Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events


HEY CALIFORNIA, OBAMA GAY LOVES YOU. a) That's probably the best reason to celebrate, b) it's Friday, and c) you've got a truly stunning number of (well-curated) options to choose from. So go do stuff!

3rd Annual Albany Film Festival
The founders of the Albany Film Fest describe their annual movie bash, now in its third year, as "cozy, quirky, and creative." And we're inclined to believe them, given that they offer endless popcorn, provide couches for seating, and screen films ranging from three-minute shorts to animations to movies made by six-year-olds. Held at the Albany Community Center, the 2013 iteration of the festival will be judged by East Bay filmmaker Rick Tejada-Flores, artistic advisor and mentor Stephanie Watanabe, and El Cerrito-based Pixar animator GeeFwee Boedoe. Join the filmmakers, judges, and festival organizers in the same space the night before for a pre-festival "gala," complete with snacks, beer, and wine. Gala 7 p.m., $25. Festival noon-7 p.m.; $5 for adults, $1 for kids. AlbanyFilmFest.orgAzeen Ghorayshi


Leonard Cohen
Speaking of possible last chances to see pioneering musicians (see B.B. King at the Fox on 2/28), the Montreal-born Leonard Cohen will also roll through town this week, stopping by The Paramount Theatre for two nights, Saturday and Sunday, March 2-3. Cohen, who'll turn 79 this year, carved a name for himself with his gravelly voiced lamentations on unrequited love and other nostalgic topics, and his most recent album, 2012's Old Ideas, didn't veer far from this template, setting his prayer-like musings to a light gospel and blues backdrop and earning a place on NPR's top albums of the year. Cohen hasn't exactly been prolific in his career (having produced 12 albums in 46 years), so if you've ever had a hankering to see the singer — whose 1990 contribution to the Pump Up the Volume soundtrack put him in the consciousness of Gen X-ers — now's a good chance. 8 p.m., $71.50-$253. ParamountTheatre.comKathleen Richards

YA Lit Extravaganza
Young adult (aka YA) literature runs the gamut of weird emotions and fantasies that consume the heated minds of its growing-pain-afflicted readership. (Anecdotally, before I was lucky enough to discover Judy Blume, I once spent a Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul-inflected summer blazing through 26 paperbacks about young love torn apart by car crashes and/or cancer.) But the genre isn't really much of a genre at all past its target audience: Themes run anywhere from self-identity, family, and sexuality to the far netherworlds of fantastical science fiction. On Saturday, Mar. 2, join four decidedly diverse YA writers — Sean Beaudoin, Martha Brockenbrough, Kevin Emerson, and Cat Patrick — at Mrs. Dalloway's for an afternoon celebrating their novels and current trends in teen lit. Just make sure to leave your dog-eared copies of Chicken Soup at home. 1 p.m., free. MrsDalloways.comA.G.


Lauren Douglas
It is amazing that, for a technology that's 150 years old, photography still manages to baffle us on an ontological level. At least this is true for Mills College MFA candidate Lauren Douglas, whose exhibition I Drew a Sign at a Point in Space, a modest collection of C-prints at Grand Avenue's newly established Backstock Gallery, doggedly explores the core limitations of the medium: its ability to capture light and, by extension, ostensibly hold a moment in place; its ability to stand in for lived or remembered experience at all. The fairly diminutive, unframed photos depict everyday moments ranging from light sparkling off the surface of water, to the surface of a cloud layer as seen from the window of an airplane, to what appears to be the night sky. Runs through March 6. OakCommon.com/galleryAlex Bigman

Richmond Wrecking Belles vs. San Francisco ShEvil Dead
"The early days of derby were definitely the fishnets and the makeup and the whole sex-on-wheels thing," said Lori Petrini, better known as Eva Menace. "We used to drink before practice, and now most people work out like crazy outside of practice." On Saturday, March 2, Menace will skate with the rest of the Richmond-based Belles, kicking off the 2013 season of the Bay Area Derby Girls — aka B.A.D. Girls — in a match versus the ShEvil Dead at the Craneway Pavilion. With the league ranked internationally and roller derby under consideration to become an Olympic sport by 2020, the leisure days of derby are over. These derby girls work out to wreck it. 7:30 p.m., $20. BayAreaDerbyGirls.comA.G.

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 Azeen.Ghorayshi@EastBayExpress.com.