Enjoy these fun activities this weekend, or go watch Les Mis and spend the rest of the weekend trying to forget the sound of Russell Crowe's singing voice.
Cinema is ostensibly the theme of FLICK, now at Creative Growth Gallery, and, to be sure, maybe 30 percent of the works on display engage with film — echoing and distorting Hollywood image codes, depicting starlets of the silver screen, producing alternative posters and other such ephemera, and so on. But the real occasion for this profusion of work is in fact an annual holiday sale — as good an opportunity as any to peruse the sprawling creative output of this distinctive and always lively arts community. From Nick Pagan's unnerving sculptures of Batman villains, to William Tyler's illustrated, poetry-packed windows ("Safe and Clean are in Oakland California for now" one begins, followed by a laundry list of acronyms referring to or perhaps merely evocative of government agencies and institutions), to an impressive diptych by Dan Miller juxtaposing chaotic line drawing and imbricated, typewritten text, there is much to take in. Most of it's off topic, but no matter. FLICK runs through January 4 at Creative Growth Gallery. 510-836-2340 or CreativeGrowth.org — Alex Bigman
After more than a decade serving upscale American comfort food, restaurateur Gary Rizzo has hopped onto a new trend: Latin-American restaurants that take traditional fare and gussy it up with high-quality, local, seasonal ingredients. Destino, Rizzo’s new spot on Grand Avenue, has a Mexico City-trained chef in Marisol del Rio and a share-friendly menu that draws inspiration mostly from Central Mexican cuisine — everything well sourced and skillfully prepared. The menu changes every few weeks, and while a few items seem to play it too safe (in terms of spice level and overall ambitiousness), you won’t be disappointed in the fresh simplicity of dishes like the sopecitos de chorizo (little corn cakes topped beautifully with sausage, queso fresco, guacamole, and a wonderfully smoky black chile sauce), the perfectly grilled baby squid, and the meaty (and bargain-priced) chile relleno. — Luke Tsai
Quentin Tarantino’s best movie since Jackie Brown is a sprawling, bloody, vulgar, unexpectedly humorous, action-packed tribute, not only to the filmmaker’s beloved spaghetti westerns and slavesploitation shockers such as Mandingo, but to — you’ll excuse the expression — the American sense of frontier justice. Jamie Foxx, in the title role as a newly freed slave, and Christoph Waltz, as a bounty hunter, take a detour into the depraved depths of the Old South, circa 1858, to tangle with a decadent plantation master (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his faithful (and evil) old retainer (Samuel L. Jackson) over a slave named Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). The feathers fly. Tarantino’s dialogue is solid gold, especially when Waltz and Jackson say it. And the supporting cast is a who’s who of half-remembered heavies: Don Johnson, James Remar, Franco Nero (the original Django), Bruce Dern, Don Stroud, Michael Parks, et al. Functions best as a tongue-in-cheek corrective to The Birth of a Nation, with overtones of the ripe and raunchy Seventies junk-fu so many of us cannot live without. Showing at the UA Berkeley, AMC Bay Street, and more; see here for showtimes. — Kelly Vance