Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events


Excited about the end of your work week but stumped as to what summery fun to channel that excitement into? Here are five beee-autiful options, all happening this weekend at an East Bay venue near you!

Oakland Greek Festival
Greece may not be faring too well on the economic front, but that's not stopping the annual Oakland Greek Festival, now in its 41st year. Celebrating the music, food, and long cultural history of the small nation of ten million, the festival will feature live music, dance performances and lessons, cooking demonstrations, and all the souvlaki, spanakopita, and moussaka you can stomach. The festival takes place on Friday through Sunday, May 17-19, at Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension. Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; $6 for adults, free for children twelve and under. OaklandGreekFestival.comAzeen Ghorayshi


Notes & Words
Once a year, writers, comedians, and musicians take the stage at the Fox Theater for a fundraiser of the most heartwarming proportions. Audience members dance, laugh, and experience new literary heights — all while contributing to one of the most objectively good local causes there is: Children's Hospital Oakland. This year's iteration will feature former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins, local science writer and comedienne extraordinaire Mary Roach, author (and Notes & Words founder) Kelly Corrigan, and TV star Lauren Graham, plus music from G. Love; porch-folk lyricists Goodnight, Texas; and Oakland School for the Arts' award-winning a capella group, Vocal Rush. Consider your Saturday, May 18 booked. 8 p.m., $50 and up. 510-428-3814 or NotesandWords.orgA.G.

Tressa Pack
It takes a moment for Tressa Pack's four large, spare prints at Interface Gallery to register as photographs, and even then it's hard to accept them as such. Consisting primarily of white expanse with the faintest outline of a landscape and the occasional, distant human figure, they rather read as minimalist paintings or delicate graphite sketches. In fact, the series, called Wanderers in a Sea of Fog, depicts the extremely socked-in landscape of San Francisco's Ocean Beach. To achieve her effect, Pack uses black-and-white film and adjusts exposure times to lighten the images, then scans them into digital form and prints them using inkjet to soften the images further. The result amplifies the effect of the fog to the point of near unintelligibility — an utterly entrancing form of play at the limits of photographic technology. This is one way of courting the sublime. Wanderers in a Sea of Fog runs through June 1 at Interface Gallery. InterfaceArtGallery.comAlex Bigman

  • Gary Copeland

Not to be confused with the LA indie-rock trio Torches or the LA synth-pop outfit Touché, the Miami/Gainesville/Atlanta band Torche (pronounced "Torch") has reached its own rock-pop apex, but not in the way you might imagine. What began as "doom-pop" (down-tuned, sludgy open notes and plodding tempos, but with soaring harmonies) has evolved into a highly caffeinated alt-metal/pop-sludge sound. The band hasn't always found its niche commercially or critically, despite the success of its 2008 release, Meanderthal: It's been oddly billed with mainstream alt-rock bands, and was criticized in 2009 by The Village Voice for being part of a decidedly "un-metal" scene of "dunderheaded critical darlings with banal commercialist tastes." But I doubt the writer of that critique had seen Torche live, because this band absolutely levels audiences. Call it metal, or pop, or whatever you want — just see the band at the Oakland Metro Operahouse on Tuesday, May 21. 8 p.m., $14. OaklandMetro.orgKathleen Richards

The Godfather Movie Marathon
The New Parkway is awesome—so awesome, in fact, that they are screening ALL of the Godfather movies and serving a GODFATHER-THEMED MEAL SLASH BOOZY CONCOCTION DURING EACH. This is a) a lot of food, b) a lot of booze, c) a lot of Godfather. But if you usually spend Sundays wrapped up in your comforter re-watching TV shows you don't want to forget anyway, this will definitely be your jam. Bonus points if you get unstoppable cravings for meatball subs every time you watch The Sopranos. Check here for ticket details. 11am-8pm, $25-$75. NewParkway.com

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Feed Us: Got any East Bay news, events, video, or miscellany we should know about? Holler at us at Azeen.Ghorayshi@EastBayExpress.com.