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Many hands clapping?

THU 2/3

Moviegoers could argue for hours about how "Zen-like" Jim Jarmusch's Johnny Depp Western Dead Man really is, but the organizers of the second International Buddhist Film Festival obviously thinks it passes the test (even though Jarmusch admits in interviews that he has a dilettante's understanding of Buddhism). There are other "Buddha-boomer" entries in the fest, including Martin Scorsese's Kundun and an excerpt from David O. Russell's I Heart Huckabees, and Thursday's East Bay opening night at UC Berkeley's Wheeler Auditorium (7:30) is Italian director Liliana Cavani's bio of Tibetan saint Milarepa, but a few of the 28 films are directly religious-themed entries from Asia and elsewhere, such as Festival by Im Kwon-Taek of Korea, the US premiere of Angulimala by Thai director Suthed Tunnirat, and a program of shorts called One Particle of Dust, about the founder of the San Francisco Zen Center. Tickets ($9 per) can be ordered and enlightenment attained at IBFF.org -- Kelly Vance


Lit Happens

Shake your assets. Investment consultant Stephen J. Huxley discusses his book Asset Dedication: How to Grow Wealthy with the Next Generation of Asset Allocation at Moraga Library, providing the inside dope on stocks, bonds, and dividends (Wed., 10:30 a.m. ). ... After graduating from UC Berkeley in 1943, Barbara Guest joined Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery, and others in the New York School of Poets. Her career has blossomed in many directions since then. She reads from Miniatures and Other Poems as part of the Lunch Poems series at UC Berkeley's Morrison Library (Thu., 12:10 p.m.). ... Want more manga in the stacks? New members and new ideas are welcome at the second meeting of the Bay Point Library Teen Advisory Board, open to patrons aged eleven through eighteen (Thu., 3:30 p.m.). ... One of the world's most famous witches, San Francisco-based Starhawk -- author of The Spiral Dance and eight other books -- discusses the confluences between writing, witchcraft, and her latest love, left-wing activism, in this month's installment of Belladonna's Local Legends series (Thu., 7 p.m.). ... Based on the British "elevenses" tradition -- we call them coffee breaks -- a morning reading by brilliant Berkeley poet Sandra M. Gilbert in the Community Meeting Room of the Berkeley Public Library's main branch is accompanied by free coffee, tea, and consommé (Sat., 11 a.m.). ... A tweener girl acquires a magical stone and a wolf pal in The Dark Hills Divide. Ask popular fantasy author Patrick Carman what's beyond those mysterious ramparts at Barnes & Noble Dublin (Mon., 7 p.m.). ... Medical doctor-turned-best-selling novelist Khaled Hosseini reads at the Danville Community Center from The Kite Runner, set in Fremont and Afghanistan and soon to be made into a major motion picture (Tue., 4 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus

THU 2/3

Fruits of Humility

Through poverty, homelessness, addiction, and death, Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock has come out on top. Case in point: When an informal date-rape allegation turned his hometown scene against him, Brock ditched Seattle for Gainesville and managed to point his label, Sub Pop, toward such musical Floridian fruits as Iron & Wine and Holopaw. And when last year's Good News for People Who Love Bad News debuted at number nineteen on the Billboard charts, it served as proof positive that Brock could make art-pop lemonade out of life's lemons. MM plays the Berkeley Community Theatre Thursday. Ticketweb.com -- Stefanie Kalem

TUE 2/8

Three on a Roll

Jazz triumvirate at maximum intensity

At its essence, jazz is about improvisation. While soloists articulate their ideas against a rhythm section alone, the ability to use melodic invention as a kind of musical conversation between players is what creates the magic. Nobody exemplified this better than John Coltrane and Miles Davis, who routinely found bright young musicians to elevate the quality and spirit in their music. In 2001, the triumvirate of pianist Herbie Hancock, tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker, and trumpeter Roy Hargrove went on an international tour with bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade to honor the musical legacies of Trane and Miles. The resulting Verve CD, Directions in Music: Celebrating Miles Davis & John Coltrane, won a 2002 Grammy for its brilliant collaboration. Recorded live at Massey Hall in Toronto for the CBC's Jazz Beat program, the performance showcased a deep chemistry. The medley "So What"/"Impressions" especially achieves the state-of-the-art mastery the Hancock/Brecker/Hargrove unit strives for. In reshaping these modal vehicles, they reinvented its harmonic structures and freed its rhythm to drive it to the edge.

If the intensity of late-'60s Trane and Miles still sends chills up your spine, Tuesday night's concert by these three jazz giants is a must-see. Directions in Music: Our Times is the handle of this year's tour, which features music by Chick Corea, Jaco Pastorius, Stevie Wonder, and Ray Charles. 8 p.m., at Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. Tickets: $30-$42-$62. 510-642-9988 or CalPerfs.berkeley.edu -- Jesse "Chuy" Varela


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