Sexy & Spooky 

Ouija believe it?

WED 6/29

It's déjà vu all over again. On Ouija Radio's most recent album, 2004's Last Night on Earth, the Minneapolis-based quartet taps into the same electrically charged, punky zeitgeist as Blondie and X, seemingly bypassing all the bullshit of the '90s and '00s for a raw, rockin' sound laced with distortion and crunchy riffs. The album's opener, "Old Victrola," finds lead singer and guitarist Christy Hunt proclaiming I'm tight with the ghosts in the radio. Other songs further explore her obsession with the occult and the past, as she goes on about psychic readings and 1920s vamps. Hunt is also haunted by "Whiskey Love," and the romantic allure of mystery, while on the album's title track, a prediction of the end of the world makes her want to eat cake and smell every flower ... make love to my baby in the final hour. Witness Ouija Radio turn the Stork Club's stage into a séance tonight (Wednesday), along with Outline Kit. Being spooky has never been so sexy. 8 p.m. For more info, visit StorkClubOakland.com -- Eric K. Arnold

6/29-7/2

Lit Happens

When he was a kid, Victor Kent learned from library books how to do his first magic tricks. Now he leads the Kent Family Magic troupe, complete with Houdini-like escapes, juggling, and cutting-ladies-in-half illusions. And he returns the favor at Antioch Library with The Magic of Reading, an audience-participation spectacular that underlines the importance of books (Wed., 4 p.m.). ... Secret lessons about enlightenment ... hidden in Jaws? World-renowned meditation teacher Dean Sluyter reveals spiritual wisdom in filmdom, from .007's weaponry to the Seven Dwarves' eyes, in Cinema Nirvana: Enlightenment Lessons from the Movies. Go om with him at Black Oak (Wed., 7:30 p.m.). ... In his astounding addiction-recovery memoir A Million Little Pieces, James Frey introduced us to the life-saving mentor he met in rehab: a compassionate gangster who now stars in that book's sequel, My Friend Leonard. Meet the author who underwent a root canal without anesthesia at Cody's Telegraph (Wed., 7:30 p.m.). ... A new literary journal has sprung from the self-described Isle of Style, which is also where its second issue is being celebrated with refreshments and readings at Spellbinding Tales. Meet Red Hills Review contributors by the bushel (Thu., 7 p.m.).... Bust a move, or at least rhapsodize about busting moves in iambic pentameter, during a women's open mic at Change Makers, headlined by poet Donna M. Lane. Bring your own poetry, prose, music, dance, or visual art to share (Fri., 7:30 p.m.). ... Los tres puercos encuentran los tres osos at Spanish-English bilingual family storytime, a brand-new first-Saturday-of-every-month event at the Oakland Library's César Chávez Branch (Sat., 10:30 a.m.). -- Anneli Rufus

FRI 7/1

Land of the Free

Got your doubts about the whole 4th of July thing? Don't stay inside playing video games. Come to AK Press instead and read Mikhail Bakunin, Tariq Ali, Noam Chomsky, the history of the Haymarket Riot, and Barbara Ehrenreich, while sipping light refreshments and ignoring the bombs bursting in air as best you can. That's right, it's AK's annual Fuck the 4th Sale, where radicalism is more than just a word. Everything in AK's warehouse (674-A 23rd St., Oakland) is at least 25 percent off, with books, CDs, DVD and VHS, and agitprop accoutrements starting as low as $1. 510-208-1700 or AKPress.org -- Kelly Vance

FRI 7/1

Soul Ambition

Maxwell's Lounge in Oakland (341 13th St., 510-839-6169) is a go-to venue for local talent, and this Friday, the spotlight will be on Sakai. Her music is urban R&B (aka neo-soul), and as her album title Dream Big suggests, her ambition is as large as her heart. Catch her before she blows up -- but hurry, because with a voice like hers, that's only a matter of time. MaxwellsLounge.com -- Eric K. Arnold

SUN 7/3

Mouth Music

Put yourself In Harmony's Way

et your Independence Day weekend going Sunday night with an all-star a cappella bash celebrating folk and traditional music spanning the sea from Ireland to the Mississippi. To mark our liberation from the British, the Starry Plough has organized a rollicking evening of gigs, reels, sea shanties, and rounds from the upcoming CD In Harmony's Way, a collaboration of eighteen Bay Area old-timey musicians. The album brings together such local luminaries as folk-music historian Lani Herrmann, sea-shanty bearers Nauticus, and two-thirds (Michael and Shay) of the renowned Dublin trio the Black Brothers. Pubgoers will hear versatile performers such as Sylvia Herold, who has bounced from complicated swing with the Cats and Jammers to gypsy jazz with Hot Club of San Francisco, showcase their passion for brutally depressing Irish ballads. Yet the festivities promise not to rain blues on your Fourth. "Mouth music," as a cappella is sometimes called, used to be notorious for crackin' party anthems too. So there'll be bawdy tales of seafaring naughtiness from veteran groups such as Holdstock and Macleod, and Babylonian beer hymns from Oak, Ash and Thorn. The corpulent harmonies and buttery choruses will help wash down the holiday libations, while the thunderous baritone of children's singer Ed Silberman will keep it straight for the family types. Celtic guitar theorist Steve Baughman; Scots-inspired Kim Hughes; international stylist Pam Swan; Arlene Immerman, and Susan Frank also perform. This informal rehearsal is prep for a July 8 concert at the Freight that will be featured in a documentary. 8:15 p.m. and admission is sliding scale. Info: StarryPloughPub.com or 510-841-2082. -- Amrah Johnson

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