Blue Friday 

Shake that synthesized booty

FRI 4/29

If you think of New Order as merely the synth-happy postscript to Joy Division's untimely demise, then your memory deceives you -- the band's songs invariably cover the bleakest of topics, often set against the backdrop of urban and suburban apathy. Not surprising, considering Ian Curtis hanged himself just as Joy Division was about to really blow up. What is a surprise is that the band continues to shine. From the dancing-despite-the-gloom hits of the early-to-mid '80s ("Love Vigilantes," anyone?) to the jocktastic 1990 English World Cup Soccer anthem, "World in Motion," to the carefully crafted 2001 post-hiatus disc Get Ready, New Order have more than two decades of slanted, thought-provoking -- and sublimely danceable -- pop to hit you with at Oakland's Henry J. Kaiser Arena this weekend (including the band's first full-length without keyboardist Gillian Gilbert, Waiting for the Sirens' Call, out earlier this week). New Order acolytes the Chemical Brothers also perform, and Argentine DJ Hernan Cattaneo opens., $40, 7 p.m. – Stefanie Kalem

4/27- 5/3

Lit Happens

As the world's greatest fan, entertainment reporter Michael Joseph Gross collected over 5,000 autographs from famous people. Now he's giving them away to those who buy copies of his book, Starstruck, and come to see him read from it at Cody's Telegraph (Wed., 7:30 p.m.). ... Firefighters have big hoses and aren't afraid to use them: Captain Geoffrey Hunter presents a slide show based on his book Oakland Fire Department, and Zac Unger reads from his memoir, Working Fire: The Making of An Accidental Fireman, at Diesel (Wed., 7 p.m.). ... Poetry rocks, but rhythmically. Stegner Fellow and Stanfordite Gabrielle Calvocoressi reads from her debut collection, The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, at Mrs. Dalloway's (Thurs., 7 p.m.). ... Sisterhood pervades as Terry McMillan headlines an evening of readings, performances, panel discussions, and a reception celebrating the new exhibit "Our Collective Voice: The Extraordinary Work of Women in California" on the North Terrace of UC Berkeley's Doe Library (Fri., 5:30 p.m.). ... Everyone's from somewhere: At Clayton Library, The Christmas Gift/El regalo de Navidad author Francisco Jiménez, a contributor to the new anthology California Uncovered, describes growing up in a migrant-worker family (Sat., 2 p.m.). ... Pig out for lit. The Friends of the Martinez Library's third annual Of Books and Barbecue fund-raiser features wine, beef, auctions, and entertainment at the Martinez Senior Center (818 Green St.; tickets $25; for details call 925.370-7620) (Sat., 6 p.m.). ... Thrills and chills ... in Spokane? Of course, and crime novelist Jess Walter is out to prove it. He reads from his latest, Citizen Vince, at Orinda Books (Tues., 4 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus


Exquisitely Alive

Andrei Codrescu may be a prize-winning writer, an NPR commentator, and a distinguished professor living in moss-draped New Orleans, but he's no old-world throwback -- since 1999, he's been publishing his literary journal, Exquisite Corpse, on the Interweb. Ask what else is new with the Romanian-born raconteur when he reads at Small Press Distribution's Spring Open House from noon-4 p.m. Saturday. The Imaginary String Band plays old-time music, anyway, and the warehouse at 1341 7th St. in Berkeley will be offering 20-to-50% discounts on 12,000+ independently published titles. -- Stefanie Kalem



Big Bid-Ness

It takes money to go into publishing, and there's never quite enough. Oakland's arty-smarty Kitchen Sink mag understands this, which is why it's holding a Kitchen Sink Art Auction Saturday at Ego Park Gallery (492 23rd St., Oakland, 8 p.m.), to celebrate the release of its #10 issue and to raise funds by selling such items as Omar Lee's I Have No Idea What You're Talking About (left). -- Kelly Vance



The legacy of Malcolm X lives on

It's fitting that the third annual Malcolm X Consciousness Conference at Laney College should fall around the same time that Michael Franti and friends are organizing a 51st birthday party for the journalist Mumia Abu Jamal, who has spent the last 23 years penning articles from his Pennsylvania jail cell. After all, the conference organizers -- who represent Laney's student-activist organization Club Knowledge -- see themselves as part of a new generation of "movement" scholarship. Founded three years ago by Miasha Hillard and Emil Dupont, Club Knowledge's raison d'être is getting students to serve in the community and thus expand on the civil rights and Black Power doctrines they learn in their African-American Studies classes. Indeed, taking a print safari from The Autobiography of Malcolm X to Eldridge Cleaver's Soul on Ice is only the beginning. Running Friday through Sunday, the conference consists of a debate on whether or not your vote really counts, a Pan-African fashion show, speeches by Fred Hampton Jr., Munyiga Lumumba, and hip-hop's first lady, Yo-Yo; and a "100% poison-free hip-hop concert" featuring such acts as the Coup, Zion-I, and Ise Lyfe -- folks who can kick rhymes without dissing anyone, but can still turn a club out any night of the week. Commercialism in hip-hop is another prevailing theme at the conference, given that some teens entering college today might not remember a time when Top Forty radio wasn't a parade of racial stereotypes and a milking cow for corporate interests. Fittingly, the event closes with a speech by Chuck D., an artist who rapped about "fear of a black planet" with a fervor that G-Unit would reserve for twenty-inch rims and Cristal. 900 Fallon St., Oakland; conference admission is $75, and scholarships are available. UnlockYourRoots.comRachel Swan


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