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Friday, June 17, 2011

Weekender: The Top Five Things to Do Over the Next Three Days in the East Bay

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Hopefully you've all recovered from the massive hangovers you undoubtedly incurred on Bloomsday and are ready to rage once again. Herewith, our critics' picks for weekend entertainment:

The Oakland Standard: Felt
If you grew up far from a farm and feel a little sheepish around livestock, say baaah-bye to your misgivings at Felt, the first event in The Oakland Standard's Seed Circus series, organized by the Oakland Museum of California. The four-part program aims to acquaint urbanites with nature through discussions and hands-on demonstrations, and this first installment focuses exclusively on man's fleecy friend the sheep. The event features sheep-shearing demonstrations by a real live farmer, the construction of a giant felt rug, bicycle-powered wool carding, and more, followed by a screening of the documentary Sweetgrass (you can probably guess what it's about). At the Oakland Museum (1000 Oak St., Oakland) on Sunday, June 19. 1 p.m., free with museum admission. 510-238-2200 or MuseumCA.org/TheOaklandStandard. — Cassie Harwood

Bestiae Mundi
Los Angeles sculptor Ron Pippin has a longstanding interest in integrating human culture, past and present, into the natural world, so combining animal skeletons with scientific/mechanical apparatuses seems a natural evolution of his personal mythology. Bestiae Mundi (Animals of Earth) simulates an old-school natural history museum with its bottles, vitrines, and labeled specimens, but its mechanized-looking skeletal bobcats, rats, turtles, snakes, warthogs, wallabies, goats, and storks, some inscribed with the names of endangered species, are decidedly contemporary (though perhaps not for all contemporaries); they're assemblages of "dark materials" that serve as "visual prayers." Don't miss the small, suspended "Icarus," a skeletal bird posed as if falling, reminiscent of a splayed Archaeopteryx fossil atop its limestone bed, sporting leather wings. Book signing for Noah Charney'sTracks and Signs of Insects on June 16; bone-cleaning workshop by Ron Cauble on June 30. Bestiae Mundi runs through August 3 at Bone Room (1573 Solano Ave., Berkeley). 510-526-5252 or BoneRoomPresents.com. — DeWitt Cheng

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Let Me Down Easy
After the success of her Pulitzer-nominated show Fires in the Mirrorand Tony-nominated Twilight: Los Angeles actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith became known for originating a certain type of journalistic solo performance. At sixty years old, she looks vibrant, speaks in a resonant female baritone, and still has an endlessly pliable body. Deavere Smith's new play covers the health care system, a topic broad enough to include politics, personal anecdotes, and philosophical musing. Over the course of two intermission-free hours, Deavere Smith reenacts twenty interviews with people ranging from dialysis patient Hazel Merritt to supermodel Lauren Hutton and a comically exaggerated version of feminist Eve Ensler. The characters are often plain-spoken, but their thoughts on the medical system are deeply poetic. Using an elaborate rhetoric of gesture to fill in the gaps within stories, Deavere Smith explores such issues as class disparity, mortality, racism, sexuality, and the perpetual decay of the human body. She opens a space for tenderness in a discussion that's normally tainted by fear. Director Leonard Foglia and lighting designer Dan Ozminkowski contributed to the success of this trenchant, intelligent production. Through July 10 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre (2025 Addison St., Berkeley). $17-$73. 510 647-2949 or BerkeleyRep.org. — Rachel Swan

SFJAZZ Presents Youssou N'Dour & Angelique Kidjo
Long known as the reigning diva of Africa, Angélique Kidjo will, on occasion, graciously extend her hand to other divas, among them Joss Stone (who joined Kidjo for a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter") and Alicia Keys (who guested on "DjinDjin" and "Afrika"). Both pop stars performed competently, but Queen Kidjo still held court. Indeed, her husky female tenor and facility with melody ensure supremacy on just about any stage. Kidjo performs in the Bay Area about once a year, usually under the auspices of Cal Performances. This time around she'll appear at the SFJAZZ spring season, opening for Senegalese singer and percussionist YoussouN'Dour, whose career spans four decades, and who is also known as a member of African music royalty (not to mention he's a frequent muse for documentary filmmakers). They'll perform at the Paramount Theatre (2025 Broadway, Oakland) on Friday, June 17. 8 p.m., $25-$80. SFJAZZ.org. — R.S.

Walk for Health
Walking is always good for your health — but walking in the 5th Annual East Bay AIDS Walk on Saturday, June 18, benefits countless others, namely those residents of Alameda, Contra Costa, and Solano counties living with AIDS or HIV. Hundreds of people have already signed up to walk the 3.1-mile loop around Lake Merritt (699 Bellevue Ave., Oakland), drawing more than $30,000 in pledges and private donations that will go entirely to participating local nonprofit organizations. The Alameda County Public Health Department, East Bay Express, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and others have partnered with AIDS Walk organizers to present the event, which includes appearances by Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and Congresswoman Barbara Lee, HIV/AIDS testing, live music, and more. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Edoff Memorial Bandstand, walk at 10 a.m.; free. 510-654-5335 or EastBayAIDSWalk.org. — C.H.


Plus...

Catch a Movie: Pre-op transsexual hairdressers, Indonesian cross-dressers, Genovese alterna-couples, asexuals, gay 9/11 heroes, and much, much more: It's Frameline, baby.

Eat Up: Vegetarians, move along. Everyone else, read all about porchetta, a special Italian-style pork roast — and where to get it — in this week's food review.

Get Buzzed: When two breweries love each other very much, they get together and something magical happens. Sometimes. Intrepid booze writer Alastair Bland's got the story on collaboration beers here.

Waste Some Time: A.O. Scott is a pre-eminent film writer and one of the most widely read and respected critical minds in the nation. Also: a total sass machine. Behold, A.O. Scott zingers, a collection of the New York Times columnist's snarkiest one-liners. (For example, on the recent Arthur reboot: "Never have I needed a drink so badly.”)

Friend and Follow Us: Here we are on Facebook and Twitter.

Feed Us: Got any East Bay news, events, video, or miscellany we should know about? Holler at us at Ellen.Cushing@EastBayExpress.com.

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