In Spite Of 

Quique Cruz defies trauma

SAT 9/27

The final event in La Peña's monthlong celebration of Chile is a presentation by Quique Cruz, aka Claudio E. Duran. Cruz will express his vision three ways: reading from memoir, playing music, and showing selections from the Archaeology of Memory exhibit, which examines the idea of the aesthetic coup perpetrated by General Pinochet in the '70s. The recently published Autobiography of an ex-Chess Player is Cruz's account of his experiences as a teenager in Pinochet's concentration camps; Villa Grimaldi: Archaeology of Memory in Three Cantos is the visual result of four years of interviews with artists who have continued to create, despite the trauma they experienced in the torture center Villa Grimaldi. Cruz has continued as a guitarist, percussionist, and player of Andean flutes and panpipes. From 6:30 to 7:30, celebrate the opening of Archaeology of Memory, on display at La Peña (3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) through October. Cruz's presentation begins at 8 p.m., and admission is on a sliding scale between $10 and $25. Tickets and details from 510-849-2572 and LaPena.org -- Stefanie Kalem

9/24-9/29

Lit Happens

Banned Books Week, now in its 22nd year, honors forbidden texts -- including Oliver Twist and The Bluest Eye and Cujo -- and brings ex-US Poet Laureate Robert Hass to Black Oak. (9/24, 7:30 p.m.) ... Okay, so the ones near Suisun City were proven fakes, but Freddy Silva calls crop circles "keys with powers to heal, alter consciousness, and affect social change." Moreover, says the author of Secrets in the Fields, a plot is afoot to suppress the truth. He's at Borders Union City (9/25, 7 p.m.). ... A talking tree, an endangered infant, and desperate villagers with vaguely Celtic names make The Treekeepers just right for fledgling RenFaire types. Children's fantasy author Susan Magee Britton reads at Goodenough Books in Livermore (9/25, 7:30 p.m.). ... Space cowboy Steve Miller speaks of strumming, as does Dick Boak, author of Martin Guitar Masterpieces, published to mark Martin & Co.'s 170th anniversary, at Cody's Southside (9/26, 4 p.m.). ... Grab your board: The Borders Fremont chess club meets every Friday to talk and play. Drop-ins, masters, and patzers of all ages are welcome (9/26, 7 p.m.). ... Tracking the Parsi diaspora, Bay Area scholar Roshni Rustomji discusses her globe-spanning novel The Braided Tongue at Eastwind (9/27, 4 p.m.). ... Arf father who arf in heaven: East Bayites Cameron Woo and Claudia Kawczynska, editors of award-winning mag The Bark, will celebrate their new kibbles 'n' bits anthology, Dog Is My Co-Pilot, at Cody's 4th Street (9/28, 3 p.m.). ... Three of his plays were professionally produced while he was still in high school; after coming out and coming to the Castro, Southern soldier's son Kirk Read worked at the St. James Infirmary, a free health-care clinic for sex workers. Now he reads from his memoir, How I Learned to Snap, at Black Oak.(9/29, 7:30 p.m. ) -- Anneli Rufus

FRI 9/26

You Weener

All who hail Boognish, make like a Japanese cowboy and get ready to fly in the air twelve feet, muthafuck. If you know what we're talking about, then you probably already know that Ween is coming to UC Berkeley's Greek Theatre to run through songs from its latest, quebec, as well as old favorites. Mickey Melchiondo and Aaron Freeman, aka Dean and Gene Ween, are still alt-rock's most revered pranksters. Tickets are $30 and the all-ages show starts at 7 p.m. Gifts of food will be appreciated, then eaten. Get your ticket at Ticketmaster.com -- Stefanie Kalem

SUN 9/29

Free to Be

The Punk Rock Orchestra, a large ensemble that plays European-classical versions of punk oldies, will be there. So will Hot Pink Feathers, the Baguette Quartette, people in funny hats, and a world of eats. Maybe you should be, too. The How Berkeley Can You Be Parade and Festival steps off at 11 a.m. Sunday and exhausts itself at 5 p.m., in and around Berkeley City Hall on Milvia Street. HowBerkeleyCanYouBe.com -- Kelly Vance

9/28-12/13

Wall Mart

Cuban posters resonate in Berkeley

Between the 1959 Cuban revolution and the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba and and the SF Bay Area fused in political solidarity and flowered in artistic collaboration. This unique relationship is dramatized in One Struggle, Two Communities: Late-20th-Century Political Posters of Havana, Cuba and the San Francisco Bay Area, an art exhibition at the Berkeley Art Center, September 28 through December 13. Posters were the dominant medium of public communication in Cuba, trumpeting everything from the sugar harvest to Vietnam to cinema. According to curator Lincoln Cushing, there is a deep connection between Bay Area and Cuban artists, evident in the reciprocal influence of styles and subjects. The Cuban posters are noteworthy for what Cushing calls "the low quotient of socialist realism -- the relative absence of heroic, amped-up superworkers and production equipment so prevalent in the revolutionary artwork of the Soviet Union, China, and other communist countries." Nor do the posters rely much on the cult of personality. Aside from images of Che Guevara or José Martí, there are few iconic portraits, even of Castro. Instead, witness René Mederos' 1971 gruesome fanged, winged Richard Nixon clawing at the red heart of Indochina. Meanwhile, Jose Lamas' image of a black-clad umpire calling "safe" on an olive background for the 1972 National Amateur Baseball Series doesn't need a player, a ball, or bat to convey speed and drama.

Sadly, current Cuban poster art has diminished, Cushing says, largely because of a shortage of ink that has led to the increased use of white space on billboards. Still, it's heartening to look back at an era of aesthetic and political engagement. BerkeleyArtCenter.org -- Frako Loden

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