Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events


Hooray for the weekend! Watch this Funny or Die video with Barack Obama and read on for the five best events happening today through Sunday:

The Hanging Garden
Every third Saturday of the month, DJ Squid and Dave Tibbs pay homage to the Eighties by spinning classic new wave, synth pop, and goth — think The Cure and Joy Division — at The Night Light (311 Broadway, Oakland). This month, the theme of the party is “Bauhaus, Tones on Tail, and Love and Rockets.” Tibbs, who has been DJing at dive bars across the Bay Area for the past decade, assured me that The Hanging Garden isn’t a listening party. In fact, because the red-lit upstairs room at The Night Light doesn’t have much seating, he said, there isn’t really even an option for people to just hang out — so they’re on their feet and dancing. Every other month, a live band performs at The Hanging Garden, but this Saturday, DJ Xiola of the popular San Francisco-based goth party Requiem will be guest DJing. Visual art projected on the walls by the wEirdOs will add to the room’s sexy, underground vibe. Saturday, Mar. 15. 9 p.m., $5. The NightLightOakland.com — Madeleine Key

Jirí Kylián’s “Return to a Strange Land.” - KEITH SUTTER
  • Keith Sutter
  • Jirí Kylián’s “Return to a Strange Land.”
Smuin Ballet
In celebration of its twentieth-anniversary season, San Francisco’s Smuin Ballet will come to the Lesher Center for the Arts this weekend to perform XXtremes, a program of dances that nod to its heritage and hint at what’s to come. In homage to its late founder, the company performs Michael Smuin’s “Carmina Burana,” an emotional piece set to Carl Orff’s dramatic 1937 cantata of the same name. In recent years the company has developed an exceptional contemporary sensibility, and its creative compass points in that direction; to that end, the dancers are sure to perform Jirí Kylián’s mournful “Return to a Strange Land” with athleticism, intelligence, and grace. Bay Area choreographer Amy Seiwert, who was mentored by Smuin, bridges the company’s past and future with “Dear Miss Cline,” a buoyant ballet infused with insouciant charm and a distinctly modern edge. Friday and Saturday, Mar. 14-15. 8 p.m., Sat. 2 p.m.; $54-$70. SmuinBallet.orgClaudia Bauer

Passport to Urban Wine Country
Not far from Napa County is California’s other “wine country” — and it’s, well, right here. Presented by the East Bay Vintners Alliance on Saturday and Sunday, the sixth annual Passport to Urban Wine Country is a grand tasting tour including wines from nearly two dozen local winemakers, such as CampovidaTwo Mile WinesIrish Monkey CellarsRosenblum Cellars, and many more. Hors d’oeuvres will also be offered at each of the festival’s numerous locations in Oakland and Alameda, so prepare to pair. Saturday and Sunday, Mar. 15-16. 1 p.m., $65 for two-day wristband; $40 for one-day wristband, $10 for designated-driver wristband. EastBayVintners.comAnneli Rufus

  • Courtesy of CAAMFest
  • East Side Sushi
CAAMFest 2014
CAAMFest, the largest annual Asian and Asian-American film festival in the country, is often associated with San Francisco — it was formerly known as the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival — but it was actually founded in Berkeley 32 years ago. This year, the festival, which is organized by the Center for Asian American Media, is refocusing its efforts in the East Bay by holding 30 percent of its screenings at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, the Oakland Museum of California, and the New Parkway Theater. The films showcase a wide range of experiences: East Side Sushi is about a Mexican-American dishwasher in Oakland who wants to become a sushi chef, Farah Goes Bang chronicles a young woman’s quest to lose her virginity while on a cross-country road trip, and the documentary The Sun Behind the Clouds looks at Tibetans’ struggle for independence. The festival’s closing night at the New Parkway will include a screening of Memories to Light 2.0, which is composed of edited home movie footage submitted by Asian Americans, set to a live score. A closing party will follow at Vessel Gallery. Thursday-Sunday, Mar. 13-23. $10-$12. CAAMFest.com/2014 — Zaineb Mohammed

“My work is to bring the peripheral into focus,” says sculptor Cyrus Tilton in his artist statement. Indeed, Tilton’s sculptures reside in the space between the conscious and the unconscious, an area rich with the potential for imaginative play. In “Mend,” two realistic renderings of elephant’s tusks stand upright as though they are walking, with just the sculptural suggestion of a torso coming into view above them. With this piece, and many of Tilton’s other works now on view at Vessel Gallery in the show Periphery, the surrealist coupling of imagery prompts the viewer to fill in the disjuncture with their own narrative. Tim Rice’s nearly meditative paintings are also included in the show, complementing Tilton’s works with their large-scale ethereal patterns. With his “Thread” series, Rice works in an intuitive process of palette-knifing curved shapes into thin oils to create a calligraphy-like scripture of abstract, organic penmanship. Together, the works bring clarity to the shapes and shadows that lurk in the corners of our visual and mental margins. Through Apr. 12. 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.