Even after reading the promotional materials and conducting some research on Jerome Murray, Ph.D, keynote speaker for the upcoming East Bay Singles Convention, you might be a bit baffled. His résumé might have been constructed by some genius writer for The Onion or Vice magazine, but those guys aren't this clever. Dr. Murray, who counts Sandra Day O'Connor among his fans, was a key consultant for Carol Burnett in her suit against The National Enquirer. His self-help pamphlets and tests include "Does Your Relationship Suck?" and "The Ten Commandments for Living with a Loser." In addition to audio books such as They May Not Love You, But They Don't Have to Hate You, he has also written Murray on Marriage: A Guide for Lawyers and Lovers. Murray is fond of spicing up his lectures with songs. And lest you think the man ain't got chops, let it be known that he studied voice for seven years with Nace Hill of the New York Metropolitan Opera, recorded an album, and sang lead in musicals such as Man of La Mancha and Oklahoma.
During his lecture, "Bimbos and Jerks: How to Recognize Them and Pick a Winner," participants will take a test to determine whether they are one or the other, and will be encouraged to share their answers with others (such as whether you believe that men who drive sports cars are more attractive than men who don't).
A friend took the bimbo test and answered "true" to one of the twenty statements (12. Most women take sex too seriously), since she believes that people's expectations of sex are too rigid and mass-media tainted. However, after some reflection, she realized that the question likely meant: "Most women take sexual relations and their importance in terms of intimacy too seriously." So really, my friend had zero out of twenty for her Bimbo Quotient, making her a below-average bimbo (what a relief!). Perhaps Dr. Murray, the only person recognized by the California Supreme Court as an expert in communication, should make his test questions a bit clearer.
The Singles Convention keynote address is at 7:30 today, Wednesday, in the Harborview Room at Scott's Restaurant in Oakland's Jack London Square. Murray's lecture (hopefully peppered with some songsmithing) will be followed by a dance party from 9 p.m. to midnight. Remember folks, even though dressy attire is encouraged, it doesn't mean that you should judge the singletons around you by their MAC lipstick or Ralph Lauren chinos -- because that would mean you're a bimbo or a jerk. For more info: ThePartyHotline.com or 415-507-9962. -- Elka Karl
Bringing pub to the peeps
Comprising one born-and-bred Irishman, one Englishwoman, an Irish American, and an SF native, the Shots know their way around a pub. The quartet gives traditional pub-rock and bluegrass treatments to songs by Leadbelly, the Kinks, the Balfa Brothers, and many others, not to mention pulling off originals that'll make you raise your glass before you know it. The pints are only implied when they play Down Home Music (10341 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito) 2 p.m. Saturday, but it's free, so you'll have money to spend on canned Guinness afterward. 510-525-2129. -- Stephanie Kalem
How many artists are there in Berkeley? You wouldn't believe it. There are thirty stops in the Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios tour, but at each one you'll find a throng brandishing landscape paintings, contemporary jewelry and pouches, "photography to give calm and serenity" (huh?), colored-pencil portraits, titanium and digital graphic art, thematic furniture, unusual egg ornaments (of course), glass fruits and vegetables, figurative watercolors, decorative tiles, high-fashion knitted scarves, pastels, children's-book illustrations, paperweights, and magnets, all clustered in the Berkeley flatlands. Go to BerkeleyArtisans.com for a map. Weekends through December 19, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. -- Kelly Vance
Over a Barrel
If you're game for investigating the wonderful but somewhat overlooked wines of the Livermore Valley, Saturday and Sunday's Barrel Tasting at Cedar Mountain Winery might be just the thing to while away the weekend. The annual event features current-release wines and samples maturing in oak barrels, as well as three new wines (2004 Del Arroyo Pinot Grigio, 1999 Thatcher Bay Livermore Valley Merlot, and 2004 Toy Vineyard Viognier Port), accompanied by a buffet prepared by Cedar Mountain's executive chef -- a gourmet's bargain at $10 per person. Designate a driver before you go. 7000 Tesla Rd., Livermore, 925-373-6636. -- Kelly Vance
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