Odd Bods 

Take a ride in "Dali's Car"

FRI 2/13

If someone told you that all the best experimental music was in Iceland, that someone was mistaken. Though it may not be a part of our mainstream media, experimental continues to grow in popularity and begs to be heard by some of the most outspoken and passionate musicians in the business. Don't call them hip-hop, don't call them R&B. The boys from Restiform Bodies don't want to be pigeonholed in any category that might constrain their creativity. After all, they are artists who use a variety of tools, instruments, and ideas to express their vision -- can sound be a vision? This esoteric audio phenomenon begs the question. Breaking rules is the name of the game, and with a posse of finely tuned friends along for the ride, Restiform's members -- passage, tel.jim.jesus, and the bomarr monk -- are out to prove that sound has no barrier. Join them in an evening of mind-bending electronic music that includes multimedia improv guru Sagan, electro rocker Alan Astor, Books on Tape from Los Angeles, and Change! -- who has been known to use everything from the delicate pelting of a dulcimer to that perennial favorite, the laptop.

With statements such as "Ultimately we feel things deeply and we want to wrench hearts, not worry, or bore" (taken from the Restiform Web site), it's hard to tell whether these guys are serious or not. But if good art is evocative and often abstruse, then it seems they're doing their job. As for the music, its poetic rantings, hardware clangings, and sparse pings somehow seem ahead of their time -- note to self: See Mozart. Perhaps not everyone is ready for this type of futuristic symphony, but rest assured that twenty years from now N'Sync fans will be taking credit for discovering this once brave new sound. Dali's Car happens Friday night only, 8:30 p.m., at 21 Grand, 449-B 23rd St. between Broadway and Telegraph in downtown Oakland. $7. Info: 21Grand.org, 510-444-7263, or RestiformBodies.com -- Justine Nicole


Med Flies

Lit Happens

Zora Neale Hurston wrote now-classic novels but died a pauper in 1960; actress Jamie Myrick brings the Tell My Horse author back to life in a special program at the Brentwood Public Library (Wed., 4 p.m.). ... Rumor has it that Allen Ginsberg wrote "Howl" at Berkeley's Mediterraneum Caffe. Provoke his ghost at the cafe's World Beat Reading Series, featuring Tom Odegaard and Diane Q this week (Thu., 7 p.m.). ... Tracking shoppers the way hunters track deer, New York-based "retail anthropologist" Paco Underhill has made a career out of figuring out who shops where and why. At Cody's Southside, he reads from The Call of the Mall (Fri., 7:30 p.m.). ... Being an epic poet in postmodern, attention-deficit America -- how impossible is that? Rapper Saul Williams makes a go of it. He reads from his latest, "Said the Shotgun to the Head," at Oakland Barnes & Noble (Fri., 7:30 p.m.). ... He's a dog, she's a pig: Taoist Astrology author Susan Levitt discusses the relative compatibility of Chinese animal signs at Elephant Pharmacy (Sat., 12:30 p.m.). ... The Mona Lisa, the Holy Grail -- go figure. Discuss Dan Brown's frankincense-scented thriller The Da Vinci Code with the Great Books Group at Berkeley Barnes & Noble (Mon., 7 p.m.). ... Hugo and Nebula Award-winner and MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" fellow Octavia Butler's sci-fi sagas include Patternmaster, in which an elite group of telepaths is ruled by Doro, a 4,000-year-old immortal African. Her lecture in the Morrison Room of Doe Library, UCB, sponsored by the Center for African Studies, looks back over Butler's 25-year career (Tue., 4 p.m.). ... Who could resist a female poet with a doctorate (from the University of London) on Masculine Elegy? She's Kate Lilley, and she's reading with UC Berkeley grad student Margaret Ronda in the Maude Fife Room, 315 Wheeler Hall, UCB, as part of the Holloway Poetry Series. Join poets and guests for colloquia and crackers (Tue., 5:30 p.m.). ... Almost certainly, Wendy Lesser has read a ton more books than you have. Meet the old-school Berkeley literary light and Threepenny Review editor and publisher in the Hearst Art Gallery of Saint Mary's College, as part of the college's Creating Writing Reading Series (Tue., 7:30 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus

SAT 2/14

Blue Valentine

So what kind of Valentine are you? The wet-eyed romantic, with four florists preprogrammed in your cell phone and a diamond ring in every pocket? Or the lugubrious, love-torn type, who'd rather buy a bottle of whiskey than a stuffed white bear? If you're one of the latter, then stumble on down to Cafe Van Kleef (1621 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) tonight for Ruby Iron and her Sweetheart Swing Band's St. Valentine's Day Ball. Though Iron -- aka Robin Coomer of Birdsaw and Loop!Station -- and her mutable crew of East Bay musicians promise "sassy sweet tunes of a bygone era," let's hope they drop some Tom Waits, too, as Iron usually does, because the man who penned "Blue Valentine" knows exactly how you feel. Admission is $10, Van Kleef's is 21 and up, and the party starts at 9 p.m. Call 510-763-7711 for more details. -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 2/13

Crush Groove

Making anarchists in Berkeley

As you may well know, on the second Friday of every month, bicyclists gather at the downtown Berkeley BART station for the East Bay Critical Mass. But have you ever wondered what happens afterward? Well, on the week of Valentine's Day, at least, some members of that sweaty clutch take their buzzing endorphins down to the Long Haul Infoshop for a swingin' soiree known as Anarchist Crush Night. For the fourth year in a row, Long Haul invites in the public for a night of dancing, food, and matching games. What kind of matching games, you ask? Well, last year's sounded a whole lot like straight-up speed-dating, with nametags and anonymous forms to fill out, boxes to check, etc. The anarchist twist? If you make yourself a match, you could find yourself macking in the shop's loft or Internet room, as happened at last year's event. The party starts at 8 p.m. and goes till late, and the Long Haul Infoshop is located at 3124 Shattuck Ave., two blocks from the Ashby BART in Berkeley. Details: 510-540-0751 or TheLongHaul.org -- Stefanie Kalem


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