If you've been feeling kinda touchy lately, join the party. But this ain't no function for thin-skinned whiners. Hypersensitive is out and hypersensual is in at LoBot Gallery's Touch Me -- Feel Me show this Saturday night, where a cadre of local artists has fashioned a mini-universe of tactile works for you to frolic in. You'll be getting friendly with art by Amy Friebertshauser, Kristen Wanek, Amy Morrell, Adam Hatch, Erik Groff, Jeff Fare, Bertie Pearson, Jamie Nelson, Johnny Schroeder, and Emma Spertus. Worn out by squeezing stuffed animals and shaking Sno-Globes? Neither are we, but be sure to note the location of the lounge rooms, the masseuses, and the kissing booths in case you're in need of extra stimulation. And, oh yes, there will be bands: San Francisco's Paradise Boys and Dealership, Plan B from Seattle (not named after an Ed Wood movie), and Oakland's own Lovemakers and Run_Return. Maybe after they're done playing, they'll let you touch them. And if you miss the party, you can catch the art until December 2. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., bands start at 10, and the touching goes on till the breaka breaka dawn (4 a.m.), you feel me? $5-$10 sliding scale. LoBot Gallery is at 1800 Campbell St. in Oakland. LoBotGallery.com -- Nora Sohnen
The Nac Plus
Get it in East O.
I make this music for hip-hop people/collect it like lint on your turntable needle. Said hip-hop people may have been anxiously awaiting a solo record from Berkeley's Nac One. Last month, Bomb Hip-Hop dropped Natural Reaction, his conscious, literate full-length solo debut, with production work by Fanatik. Friday you can give him a shout-out when he cohosts, with FCS (Free Style Champs) DJ Gigster, the Weekend Wakeup, a youth event with live hip-hop and graffiti put together by Higher Gliffs and the Unity Council, at the Fruitvale Patio (34th Ave. and International Blvd., 510-625-9940), from 4 to 6 p.m. MCs Kerwin and others will rock the mic, the Gorund Effects Crew will provide B-boy breakdancing entertainment, and there will be live graffiti by FSC and others. There's space available for local vendors and community groups to promote, so call 510-625-9940 if you're interested. -- Stefanie Kalem
Syria's Dance Moves
Sufi Islamic mysticism, the 13th-century Persian poetry of Rumi, the keening sound of the ney reed flute, the tingle of the riqq belled tambourine, and readings from the Koran by muqri (reader) Sheikh Hamza Shakkr are the orders of the day when The Whirling Dervishes of Damascus sweep into UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall tonight (Wednesday, 8 p.m.) for a performance of classical Arab liturgical music by the Al-Kind Ensemble driving the legendary ecstatic, twirling dance of the devotees. $22-$30-$42. CalPerfs.berkeley.edu -- Kelly Vance
Pinkos Invade Oakland!
When in doubt, think pink
It all started with a piece of pink felt. Back in 1993, art student Gioia Fonda of the former California College of Arts and Crafts gave out small bits of pink felt as a combination personal statement and/or art project, people got enthused, the event became an annual ritual, and all of a sudden we're in the midst of the 2004 Pink Week Invitational Art Show. The idea is pretty simple, actually: pink for pink's sake. Cricket Engine Studio and Gallery (499 Embarcadero, building 3, on the Oakland estuary) is doing its part to keep things in the pink, with art, essays, a cookbook, etc., through this Sunday. For more information, visit CricketEngine.org -- Kelly Vance
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