When excursions to the Paramount have somehow, to your dismay, become routine, and the ludicrously expensive home entertainment system does everything but keep you from feeling a little lonely and shut in, rest assured you still have options. Seeing movies in the middle of the street, for instance. "What this place needs is another film series" is not something you hear very often in these parts, but that hasn't stopped the organizers of the monthly Old Oakland Outdoor Cinema series from devising another one. As they see it, when it comes to movies, the more the merrier. This enlightened philosophy has prompted a proposition: To make summer feel welcome, and, of course, to make a few bucks, why not cordon off a city block and turn it into an outdoor movie theater? The laboratory for this experiment is Old Oakland, a Victorian swath of city centered on the block of Washington Street between 9th and 10th streets, just west of Broadway. They'll be screening crowd-pleasers there on Friday evenings all summer. The action gets underway this Friday night (8 p.m.) with Steven Spielberg's merriest Nazi movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, preceded by a few shorts from local filmmakers. There will be chairs, but there will also be people, so you might consider bringing seats of your own. Jesso's, the Cajun seafood joint on Washington Street, has arranged for some live music starting at 5 p.m., and you'll be able to buy popcorn, frozen yogurt, and other treats throughout the evening.
The event's popularity seems ensured by a lineup of films you'd have to be kind of a jerk not to like: Field of Dreams in July, Tootsie in August, and, capping the series in September, the flick that can cheer up just about anyone under just about any circumstances, Singin' in the Rain. It's a way to make moviegoing new again. Admission is free. Call 510-238-4734 or visit FilmOakland.com for more information. -- Jonathan Kiefer
6/16-6/22 Lit Happens
Kiss and Tell
She had an affair with her dad, as revealed in her memoir, The Kiss. Now Kathryn Harrison dallies with her distaff side in The Mother Knot, another memoir. Reeling from both Father's Day and Mother's Day, meet Harrison at Rakestraw (Wed., 7 p.m.). ... Sometimes little girls grow up to be ... male, as transgender-movement activist Jamison Green recounts in his FTM saga, Becoming a Visible Man. Make yours a politics-of-gender evening at Black Oak (Wed., 7:30 p.m.). ... Edsels and cherry old Buicks beep on the streets of Havana today, as Christopher Baker reveals in Cuba Classics: A Celebration of Vintage American Automobiles. At Easy Going, photojournalist Baker shows slides (Thu., 7:30 p.m.). ... The Junie B. Jones Stupid Smelly Bus arrives at the Lafayette Community Center (500 St. Mary's Rd.) for a live theatrical performance based on Barbara Park's best-selling series of kids' books. For details, call 925-284-3480 (Fri., 1:30 p.m.). ... She felt bitter; now she's better. Donna Brazile, former campaign manager for both Jesse Jackson and Al Gore, reads from Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics at Dublin Public Library (Sat., 2:30 p.m.). ... Who else can make you laugh, cry, and squeal "Ewwww, gross!" in the space of a single sentence? David Sedaris reads from Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim -- in which a Great Dane has been trained to eat the droppings of a pug -- at Cody's Fourth Street. Admission is by ticket only; buying the book in advance at Cody's gets you a ticket. The event will be broadcast outside for those unable to get in (Sat., 7 p.m.). ... Family secrets are such fun as long as it's someone else's family. Kristin Hannah reads at Bookshop Benicia from her latest novel The Things We Do for Love, in which an estranged mother and daughter kick the enigmas around an old summerhouse (Mon., 7 p.m.). ... Did The Lovely Bones whet your appetite for fiction about winsome dead females? Steven Sherrill reads at Diesel from Visits from the Drowned Girl, in which a worker atop a power pole witnesses a suicide (Tue., 7:30 p.m. ). -- Anneli Rufus
They have better electronics. Lots more beverages to choose from. New wars to avoid or take part in. And a whole new array of career options. Those are some of the differences between the high-school graduating class profiled by author Chris Colin in his nonfiction book, What Really Happened to the Class of '93 (Broadway Books, $22.95) -- about the much-talked-about but little-understood Generation X -- and the Baby Boomer kids from Michael Medved and David Wallechinsky's What Really Happened to the Class of '65, the inspiration for Colin's update.
Bay Area author Colin, a former Salon editor, talked to his former Virginia high-school classmates about everything from gender politics and racism to coming of age in the Clinton Years, and came away with a generational portrait every bit as unclichéd as you might imagine. And he's happy to tell you all about it at Thursday night's reading (7:30 p.m.) at Cody's Southside, 2454 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley, 510-845-7852, CodysBooks.com -- Kelly Vance
Cup o' Tickle
All kindsa piany at the Jazz House
The downward slope of the Jazz House is a leftover from the Jazz House's original incarnation as a silent movie theater; the decline in arts funding for kids is the reason why the space at 3192 Adeline exists. Rob Woodworth's Jazz House is a nonprofit volunteer organization whose performances raise money to offer music opportunities for kids, and the family-friendly (read: alcohol- and smoke-free) Jazz House also hosts workshops for, and performances by, youth, with professional musicians offering guidance. When local jazz pianist James Armstrong discovered the space, he immediately offered to lend a hand to the cause. The result is this Thursday's Piano Summit, wherein Armstrong joins forces with Scott Looney, Will Grant, Matthew Goodheart, David Leikam, Bill Crossman, and 16-year-old whiz Catlin Small for an evening of solo and ensemble piano pieces to benefit the Jazz House. If the ivories are your cup of tickle, you'll want to be at the spot where MLK and Adeline come together, near the Ashby BART. Look for the blue light and the word "ant" over the door. 8 p.m., $10-$20 sliding scale. 510-655-9755. -- Stefanie Kalem
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