Burned all my notebooks/What good are notebooks?/They won't help me survive, David Byrne sang in the Talking Heads' master slice of art-rock paranoia, "Life During Wartime." He probably had similar thoughts when he created a presentation in PowerPoint some years ago, and was struck by the laziness the popular business software's prefab graphics inspired. But he didn't burn it -- he walked right up to it and made the Microsoft business platform his bitch. 2003's E.E.E.I (Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information) is a book of images from Byrne's subsequent projects and essays about the works, plus a DVD with five of the presentations accompanied by original music. In Byrne's PowerPoint art -- exhibited from New York to Tokyo -- graphs curl up on naked freckled skin, labels obscure facial features, and flow-chart arrows explode in a frenzy of colorful confusion. The UC Berkeley Arts, Technology, and Culture Colloquium welcomes Byrne's "I Heart PowerPoint" talk this Monday, 7:30-9:30 p.m. in 155 Dwinelle Hall. For more info, visit IEOR.Berkeley.edu/~Goldberg/lecs/ Stefanie Kalem
They're cute and they'll eat from your kitty's dish if you let them, but they aren't tame. Local guy Gary Bogue discusses The Raccoon Next Door, his book about getting along with urban wildlife, at the Danville Library (Wed., 1 p.m.). ... San Francisco was Bohemian long before you got here, as evoked in Bart Schneider's novel Beautiful Inez. Stir up those bygone days when eccentric characters haunted concert halls and coffeehouses at Orinda Books (Wed., 4 p.m.). ... If you liked his first fourteen mysteries featuring Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks, then snatch up Peter Robinson's latest, Strange Affair. Robinson won't tell you how it ends at Diesel (Wed., 7:30 p.m.). ... A hoary old San Francisco sets the scene yet again in Andrew Sean Greer's novel The Confessions of Max Tivoli, about a baby who is born old and grows younger with every passing year. Greer stokes the fantasy at Rakestraw (Thu., 7 p.m.). ... A sexually abused indentured servant describes a transforming Iran in Mort Baharloo's debut novel The Quince Seed Potion. Meet Baharloo at Cody's Telegraph (Thu., 7:30 p.m.). ... Check out the latest books by Haruki Murakami, Duong Thu Huong, and your other favorites after a day of storytelling, exhibits, games, and performances at the Orinda Library's Pan-Asian Awareness Festival (Sat., noon). ... Keep on celebrating in the stacks as Clayton Community Library hosts its own tenth birthday party, with storytelling, sweet snacks, and a puppet show (Sat., 3 p.m. ). ... Rant about Renaissance Florence with Bay Books San Ramon's Book Club -- up for discussion this month is Sarah Dunant's best-selling novel Birth of Venus (Tue., 7 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus
Toons with Tunes
Nik Phelps went to Eastern Europe and all he brought for you was an evening of brand-spanking-new animated films. He and his kooky Sprocket Ensemble will score said samples -- culled from his visits to festivals in Annecy in the French Alps, Croatia, and Russia -- this Saturday at 21 Grand (449B 23rd St., Oakland), beginning at 8:30 p.m. For $10, you'll get stories of an amphibian shoe-fetishist, a dancing (but flightless) bird, and that old familiar friend, the drunken hook-up, from all around the globe. Bill Plympton's latest, Guard Dog, will round out the night. 510-44GRAND. -- Stefanie Kalem
The Lucky Ju Ju Pinball Art Gallery continues its mission to marry psychedelic art to the fine art of the silver ball with its latest exhibition, Psychedelic Babylon AD, a collection of kitschy-gone-trippy paintings by John Sheridan on display through the month. Getcherself a wine-drunk multiball or two at the reception Friday from 6 p.m.-midnight. 713 E. Santa Clara, Alameda. 510-205-9793. -- Stefanie Kalem
At the Speed of Sound
Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny goes way, Way Up
Pat Metheny is a kid at heart. Though the guitarist turned fifty last year, his music continues to grow with the same ambition and vigor he had when vibes player Gary Burton brought him to the forefront as a student at the Berklee College of Music in Boston in the 1970s. On his latest album The Way Up (Nonesuch), he explores a variety of ideas in a multidimensional, four-part, 68-minute extended work. He premieres it in the Bay Area this Thursday at the Paramount Theatre (2025 Broadway, Oakland). "The whole idea is taking the fundamental sound that we make and continue to find ways to develop it through dynamics, texture, orchestration, and formal structures," Metheny said about The Way Up in a recent radio interview. As Falls Wichita ... , Secret Story, and Imaginary Day were attempts at the musical connections he has made on this new album. His previous album Speaking of Now was the beginning of integrating new members into his circle, like drummer Antonio Sanchez, trumpeter Cuong Vu, and harmonica player Grégoire Maret. It has proved be a unified vision.
"In some ways, it's a protest record for us," Metheny says. "It's a record that represents our desire to reconcile complexity in the face of a culture that rejects it, and to honor the impulse that we have to understand things through nuance and detail. To me, the meaning of the title The Way Up is our way of saying simplification, ignorance, and lack of awareness is not going to lead in the right direction."
The show starts at 8 p.m. Info: ParamountTheatre.com or 510-465-6400. Jesse "Chuy" Varela
Culture Spy - April 20, 9:52 AM
Culture Spy - April 13, 12:18 PM