Yo, the word is out. Hip-hop isn't entirely devoted to sexism, materialism, and violence. It's for gays and lesbians, too -- many voices and many beats. Underground, on the streets, and moving further into your face are volcanic forces that conspire to reinvent the notions of hip-hop culture and reclaim the originality, humor, and rawness the movement sold out in its corporate mass marketing. Did you know that queer MCs are livin' and freestylin' right in your own hood, or that Oakland was the birthplace of the world's largest GLBT hip-hop event? It's time to get your booty over to the Oakland Metro in Jack London Square for the Third Annual PeaceOUT World HomoHop Festival , a celebration of positive, creative, and provoking spins on the lifestyle and art of hip-hop, featuring MCs, DJs, and visual artists from around the globe. The festival, hosted by East Bay Pride, aims to inspire people of all persuasions to express themselves, but what they really want you to do is shake your ass.
Opening the festival and breaking media stereotypes on Thursday is a video documentary of last year's event, the QueerYouth TV production HomoHop. The benefit screening gets down at 8 p.m. and is followed by an after-party and dance. Live performances -- the true flavor of this amalgamation of music, political activism, dance, graffiti, and poetry -- begin Friday. DJs Toph One, Sick Diamond, and Nawtyboyy will spin while electro trip-hopper Tori Fixx, Protegee, God-Des, lethal Bay Area native Jen-Ro, and Jaycub Perez will give you a lesson in beats you'll never forget. Saturday's showcase features DJ Sick Diamond, the fiercely complex horrorcore rapper Deadlee backed by his notorious go-go boy troupe Retarded Ejaculation, Katastrophe, the ass -bouncin' boogie of Johnny Dangerous, Houston Bernard, and Scream Club. Wrapping things up on Sunday will be DJs Ross Hogg and Soul Nubian, Oakland's world renowned crew the Deep Dickollective, Katatrip, Lucky Seven, zine mastermind and MC Urban Hermitt, and Shawree.
Performance tickets: $8-$15 sliding scale. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., with showtime at 8 p.m. DJs will spin until they kick everyone out. Tickets are available at the door or by e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org. Shows are eighteen and up, wheelchair-accessible, and ASL interpreters are available with 48-hour advance notice. -- Amrah Johnson
One-night stand in San Ramon
Shel Silverstein (1930-1999) is best known for his children's stories -- Where the Sidewalk Ends, etc. -- and songs like "A Boy Named Sue," but the writer, cartoonist, and raconteur could never be easily categorized. Poet elizaBeth Benson and San Ramon Community Theater director Terry Cunningham, both big fans, decided to honor the man with a musical show of songs adapted from his poetry. Missing Piece: A Tribute to Shel Silverstein , plays Friday only at 7 p.m. in the Fountain Room of the San Ramon Community Center. Info: 925-973-3200. -- Kelly Vance
Mexican Independence Day is September 16, but Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center in San Pablo (Dias Plaza, 13108 San Pablo Ave.) is celebrating three days early with a special concert. Los Cenzontles, the musical group (whose name means "the Mockingbirds"), play material from their latest CD, Pocas Palabras (Few Words), using their unique combination of contemporary and ancient instruments and traditional vocal styles. Admission ($10 adult, $7 children under seventeen, $5 LCMAC students), food, and beverage sales will benefit the center's youth arts programs. To learn more, phone 510-233-8015 or visit LosCenzontles.com -- Kelly Vance
Just a Trim, Please
Revenge, madness, murder, and lots of blood in Victorian England -- just the thing for a late summer's entertainment at the Alameda Civic Light Opera. Yes, Stephen Sondheim's gleefully grotesque Broadway musical Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street is back amongst us, in a production directed by Jeff Teague and starring Paul Plain as Sweeney and Michelle Krapp as Mrs. Lovett. The revival plays Fridays, Saturdays, and some Sundays through September 21, at Kofman Auditorium, 2200 Central Ave., Alameda. Tickets available by calling 510-864-2256 or by visiting ACLO.com -- Kelly Vance
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