Just Whistle 

Songs for two voices.

SUN 4/17

Talk about your overachieving couples. Professional soprano whistler Jason Victor Serinus has opened for Leo Kottke, accompanied the San Francisco Ballet, and also graced the cartoon world as the voice of Woodstock in She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown. He is a music critic and writer for numerous publications (including the Express) and was a major contributor to and editor of the book Psychoimmunity and the Healing Process: A Holistic Approach to Immunity & AIDS. He also wets his whistle for healing purposes, guiding group meditations that promote healing through whistled tones. Jason's husband, David Bellecci, is no slouch, either. A cantor at St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Oakland, he has performed in the world premiere of David Conte's The Dreamers with Sonoma Opera, sung Puccini and Mozart with Livermore Valley Opera and Cal State Hayward Opera, performed several roles with the Lamplighters, and starred as Paul in Company and Tony in West Side Story. This is one powerfully musical couple.

The two, who were married on February 13 of last year at San Francisco City Hall, will be performing in a joint recital this Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at the Berkeley Art Center. Together, they'll take the audience on an encompassing romp of vocal dexterity that will span continents, ages, and genres. There truly is something here for everyone. Bellecci will direct his tenor tones toward English songs and popular favorites by the likes of Harold Arlen (composer of tunes like "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "Stormy Weather"). Whistler Serinus will pucker up and deliver Mozart arias, songs of Strauss, and other pieces by composers such as Puccini, Kern, and Schubert. Accompanying them on piano is Eastman grad and classically trained pianist Jennifer Renée Snyder. Expect to be dazzled by the pair's vocal nimbleness, and take time to plot your own coupled overachievements during intermission. Tickets are $15, $10 for seniors and students. For more information, call 510-644-6893. – Elka Karl

4/13-4/19

Lit Happens

Seeking the Peace

Small sleuths aged eight through eleven can learn how to navigate the stacks by following clues at the Clayton Library's treasure hunt (Wed., 4 p.m.). ... Bombs and battles pervade Daniel Alarcón's seductively spooky short-story collection War by Candlelight. The Peruvian-born Oaklander reads at Diesel (Wed., 7:30 p.m.). ... They compare her to Georgia O'Keeffe: Utah artist Ella Peacock painted landscapes and inspired author Kathryn Abajian, whose new book First Sight of the Desert blends memoir and biography. Ask her about voluntary simplicity at Orinda Books (Thu., 4 p.m.). ... It's never too soon to enter the rewarding world of authorship. As part of National Library Week, The Twelve Days of Kindergarten author Deborah Rose teaches little ones how to write their own books at the Pleasant Hill Library (Thu., 7 p.m.). ... Snack and slam at San Ramon Library's Coffeehouse Poetry Slam, led by emcee, slam master, and English teacher Becky Dekeuster (Fri., 7 p.m.). ... His book No God But God: The Origins, Evolutions, and Future of Islam is a call to reform and to end the battle between East and West. Cody's presents Reza Aslan at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley (2345 Channing Way) (Sat., 7:30 p.m.). ... Hail the hermit poet as Valley Shakespeare Festival presents The Belle of Amherst, in which actress Claudia McCain portrays Emily Dickinson at Pleasanton's Conference Center Auditorium, CarrAmerica Conference Center (4400 Rosewood Dr.; tickets $20-$25). Info: 925-556-9624 (Sat., 7:30 p.m.). ... Little sprouts bask during the annual open mic at Berkeley's Allen Ginsberg Memorial Poetry Garden, on the Arts Magnet School campus (Milvia at Lincoln) (Sat., 2 p.m.). ... Birds and carapaces and tides populate the novels of Alison Anderson, who reads from her latest, Darwin's Wink, at Mrs. Dalloway's (Sun., 3:30 p.m.). ... Got the spirit? At Black Oak, Cornell professor Nick Salvatore reads from Singing in a Strange Land: Rev. C.L. Franklin, the Black Church, and the Transformation of America, his new biography of a man called a prophet and this country's greatest preacher ever (Tue., 7:30 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus

SAT 4/16

Jogo-a-Go-Go

The Baka Cultural Arts Center, the Express' 2004 winner for Best Capoeira Center, also offers affordable hip-hop, samba, and African dance classes and more for residents of East Oakland. How affordable? Well, they've put together a benefit for the center, called Chain Breakin': A Liberation of Mind, Body, and Soul, to be held this weekend at Studio Rasa (933 Parker St., Berkeley), so maybe they need a little help fighting the good, poetic, Afro-Brazilian dancing fight. Baka founder Aniefre Tartaruga will teach three workshops Saturday: in Capoeira Angola movements and philosophies (11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.); Maculelê (Afro-Brazilian stick dance) movements (12:30-1:30 p.m.); and Capoeira Regional movements and philosophies (2-4 p.m.), for $10 for one workshop, $25 for all three. Then, at 8 p.m., attend a party with live capoeira, DJ Discovery spinning hip-hop and funk, and a live set by Pep Love of the Hieroglyphics Crew, for a $10 cover. Call 510-205-1799 for more details. -- Stefanie Kalem

SAT 4/16

Country Kin

A little help here

Will the Bay Area alt-country circle be unbroken, by and by, lawd, by and by? Val Esway continues hosting her semiregular Acoustic Onslaught series at Epic Arts' 1923 Teahouse, picking up the headlining slot and making room for quite a few of her friends. Her new project, El Mirage, makes its live debut tonight featuring members of the Plain High Drifters as well as some of Esway's mates in Loretta Lynch and Ramona the Pest. El Mirage's debut disc, Lovers Losers Liars, is a melancholy masterwork of high lonesome, with Esway's almost-too-pop-to-be-country voice dressed down in steel guitar, bleak imagery, and heart-busted harmonies. The mirage will be made manifest at the Teahouse with a little help from Esway's friends -- Yard Sale's Denise Funari will perform one of her first-ever solo sets, and Jeffery Ruiz, aka drummer Bristle J of Loretta Lynch, will be doing his own, seldom-heard originals. Epic Arts can be found at 1923 Ashby Ave. in Berkeley, and cover is a $5-$10 sliding-scale donation. 8:30 p.m. Seating is limited. 510-644-2204. -- Stefanie Kalem

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