Ballroom Blitz 

Queer to the core at Gilman

Sat 12/11

For many of us growing up and coming to terms with our GLBTQ identities in the '80s and early '90s, queer culture usually meant one thing -- cheesy disco, vapid pop, feathered hair, and no real outlet or connection for our frustration, anxiety, fierce courage, radical politics, and most important, sleazy rock 'n' roll fantasies. That is, until we discovered the sheer bliss of safety pins, ripped fishnets, clunky boots, and a counterculture that welcomed our freaky cross-dressing with tattooed arms and embraced our relentless questioning of hypocrisy by encouraging us to subvert and protest norms until we created something unique and real. Well, friends, those times aren't just glittery gems of nostalgia anymore, 'cause queer punk is back with a vengeance and fury, bringing the rock just in time for our post-election blues. We know the only way to beat the haters is to shake our fists and scream all night to a kick-ass lineup of out and in-your-face bands.

The first-ever all-queer punk, rock, and hardcore music fest,Queercore Blitz, rolls into town Saturday night at 924 Gilman. And for the younger folks who missed the Homocore heyday or the Riot Grrrl rebellion -- this show is all-ages. The smash lineup promises lots of fire and adrenaline, between the feminist hardcore of renowned Brazilian quartet Dominatrix and the eclectic cacophony of up-and-coming San Francisco trio Gang-Way. Brought together by a passion for rock, these bands exemplify the size and diversity of this growing movement. Two NYC groups, the dark, retro Triple Creme and the melodic, classic-style hardcore of the Dead Betties, give us a taste of the East Coast. Representing the Westside are the Portland foursome Jack Queen and the Los Angeles metalcore trio Sugarpuss. Dig the scene at QueercoreBlitz.com, then grab your $7 and get in line by 8 p.m., 'cause this show will be packed. -- Amrah Johnson

12/5-12/13

Lit Happens

Cookin' with Rachael

He has written that the Messiah had a best buddy, Biff, but he was only joking -- right? Meet Christopher Moore, author of Bloodsucking Fiends, Fluke, Lamb, and The Stupidest Angel at Alameda's Spellbinding Tales. (Wed., 5:30 p.m.). ... Higher power, anyone? Cody's presents Marianne Williamson, who helped put A Course in Miracles on the map and who discusses The Gift of Change: Spiritual Guidance for a Radically New Life, at Berkeley's First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way (Wed., 7 p.m.). ... What better lunch companion than the Food Network's Rachael Ray, author of Cooking Around the Clock and Cooking Rocks! Riff with her about roasts and rollmops at Cody's Fourth Street (Thu., 12:30 p.m.). ... Just in time for the Virgin Mary's birthday, join the Sacred Feminine Book Club for its monthly meeting at Change Makers (6536 Telegraph Ave., Oakland); tonight's discussion is about Witi Ihimaera's novel Whale Rider (Thu., 7 p.m.). ... Obsessive intellectual Lady Caroline Lamb wedged an affair with Lord Byron into her busy schedule along with poetry, feminist politics, and devoted motherhood. At Altamont Books, ask her biographer Paul Douglass, author of Lady Caroline Lamb, why they called her a nymphomaniac (Thu., 7:30 p.m.). ... Carols, free cookies, and bargains -- all for a good cause -- beckon at the Crockett Library's book sale and Christmas party, where live music and storytellers offer a break from browsing (Sat., 11 a.m.). ... Not sure, but he might have been high when he drew that: Paul Grushkin and Dennis King dissect the visual spectacle of their book The Art of Modern Rock: The Poster Explosion at Moe's (Mon., 7:30 p.m.). ... Come out with the Oakland Public Library's Lesbian Gay Bi Transgender Book Club, which meets monthly and is discussing Sarah Waters' Fingersmith tonight at the Piedmont Branch (Mon., 6:30 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus

Sun 12/12

Oy Ahoy!

The ocean is vast and wondrous. So are the ancient Hebrew religious texts that form the basis of Judaism. Therefore ... Hanukkah at Sea! That's right, mateys. Forget all those "Mensch overboard!" and "Noah's Arr-rrrr-k" jokes. Sunday's "High Seas Deep Torah" event is putatively serious, a chance for those interested in exploring Jewish tradition while learning how to sail a ship to hit the high seas (well, the bay) with like-minded landlubbers-turned-kosher-salts, aboard the tall ship Nehemiah. After boarding at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Marina Bay (1900 Esplanade Dr., Richmond), sailors have a chance to try their hands at seafaring and also to learn about the Torah, interactively. Passage is $30 for youths under-eighteens, $40 adults. Dress warmly, bring a bag lunch, and wear sensible shoes. To reserve your space, phone 415-820-3200 ex. 613, or e-mail highseasdeeptorah@sbcglobal.net -- Kelly Vance

Thu 12/9

Cheer Up, Sleepy Jeans

Butch fashion show, anyone?

"Butch, stud, or trans folks in the queer community have a hard time finding men's clothes to fit them," states Breonna Cole, spokesperson for Oakland's Chocolate Baby Designs. That's because of the cut of the clothes, especially around the hips. To the rescue came designer Aisha Pew, whose line of clothes for butch and trans women -- the world's first, they claim -- gets a big intro at Studded, a special evening of cabaret combined with a fashion show of her Chocolate Baby designs Thursday night (9 p.m.) at the Speakeasy Parkway Theater (1834 Park Blvd., Oakland, PicturePubPizza.com). The entertainment portion of the evening features the Harlem Shake dancers, spoken-word poets, and a dating game contest, but the clothing takes center stage -- a limited release of Chocolate Baby's winter line, from business suits to casual wear. Coincidentally, the company's Web site is scheduled to be up and running the same day as the fashion launch. (Try ChocolateBabyDesigns.com) Admission to "Studded" is $8. Doors open at 8:15 p.m. -- Kelly Vance

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