Poop Deck 

Feces and mayhem at Gilman

FRI 9/2

Are you sick of the East Bay's tasteful horn of plenty? Do you shovel luscious curry like you're working on a chain gang? Does the thought of driving ten minutes to the best record stores in the country tire you out? You may be experiencing the kind of cultural fatigue that Pete Townshend once called "exquisite boredom." The cure may be a trip to 924 Gilman this Friday, where you'll be ripped inside out and made to eat your own shit. Well, not literally. But violent sounds and filthy biological themes are the order of the day for San Diego outfits Cattle Decapitation and the Locust, two of the most nihilistic and scatological bands of all time. Cattle Decapitation's scatology is not without an intellectual subtext: "Although we're a huge part of the evolutionary scale," vocalist Travis Ryan says, "we are totally in the way of the environment -- and with the meat industry we've created, we're in the way of true natural selection." But the overall effect of Ryan's demonic-voiced tomes on cannibalism, runaway semen, and the various practical uses for the human body ("stripped of its vertebrae") boil down to ironic fun and rumbling, riffy metal. The Locust's lyrics are harder to decode -- Hideous femur, wry and mocking, likes things oversimplified -- but the music, a sharp alloy of electronic noise, free-jazz shiftiness, and the hardcore descendant called "power violence," twists into your head with something bordering on catchiness. Locust bassist and vocalist Justin Pearson, presented with the fact that biblical "manna" is thought to have been the feces of his band's insect namesake, is quick to rejoin, "Great, but all poop is edible."

It's just this sort of clear thinking that could disrupt you from your sensual stupor. As Ryan prescribes for the jaded gourmand: Low standards, sick delights/Stale feces on my knife. Doors open 8 p.m., $6, with Year Future and Look Back and Laugh. Info: 924 Gilman.org or 510-525-9926. -- Andrew Marcus


Lit Happens

Persian Persuasion

Become a scrapauthor at Oakley Library, where Wednesday nights are scrapbooking nights. This week's project is the collage-style version, featuring torn bits instead of cut ones, with instant antiquing. Bring your own scraps and background sheets (Wed., 6:30 p.m.). ... What are the sistas up to in that biblical-era crimson provisional shelter? Find out with the Sacred Feminine Book Club when it meets at Changemakers this month to discuss Anita Diamant's novel The Red Tent (Wed., 7 p.m.). ... Feeling cosmic? Contemplate quarks, hadronic matter, and neutron stars with LBL theoretical physicist Norman Glendenning, who discusses his book After the Beginning: A Cosmic Journey Through Space and Time at Black Oak (Wed., 7:30 p.m.) ... Wax lyrical without having to stand still. Compete, with a beat, at the Berkeley Poetry Slam at the Starry Plough ($5-$7) (Wed., 8:30 p.m.). ... The chancellor riffs about rhymes, as do assorted members of the Cal faculty, kicking off UC Berkeley's Lunch Poems series at the Morrison Library (Thu., 12:10 p.m.). ... The artist formerly known as the Bubble Lady brings her Telegraph Avenue-flavored poetry to Albany Library: Julia Vinograd's reading precedes an open mic, with refreshments (Thu., 7 p.m.). ... Nothing polishes off a night downtown better than poetry at Pegasus, where an open reading precedes Eugene David and Dan Marlin (Mon., 7:30 p.m.). ... Sometimes the Big Bad Wolf is scarier when he growls out loud. Fremont Library's Lift the Page to the Stage storytelling workshop teaches kids age ten through high school how to speak up and bring characters alive. For details, call 510-745-1410 (Tue., 4 p.m.). ... She was seven when her family moved from Abadan, Iran, to Richard Nixon's hometown -- Whittier, California. Firoozeh Dumas reads from her wise, witty memoir, Funny in Farsi, in the Mills Hall Living Room at Mills (Tue., 5:30 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus

WED 8/31

Bluegrass Belles

Daisy Duke done gave all them country gals a bad name, y'all. But while the recent Hollywoodization of the sappy Southern '70s TV show The Dukes of Hazzard may have projected the image of dumb-as-a-brick, untalented Jessica Simpson to mainstream America, local all-woman bluegrass band the Barefoot Nellies offer Americana without irony. With a sound that's something of a cross between Loretta Lynn and Flatt & Scruggs, the Nellies' blend of harmony vocals and inspired guitar- and banjo-pickin' is rich enough to churn butter, and recommended by four out of five cowpokes as a cure for the lonesome blues. In addition to being accomplished bluegrassistas, the gals are a lot easier on the eyes than most of the grizzled veterans plucking out old-time music these days. Get your do-si-do on tonight (Wednesday) at Berkeley's Albatross Pub, 1822 San Pablo Ave. AlbatrossPub.com -- Eric K. Arnold


Word, Sounds, and Lit

So much art and soul, so little time

With all the numerous cultural happenings taking place under the auspices of the Oakland Art & Soul Festival, it would be easy to overlook the Literature and World Music Expo. But if you happen to be in the area for the festival, this auxiliary event, which brings together a stellar cast of poets, authors, and musicians, is well worth checking out. Saturday's lineup includes the jazz poetry of Avotcja & Modupue; an author panel with Ishmael Reed, William Wong, and others; and Middle Eastern music from the Georges Lammam Ensemble. California poet laureate Al Young is featured on Sunday, along with Native American tunesmiths Red-Bird Giving, West African folksters the Nigerian Brothers, and this year's American Book Award winners, including Berkeley-based hip-hop historian Jeff Chang. Monday's lineup includes world music from End of Suffering, traditional Chinese songs from the Silk Road Orchestra, and poets and authors from Literature Without Borders. It all happens at 12:30 p.m. each day at Civic Center Plaza in downtown Oakland. ArtandSoulOakland.com -- Eric K. Arnold


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