Highlights of the Upcoming Week 

WED 19

John Lennon didn't outlive his fame. In honor of his 65th birthday this year, several books on the martyred counterculture icon have hit the shelves, the latest being Lennon Revealed, a memoir by journalist Larry Kane, who toured with the Beatles. The book should have been published thirty years ago, but hippies didn't have enough bread ($29.95) to buy it back then. Find out about Lennon's Yoko-approved fling with secretary May Pang, his last days in New York, his insecurities, etc., when author Kane visits Oakland's Diesel: A Bookstore (5433 College Ave., Diesel.Booksense.com) this eve at 7:30. -- Kelly Vance

THU 20

Clare Boothe Luce's The Women is a stage play set in the beauty shops and ladies' rooms of New York high society in the 1930s, where a cast of female characters practice bitchiness and pettiness, but also cut through the stereotypes of that place and time. Playwright Luce was also a certified patrician, a full-fledged member of the East Coast Establishment who attained the positions of managing editor at Condé Nast's Vanity Fair (her husband, Henry Luce, founded Time magazine), Congresswoman (Republican from Connecticut), and US ambassador to Italy. The Women opens this evening (7:30) at Walnut Creek's Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, in a production directed by Lee Sankowich for Center REP, which sees the arguably-dated play as "not so much a revival as a revelation." Tickets ($25-$38) at 925-943-7469. The show runs through November 19. -- Kelly Vance

FRI 21

According to Wikipedia.org, Six Degrees of Separation is the theory that "anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries." Originally proposed in 1929 by writer Frigyes Karinthy, the theory has been tested by sociologists and mathematicians, and while it hasn't been conclusively proven, it hasn't been disproved, either. The phrase entered popular culture with John Guare's 1990 play (later made into a film), and inspired an Internet game by which any actor could be linked to Kevin Bacon in six steps or less. The original play, about husband-and-wife art dealers deceived by a young con man, skewered the wealthy liberal elite with razor-sharp one-liners and equal amounts of comedy and drama. A new production of Six Degrees, directed by Mike Ward and presented by Actors Ensemble, opens tonight at the Live Oak Theatre (1301 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley), and runs until November 19. For tickets, call 510-649-5999 or visit AEofBerkeley.org -- Eric K. Arnold

SAT 22

High school and college students are worried about the conflict in Iraq, as they should be -- they're part of the demographic that is being asked to fight and die in the great war on terror. There is no military draft -- yet -- but that shouldn't dissuade students from attending On the Frontlines: Options for Youth in Times of War, a "counter-recruitment conference" held all day today and Sunday (9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.) on the UC Berkeley campus. Featured speakers include Aidan Delgado, a US veteran who witnessed prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib; Fernando del Solar, whose son was killed in Iraq and who has done counter-recruitment work in high schools ever since; and Peter Camejo, former Green Party candidate for governor. Also on the agenda are panels and workshops on job training and how to get military recruiters out of high schools. The conference is free for under 25s. Register at Valley Life Sciences Building. For more info: Objector.org/moos-bay.html -- Kelly Vance

SUN 23

Do you love literature? Like talking about books? Appreciate authors? If you answered yes to any of the above, come on down to the Lake Merritt United Methodist Church (1330 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland) today at 3 p.m., when the sixth annual Conversations With Authors event takes place. This year's theme is "Love and Mystery -- The Urban Reality," which sounds like a fairly meaty topic. Supplying the brain-cell protein are novelists Valerie Wilson (Playing My Mother's Blues), Robert Greer (Resurrecting Langston Blue), Brenda Jackson (No More Playas), and Denise Harris (Sweet Bye-Bye). Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door, and refreshments will be served, along with tasty bon mots. Stop by Marcus Books (3900 MLK Way, Oakland) or call 510-873-7727 to reserve your spot. -- Eric K. Arnold

MON 24

Normally, when you think of heavy metal, innovative and avant-garde aren't the first words that come to mind -- more like clichéd, easily stereotyped, leathered-and-Spandexed Satanic hair farmers with an affinity for animal sacrifice and ümlaüts. Be ready to throw your preconceptions out the window tonight at 21 Grand (416 25th St., Oakland), when Kayo Dot offers its vision of prog-metal. The eight-person ensemble dresses up its apocalyptic fury with subtle, layered musical elements more akin to chamber music than your average Slayer tune: in addition to thrashing guitar riffs, woodwinds, brass instruments, and keyboards carry the melodies through their chaotic movements. Whether you call it classical music with balls or artistically inclined hard rock, you can get your headbang on without feeling like you're stuck in a time warp. For more info, visit KayoDot.net or 21Grand.org -- Eric K. Arnold

TUE 25

What do dreams mean? Are they an innocuous stream of images, colors, and sounds with no meaning whatsoever? Or do dreams perhaps carry the key to unlocking the subconscious mind -- as some, like psychiatrist C.J. Jung and author Robert Moss, have suggested? Find out for yourself at Dreamer's Playground tonight at 7 p.m. at Change Makers (6536 Telegraph Ave., Oakland), when Raye Martin and Luna Panterra deconstruct dreams according to Moss' "Conscious Dreaming" method for only $5. Bring your dream journal or handwritten dream and be prepared to play with it. RSVP: 415-566-8387. -- Eric K. Arnold

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