The moon is a magical thing, shining gold in the winter and metamorphosing silver in the spring. It's a widely regarded symbol of beauty, yet according to Japanese tradition there is one special night when the moon is at its most gorgeous. The extra-fabulous orb is set against cool, clear autumn skies and is called chushu-no-meigetsu -- beautiful mid-autumn moon. This year, that beatific eve is being celebrated Sunday, when you are invited by the Oakland Fukuoka Sister City Association to celebrate the beauty of the moon in the traditional moon-viewing festival known as Otsukimi. This harvest moon event is ripe for giving thanks and having fun. And for added lunar pleasure, the festival is set on the shores of Oakland's Lake Merritt, where you can view the majesty of the moon and its reflection in the lake's tranquil waters. The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with a bonsai garden exhibition at the Lakeside Park Garden Center by the Golden State Bonsai Collection North. It's also a good opportunity to see Lake Merritt's stunning new Torii Gate, a traditional Shinto structure honoring nature spirits. Then have a scrumptious sushi dinner by Musashi of Berkeley served in attractive bento-style boxes. You can try your moon-enhanced luck by entering to win a delicately enchanting Hakata clay doll and other exquisite Japanese treasures in the raffle.
The entertainment begins at 5:30 p.m. with a koto performance by Brian Mitsuhiro Wong and an Urasenke School of Tea Ceremony. At 7:30 p.m. the viewing officially commences, with a presentation by the East Bay Astronomical Society, offering a telescopic view of the moon and other celestial points of interest (Mars, anyone?).
The party takes place at Lake Merritt Park near Children's Fairyland, 666 Bellevue Ave., Oakland. For more info, call 510-482-5896. -- Amrah Johnson
Take the fall
Yes, he wrote The Ideological-Practical Core of the Fundamental Operation in Hegel's Logic of Reflection and he's an expert on form, ontology, and revolution, but try to get Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek to chat about Hitchcock at University Press Books (10/1, 7:30 pm.). ... When Jan Steckel isn't probing kids with hypodermic needles, she's writing fiction; the Oakland author/pediatrician reads from a novel-in-progress, headlining open-mic nite at the Albany Public Library (10/2, 7 p.m.). ... With a name like Butch Time!, what can this new reading/discussion group that meets the first Thursday of every month at Boadecia's possibly be about (10/2, 7p.m.)? ... Don't accuse Keith Dorney of using a ghostwriter to help him complete his new memoir Black and Honolulu Blue, if you know what's good for you. The longtime pro offensive lineman, a true football bard, wrote every word; he's at Barnes & Noble Walnut Creek (10/2, 7:30 p.m.). ... It's good protein and some call it nature's Prozac, but guests need not eat balut -- boiled duck eggs with partly formed ducklings inside, crunch crunch -- at the Filipino-American Literary Festival, whose headliners include When the Elephants Dance author Tess Uriza Holthe and poet Tony Robles. At the Oakland Asian Cultural Center in Oakland Chinatown; 510-637-0460 (10/4, 10:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.). ... Ex-Berkeley Hillser Jonathan Lethem's edgy-as-hell novels have garnered a National Book Critics Circle Award, Esquire's Novel of the Year award, and a Salon Book Award -- all in a day's work for a former Moe's clerk. Lethem (above) reads from The Fortress of Solitude at Cody's 4th Street (10/5, 7:30 p.m.). ... Dig it, both ways -- poet Kirk Lumpkin hosts the final event in this year's Where Art Meets the Garden series, with sounds by the Word-Music Continuum and Oakland's The Real Band. In the Peralta Community Garden, Peralta Street between Hopkins and Gilman streets, Berkeley. 510-231-5912. Donation requested (10/5, 2-5 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus
In the Mood for Oud
San Francisco-based singer and keyboard man Khatchig Jingirian has been performing Armenian and Middle Eastern music for years with his Mirage instrumental trio, which cut the 2002 CD Yarus. Richard Hagopian, a virtuoso oud player and singer, has several CDs to his name, including Kef Time and Armenian Music through the Ages, and has accompanied many a belly-dance ensemble. These two old-school, old-country musicians lend an authentic touch to this weekend's Armenian Food and Dance Festival , a two-day extravaganza Friday and Saturday of ethnic culture at St. Vartan Armenian Church in Oakland (650 Spruce St.). After a whirl around the dance floor with the high-energy folk music, fest-goers can relax with Armenian dinners, including vegetarian; games for children, a tour of the church, and an art show. Jingirian plays Friday, Hagopian on Saturday, both at 9 p.m. And it costs just $3 to walk in ($5 after 9). Info: 510-893-1671 -- Kelly Vance
Rogue Wave gets buzzed
Local outfit Rogue Wave is a sellout waiting to happen. Not that the band'll say yes, but if the Shins have shilled for McDonald's, then the Bay Area analogue may find ad men -- or comely Marina PR chicks -- knocking on their hovel doors soon enough. In the meantime, the band is readying the release of its sophomore album, recorded with Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Sparklehorse) at his Tarbox Studios, as befits a good indie band angling to take it to the next level. Rogue Wave's self-released debut, Out of the Shadow, has earned fat accolades from both local and national nabobs, and rightly so. The quartet has an airtight grasp on the art of slanted pop songs, excelling at loping, folk-guitar ditties, fretful atmospherics, and muted, Byrds-meets-Guided by Voices rave-ups alike. The band plays the parking lot of Mama Buzz (2318 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) as part of a benefit for the cafe and gallery. Mama Buzz needs your support to keep improving, so stop by between 8 and 11 p.m. and pony up your $4-$10 sliding-scale donation. Info: 510-465-4073. -- Stefanie Kalem
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