Barrel-Aged 

King Waco at the Plough

Fri 10/1

As the years pass, Jon Langford hasn't so much come to resemble fine wine as he has aged like good whiskey: mellowing where it counts, but still capable of bringing a bar crowd to its fiery feet. On his second and latest solo outing, All the Fame of Lofty Deeds, the mouthpiece for the Mekons and the Waco Brothers waxes biographical on tracks from the old- fashioned rock swinger "Sputnik 57" to the sad-sack touring tale "Nashville Radio," and gives the country-punks what they want on "Hard Times." It's the sixth or seventh album he's been up front for since 2002, so buy the man a drink befitting him when Jon Langford's Ship & Pilot (featuring various Mekons and other stellar musicians) appears at the Plough Friday night. He's actually a damn nice guy to chat with. The show starts at around 9:30 p.m., and the Starry Plough Pub is located at 3101 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. Call 510-841-2082 for venue details. Cover charge is $12, support acts to be confirmed.-- Stefanie Kalem

9/29-10/5

Lit Happens

Sometimes artists have the best ideas about war. New Yorker vet Lawrence Wechsler discusses his new collection of essays Vermeer in Bosnia at UC Berkeley's Wheeler Auditorium; pick up free advance tickets at the Zellerbach box office. Call 510-643-3274 (Wed., 7 p.m.). ... A fantastical far cry from Philip Kerr's mystery novels set in Nazified Berlin is Children of the Lamp, his magical adventure about kids who discover they are genies with the power to grant wishes. Channel Aladdin at Cody's Fourth Street (Thu., 1:30 p.m.). ... Corporate lawyer and Boalt Hall grad Sheldon Siegel knows firsthand what makes legal thrillers thrilling, and his have sold millions. He reads from the latest, The Confession, at Orinda Books (Thu., 4 p.m.). ... The raven quoth what? A reception opens the exhibition of Ed Cassel's illustrations for The Ultimate Illustrated Edgar Allan Poe in the cafe at Spellbinding Tales, 1910A Encinal Ave., Alameda (Fri., 7 p.m.). ... Real-life sexologist Alfred Kinsey beds his student assistant and gets cuckolded in The Inner Circle, the latest from always-outrageous T.C. Boyle, who reads from the novel at Rakestraw (Sat., 7 p.m.). ... Kids battle an ogre who has abducted their mom in The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Wrath of Mulgarath (Book 5). Meet authors Tony Diterlizzi and Holly Black at Barnes & Noble Walnut Creek (Sun., 7 p.m.). ... Island rhythms abound at a reading by Mary Rudge, poet laureate of Alameda, followed by an open mic on the theme of "mystical, magical, and mythical," at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts, 1601 Paru St., Alameda; for details call 510-523-6957 (Sun., 7 p.m.). ... Chill out as photographer Kathan Brown shows pictures from her book, The North Pole, at Easy Going (Tues., 7:30 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus

Mon 10/4

Can You Hack It?

"The class struggle, in its endless setbacks, reversals, and compromises, returns again and again to the unanswered question -- property -- and the contending classes return again and again with new answers." So says McKenzie Wark in his Hacker Manifesto, a little red book that redraws the line of class conflict between those who produce intellectual property -- be it music, math, or meds -- and those who would control it. Between these two new classes lie hackers, and the damage or good they can do. Wark is at Cody's, 2454 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley, at 7:30 p.m. Monday. 510-845-7852. -- Stefanie Kalem

Sat 10/2

Bling on the Range

The traditional gift for a thirtieth anniversary is pearls; the modern one is diamonds. Regardless, the Diamond Anniversary Black Cowboy Parade will surely be an event for the ages, with cowboys, trick riders, kids, and local businesses starting their gallivant in West Oakland's DeFremery Park, ending up downtown. 510-531-7583. -- Stefanie Kalem

Sun 10/3

Cattin' Into Oakland

An SF film fest travels east

omen and fathers. Girls and grandfathers. Girls and bears. Girls and Jung. Women and Freud. Women and personal ads. And those are just the themes from the first three films showing Sunday at the eighth Annual MadCat Women's International Film Festival Presents: A Turning Point. After seven years in San Francisco, the film series winds down this year's lineup at the Parkway in Oakland with an international collection of characters searching for answers to really big questions. Characters from all walks of life are represented this evening, looking everywhere for freedom and meaning, love and forgiveness. In the nine-minute Better or Worse?, Australian Jocelyn Cammack explores, almost wordlessly, an eight-year-old girl's struggle to make sense of her poor eyesight. In the Korean film Dust (right), making its West Coast premiere at the Parkway, Jae-hee Hong uses still photographs to chronicle an isolated housewife's witheringly banal day-to-day existence. Charlene Shih's Papa Blue combines live-action footage and animation to dish about counterculture politics and a father-daughter bond. Krescent Carasso presents the world premiere of Lucy, a reality-based examination of the idea of heroism, viewed through a lens of addiction, self-destruction, and social responsibility. Oaklanders Kami Chisolm and Elizabeth Stark premiere A Conversation with Elizabeth's Father, wherein Stark's father answers interview questions while waiting for his own death. Chisolm and Stark will be at the theater in person; as will filmmakers Carasso and Yael Braha (The Waves). The films -- nine in all, none more than thirteen minutes long -- start unspooling at 6 p.m., and admission costs a mere $7. Visit MadCatFilmFestival.org for details. The Parkway is located at 1834 Park Blvd., Oakland. -- Stefanie Kalem

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