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Friday, December 28, 2012

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 6:00 AM

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.

FLICK
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.orgAlex Bigman

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"Black Man in the White House: The Second Term Tour"
Paul Mooney is not one to shy away from jokes that could get him in trouble. But from starring in the Chapelle's Show segment "Ask a Black Man" to publishing his memoir, Black Is the New White, Mooney is nothing if not provocative. After cutting his teeth writing for shows like The Richard Pryor Show and In Living Color, the former Oakland resident now spends most of his time doing stand-up in venues across the country. Join him on Wednesday through Tuesday, Dec. 26-Jan. 1, at the Black Repertory Theatre for his new show, "Black Man in the White House: The Second Term Tour," where he'll offer insights into America's post-election "state of blackness." $35-200. For show times and tickets, see BrownPaperTickets.com or BlackRepertoryGroup.comAzeen Ghorayshi

Destino
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

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The Gold Rush
It's one of the most quintessentially Charlie Chaplin movie moments caught on film: The Little Tramp excitedly sharpens his fork and knife before gingerly placing them aside and tearing his first bite out of his dinner — a leather shoe cooked to soft perfection. He chews, considers, chews more, and then raises his eyebrows in a content pronouncement of, "Eh, not bad!" The scene appears in the 1925 Chaplin classic The Gold Rush, which Chaplin often declared as the film he wanted to be most remembered for. Join the Berkeley Underground Film Society at The Tannery on Sunday, Dec. 30, for a special screening of the film, on magnificent Super 8. 7:30 p.m., donations accepted. BerkeleyUndergroundFilms.Blogspot.comA.G.

Django Unchained
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

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