Go Go Gadget 

Whatchamacallitcore

5/27-5/28

In the past, Jon Brumit has made a harmonium out of a belt sander. Thomas Dimuzio has modified a ten-speed bike for sound. Kraig Grady specializes in instruments native to the (fictional) island of Anaphoria, such as the Lake Aloe, the Mount Meru, and the Fifth Mesa. The quartet CMAU brandishes a modified stereo receiver, a SuperCollider, and a Kotar. As half of Miba, Kristin Miltner makes music out of bells, voices, computers, trees, birds, cats, and self-created software patches. If you'd like to know what this far-thinking crew of composers, performers, and instrument makers is doing right now, be sure to check out the eighth annual Music for People and Thingamajigs Festival, at 8 p.m. this Friday and Saturday at the Oakland Metro. The abovementioned artists and nine others will be on hand to demonstrate their instruments, answer questions, and provide attendees with opportunities to interact with the gear. Maybe Albert Ortega will let you take a bite out of his wearable instrument (left). $10 general admission, $5 for students, no one turned away for lack of funds. Info: OaklandMetro.org, 510-763-1146. – Stefanie Kalem

5/25-5/31

Lit Happens

It's not nice to fool Mother Nature. Alan Burdick reads from Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion, about his jaunts along the front lines of ecological invasion from Hawaii to Guam to Alaska to right here, at Orinda Books (Wed., 5 p.m.). ... What should your aggregate read next? Staffers present their picks at a Book Group Evening at Pendragon (Wed., 7 p.m.). ... He drew the maps for the DVD editions of his brother's films Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. And he drew more for his own novel, Chuck Dugan Is AWOL, in which a teenage midshipman reacts to a crisis in the best way sailors know how. Bid Eric Chase Anderson ahoy at Diesel (Wed., 7:30 p.m.). ... What happened when Goldilocks wandered into the house of the Three Xiong? Kids aged three to six can hear about dragons and pigs on both sides of the pond during Fremont Library's Chinese-English Bilingual Storytime. Preregistration required; call 510-795-2629 (Thu., 11:15 a.m.). ... You never know what the guys in Kevin Scott's novel The Boys in the Brownstone -- about a group of gay men, each one outrageous in his own way -- will get up to next. Meet Scott at Mrs. Dalloway's (Thu., 7 p.m.). ... Big chain bookstores breed their own bards. Poetry night at Barnes & Noble Walnut Creek is for writers, readers, and listeners alike (Sun., 7:30 p.m.). ... The protagonist in Oaklander Dylan Schaffer's mystery novels is a Barry Manilow fan first, a lawyer second. I Right the Wrongs includes a murder, a drummer, a star quarterback, and misdemeanors galore. Ask Schaffer about being an appellate counsel at Cody's Telegraph (Tue., 7:30 p.m.). ... Get back into grownup talk, if only for one night a month, by joining the Moms' Reading Group at Barnes & Noble Dublin (Tue., 7:30 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus

SAT 5/28

Enter the Authors

Martial-arts historians Sid Campbell and Greglon Yimm Lee have a project: to document the life and career of Bruce Lee, the late master of Jun Fan Gung Fu and movie star whose image still adorns walls everywhere. San Francisco native Lee developed his fighting style in Oakland, a period covered by Campbell and Greglon Lee's new book, The Dragon and the Tiger (Vol. II): Bruce Lee, the Oakland Years. The two authors appear Saturday (4 p.m.) at Berkeley's Eastwind Books (2066 University Ave., 510-548-2350). -- Kelly Vance

THU 5/26

Jokey Pokey

Ready to do some soft time? Raise money for the local Muscular Dystrophy Association in the Berkeley/Emeryville Lock-Up. You solicit pledges, and deputies show up to arrest you. You're escorted to Spenger's Fresh Fish Grotto, booked, and put up (and fed) behind bars. Call 925-803-1100 to participate, or just munch, point, and giggle between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. -- Stefanie Kalem

5/26-5/29

Teenage Axe

Young guitarist, veteran vibes

If vibraphonist Gary Burton rarely gets the credit as one of the great talent scouts of jazz, it's probably because his three-decade tenure as a top administrator at the Berklee College of Music has put him in the perfect position to spot gifted young musicians. But his most illustrious find in recent years came through happenstance, when he heard twelve-year-old Santa Rosa guitarist Julian Lage take a brief solo on the 2000 Grammy Awards broadcast. Burton tracked Lage down and they've been playing together ever since. Last year, the vibraphonist showcased Lage on his Concord album Generations, recording three of his tunes and giving him plenty of room to display his formidable skills as an improviser. Now seventeen and enrolled at Santa Rose Junior College, Lage is free to tour, and Burton has built his Generations Band around him. For Burton, it's not a question of just finding a brilliant young musician. "There's always going to be a steady flow of impressive players who come along, particularly at a place like Berklee," he says. "Every year I could say, 'Well, there was that hot trumpet player, and that excellent piano player.' But that doesn't mean I necessarily want to play with them. There's some chemistry thing that happens with some players. For me it's a short list: Chick Corea, Steve Swallow, Pat Metheny, Makoto Ozone, Astor Piazzolla, Roy Haynes, and now Julian. When we play together, we seem to inspire each other with what we do."

The Generations Band, which also features pianist Vadim Neselovskyi, bassist Luques Curtis, and drummer James Williams, opens a four-night stand at Yoshi's on Thursday. Yoshis.comAndrew Gilbert

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