In the Mix 

The Boogie Shack goes Down Low

Sat 3/19
Named for the West Oakland garret where they live, the emcee duo Boogie Shack takes pride in being true-school hip-hop heads and connoisseurs of fine alcoholic beverages like "Bay Water" (a mix of champagne, Red Bull, Hennessy, and Midori, which sounds a little worse than it tastes). When they're not concocting new toddies, emcees Monte Christo and Korise are hanging out in a studio decorated with old posters from shows at La Peña and clippings from Oakland's own Worldwind newspaper. You're as likely to hear the aspirating tones of Portishead blasting from Boogie Shack's speakers as the slappable beats of Killa Cam. These multiple influences have bled into the group's new mix-tape release, which oscillates from street bangers like "Scrapers and Spitters" -- featuring Chip Black of the Whoridas -- to more melodic songs like "Getaway." Part of Boogie Shack's appeal is their ornate phrasing -- "We're not keeping the same hip-hop formulas and freaking them in different chemicals," says Korise -- but equally important is their sense of being rooted in the Oakland scene. The original "Backyard Boogie" was Korise's dad's East Oakland garage, where the emcees did one-take recordings over tape decks. The guys christened their current west-side apartment Boogie Shack because, in Christo's words, "it was about making do with what we had."

The group recorded its first album, Use It as a Tool, on borrowed drum machines and garage-sale keyboards, and then sold it hand-to-hand at underground shows. Over a decade later, the Boogie Shack emcees are still living hard-knock, if a little less hardscrabble. The duo's mix-tape and forthcoming Street Hop Etiquette album read like a romance about Oakland, "the place where we said our first rhymes and kissed our first girls," says Korise. Christo -- who named himself while smoking a Montecristo cigar outside Housewives Market and "thinking about everyday boss shit"-- adds that "after a certain amount of experiences, you're ready to do your Aesop thing, and tell your story." Boogie Shack perform at 10 p.m. this Saturday at the Shattuck Down Low (2284 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) with local hip-hop artists the Attic and Kirby Dominant and reggae duo Luna Angel & Moese. The event is hosted by Shortkut from Triple Threat DJs. Tickets cost $10., 510-548-1159. -- Rachel Swan


Nu, Music

Oy Oh Boy

The Jewish Music Festival has some tricks up its twentieth-anniversary sleeve. The opening night bash, 8 p.m. this Saturday at UC Berkeley's Wheeler Auditorium, for instance, features fourteen members of the East West Ensemble and the Omar Faruk Tekbilek Ensemble honoring both Jewish and Muslim mystical music traditions. Other East Bay events include a family Community Music Day with workshops and performances for all ages by Tim Barsky, Hyim, Kid Beyond, Gerry Tenney, Ya'Elah, and many, many more; the Klezmatics with Jewish soul man Joshua Nelson; and a closing-night dance party. Most East Bay performances take place at the Berkeley Richmond JCC. -- Stefanie Kalem


The Body Spiritual

For Abstraction: Spirit and Space, opening Saturday at the Saint Mary's College Hearst Art Gallery, Thekla Hammond has constructed a thicket of rotating, painted Plexiglas panels. Moving through the installation, the viewer's image is reflected as abstract, primary-colored leaves and branches cast shadows upon them; they enter what the artist calls "a forest of magical movement." The show allows Hammond, painter Joseph Hughes, and encaustic artist Pauletta Chanco to explore the give and take between the corporeal and the mystical. Reception Sunday, 2-3:30 p.m., followed by a panel discussion with the artists in the Soda Activity Center at 3:30 p.m. -- Stefanie Kalem

Thu 3/17

Street Knowledge

If there's a way for you to get to Alameda between 2 and 7 p.m. today, we'd highly recommend it. Take a long lunch, strap on that kiddie sling, get up a few hours early, whatever it takes, because the second installment of the West Alameda Business Association's Third Thursday Arts and Crafts Campus is the venue for all your free or cheap enrichment needs. Just pick a door on Webster St., and you're likely to learn about green glass, knitting, auto care, salsa dance, antiques, pre- and postnatal care massage, and more, all for $10 or less. For complete deets: or 888-291-9222. -- Stefanie Kalem


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