Liars' Rub 

Pundits a-poppin' in Berkeley

SUN 1/18

Amy Goodman, the earnest host of Democracy Now, will be hard-pressed to stay stone-faced when she moderates Unraveling the Lying Liars of the Great American Dynasty. Some of the sharpest pundits both the left and the center have to offer will be combining their wisdom -- and their book titles -- starting at 7 p.m. at the Berkeley Community Theater, 1930 Allston Way. Al Franken, author of Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right will be sure to share tales of Fox News' failed attempts to sue him. Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, author of The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century, will set you straight on how the bubble burst on the '90s economic boom, splattering us all. And Kevin Phillips, author of the just-published American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, will share his experiences on the inside and outside of power. Tickets cost $15 advance and $20 at the door; for more info, call 415-392-4400. -- Stefanie Kalem


Lit Happens

A fleet of Chinese junks beat Columbus by more than seventy years, says ex-Royal Navy submariner and old China hand Gavin Menzies, author of 1421: The Year China Discovered America. Ask him at Cody's Southside about those imperial eunuch admirals on a mission to meet the "barbarians beyond the seas" (Fri., 7:30 p.m.). ... Read, recite, listen, and lunch at the Richmond Public Library's monthly Brown Bag Poetry event, in the library's Madeline F. Whittlesey Community Room (Fri., noon-1 p.m.). ... Upper-case letters fall by the wayside as SF's poet laureate, the Western Addition's own devorah major, reads at Boadecia's from her new collection, where river meets ocean, new from City Lights (Sat., 7:30 p.m.). ... It isn't over until it's over, as you can hear firsthand at Diesel, when UC Berkeley Extension students read from their novels-in-progress. Hosting is their teacher, novelist Renee Swindle, whose Please Please Please was itself developed from a senior-thesis project (Sun., 1:57 p.m.). ... Hey, dyslexics: Don't let them say you're stupid, just say you have the same disorder as Tom Cruise. Learn strategies for reducing stress and disorientation from Anne Farris, author of Dyslexia: An Unfolding, at Berkeley's Elephant Pharmacy (Mon., 7-8 p.m.). ... You claim you're not a racist, but Francis D. Adams and Barry Sanders, coauthors of Alienable Rights: The Exclusion of African Americans in a White Man's Land, 1619-2000, might beg to differ. Suggesting that civil-rights movements are little more than farce, they'll make the case for reparations at Black Oak (Mon., 7:30 p.m.). ... Bring your quatrains, your sonnets, your mixolydian elegies to Berkeley Barnes & Noble's monthly open-mic Poetry Gone Wild (Tue., 7:30 p.m.). ... Can't get enough of those two Cultural Revolution-era kids who broach the forbidden wonders of Western literature? Join the Orinda Owls book-discussion group to discuss Dai Sijie's best-selling Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, at Orinda Books (Tue., 7 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus

FRI 1/16

Parag Party

You don't need a calendar to tell you that this is the coldest depth of winter. Come inside. Warm your bones the ancient Celtic way Friday evening (9 p.m.), when Celtic rockers Tempest and Avalon Rising join MC (Master Celt) Shay Black for a midwinter shindig at the Starry Plough Pub, 3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. It's a fund-raiser for the annual Interfaith Pagan Pride Parade and Celebration next May, so bring your pagan self for a night of reels, jigs, "Celticity," and Irish humor. 21 and over, please. $10-$15 sliding scale. For more info: -- Kelly Vance

SUN 1/18

Boss Stitch

Forget about a knitting backlash -- it's just too handy, not to mention being a great thing to do with your hands while you quit smoking. Meet other grammy-come-latelys at Knitty with Kitty, the new monthly beginners' knitting class with Kitty English (aka KALX and the Ruby Room's DJ Kitty), 1 to 3 p.m. at Mama Buzz (2318 Telegraph Ave., Oakland). Prozack Turner is guest DJ. Info: 510-465-4073. -- Stefanie Kalem


The J-Words

Journalism and justice

As one of the most far-reaching press outlets for black artists, activists, and moguls, the San Francisco Bay View provides a space for voices that are often stifled in mainstream media. According to the Fillmore-reared rapper San Quinn, "the San Francisco Bay View has always provided good, wholesome news about what's going on in the black community." Underground documentarian Kevin Epps echoes this praise, indicating that he uses the paper as secondary source material when researching his films. Epps, whose film Straight Outta Hunters Point recently won the New California Media award for Best Documentary, has firm ties to the Bay View -- after all, he delivered the paper at age thirteen. Equally important, however, is the paper'scommitment to social justice, especially for people of color. SF Bay View is usually first on the scene in reporting incidents of police brutality, such as the beating of Lee "Babyfinsta" Collins on August 25, 2003. The paper's associate editor, JR, compares Collins' beating to the killing of Idriss Stelley, who was shot twenty times by police in 2001. Wanting to stem the tides of urban "police terrorism," JR devotes ample time and ink to help draw attention to its victims.

Now boasting an enviable 250,000 hits per month on its Web site, the Bay View is teaming up with the Idriss Stelley Foundation (founded by Stelley's mother, Mesha Irizarry) and the Black August Organizing Committee (a prison activist organization launched in the 1970s by people behind bars) for the 250,000 Hits Hip-Hop Networking Party of the Year. The party this Saturday at the Oakland Box (1928 Telegraph Ave.) kicks off at 7 p.m. with screenings of Lathan Hodge's Chuck D: Behind Enemy Lines and Dwayne Wiggins' doc Life Is Too $hort -- about Oakland's king of players -- followed by a media panel including Epps, Rashida from KPFA's Block Report, Greg Bridges from KCSM and KPFA, Joshunda Sanders from the SF Chronicle, Herm Lewis from Black Power Records, and Malcolm Marshall from Street Soldiers. Then expect the place to get crunk, with performances by San Quinn, Ray Luv, Mac Mall, Mistah Fab, and Mahasen. In other words, it's all about winning combinations: promoting black voices in the media, while raising consciousness for issues that affect urban communities. Info: 510-451-1932. $10 before 9 p.m., $15 thereafter.-- Rachel Swan


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