Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events



First Friday festivities are cancelled, but it's the weekend, it's finally raining, and SF Beer Week starts today—lots to celebrate. Here are the five best ways for you to spend your time today through Sunday:

French Cassettes
French Cassettes uses enthusiastic handclaps, soothing vocal harmonies, and surf-rock riffs to craft sweet tunes with good vibes. Three of the four members of the San Francisco indie pop-rock quartet have been performing together since they met in high school in the Central Valley in 2006, and it shows: Gold Youth, which the band released last August, is a polished, exuberant, and infectiously sunny album. In the past few months, the band has gained momentum, having performed at Great American Music Hall, The Chapel, Bottom of the Hill, Brick and Mortar Music Hall, and the Bay Brewed Festival. It was just added to this year’s Noise Pop lineup, and is also scheduled to play several shows as part of SXSW in March. This Friday, you can catch French Cassettes when it plays for free at Awaken Cafe, as part of First Friday festivities. Oakland-based Afro-pop band Guy Fox will open the show. Friday, Feb. 7. 9 p.m., free. AwakenCafe.comMadeleine Key

Not-so-fun fact: Male directors vastly outnumber female ones. This Friday, support the work of female filmmakers at Lunafest — a traveling festival organized by nutrition bar company Luna that spotlights short films by, for, and about women — at the Craneway Pavilion. This year’s nine featured movies focus on a variety of issues including health, motherhood, diversity, and aging: María of Many tells the story of a Mexican immigrant who finds a supportive community in an all-women, worker-run cooperative, while Granny’s Got Game follows a national-championship-winning septuagenarian basketball team called the Fabulous Seventies. Proceeds will go toward the Breast Cancer Fund and human-trafficking prevention efforts in Alameda County. Friday, Feb. 7. 7 p.m., $20-$30. Lunafest.org/RichmondZaineb Mohammed

Dragon dance.
  • Odell Hussey/Courtesy of Oakland Museum of California
  • Dragon dance.

Lunar New Year
According to professional feng shui master Paul Ng, people born during the Year of the Horse may see their authority increase in the coming year, but they shouldn’t expect to earn a lot of money or experience much excitement in their love lives. Those predictions are a mixed bag, but nevertheless, it’s time to ring in the Lunar New Year at the Oakland Museum of California’s thirteenth annual celebration this Sunday. The Year of the Horse festivities will be decidedly multicultural, featuring traditions from Korea, Vietnam, Japan, and Tibet. The day will begin with a traditional Chinese lion dance and will be followed by a K-pop dance, a Tibetan prayer flag-making workshop, Japanese folktales, a Vietnamese martial arts demonstration, and a bhangra dance performance. OMCA’s Blue Oak cafe will be serving an Asian-inspired menu, designed specially for the festivities. Sunday, Feb. 9. Noon-4:30 p.m., $15, $10 for seniors and students, $6 for youth, and free for OMCA members and children eight and under. MuseumCA.orgZ.M.

It’s difficult to broach the subject of death (even in a theatrical way), seeing as our culture encourages much denial and polite subject changes — and that’s why shows like Geezer, Geoff Hoyle’s fantastic solo show at The Marsh Berkeley, are so necessary. Geezer forces us to confront our mortality at the same time as we are laughing at it. From nursing home sketches to stories about his father’s passing at the relatively early age of sixty to an account of learning to be a “mobile statue” with Etienne Decroux during the revolutionary late Sixties in Paris, Hoyle hops, mimes, and mock-puppets his way through the darker dips of mortality, only to emerge with quips, big laughs, and poignant explorations of enlarged prostates and varicose veins. Both young and old theater-goers should experience Hoyle’s moving and laudable performance. Through March 1. $25-$50. TheMarsh.orgAnna Pulley

On the level, #2
  • "On the level, #2"

Artist Donald Fortescue is interested in the human tendency to see a shape in the clouds, a man in the moon, or Jesus on burnt toast — a psychological phenomenon referred to as “pareidolia.” This is also the title of Fortescue’s solo exhibition, currently on view at Vessel Gallery, which features prints, sculpture, and installations that highlight the preconscious human process of recognizing form through correspondence with patterns found in both nature and culture. With impeccable execution, the California College of the Arts professor of art and design presents several amorphous pieces inspired by nature, each of which work as Rorschach tests. Although every piece is mesmerizing, the exhibition’s obvious gem is “On the level, #2,” an installation consisting of 68 hanging hand-coopered spindles shaped beautifully out of recycled redwood. Arranged into a symmetrical triangular composition, the collection dissolves into a forest of various visual elements when viewed from different angles and distances. With the light sneaking around it from the glass doors behind, it resembles a massive, wooden chandelier that swings ever so slightly, suggesting latent magnetic energy amid the pieces that form the whole. Through February 22. Vessel-Gallery.com — Sarah Burke

Plus... 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 Zaineb.Mohammed@EastBayExpress.com.