by Julian Mark
Fri, May 9, 2014 at 6:43 AM

Like many Americans, local poet Zoe Tuck is leery of government surveillance, violence, and the culture of fear it has spawned in many parts of the world, including her own backyard. But she’s also grapples with the fact that she comes from a position of privilege. How to reconcile the two? “Whereas many prose forms require explicit transitions or justifications for the movement between topics, poets can sometimes get away with juxtaposing to apparently different topics or ideas or images and asking readers to make an imaginative, rather than a logical, leap.”

For the native Texan, the best tools are words — poetry, to be precise. “Poetry is well equipped to deal with those abrupt juxtapositions,” she said. “The benefit of using this medium is juxtaposing the jail network with, say, the California poppy.”

Guiding us from Joaquin Miller Park to the Gaza Strip and introducing us to witches and onion-sniffing death machines along the way, Tuck explores these themes — and many others — in her new chapbook, Terror Matrix, which will be released on Friday, May 9 at Oakland’s newly opened E.M. Wolfman’s General Interest Bookstore (13th Street and Broadway). The chapbook was published by Timeless, Infinite Light — a small press dedicated to publishing local, contemporary poetry.


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Friday, May 2, 2014

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, May 2, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Huzzah for first Friday! Watch this video of Emma Stone lip syncing to All I Do Is Win by DJ Khaled and then read on for the five best ways to spend your time this weekend:

Where It's At! Northern Soul and Funk Dance Party
In the early 1970s, an obsession with obscure American R&B records released the decade prior swept Northern England. The movement was dubbed “Northern Soul,” and forty years later, it still has momentum in the Bay Area. MissT, aka Tracy Parker of the Oakland record store VAMP, founded the “Where It’s At!” party five years ago at Mad Dog in the Fog in the Lower Haight. Six months ago, she resurrected it with fellow DJ Fernando Carpenter at Legionnaire Saloon. In an email, Parker said the party “has been known to inspire soul trains, breakdance battles, and conga lines that weave in and out of fellow dancers and bar goers.” The Lower Bottoms Funk & Soul crew will join Parker and Carpenter behind the decks. Saturday, May 3. 9 p.m., free. LegionnaireSaloon.comMadeleine Key

Souls of Mischief
  • Souls of Mischief
Hip-Hop in the Park
This weekend, for the eighteenth year in a row, UC Berkeley students will host a free hip-hop concert in People’s Park — and this year’s lineup is particular strong. Headliners Souls of Mischief pioneered a laid-back, stoned West Coast sound more than twenty years ago and will soon release their sixth album, There Is Only Now, a sample-free collaboration with Los Angeles beatmaker Adrian Younge. Also on the lineup: Oakland jazz-classical-hip-hop artist Kev Choice; former Conscious Daughters emcee Carla “CMG” Green; Santa Cruz-based experimental hip-hop group Boostive; and female emcee MADlines, whose sultry neo-soul vibe and bouncy, reggae-infused beats are easy to groove to. The event will showcase the four fundamental elements of hip-hop — DJing, breakdancing, emceeing, and graffiti — and, of course, food trucks. Saturday, May 3. Noon, free. — M.K.

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