Bang on 'Em 

Ladies pluck, bow, and shout

Web 9/8

When Irene Sazer helped start the Turtle Island String Quartet in Oakland a decade ago, its classical-ification of Cole Porter and Miles Davis dissolved borders in a frenzy of joyful pioneering, adding a laid-back component to the deconstruction of chamber music that the Kronos Quartet has begun some years before. These days, violinist and violist Sazer still gets her yo-yos out, playing with artists such as Holly Near and Will Bernard and Motherbug, and on soundtracks to such films as Hellboy and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. This week, you can see what's she's been up to with Irene Sazer's Vocal String Quartet, a foursome of ladies who aren't afraid to raise voices and bang on fiddles and such while playing original compositions, Kenyan and Brazilian songs, and a Paul Simon cover. Sazer, Kate Stenberg (violin,) Dina Maccabee (viola), and Jessica Ivry (cello) play, appropriately enough, at Strings, 6320 San Pablo (near Alcatraz Ave.), Berkeley at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Call 510-653-5700 for venue details and ticket information. -- Stefanie Kalem

9/8 - 9/14

Lit Happens

Revolution is all well and good, if you're a revolutionary. It's a different story if you're persecuted, menaced, and driven into exile, as 60 Minutes producer Roya Hakakian (above) recounts in Journey from the Land of No, her memoir of an Iranian girlhood interrupted. She's at Cody's Southside (Wed., 7:30 p.m.). ... Long-term memory trumps current events in the mind of a lady for whom WWII still looms large in Harriet Scott Chessman's novel Someone Not Really Her Mother. Chase family-shaped shadows with Chessman at Orinda Books (Thu., 4 p.m.). ... Get off your butt and into print: Cool Careers for Dummies author Marty Nemko explains how at Blake's, 3800 Valley Vista Rd., Walnut Creek. 925-757-3611 (Sat., 11:30 a.m.). ... All aboard for a panel discussion at the Oakland Library's West Branch on how trains built this town. Headlining is Larry Tye, author of Rising from the Rails: Pullman Porters and the Making of the Black Middle Class (Sat., 2 p.m.). ... Now you see it -- or do you? Photographer Walter Wick, creator of the I Spy picture-riddles book series, is easily spotted at Altamont Goodenough Books (Mon., 10 a.m.). ... Having outlived so many of their Beat pals, prolific poets David Meltzer and Clark Coolidge continue to thrive, sparking spontaneous bop prosody at Moe's (Mon., 7:30 p.m.). ... In Pam Muñoz Ryan's new novel for kids, Becoming Naomi León, the young heroine's name is Naomi Guadalupe Zamora Outlaw, but that's the least of her problems. Meet Ryan at Bookshop Benicia (Tue., 10 a.m.). ... Poke the muse at Barnes & Noble Oakland, at a workshop hosted by folks from the Gotham Writers' Workshop Fiction Gallery, the NYC creative-writing school whose anthology of the same name spotlights hotshot short fiction (Tue., 7 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus

9/8 - 9/11

...Or maybe not

There's yet another series of serious note coming up at the soon-to-go-bye-bye-if-somebody-doesn't-do-something Jazz House. Wednesday through Saturday, Larry Ochs of the ROVA Saxophone Quartet shows off what cool friends he has during Maybe Monday , a succession of musical events that step widely around their eponymous day. Ochs will participate in world-premiere quartets and trios featuring guitarist Fred Frith, Miya Masaoka, Chris Brown, Devin Hoff, Scott Amendola, and Mark Dresser. 3192 Adeline St., Berkeley, at MLK. Look for the blue light above the door. 8 p.m., TheJazzHouse.com -- Stefanie Kalem

Thur 9/9

Writ Large

In her novel Stones from the River, Ursula Hegi viewed the Big Events of Germany during both world wars through the eyes of a young dwarf. In her latest, Sacred Time, Hegi examines how one single event can change a family forever, following the Amedeo family from the Brooklyn of 1953 to that of 1999. Hegi visits Cody's on Telegraph at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. -- Stefanie Kalem

9/11 - 9/12

Reach, Podner

Fairyland goes Wild, Wee West

Finally, Fairyland is about to unveil its Old West Junction! For the last year or so, visitors to the much-loved theme park have watched the ongoing construction project with a mixture of curiosity, anticipation, and impatience. It has been expanding upwards and outwards, and now it looks as if it can keep our little cowboys and cowgirls occupied for many hours. Old West Junction is Fairyland's first major project in more than three years, and well worth the wait. It's a whole pint-sized town from the Wild West, with a livery stable, a bank, a jail, and a water tower slide. Get your kid in cowboy gear and join in this weekend's opening celebrations, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with pony rides, a petting zoo, cowboy storytelling, crafts, and even lariat workshops. As if that weren't enough, "Lariat Larry" will dazzle the crowds with cowboy roping tricks and tales of the Old West. Henry Linzie, the director of the Black Cowboys' Association, and various personalities in Western attire will also entertain throughout the day.

Kids can also enjoy Fairyland's consistently compelling theater productions. The Fairyland Personalities show up in Alice Through the Looking Glass, presented by the Children's Theatre Program, at 12:30 and 3:30 pm. Jamaican storyteller Papa Bois and composer Asheba collaborate on a Jamaican retelling of Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. And if your child still has energy to burn, keep in mind that the Pirate Ship has just reopened. No wonder Walt Disney, on his first visit here in 1950, exclaimed: "This is it!" For more information, check out Fairyland.org, or call 510-452-2259. -- Sarah Cahill

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