Superfest is described as the longest running international disability film festival in America, and that's an impressive distinction -- not because there are many such film festivals in America, but because people still seem to go in for this one. Funwise, the fest isn't exactly a barrel of monkeys. So it must be doing something right. This year's slate covers an enormous range of human experience. There is, among other fare, a film about an obsessive-compulsive hair-pulling disorder, one about people who survived the Holocaust only because Dr. Mengele wanted to keep them around for experiments, two films about autism, and three about the relationship between disability and sexuality.
Yes, you are allowed to be morbidly fascinated. Or to believe in transcending impairments, or bitching about them. As one of the exhausted mothers in Talk to Me says of her autistic child, "Parents say they wouldn't change a thing ... I would change it in a heartbeat. You can't help but wish it had been different." Collectively, the films don't bog down with a heavy sense of issue-movie obligation. Instead they recognize and revel in the mess of truly lived life.
Saturday and Sunday with "Meet the Makers" reception Sunday at 6 p.m., at La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. Tickets are $5-$20 per day at the door. 510-845-5576. -- Jonathan Kiefer
Blame It on the Dames
Blame Sally is solidly folky (and possibly adult alternative, if you like those kinda distinctions) with echoes of Joni, Ani, Fairport Convention, CSNY, and many other stripes of harmonious mellow; the Bay Area quartet got a bit of luck when KFOG's Acoustic Sunrise show, appropriately, took a liking to its music. The band plays this weekend at the Oakland Metro (201 Broadway) with old-time country quintet the Stairwell Sisters (featuring members of the Crooked Jades). 9:30 p.m., $10. Call 510-763-1146. -- Stefanie Kalem
They be trippin'
As they walk through the gallery, viewers "examine increasingly complex visual harmonies" on split screens and are "primed perceptually" by the often-dissonant sound-and-light show for the climax -- the interactive, five-screen, five-projection, five-person, five-camera orchestra that blows their minds, man. That's the setup of Video Symphony, a project by Bay Area installationists Deniz Demirer and Alex Killough, happening Friday at Oakland's Ego Park Gallery (492 23rd St., 510-823-8045). Demirer and Killough were evidently inspired by a comment by the late film director Andrei Tarkovsky (Nostalgia, The Sacrifice) to the effect that "a person is quite simply not capable of watching several actions at once; it is beyond psychophysiology." Nuts to that, said the installationists, and the result is an interactive art experience subtitled "Sequence to Simultaneity: Body Notion, Tech Motion." People who complain about motion sickness induced by Lars von Trier movies should probably stay away. The free event begins at 7 p.m. More info: 415-846-5480. -- Kelly Vance
Bazaar-style at Ashkenaz
Laydeeeeees and Gennnnnlemen!! Come one, come all, y'all, to the gre-gre-greatest show on this roly-poly blue-green machine we call Mama Earth. Awww, yeah! It's the Hip-Hop Circus, yo, under the nonstop community big top that is Ashkenaz (1317 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley). The fund-raising event for the Rising Rainbow Youth Project (Camp Winnarainbow's teen camp) features performances by Company of Prophets, Ariel and Ryan Luckey, neo-soul folkstress Sparlha Swa, break-dancing clowns -- maybe they can sell the makeup-streaked cardboard afterwards as art? -- and more. Show starts at 8 p.m., and sliding-scale admission ranges from $10 to $1,000. 510-525-5054. -- Stefanie Kalem
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