Like, Bikes 

Racing cycles rev up WC

SUN 3/30

From "The Harley Eater" (a 1921 American Indian) to "The Salty Dog" (a 1978 BMW Bonneville LSR Special), Wild Ones: A Short History of Racing Motorcycles aims to please bike fans and art buffs alike. Each of the thirty featured motorcycles at the Bedford Gallery show (1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, 925-295-1417, through June 1) was both an extraordinary performer for its time and an amazing art object. Every single part, from fuel tank to handlebars to tires, represents a beautiful melding of form and function.Featured machines include racer Leni Faas' meticulously restored 1981 Speedway bike, a 1982 Suzuki loaned from the living room of former World Championship motocross winner Brad Lackey, and Guy Webster's 1955 Ceccato GS, an Italian model that set a world record as the fastest 100cc bike of its time. Webster, a collector since childhood -- his first bike, a Triumph Bonneville, was a gift from Dean Martin -- waxes poetic over the postwar renaissance of Italian motorcycle design: "Living with these bikes for almost forty years, as I have, you realize how anthropomorphic they are. The tanks are very feminine and sensual, and the designers really took advantage of all the materials available at that time -- brand-new metals and plastics. The Italians really put the rest of the world to shame in terms of aesthetics." You'll be able to judge that last for yourself, since the rest of the world is well represented in this show: the US, Great Britain, Japan, Spain, New Zealand, Germany, and the former Czechoslovakia. The opening party (Sunday, 3 p.m.) features VIP parking and a juried competition of the first hundred guest motorcycles to arrive, plus refreshments, screenings of motorcycle films, and racing photos by Tom Riles. -- Lindsey Westbrook

WED 3/26

Up 'Gainst the Wall

Revolutionary photo show at BAM

Newcomers to the East Bay may find it hard to believe, but Oakland was a very wild place in the '60s -- one big culture clash. Nothing typifies those days more than the Black Panthers, and a new exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum, The Black Panthers 1968, gets down to it with some 45 right-on photos by two San Francisco photographers, Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones. The show opens Wednesday, March 26 and runs through June 29 at BAM, and several related events alongside it are also worth seeing: a Panthers series at the Pacific Film Archive (April 1, 8, and 15), and a lecture by Kathleen Cleaver (activist and widow of Panther Minister of Culture and Soul on Ice author Eldridge Cleaver) on April 13. A reception for the photo exhibit takes place April 15. To learn more: 510-642-0808 or www.bampfa.berkeley.edu -- Kellly Vance

WED 3/26

Gaze at the photographs in The World in a Frame and see the world as part of the European-American "Manifest Destiny" of the 19th century. The "unknown" lands being catalogued by the white men in "the Great Age of Exploration" were wondrous indeed, majestic rivers and ancient dwellings, quaint native people, and faraway places made all the more exotic by the tones of the albumen used in printing the pictures. Edward S. Curtis, William Henry Jackson, the firm of Maison Bonfils, Carleton E. Watkins -- they're all there in this opulent time capsule at Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology (UC campus, hearstmuseum.berkeley.edu), which runs for a full year, through March 2004. -- Kelly Vance

SAT 3/29Swim in It

Ah, yes. The pitfalls of a band with a singular vision. You get in this one particularly visceral mood, right, and you write all your stuff in a mad rush of inspiration. But what happens when the mood breaks? Case in point: Our Lady of the Highway. The San Francisco quintet plays morose Americana, pop with an extra side of bourbon, sadness, and slide. Singer/guitarist Dominic East had his heart broke, and it ain't no joke -- in fact, it seems to inform the band's entire repertoire. But what will happen when the feeling's gone? With all the buzz the band got last summer, you've got to figger that East has hooked up anew. So will Our Lady of the Highway's new material suffer? It's anyone's guess. But the band's forthcoming full-length, produced by the band and Tom Mallon, is sure to be a stirring daguerreotype of sorrowful wallow. Swim in it tonight at the Ivy Room (858 San Pablo Ave., Albany), and don't sweat the lovelorn hangover. What with Loretta Lynch and Yard Sale performing, too, it's well worth it. 510-524-9299. -- Stefanie Kalem

SAT 3/29

Watch What You Spray

ProArts' graffiti show, "To Conjure a Language: Bay Area Artists Speak Out for Peace," finishes up today, but the campaign to legitimize the art form goes on. Starting at 2 p.m., such respected writers as Scott Hoag, Ariel Shepard, Favianna Rodriguez and Estria of the East Side Alliance, and Borish facilitate a free workshop titled The Dynamics and OurStory of Graffiti and Street Art. They offer local history, a bit of hands-on activity, and samples of their styles and techniques, stressing a movement toward responsible and intelligent messages and away from sheer vandalism. ProArts is at 461 9th St., Oakland, and this workshop is for kids 18 and under only. 510-763-4361. -- Stefanie Kalem

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