Calling a thing 'gay hip-hop' or 'homo hip-hop' is just really a way to get people in the ballpark," explains Juba Kalamka. The Deepdickollective MC is in full-on propaganda mode, running his PR campaign from an AC Transit bus somewhere in Oakland; Kalamka has turned a public transit vehicle into his personal office, and one can only imagine the reactions of his fellow passengers as he discusses the upcoming fourth annual PeaceOut Homo Hop Festival in detail. The event at 21 Grand (449 B 23rd St., Oakland) has attracted fan interest and media attention from all over the world, Kalamka says, and spawned spin-off celebrations in Atlanta and New York. However, he's quick to remind folks that Oakland's event is the original PeaceOut, one that may well be the next big thing but, for the moment, is still grassroots-oriented. And though it's low-budget (if not low-profile), that doesn't mean PeaceOut won't represent to the fullest.
"I can't do a show with wack musicians," Kalamka says with a sigh. However, he doesn't think that'll be the case. "There's enough queer hip-hop out there. It's a lot different from how it was five years ago," he explains, before describing some of this year's performers, which include Deadlee ("a gay LA vato") and the Scream Club ("Wu-Tang meets Blondie"). Other performers -- all drawn from the LGBT community -- include the Transformers, Katastrophe, Shorty Roc, Nappy Grooves, and (of course) Deep Dickollective.
Don't expect to see your typical gay-themed event or your typical hip-hop show. Kalamka promises PeaceOut will offer a lyrical examination of not just homophobia, but also racism and classism. Queer hip-hop, he says, challenges what he calls the "bogeyman" issue -- in many cases, he explains, "gay is coded as white." For black youth, "hip-hop is part of your identity," no matter how you identify sexually. Ultimately, he says, the culture is about "creating something that people can't take from you." True dat, yo.
Doors are at 7 p.m. and cover is $10 per night or $20 for a three-day festival pass. PeaceOutFestival.com -- Eric K. Arnold
Sex Please ...
... We're British
Novelist-essayist-playwright Michael Frayn's sexy door-slamming romp Noises Off is so popular in repertory in the United States that many audiences think of Frayn as primarily a farceur -- even though his work as a Russian translator and adaptor, serious novelist (Spies), and filmmaker (he wrote Clockwise for John Cleese) have been just as prominent. But it's Noises Off that draws the crowds. The 1982 play-within-a-play of backstage hilarity and hurried trysting in an English theater company opens Friday at Contra Costa Civic Theatre, in a production directed by Daren A.C. Carollo, and plays Fridays, Saturdays, and some Sundays, through November 20. Tix: $10-15. 510-524-9132 or CCCT.org -- Kelly Vance
Y'All Come Now, Y'Hear?
Put your menthol cigarette in a holder, slip into your Panama hat or your Blanche DuBois dress (or both, as the case may be), and gargle liberally with mint juleps -- Tennessee Williams is back in town. The late Mississippi-born playwright will forever be identified in the annals of American culture as the purveyor of Southern gothic melodrama, heavy on the brooding family secrets, the repressed desires, the Summer and Smoke. Williams' 1949 stage drama of a wallflower with a powerful yen for her neighbor opens Saturday (8 p.m.) at Center REP in Walnut Creek, directed by Lee Sankowich. Previews Thursday and Friday. Box office: 925-943-7469 or DLRCA.org -- Kelly Vance
Libby Speaks for the Ladies
Though the Oakland Lyric Opera program this weekend at the Chapel of the Chimes (4499 Piedmont Ave., Oakland), Legends in Song, centers on "woman's life and love, different female archetypes and points of view from many walks of life," only one female composer is definitely on the bill. But surely the prolific, genre-gobbling Libby Larsen -- whose Calamity Jane will get the treatment tonight -- can hold her own with Kurt Weill, George Gershwin, John Corigliano, and whomever else soprano Katya Roemer and pianist Miles Graber summon up. This final event in the 2004 Sunday Afternoon Musicale and Tea Series begins at 2 p.m. and costs $20 (seniors $18). 510-836-6772. -- Stefanie Kalem
Culture Spy - February 23, 2:42 PM
What the Fork - February 23, 2:12 PM
Culture Spy - February 19, 1:45 PM
What the Fork - February 15, 2:00 PM
Culture Spy - February 15, 10:30 AM