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Friday, March 16, 2012

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

Fri, Mar 16, 2012 at 8:36 AM

Even if it may never be sunny again, there's plenty of good stuff going down this weekend, and it's all mercifully indoors!:
Festival of California Olive Oil
If you're the type to ponder such existential questions as what, exactly, makes an olive oil "extra virgin," you'll find the answer at the Pasta Shop's (1786 Fourth St., Berkeley) fourth annual Festival of California Extra Virgin Olive Oil, where, in addition to tastings, pairings, and cooking demonstrations, a panel of California olive oil producers (including Lucero Olive Oil, Pacific Sun Farms, and Corto) will discuss such distinctions. Other attractions at this year's showcase of extra virgins include a cooking demo with Pasta Shop Executive ChefScott Miller, an olive oil guessing game, and more. On Saturday, Mar. 17. 1-4 p.m., free. 510-250-6004 or ThePastaShop.net — Cassie Harwood

Terry Malts
  • Terry Malts
Terry Malts
In retrospect, it was a pretty bold move for Corey Cunningham, Phil Benson, and Nathan Sweatt to all but abandon their other band, Magic Bullets, in order to take on Terry Malts as a project. Magic Bullets, was, after all, doing quite well for itself, pumping out anthemic, Nineties-tinged indie-pop that still managed to be of the adequately edgy, Pitchfork-approved variety; popping up at music festivals around the country, its sound tailor-made for outdoor singalongs; and netting placement on big-name soundtracks like that of Gossip Girl (!) and the Lisa Kudrow comedy Kabluey. But the Oakland trio apparently also wanted to explore its harder side, which in this case means raw, raggedy, fuzzed-out-beyond recognition, Ramones-esque pop punk, delivered fast and loose with kinetic energy and more shred per square inch than you ever thought possible — and, N.B., the sweet, melodic soul that made Magic Bullets so appealing in the first place. Sometimes big risks pay off beautifully. At 1-2-3-4 Go! Records (420 40th St., Oakland) with Kids on a Crime Spree and Manatee on Saturday, Mar. 17. 7 p.m., free, all ages. 1234GoRecords.com —Ellen Cushing

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Verdant Refuge
I'm pretty sure I'm in love with Jenn Shifflet. Okay, maybe I am in love with her paintings — it's hard to know the difference. She is a painter's painter. The depth, mystery, and ambience she attains in her multimedia compositions brings me to levels of arresting swoon that I reserve for a bunch of things other than art. Her paintings are like a good story, or a great video game, or, even more than that, a beautiful world-saving formula of aesthetic evaluation that should not be ignored by the culture at large. Get yourself down to Chandra Cerrito Contemporary (480 23rd St., Oakland) before the show ends on Mar. 30, and check out the impressively large collection of paintings on display in her second solo show there — a show so very aptly titled Verdant Refuge. 510-260-7494 or ChandraCerritoContemporary.com — Obi Kaufman

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Chrisette Michele
SFJAZZ prides itself on adventurous programming, which means its gives the term "jazz" a lot of latitude — world music, improvised noise, and neo-soul artists like India.Arie all fit the bill. But Chrisette Michele is a pretty bold leap into the pop realm, even by those standards. A well-known radio balladeer with an almost birdlike soprano, Michele is known both for her delicate phrasing and her tart lyrics — the hook on her most popular hit, "Epiphany," goes, I think I'm just about over being your girlfriend. She's one of those singers who easily flits between genres. Michele's roots are actually in hip-hop, as she has sung hooks on Rick Ross' "Aston Martin Music" and Jay-Z's "Lost One," and added a layer of polish to Nas' "Can't Forget About You." But she's also collaborated with MusiqSoulchild and Blue Note pianist Robert Glasper, who featured the singer on his latest album. For a singer to be well-respected in both the jazz and commercial hip-hop worlds is rare, and it's a testament to Michele's personality, as well as her dexterity. She'll appear this Saturday, Mar. 17, at The Paramount Theatre (2025 Broadway, Oakland). 8 p.m., $25-$65. SFJAZZ.org or ParamountTheatre.com — Rachel Swan

Femikaze
The conceit behind "Little House on the Planet" would be familiar to anyone who grew up reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's books, or watching the Little House on the Prairie TV series. The "Planet" version stars Kay-c Allen as Laura, the country girl whose family has decided to resettle in an environment that's far more desolate than the banks of Plum Creek or the shores of Silver Lake. In this place the sky is pink, the ground is rocky, and a lowing space cow is the only form of nourishment. Laura's sister Mary (Kirsten Macauley), who was blinded by scarlet fever, scoffs as Laura describes the strange landscape, while a listless Mrs. Ingalls (Natasha Muse) sits indolently in her rocking chair, quietly wishing the family would return to Wisconsin. Only Pa (Evangeline Reilly) is happy with the new homestead. Structured as an homage of sorts, "Little House" is one of about seventeen skits that the all-female comedy troupe Femikaze will perform at its Women's History Month showcase, slated to happen the last two weeks of March at Subterranean Arthouse in Berkeley. The sketches, which vary in length from 45-second inserts to full-fledged narratives, include a whole panoply of relevant historical characters: Butterfly McQueen, Marie Curie, Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Gloria Steinem, J.K. Rowling, Toni Morrison, and even a zombie Sojourner Truth. Founders Isa Hopkins and Kelly Anneken collaborated on most of the writing, albeit with the help of several cast members. The actors, all women, share equal stage time. The point, Anneken and Hopkins declare in no uncertain terms on their website, is to promulgate "the radical notion that women are funny." See for yourself at Subterranean Arthouse (2179 Bancroft Ave., Berkeley) Fridays & Saturdays, Mar. 23-31, 9 p.m., $10 Femikaze.com — Rachel Swan
JUST KIDDING, THIS IS NEXT WEEKEND. But you should still go.

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.

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