There is currently a carved, wooden block inserted into the sidewalk in front of Random Parts (1206 13th Ave.), an experimental-leaning art gallery in Oakland's Eastlake district. If you press a piece of paper over the wood and rub it with graphite, a rough print of an old Ohlone village will appear. The piece is a reminder of what the Bay Area once looked like, before it was colonized and developed. The block is one portion of Doblar La Tierra, a show by Spanish artist Javier Arce. Arce is interested in the ambiguous distinction between space and place, and how notions of home and identity fit in between the two. Arce, who currently lives in Santander, Spain, recently returned to an old cabin in which he once lived, in the Cantabrian Mountains of northern Spain. When he arrived, he found that the frame had loosened and pieces of wood had fallen off. He took a few of these pieces and brought them to Oakland with him for his residency. Now they are arranged on the floor of Random Parts, offering a foundation on which the viewer may build his or her own contemplation of the topic. The show has many layers, including a zine with text by Monica Carballas, which offers an insightful and poetic rumination on the work. Finding the meaning behind the works might not be easy, but the process of searching for it is the real fruit of the experience.Free
The Oakland Museum of California (1000 Oak St.) has been showcasing vibrant Day of the Dead exhibitions and celebrations for two decades. This year's exhibition, Songs and Sorrows: Días de los Muertos 20th Anniversary, provides an extensive look at traditions of celebrating the holiday, from its pre-Hispanic origins onward. Artists include Jose Guadalupe Posada, Carmen Lomas Garza, Patssi Valdez, and Jesse Hernandez. In conjunction with the show, OMCA is hosting a community celebration on October 26 in the museum garden. The event will feature a Son Jarocho music and dance ensemble, as well as mariachi, marimba, and cumbia performances. Elaborate altars will also be featured, along with calavera (skull)-style face-painting, tortilla and sugar skull-making demonstrations, chalk art, an artisanal mercado (market) featuring local vendors, and food trucks serving Latin and fusion cuisine. While focusing on tradition, OMCA also aims to recognize contemporary expressions of the holiday practice, and how it has evolved throughout time. Tickets to the event (which are significantly cheaper than normal museum admission) also include entry to all of the galleries, making it a festive and fulfilling day for the entire family.$4-$10
It's not every day that you get an opportunity to help propel a fifty-foot-long boat through the waters of the Alameda-Oakland Estuary (2400 Mariner Square Dr., Alameda). But the Alameda Dragon Flyers -- a part-recreational, part-competitive band of paddlers -- gives you the chance each Saturday with free introductions to the two-thousand-year-old Chinese sport of dragon boating. The weekly sessions are open to athletes of all abilities, and the first three are free -- after that, participants are asked to join the California Dragon Boat Association for a $50-$120 annual fee. 8:45-10:15 a.m. 510-521-7555 or AlamedaDragonFlyers.comfree
Running needn't be a solitary sport, and for the East Bay Front Runners it's a veritable social occasion. Camaraderie and friendship take first billing at the group's weekly runs, with fitness a close second and competition a non-issue. The club formed in 1984 to serve the entire LGBT community and is also open to friends, family, and supporters. The group meets at a different East Bay marina or waterfront each week and then proceeds to a nearby eatery for a group brunch. Guests and non-members welcome. Visit EastBayFrontRunners.org for weekly locations.free
There are far worse ways to spend a Monday than doing some writing as meditation. Write for Your Life happens every Monday morning at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley (1 Lawson Rd., Berkeley), with participants writing in response to a reading at the top of the session. Reading aloud to the group is optional. 9:15-11:45 a.m., free. 510-524-2858 or UUCB.orgfree
Dissociative identity disorder affects millions of people, most of whom are former child abuse victims. Why do some psychologists doubt that the condition even exists?