Thursday, December 13, 2012

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

Thu, Dec 13, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Happy 348th day of the year! Here's what you can do to celebrate:

Trimpin: Nacarrow Percussion Orchestra/Matrix 244
For German-born sound artist Trimpin, the local tradition of the cuckoo clock sunk in. From an early age, he has been rigging up acoustic instruments to electronic gizmos programmed to operate them (the word "play" seems inappropriate), in effect establishing unexpected relations between music, audience, and space. Given these interests, it's no wonder that Trimpin fell for the work of avant-garde player-piano composer Conlon Nancarrow. Nancarrow Percussion Orchestra, Trimpin's tribute to the composer, now at the Berkeley Art Museum, consists of three overturned player-pianos equipped with percussive devices and outfitted with a scaffolding of electronically controlled levers and gears, ready to pluck chords and swing mallets at the push of a button. Explore the sixteen Nancarrow-derived compositions and the elaborate machinations that realize them, paying mind to the sculpture's three-directional distribution of sound in space. You'll know you've reached the correct gallery when you find a complementary sculpture consisting of three machines mounted from the ceiling, dropping long paper scrolls bearing coded messages — what appear to be player piano instructions. Through December 23 at the Berkeley Art Museum. 510-642-0808 or BAMPFA.Berkeley.eduAlex Bigman

Soul's Restaurant
Although it’s pretty far removed from Oakland’s main commercial hubs, Soul’s is one of the biggest — and nicest — soul food restaurants in town, with plush upholstered seating, a private banquet room, and its own parking lot. The food, meanwhile, is the real deal, like what someone’s grandma would serve in Georgia or Louisiana: excellent fried chicken, perfectly cooked collard greens, unctuous oxtails, and Thanksgiving-worthy sweet yams. Prices are affordable, and portions are enormous — especially if you come on Sundays, when there’s a sumptuous buffet spread ($10.95 for breakfast, $18.95 for dinner). Just to be clear: For a little more than ten bucks, you get all-you-can-eat fried chicken wings, and they’re delicious. That alone should be enough to get thee to East Oakland on a Sunday morning. — Luke Tsai

Anthony Hopkins' nice-try impersonation of Alfred Hitchcock is only the starting point for this playfully watchable movie-movie tribute to the Master of Suspense, set during the production of Psycho in 1960. The main job for director Sacha Gervasi (Anvil: The Story of Anvil) is to introduce the cast-within-the-cast — Scarlett Johannsen as Janet Leigh, James D'Arcy as Anthony Perkins, Jessica Biel as Vera Miles — and to let them play off each other. But the soul of the film is in the homey relationship of Hitch and his wife/editor/writing consultant /muse Alma Reville (a radiant Helen Mirren), bickering their way to screen immortality in shaping Hitchcock's biggest box office hit. Worth seeing for its unexpected humor. (98 min) — Kelly Vance


Before she was the queen of weird, 36-year-old Santi White was quietly penning hits for mainstream pop stars like Ashlee Simpson. Perhaps that allowed her, as a solo artist, to freely create her own reality. As Santigold, the Philadelphia native draws from all sorts of sources — her past work as the Gwen Stefani-ish frontwoman of rock band Stiffed, plus electronica, new wave, dub, and other genres — to create something that’s both experimental and accessible. Her most recent release, Master of My Make-Believe, isn’t the most cohesive of albums, but it does contain several hits, including “Disparate Youth” and “The Keepers.” Live, Santigold’s aesthetic is vividly brought to life with a full band, backup dancers, and bizarre, colorful costumes. At base, it’s a fun dance party — albeit one in Santigold’s twisted fantasy wonderland. On Wednesday, Dec. 12, at The Fox Theater, with White Arrows. 8 p.m., $27.50. TheFoxOakland.comKathleen Richards

Alameda Food Truck Jam
Feed the food-truck frenzy without leaving the Isle of Style. On Saturday, Dec. 15, the West End Flea Market presents the Alameda Food Truck Jam at the College of Alameda. More than a dozen food trucks will be on hand, offering international, made-to-order fare from all over the world. Attention, flea-market shoppers: This event coincides with West End's first-ever toy, comics, cards, sports, and collectibles show. 11 a.m., free admission (but food is sold at various prices). 510-999-1431 or WestEndFleaMarket.comAnneli Rufus


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