Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events



Bummed you didn't snag a ticket to Outside Lands? Console yourself with these excellent weekend festivities happening right here in the East Bay:

Lip Service West: True Stories
There’s your run-of-the-mill reading, and then there’s Lip Service West. Led by Joe Clifford, a heavily inked former heroin addict with a self-professed weakness for Jack Kerouac, Lip Service West showcases the less-than-rosy lives of writers. Thriving off a certain brand of gritty stories that can only come from the day-to-day lives of the creative and occasionally downtrodden, the event features writers — professional and otherwise — baring it all, to hilarious and heartbreaking effect. Join Clifford and his cast of five featured readers this Friday at Pegasus Books for the next iteration of the bi-monthly literary spectacle. Fri., Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m., free. PegasusBookstore.comAzeen Ghorayshi


Release Your Quest
Since its founding in 1958, Shawl-Anderson Dance Center has lovingly nurtured modern-dance artists — perhaps a fitting role for a school located in a century-old family home. This weekend the cozy studios are the venue for the emerging talent of Shawl modern-dance teacher and artist-in-residence Troy Macklin, a Juilliard graduate who will present his first evening-length production, Release Your Quest. Created by Macklin in collaboration with Leah Curran, Rebecca Demotte, Jerry Christopher Lin, and Vera Schwegler, the contemporary solos, duets, and trios comprise theatrical and lighthearted themes, with music that ranges from the electronic explorations of Matmos to live vocals with piano accompaniment. What the pieces share is the intimacy and inspiration that Shawl-Anderson cultivates in dancers and choreographers alike, and the risk-taking that results when artists are given a place to call home. Aug. 9-11, 8 p.m., $15, $20. Shawl-Anderson.orgClaudia Bauer

"Ticket to Fly" Benefit
Bad puns aside, climbing up a suspended piece of silk and then doing a series of flips, splits, and twirls, while somehow maintaining a state of grace, is high up there on a list of humanity’s great achievements. This Saturday, enjoy the spectacle of silk-dancing, as well as bungee and trapeze, in an evening devoted to aerial dance at UpSwing Aerial Dance Company. All benefits from the program benefit the dance company, so you can rest easy knowing that even if you can’t dangle from a piece of red silk suspended only by your big toe, you’re at least contributing to someone else being able to do so. Sat., Aug. 10, 8 p.m., $20 suggested donation. UpSwingAerialDance.orgA.G.


Stepping into Space, a thematic group show now at Studio Quercus, feels a little — or rather, a lot — like entering the garage of a retro sci-fi fanatic. A motorized rocket circles above your head, while an alien wielding a menacing probe greets you on the ground. But this is an art exhibition, not a collector’s emporium (though Susan Casentini does dig up a series of vintage, ultra-low budget sci-fi shorts from her personal collection), and the objects on display are artifacts of the artists’ own making: mostly humorous homages to the campy, antiquated genre. Gael Fitzmaurice’s “Blending In: The Rehearsal” features a group of aliens preparing to infiltrate middle-class American society. Walter Robinson’s meteorite sculpture looks like a comic book doodle endowed with volume — a subtly absurd gesture typical of the artist’s wry practice. Most of the pieces are laughs. Sam Vaughn’s “Study for a Portrait of Neil Armstrong,” however, depicting the blue-eyed astronaut’s doughy head twisting out of the cavity of a space suit, delivers a definite chill. Through Aug. 17, free. StudioQuercus.com Alex Bigman

Cheesemaking Class
Through chemistry and the magic of curds and whey, milk becomes cheese. Learn how to craft your own at a class taught by local cheesemakers Alissa Shethar, Stephanie Soleil, and Shannon Todd at the Sticky Art Lab. Part of an urban-farming course series presented by Biofuel Oasis, this three-hour hands-on experience provides tools, materials, and instructions for creating three different types of cheese — fresh, whey, and pressed — that you can later make again at home. Sun., Aug. 11, 2-5 p.m., $40 plus $15 materials fee. StickyArtLab.comAnneli Rufus

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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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