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Friday, May 20, 2011

Weekender: The Top Five Things to Do Over the Next Three Days in the East Bay

Fri, May 20, 2011 at 6:00 AM

It's Friday and we we we so excited, so let's get to it, shall we? Herewith, the events not to miss this weekend in the East Bay:

Vivian Green
A product of the Philadelphia music scene, Vivian Green has spent the past decade making her mark amidst a class of neo-soul peers that include Musiq Soulchild, Bilal, and Jill Scott. When the latter tapped Green to be a back-up singer for her world tour, it didn’t take long for a major label deal to follow. Ten years later, Green is a single mom whose third album, 2010’s Beautiful, was her first recording in five years. Aided by producer/composer Anthony Bell, the 30-something singer-songwriter opted for a contemporary R&B sound that embraces hip-hop nuance (“So Far Gone”), reggae rhythms (“Save Me”), and the obligatory ballad inspired by her son (the string-laden “Jordan’s Song”). A well-respected singer-songwriter whose talents have been tapped by the likes of Guru and Cyndi Lauper, Vivian Green will be sharing the stage with Eric Roberson at their Soul Survivors Tour on Wednesday and Thursday, May 25-26 at Yoshi’s (510 Embarcadero West, Oakland). 8 & 10 p.m., $22. Yoshis.com — Dave Gil de Rubio

DooF-a-Palooza
It's "food" spelled backwards, and it's both a name and a guiding principle for the folks behind DooF-a-Palooza, happening Sunday, May 22, at Jack London Square (70 Washington St., Oakland). According to organizer Scott Gelfand, the event is "all about looking at food from every angle" — a multiplatform, kids-oriented, interactive, totally free celebration of healthy and sustainable food. Call it Eat Real Fest for the underage set, or a food-festival/museum-exhibit mash-up executed on a huge scale, or simply the kind of event that would make Michelle Obama weep with joy. DooF-a-Palooza is a food festival made for kids that's neither stale and pedantic nor so self-consciously "fun" that it's completely free of substance. That means goats, bees, ponies, and live wolves (!) are involved, as are pizza dough-throwing, butter-making, pasta-rolling, and coconut bowling. Add to that appearances by magicians, comedians, and a whole host of kid-friendly food vendors, not to mention the holy grail of pre-teen entertainment, Radio Disney. Organic Valley farm is coming armed with a fake cow complete with buckets rigged to look and feel like udders. Another activity lets kids catapult a "meatball" — really a spray-painted tennis ball — into a vat of tomato sauce, and another has local design and video firm Free Range Studios leading workshops in food animation. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., free. Foodbackwards.com. — Ellen Cushing

The Rapture
Just kidding.

Abraham Burton Trio
A disciple of Jackie McLean, Abraham Burton is one of the great, unheralded saxophonists of his generation. He’s known for having a phenomenal ear and an equally phenomenal sense of time, meaning he can shift meters with the precision of a drummer. More important, Burton runs his trio as a collective. He prefers to play with people he’s known for a very long time — namely, drummer Nasheet Waits and bassist Eric Revis, who will accompany Burton when he graces the East Bay for the Malcolm X Jazz Festival this weekend. On Saturday Burton will share a stage with Latin percussionist John Santos and Umar Bin Hassan of The Last Poets. On Sunday, he’ll headline two trio sets. Given his command of dynamics and dazzlingly technical phrases, it should be a fantastic show. At San Antonio Park (1701 East 19th St., Oakland) on Saturday, May 21, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and Eastside Cultural Center (2277 International Blvd., Oakland) on Sunday, May 22, 6 p.m. & 8 p.m. $15. EastSideArtsAlliance.com — Rachel Swan

FORWARDS!

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Oakland has a taste for cutting-edge art, dance, and performance, so it stands to reason that Oakland Ballet's historical repertoire, though highly regarded for two generations, has kept the company out of the current scene. But Oakland Ballet has changed, and its spring season, titled FORWARDS!, is its contemporary calling card. In new artistic director Graham Lustig, who came on board in 2010 to resuscitate the struggling company and who commutes from New Jersey to do so, Oakland Ballet has a determined and open-minded leader who's passionate about creativity in all its forms. (A former Royal Ballet dancer, he also has the classical chops to understand and respect the company's heritage.) Lustig opted to partner with two of the Bay Area's best choreographers — Sonya Delwaide, Mills College professor and 2010 Izzie Award winner, and Amy Seiwert, recognized as one of Dance magazine's "25 to Watch" — and paired each with a local artist to help develop an interdisciplinary program that melds contemporary ballet, poetry, music, and art. Clearly, Oakland Ballet has taken a considered step into the future. "We want to get people excited to be part of Oakland and say, 'We do art, we have culture. And we are contemporary,'" Delwaide said. Oakland Ballet performs Thursday and Friday, May 19-20, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, May 21, at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Laney College Theater (900 Fallon St., Oakland). $15-$38. 800-838-3006 or OaklandBallet.org. — Claudia Bauer

Albany Film Festival
How many small-town community film festivals include work by Oscar-nominated documentarians or National Endowment for the Arts fellowship winners? The first annual Albany Film Festival began inauspiciously enough, said organizer Jeremy Allen — as a simple chance for local filmmakers in the slightly sleepy city to screen their work — but it’s taken on something of a life of its own, beyond his or anyone else’s expectations. That means a juried, diverse slate of short films in various genres — including one by local Academy Award nominee Geefwee Boedoe and another by acclaimed Chilean artist Quique Cruz — plus a raffle, food and drink, and plenty of popcorn. Saturday, May 21, at the Albany Community Center Theater (1249 Marin Ave., Albany). Noon-9 p.m., $1-$5 for all-day admission with in-out privileges. 510-559-7223 or AlbanyCA.org — Ellen Cushing


Plus...

Catch a Movie: This week in the movies section, our critic more or less loses his shit over Takashi Miike's latest samurai epic, 13 Assassins. We suggest you scoot on over to the California Theater and do the same.

Eat Up: Better carb up before judgement day, and where better to do it than San Leandro's Fifth Wheel, where five bucks'll buy you a brick-sized grilled cheese, and $7.25 will get you a chicken-fried steak, hash browns, and toast?

Get Buzzed: Check out the Rock Wall Wine Company's new tasting room on Alameda Point.

Waste Some Time: Cartography you can use: The Rumpus' startlingly accurate Post-Grad Hipster's Guide to Inhabitable US Cities. (Spoiler alert: Oakland's in it!)

Friend and Follow Us: Here we are on Facebook and Twitter.

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

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