Blow a Fuse 

Battleship rams Stork

THU 6/10

According to its Friendster profile, "Oakland's own floating destruction," aka the garage band Battleship, likes to "break things: noses, basses, the will to live." The band also claims that it will "drive hours to play in your basement for five seconds before blowing a fuse." But the best part of the profile is the testimonials, and fans have a lot to say about the loud, scratchy antics of Battleship. One young lady testifies that she loves the band "so much it kind of makes me want to puke. They make my body move." Another young man claims that he made out with the drummer and that the moment is captured somewhere on video. But the truth is that Battleship has amassed a pretty loyal following in the local garage, basement, and warehouse circuit -- enough to get them noticed by more than just the hip kids on Friendster. It's all because it has those things that are so rare to hear from a band at a drunken house party: good songs and actual talent. That's why you need to show up this Thursday at Oakland's creepy Christmas-light wonderland, the Stork Club. It may not be a step up from your basement, but at least you won't have to clean up after the musicians when they've gone.

Battleship's new album, Presents Princess, is seven tracks of frantic, pounding, car-crash melodies -- the type of record all those major-label bands riding the new wave of garage popularity must fantasize that they could still put out. Show up early if you want a copy, 'cause Presents Princess, on local indie label Raw Deluxe, will be offered only in a limited pressing of four hundred black and one hundred white vinyl copies, each with original hand-screened cover art. The fuse-blowing madness begins at 9 p.m., with the Hospitals and Curse of the Birthmark opening. And hey, it's only five bucks, so get your ass down there. Info: http://Home.san.rr.com/tasteslikepoison -- Amrah Johnson

6/9-6/14

Lit Happens

Natto Dread

In Mary Yukari Waters' short-story collection The Laws of Evening, postwar Japan was a world of dodgeball, spaghetti sauce, and grief. Each of these tales visits women in various states of rebuilding and just standing still. Ask Waters whether she likes natto at Barnes & Noble Emeryville (Wed., 7:30 p.m.). ... The buzz was deafening and the bling-bling rolled in for Hari Kunzru's debut novel, The Impressionist. Can he pull it off again with Transmission, in which a sensitive techie newly arrived in Silicon Valley from India hooks up with a sinister computer virus? Hear for yourself at Cody's Southside (Thurs., 7:30 p.m.). ... She used to be called the Bubble Lady; meet Southside icon Julia Vinograd at a poetry reading also featuring Sydney Bell, David Gollub, Debra Grace Khattab, and George Tirado plus an open mic at Berkeley's venerable Mediterraneum Caffe (2475 Telegraph Ave.), where Allen Ginsberg might or might not have written part of "Howl" (Thurs., 7 p.m.). ... Sharpen your trilled "r"s at a reading of international poems in their original languages and then translated into English, at Pleasanton's La Crema d'Italia (780 Main St.) (Thurs., 7:45 p.m.). ... Don't let its name fool you: Adam Langer's novel Crossing California concerns three families in Chicago. Langer reads at Orinda Books (Sat., 11 a.m.). ... While playing college hoops in the '50s, Don Barnette was often forced to lodge in separate hotels from his teammates -- and in one case, made to stay behind on the bus while the others played -- because he was black. The ex-Harlem Globetrotter reads from his book Is My Skin My Only Sin? at the Oakland Public Library's Lakeview branch (Sat., 2 p.m.). ... Bond with Dad over bat tales at Bookshop Benicia, where Kevin Nelson discusses The Golden Game: The Story of California Baseball (Sun., 2 p.m.). ... Rosin meets gerunds when cellist Gael Alcock accompanies poet Adam David Miller preceding an open mic at Crockett's Valona Deli (1323 Pomona St.) (Sun., 4 p.m.). ... Before IKEA and meatballs came looting, sacking, and the world's most advanced shipbuilding techniques. Don Lago reads from his memoir On the Viking Trail: Travels in Scandinavian America at Black Oak (Mon., 7:30 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus

6/11-8/20 Make Your Move

The Oakland Chess Riders are convinced that learning how to play chess and competing in tournaments is a great way for young people to "form a positive community" and to "learn how to apply their skills to other facets of life." Not to mention capturing castles and deposing kings. This summer for the first time, Oakland's Alice Arts Center is hosting a full summer program of chess lessons, chess puzzles, challenge games, blitz games (against the clock), "match the masters," and a Monday-through-Thursday series of weekly games culminating in a special end-of-summer tournament. The first session takes place Monday, noon to 3 p.m., in Conference Room A of Alice Arts (1428 Alice St., Oakland). All school-age kids are invited. There will be scholarships for low-income children. To learn more, visit OaklandChess.org -- Kelly Vance

6/12-6/13

All This Jazz

Art, food, and music in the shade

Fused glass attached to found objects, then tagged for sale. Pillows, potholders, and tea cozies made from traditional Japanese kimonos. Organic vegetarian crepes, fresh watermelon juice, mango lassi, and garlic salmon roasted on cedar planks. This could mean only one thing: the Live Oak Park Fair is back. Every half-hour between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. this weekend, you can catch a free shuttle from the North Berkeley BART station and see what's new at the 34-year-old festival. As usual, dozens of artists and craftsfolk will subtly hawk everything from toys to photographic prints in the dappling shade of redwoods and oaks. But one of the coolest things this year is the new Jazzschool Performance Stage, featuring nonstop jazz all fest long. 2 p.m. headlining slots are occupied by the Mimi Fox Duo, starring the postbop stylings of the lady nicknamed "Fast Fingers" (Saturday), and multi-instrumentalist John Calloway (Sunday), showing off his Afro-Caribbean jazz flute work and more. Jazzschool alumnae Valerie Bach (guitar), Priscilla Gardiner (bass), and Sheila Smith (percussion) hit the stage as Girl Talk on Sunday at 3:40 p.m. Info: LiveOakParkFair.com or 510-526.7363. -- Stefanie Kalem

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