Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events


This weekend's best events, in no particular order, because no one needs to look at another list this time of year:

First Annual Do-It-Yourself Nutcracker
It's December, which means performances of The Nutcracker are around every corner. If you're aching to satisfy your winter ballet fix but long for something a little different, come out to the East Bay Dance Center on Sunday, Dec. 9 and 16, for its first-annual "Do-It-Yourself Nutcracker." Taking cues from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the show will feature scenes from The Nutcracker with the original music, danced by students and faculty from the Center. Many numbers will also involve audience participation — from more low-level scene involvement to full-on dance sequences. The event is suitable for all ages and dance levels. 3 p.m.; $15, $8 for children 12 and under. 510-336-3262 or EastBayDanceCenter.org/_special_events.htmAzeen Ghorayshi

  • Rachelle Reichert

The Nude 2012
Studio Quercus presents The Nude 2012: “an art exhibit of human nakedness in all its beauty and pathos.” The exhibition gathers work from more than a dozen artists, spanning media from photography to painting to sculpture. The gallery’s sensibility for the humorous and playfully off-beat in sexuality (see Tim Sharman and Walter Robinson’s work as Tag Team, or look no further than the gallery’s doorstop — a pair of ceramic tits) is readily apparent, as in Rocky Angel’s Where’s Waldo?-esque painting of a beachside sex party/alien invasion, or M. Louise Stanley’s painting of two part-bird, part-woman creatures devouring the corpse of a man. On the more serious side of the spectrum there is Julianne Wallace Sterling’s gripping portrait of herself, red in the face, crouching in a corner with an expression registering weariness and intrigue, or Cindy Lemon’s grim, expressionist canvas bearing a man in what appears to be a shower stall. The Nude 2012 runs the gamut — this much is sure. Through December 15 at Studio Quercus. 510-452-4670 or StudioQuercus.comAlex Bigman

Hubert Keller
Bay Area culinary star Hubert Keller, who brought us San Francisco restaurants Fleur de Lys and Burger Bar, and who is well known for Secrets of a Chef, his PBS cooking show, comes to the East Bay to talk about his new book, Souvenirs: Memories, Stories, and Recipes from My Life. Keller has plenty to reminisce on. Growing up in Alsace, France, he awoke each day to the intoxicating scents wafting from his father's patisserie, where Keller and his siblings often helped with the baking. From the time he decided he wanted to be a chef, Keller sought out and was trained and mentored by some of France's most talented chefs; he and his wife later relocated to San Francisco and opened Keller's first Bay Area spot, Fleur de Lys, in 1986. It quickly became known as on the nation's top restaurants, using California's fresh, sustainable ingredients to present classic French and Mediterranean cuisine. His appearance at The Pasta Shop on Saturday, Dec. 8, includes edible samples and tastings from the book. 1:30 p.m., free. 510-250-6005 or RockridgeMarketHall.comAlison Peters


John Cale and Cass McCombs
Concord native Cass McCombs is one of the Bay Area's indie folk-meets-punk success stories. He found slivers of critical limelight playing gigs while shlepping from city to city, aimlessly, for years. It wasn't until he finally settled down in San Francisco that he began growing musically, putting out his first EP in 2002. He has released six albums over the past nine years, including 2009's Catacombs, which is rife with gold. If you've never had the honor of listening to McCombs, a good place to start is Catacombs' star track "Dreams-Come-True Girl," one of the more beautiful love songs out there (the kind Zooey Deschanel probably wishes were about her). McCombs will, fittingly, be opening for the hugely influential John Cale, who is most known for founding the protopunk band The Velvet Underground with Lou Reed, though his solo work has extended to new folk and classical music. At The Regency Ballroom on Monday, Dec. 9. 8 p.m., $29.50, $48. TheRegencyBallroom.comLenika Cruz

Everything is Terrible
Remember the YouTube Video, "So Your Cat Wants a Massage?" The masterminds behind that and other expertly-mined VHS detritus from the 80s and 90s go by the moniker Everything is Terrible — and this year they're launching a 30-city holiday tour to share everything that's terrible about, you guessed it, holiday videos. From Nazi elves to erotic Santas, the self-described "psychedelic soldiers" of VHS have put together an hour-long film and live performance spectacular. Get ready to get weird at ABCo Artspace this Saturday, Dec. 8 at 10pm. — A.G.