Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events


As Rihanna, our nation's poet laureate, once said: Cheers to the freakin' weekend/I drink to that. Let's get to it:

45 Sessions
Whereas many DJs treat record-collecting as a romantic concept, the hosts of Oakland's new monthly showcase, The 45 Sessions, regard it as both a craft and an imperative. In that sense, they're unrepentant Luddites — the kind who celebrate technology that's two iterations behind, and refuse to use "convenience" or "efficiency" as a guiding principle. And the "45" isn't mere lip service: Resident DJs Enki, E Da Boss, and Platurn actually spin seven-inch records on old-school turntables. This week, they'll feature veteran waxslinger DJ Shortkut, whose professed love of technology (i.e., an iPad with MIDI controllers) doesn't obviate his affection for — to borrow a term from the 45 promo pitch — "little-ass records." Besides, an iPad is the consummate Luddite's device. Also sponsored by Mixcrate, a web aggregator of DJ mixes, this installment features special record-themed giveaways — including limited-edition seven-inch slipmats. Emcee Jern Eye hosts. At Disco Volante (347 14th St., Oakland) on Friday, May 18. 9 p.m., $5. DiscoVolanteOakland.com — Rachel Swan

Bucky Sinister
Reading (or hearing) Bucky Sinister's poetry and stand-up comedy is kind of like reading your funniest friend's diary: Intensely personal, sometimes blisteringly ripped-open, and yet somehow still hilarious. It's fitting that Sinister, a longtime Bay Area personality, must be one of the few poets in the universe who also dabbles — successfully — in careers as a comic and as a self-help author. He reads from his latest collection, Time Bomb Snooze Alarm, at Issues (20 Glen Ave., Oakland) on Sunday, May 20. 5 p.m., free. 510-652-5700 or IssuesShop.com — Ellen Cushing

NightSchool: Prom
Whether you loved, loathed, or altogether avoided your high school prom, you can give it another, geekier go at Chabot Space & Science Center's (1000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland) NightSchool celebration on Friday, May 18. While this prom-themed iteration of the monthly eighteen-and-over soiree has some of the traditional trappings of the teenage gathering — a photo booth, dancing, and the crowning of a king and queen — science-loving socialites will delight in more mindful activities like constructing corsages from recycled wrappers and talking pheromones with Oakland Zoo experts. Plus, beer and wine will be served to those of age, so no need to sneak sips of schnapps in the bathroom. 7-11 p.m., $5-$12. 510-336-7373 or ChabotSpace.org — Cassie Harwood

Malcom X JazzArts Festival
The very name "Malcolm X JazzArts Festival" speaks volumes about the event's artistic credo: Music is an aesthetic pleasure, certainly, but that doesn't obviate its political and social undertones. To the organizers of EastSide Arts Alliance — whose "Third World" culture center in East Oakland uses art to explore intersecting civil rights struggles — jazz has always been freighted by its historical and cultural circumstances. You can't talk about John Coltrane's A Love Supreme without acknowledging its connection to the black church; you can't fully understand Lee Morgan's Search for the New Land without referencing the political discourses of the 1960s. Fittingly, many of the headliners at past Malcolm X JazzArts Festival events — among them saxophonist Billy Harper and poet Amiri Baraka — represented the "free" side of the jazz spectrum. This year's iteration will include a tribute to avant-garde violinist and former Sun Ra collaborator Billy Bang. Spoken-word songsmith Avotcja will perform with her ensemble Modúpue. Classically trained hip-hop pianist Kev Choice will lead his band through a repertoire of distinctly polyglot material. Other treats include the Katherine Dunham Dance Stage, a graffiti court, B-boy battles, live painting, international foods, and activist speeches at the Javad Jahi Stage. It all goes down at San Antonio Park (18th Ave. at Foothill Blvd., Oakland) on Saturday, May 19. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., free. EastSideArtsAlliance.org — Rachel Swan

Oakland Greek Festival
With all the unrest brewing in Greece over the austerity measures being proposed to buoy its economy, news from the country has been volatile and rather grim of late. But the turbulent times in Southern Europe certainly aren't sullying festivities at the annual Oakland Greek Festival. Held at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Ascension (4700 Lincoln Ave., Oakland), the three-day celebration of Hellenic culture includes live Greek music and dancing; culinary gems from baklava to moussaka; cathedral tours and cultural lectures; and loads more. On Friday and Saturday, May 18-19, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; and Sunday, May 20, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; $6, under 12 free. 510-531-3400 or OaklandGreekFestival.com — Cassie Harwood

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