Julie Doiron has come a long way from holding down the low end as bassist for Eric's Trip. Though she contributed vocals to that band as well, its staticky, psychedelic pop sound didn't really forecast the mellow melodies and honest, organic beauty of her latest solo release, Goodnight Nobody (Jagjaguwar). Vocally, Doiron calls to mind the smoky altos of Shannon Wright and Cat Power, but without the histrionics; in their place is a peaceful sense of poetry. Whether singing of a sort of Zen hopefulness ("Dance All Night"), or from the perspective of a just-left lover ("When I Awoke"), the Montreal-based mother of three lays it all honestly, simply on the line, downcast but never dreary. Her voice is buoyed by more than on previous, more minimal efforts -- in addition to her own graceful acoustic guitar (and sometimes, piano or banjo), there's the occasional touch of noise fuzz, and the help of Andre and David Herman Düne, her former Eric's Trip mate Rick White, and a drummer simply named Néman. Doiron plays at Fort Oregon this Tuesday night with a guy whose studio legerdemain she will probably never move to completely embrace, but can surely appreciate -- Phil Elverum of Mt. Eerie. Some of Elverum's work (both as Mt. Eerie and the Microphones) surely resembles the trippy, fuzzy lo-fi stuff of Eric's Trip (they've even covered that band's "Sand"). But Elverum's juxtapositions of discord and splendor have become increasingly discriminating as the years have gone on (reflecting his decision to change the project name from the cutesy, small-subject Microphones to the more imposing Mt. Eerie) and his lyrics more detailed, even when they're tackling abstractions. Plus, we've heard he's a total kook live. See for yourself when Mt. Eerie headlines, Doiron supports, and Woelv, One AM Radio, and Carrier open up.
Fort Oregon is located at 1911 Oregon St. in Berkeley. The all-ages show starts at 7 p.m. and costs $5. -- Stefanie Kalem
Mess with Texas
There's no speech like free speech. Bushwhacked! author Molly Ivins delivers the eighth annual Mario Savio Memorial Lecture, named for the FSM's founder, at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Auditorium. Tickets available only on the day, starting at 5 p.m.; call 510-643-3274 (Wed., 7 p.m.). ... The muse works at midday, as this installment of UC Berkeley's Lunch Poems series features Harryette Mullen, author of Spermkit/Supermarket [S*PeRM**K*T] and Sleeping with the Dictionary, in UCB's Morrison Library (Thu., 12:10 p.m.). ... Her book Writing Down the Bones turned countless wannabe writers into the real thing. Now Natalie Goldberg is back with yet more insights, reading at John F. Kennedy University from The Great Failure: A Bartender, a Monk, and My Unlikely Path to Truth. Call 925-284-1233 (Thu., 2 p.m.). ... Don't come hungry to hear Observer food columnist Nigel Slater read from his culinary memoir, Toast, at Orinda Books (Thu., 4 p.m.). ... New York journalist Doug Fine went native in the frozen north. He reads from Not Really an Alaskan Mountain Man and shows slides at Easy Going (Thu., 7:30 p.m.). ... Verse prevails as Kim Addonizio and Lyn Hejinian lead a bardic lineup reading their works from Best American Poetry 2004 at Diesel (Thu., 7:30 p.m.). ... Remember a radical Catholic pacifist as Rosalie Riegle discusses Dorothy Day: Portraits by Those Who Knew Her at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 2808 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland (Sun., 12:30 p.m.). ... Street-life chronicler Claire Burch screens The History of The Tele Times, her doc about the defunct comix zine with works by homeless writers and fellow fringe dwellers, at Berkeley's Pacific Film Archive (Sun., 1 p.m.). ... Get small with poets Diane di Prima, Justin Chin, Michael McClure, Janice Mirikitani, Forrest Hamer, and more at Small Press Distribution's 35th anniversary gala/fund-raiser, at St. John's Presbyterian Church (2727 College Ave., Berkeley. 510-524-1668 x 305 (Sun., 4 p.m.). ... Plumb those depths again with Deepak Chopra, who discusses The Book of Secrets at Barnes & Noble Walnut Creek (Mon., 7:30 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus
Lordy, Lordy, Look Who's ...
Rallies. Sit-ins. Arrests. Committees, councils, and the United Front. Perhaps these are the parts of the '60s that no one would willingly claim to be too stoned to recall. FSM @40: Free Speech in Dangerous Times commemorates the events of Sept. 14-Jan. 3, 1964 on the UC Berkeley campus -- and examines their resonance today -- with 42 events happening over six days. The timbre ranges from speakers like FSM vet Jackie Goldberg, SF Mayor Gavin Newsom, and Howard Dean, to a giant puppet of a hooded Abu Ghraib prisoner that presto-changes into the Statue of Liberty. There will be music by Utah Phillips, several screenings of the doc Berkeley in the '60s plus a '60s film festival, and more panels than you can shake an indignant fist at, including one in which satirists Paul Krassner, Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Kris Welch, Ishmael Reed, and others dissect a presidential debate. For a complete schedule of events, visit FSM-A.org -- Stefanie Kalem
The Middle East Bay
Cinemayaat lands in Berkeley
Like MadCat last week, Cinemayaat -- the Eighth Annual Arab Film Festival winds itself down in the East Bay. After hopping around San Francisco, Redwood City, and San Jose, Cinemayaat lands at Berkeley's United Artists 7 (2274 Shattuck Ave.) for screenings this Saturday and Sunday. This year's lineup shines a light on the Algerian film movement, and Saturday night you can see an example of that with Under Another Sky. Gaël Morel's film offers its own twist to the fish-out-of-water scenario, with a young French-born Algerian fleeing to his ancestral homeland after being involved in a crime. Another Algerian selection is Sunday night's Rachida, by Yamina Bachir-Chouikh, wherein a young teacher survives being shot by terrorists after refusing to carry a bomb into her school, but then must go into hiding in an isolated village. Tuesday night, the festival-affiliated art exhibit Somewhere Elsewhere opens at UC Berkeley's Worth Ryder Gallery, and Oct. 24 at the Wheeler Auditorium is a showing of Route 181, in conjunction with the SF Jewish Film Festival. AFF.org -- Stefanie Kalem
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