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Friday, March 30, 2012

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 6:28 AM

It's your weekend. Use it wisely. Here's what's on tap:


Urban Farm Tour

Learn about inner-city harvests on Sunday, Apr. 1, as an Urban Farm Tour wends its way through Oakland and Berkeley. Farmers will be on hand to answer questions and offer demonstrations and tastings at every stop. Starting at the Biofuel Oasis (1441 Ashby Ave., Berkeley), the tour includes Novella Carpenter's Ghost Town Farm in a formerly vacant Oakland lot, along with several others where produce is grown; chickens, goats, and other livestock are raised; and bees buzz in hives. 9:30 a.m., $40. 510-665-5509 or BiofuelOasis.com. - Anneli Rufus

Dance Anywhere
  • Weidong Yang
  • Dance Anywhere
Dance Anywhere
If ever there were a socially acceptable time to bust a spontaneous dance move in public, it would have to be at noon (Pacific Daylight Time) on Friday, Mar. 30. That's when scores of people around the world simultaneously suspend their respective routines and start dancing - anywhere. While any public arena could potentially transform into a temporary dance floor (one can only hope this leads to pirouetting postal workers and police officers), Push Dance Company hosts a filmed group dance at the Oakland Museum of California (1000 Oak St., Oakland), where dancers will shimmy from the museum's Oak Street Plaza to the Zen rock garden. Free. DanceAnywhere.org - Cassie Harwood

French fries are stuffed into the Niman Ranch hanger steak sandwich.
  • Chris Duffey
  • French fries are stuffed into the Niman Ranch hanger steak sandwich.
Eat at Brasa
In the same space formerly occupied by their popular restaurant eVe, chef-owners Christopher and Veronica Laramie now serve rotisserie chicken along with rice bowls, juicy hot sandwiches, and other street foods of Veronica's native Peru. Fueled by a range of richly assertive peppers, Peruvian cuisine has spent centuries soaking up the flavors of Spain, France, Asia, Africa, and indigenous peoples. Peruvian street food is messy, meaty, smoky, saucy, satisfying, and faintly familiar, like Grandma's cooking reconfigured by a drunken sailor or a crazy teenager: The French fries are inside the steak sandwich. Sides include salads and sweet-potato fries, but tofu inside a roll or atop white rice is the only vegetarian entrée. Can Niman Ranch beef hearts win your heart? Brasa is a fun, friendly, affordable place to find out. - Anneli Rufus

SFJAZZ Collective
Past tributes to Ornette Coleman, Thelonious Monk, and Wayne Shorter allowed the eight members of SFJAZZ Collective to flex, but the group's current homage to soul artist Stevie Wonder shows an increasingly adventurous approach to the jazz canon. The group's latest album, released last year, featured reinterpretations of some of the more obvious Wonder hits - "Superstition," "Sir Duke," "Do I Do," and "My Cherie Amour" among them - but it was mostly packed with lesser-known tunes. Even the most avid pop radio consumer isn't likely to know the head of "Young and Playful," or identify the motif on a lilting swing ballad called "Race Babbling." Many of the songs have new rhythmic ideas, altered chord changes, or elaborate solo sections that stray from the A-B-A form in which Stevie Wonder operated. But they're seldom contorted beyond recognition. And to his credit, Wonder really has a jazz composer's sensibility. No wonder SFJAZZ vibraphonist Stefon Harris once cited Songs in the Key of Life as one of the best albums of all time. SFJAZZ performs at Yoshi's (510 Embarcadero, Oakland) Friday, Mar. 30, through Sunday, Apr. 1. Shows at 8 p.m. & 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Sunday, $22, $28. Yoshis.com - Rachel Swan

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Bella Bigsby
The austere, immaculately-conceived nature paintings of self-taught artist Bella Bigsby feel right at home among the custom art-jewelry of the transcendentally upscale Esqueleto in Temescal. Hanging like jewels themselves in moody compositions of calmly arranged, neutral colors, Bigsby's plant and animal subjects are rendered with the detail of fine illustration. Her résumé of exhibitions includes a who's who of hip stores on both sides of the bay, as her meditative yet not overtly decorative work lends itself to expert merchandising. Placed on shelves or leaning against walls, Bigsby's sixteen paintings at Esqueleto seem to be just hanging out as if in an artificial ecosystem. Esqueleto can be found in the enclave of new stores called Temescal Alley (482a 49th St., Oakland) and is a great stop on First Fridays - although Bigsby's show ends before the next one, on Thursday April 5. 510-629-6216 or ShopEsqueleto.com. - Obi Kaufmann

Plus...
Get your cheapskate on: This is how much we love you guys: Here are our searchable listings of every single free event happening in the East Bay this weekend.

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