Critical Mass 

The art of Santiago Bose

SAT 4/19

Shopping is therapy for troubled souls who can afford it. How miserable, then, for a consumer who blunders onto Berkeley's Fourth Street out of habit, only to be struck with the realization that there's nothing left to buy -- or maybe your money's run out. It makes you think. Rather than get bulldozed by an SUV streaking out of the Restoration Hardware lot, you might duck into the nearby, conveniently located Babilonia 1808 Gallery to make that thinking a culturally enriching activity. It's way cheaper, at any rate, and the rewards are greater in the end.There the disillusioned consumer will find Power and Poetics: Remembering Santiago Bose.

Bose, who died last year at 53, created art out of found natural materials, such as bamboo and volcanic ash from his native Philippines, as well as the castoffs and debris of the overindustrialized world that embraced his work.

Bose's themes, though, aren't limited to overconsumption or environmental desecration. While in self-imposed exile from the Marcos regime in New York City, he found further confirmation of "the melancholy dependence on American culture that is the most destructive legacy of US colonialism to the Philippines." He also found a vibrant kindred community of artists devoted to the resistance of that colonialism from within. Bose's resistance to cultural domination integrates traditional Filipino animism and Western Catholicism to shape a unique and witty fusion -- he's even interviewed by Frida Kahlo on his Web site,

Curator N. Trisha Lagaso says that although Bose made many friends in the Bay Area -- and those friends will talk-story their reminiscences at "Remembering Santi by Sharing Stories," an informal tribute at the opening -- he has yet to achieve the acclaim here that he's gotten in Asia, Australia, and Europe. Perhaps the experience of his art will serve as the anting-anting, or protective amulet, of his memory and vision -- as well as freedom from the temptations of Fourth Street. -- Frako Loden

WED 4/16


Of the artworks in the annual Faculty Exhibition at Cal State Hayward, one is sure to excite comment. It's called the Oakland Memorial Project, the brainchild of art teachers Scott Hopkins and Leslee Stradford. They wanted to pay homage to Oakland's 113 homicide victims in 2002, so they arranged exactly 113 empty picture frames on the wall at at least two separate East Bay locations -- the CSUH library and Laney College in downtown Oakland -- and plan to fill in each frame with the name and/or photo of every person murdered in Oakland in 2003. The project started April 2 and will stay up for the rest of the year. In their artists' statement, Hopkins and Stradford claim the project's goal is "to honor, grieve, and memorialize the homicide victims of Oakland for the year 2003. We want to hold onto the thought of these people as human beings." The project reportedly has the blessing of the OPD, but there's always the danger of it becoming a morbid "death sweepstakes." Says Hopkins: "I hope the majority of people who view it will not see these people as numbers. Each of these people was unique and did not deserve to die like this." Info: 510-885-3299. -- Kelly Vance

THU 4/17

Party Planet

Ahh, spring. The sun shines a little more, the rain rains a little less, and DJs Delon, Yamu, Add, and Big Willie return to Jupiter for the sixth year of Beatdown Thursdays. Until fall, the house selectors and special guests spin jungle, nu-jazz, downtempo, techno, deep house, and funk on the back patio of Berkeley's stalwart beer church. This season's featured jocks and crews include Witches' Brew, DJ Freya and Hemisphere, Smartbeat, and many more. And yeah, there's heat out there. The party starts at 8 p.m. and goes till closing time with no cover charge. But don't check out the scene outside without giving the inside a look-see, too. Jupiter was a livery stable in its former life, and now sports a copper-topped bar, honey-wheat-crust pizza, kickass artichoke spread, vintage amusements upstairs, and pews from the St. John's Presbyterian Church (now the Julia Morgan Theater) downstairs. Jupiter is located at 2181 Shattuck Ave., at Allston. -- Stefanie Kalem

TUE 4/22

Red Rova

And they said it wouldn't last. Four men, four saxophones, and an enduring love for free-jazz and 20th-century avant-garde have propelled the Rova Saxophone Quartet through a quarter-century. Originally comprising Bruce Ackley, Andrew Voigt (later replaced by Steve Adams), Larry Ochs, and Jon Raskin, the SF-based ensemble played its first gig at Mills in 1978, and has since released more than two dozen recordings of original and interpreted music. The foursome has been a registered not-for-profit entity since 1985, continually stirring the influences of John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Edgard Varèse, John Cage, and Charles Ives together into a brassy, skronky, challenging stew.Their ambassadorship is tireless -- the musicians have been giving lecture-demonstrations and extended workshops in schools since 1981. Closer to home, they perform at the Black Box (1928 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) with Italy's People in Motion (featuring Gianni Gebia) at 8 p.m., with tickets on a sliding scale from $6 to $60-million-trillion. 510-451-1932. -- Stefanie Kalem


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