Down at Lulu's Dollar Sale
National retail sales dropped for the third consecutive month in June, raising economists’ concerns as retailers figure out how to get people to let go of their cash. Here’s one way: Slash prices. That’s what vintage and used clothing store Down at Lulu’s will do on Sunday, July 29, during its annual dollar sale. Pick up high-waisted denim shorts from the Eighties, colorful cropped tank tops, or a snazzy satiny Seventies disco dress at the pink-walled boutique, which just celebrated its sixth year of existence — no small feat these days. Not everything will cost a dollar; there will be a $10 rack and a $5 rack in addition to the dollar bin — but those prices are still dirt-cheap compared to the average vintage store. Also: free doughnuts! Noon-7 p.m. 510-601-0964 or Facebook.com/downatlulus — Kathleen Richards
Party on a boat, er, aircraft carrier, y'all. Philm, Severed Fifth, Absu, Witchaven, Impaled, Autopsy, Fog of War, and Abysmal Dawn are among the bands scheduled to perform at the third annual Slaughter by the Water show, happening Saturday, August 25, aboard the USS Hornet in Alameda. Testament's Chuck Billy will host, and a headliner and other acts will be announced later.
Tickets are $35 in advance; $45 at the door. Bands start at 5 p.m. and go till 2 a.m. There will also be free access to the pier from noon to 9 p.m., which includes a Pier Stage entertainment (bands?), food vendors, and retailers. Parking is free.
We're extremely happy to report that the Total Trash hillbilly-rock festival, now in its fourth iteration, will take place in the usual sylvan settings. Weather forecasts predict idyllic conditions in Oakland this weekend (if you like fog, that is) as the lineup of roughly a dozen bands descends on the historic Continental Club this Friday, and Eli's Mile High Club this Saturday. Maybe it's a sign of the times that Oakland's old-school blues digs are now the domain of punk power trios and "succulent corn-eating contests." (Not kidding.) Either way, Total Trash founder and curator Marcos Ribak is pleased with the arrangement, and he's highlighting' the venues' history in festival press materials. "This place is amazing!" Ribak hooted in a recent Facebook post, pointing out that Continental Club once hosted Bo Diddley, Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, and Otis Redding. He promises to trash it up.here.
Roughly a year since opening a "gourmet gastropub" and nightlife venue in Jack London Square, the owner of Vitus has decamped, and he's taken the most of the club with him — including a full bar staff, a couple months' worth of bookings, and even the twinkly marquee sign that was featured in a January Express cover story. It now bears the name of Vitus' predecessor, Dukes R&B.
We get emails to help Kickstarter campaigns on pretty much a daily basis. As noble and worthy as the endeavors may be, their messages can get lost amid the sea of projects, all needing money and attention RIGHT NOW.
But this one caught our eye. Alive Inside is a documentary (with a Kickstarter campaign, naturally) about a social worker who discovers how music can "awaken deeply locked memories in patients with Alzheimer's and dementia." NY-based filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett is trying to raise another $15,000 in the next five days to get his movie finished. Check out this rough cut; pretty compelling stuff.
Here's what's up this weekend:
Oakland shoegaze trio Vir describes its sound as a collision of My Bloody Valentine and Doves, but it's groovier and more psychedelic than that comparison might suggest. Yes, there are buckets of distortion and reverb, but songs have a tendency to build into climactic noise jams, such as on "Joy in Space" off the band's new album, Engineers. A lot must be said for bassist Natasha Arens, who not only keeps the foundation solid but also sounds interesting underneath all the feedback, fuzz, and delay. The band opened for Bob Mould at Noise Pop earlier this year, and is now promoting its third album. Catch it at The Starry Plough on Friday, July 20, with Portland's The Blacklights and fellow Oaklanders James and Evander. 9:30 p.m., $7-$12. StarryPloughPub.com — Kathleen Richards
Bikes 4 Life Peace Ride
Whether you typically ride a bicycle for good health, fun, or a cheap commute, the proprietors of West Oakland community bicycle shop Bikes 4 Life invite you to ride for peace at the 5th Annual Peace Ride on Saturday, July 21. The ride is intended to bring together everyone from youth on handcrafted scraper bikes and dapper sorts on fancy fixed-gears to little old ladies on kid-size BMXs. Meet at Lake Merritt (468 Perkins St., Oakland) at 5 p.m. for a ride around the lake followed by a trek to the West Oakland bike shop (1600 7th St.) for a block party complete with bike competitions, outdoor movie screenings, and food and libations for sale by neighboring Revolution Cafe. Free. 510-452-2453 or BikesForLife.com — Cassie McFadden
Do you like horses? Do you think they are noble, majestic creatures? Did you beg your parents for riding lessons and have a vast collection of My Little Ponies when you were a kid? Did you fantasize about riding Starlite through a magical forest wearing a princess gown and a sparkly tiara? If so, by all means, GO SEE CAVALIA.
Yes, we’re talking about the horse show that premiered last night in San Jose. Cavalia is kind of like Cirque du Soleil but with horses (its founder, Normand Latourelle, also helped create Cirque du Soleil, and both companies are based in Montreal). There’s lots of (human) acrobatics and trapeze work, plus horses — galloping, prancing, and performing various gaits. The show — deemed “The greatest show I have ever seen!” by Jay Leno, according to Cavalia press materials — is marketed as a “spectacular and moving tribute to the relationship between men and horses throughout history, a dream of freedom, cooperation and harmony.” A bit of hyperbole, perhaps, but you get the idea.
We were saddened to learn that local comedian and Cal creative writing alum Chris Garcia is departing for drier, tonier, potentially more fertile pastures (depending on whom you ask) — namely, his hometown of Los Angeles. He said as much in a triumphal email, followed by an even more triumphal Facebook status update. Asked to defend the decision, Garcia issued a semi-formal statement: "I've noticed a serious shortage of multi-talented, big-hearted, and brash snaggle-toothed Cubans represented in Hollywood, so I'm doing the Industry a favor and filling that void."
It was a tough call, but after much quibbling and hand-wringing, a distinguished jury from the East Bay Express art department plucked one winner from more than a dozen "Best of the East Bay" cover design submissions. The honor went to 24 year-old Ben Peck, whose portrait combined elements of Emanuel Leutze's iconic 1851 oil painting, Washington Crossing the Delaware, with familiar tropes from East Bay culture. Instead of showing a famed general and several mariners braced for their surprise ambush on the Hessians, Peck drew an aged Hells Angel (or East Bay Rat), an A's fan, a barrista, a protester, a cop, a guy with giant headphones, and a few other contemporary local archetypes.
More than ten years ago, former Express music editor Katy St. Clair wrote about the tragedy that had befallen Rick Stevens, original lead singer of the Oakland soul group Tower of Power and double murder convict. Stevens, whose gorgeous, pliant pipes added luster to such hits as "You're Still a Young Man," was also a known rabble-rouser — he was convicted for fatally shooting two drug dealers in 1976, and received two seven-year-to-life sentences as a result. After years of being a petulant prisoner and showing up to parole hearing wasted — according to former bandmate Emilio "Mimi" Castillo — Stevens managed to find religion and get back on the straight and narrow. And he's reportedly made parole: This past February, the California Board of Parole Hearings recommended Stevens for a June release date. To say he's thankful, after serving 36 years in prison, would be a vast understatement. Stevens is now 72.