Shaft in India 

The sexy side of Buddhism

2/18, 2/20

Tim Ward was a loner with a boner on a spiritual journey through backcountry India before he met Sabina, a shapely Austrian academic. Then he became a Buddha-Boomer on a mission: To discover the realm of the goddess in Buddhist philosophy while having a maximum of Tantric sex in picturesque locations. Nice work if you can get it, and this evening (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.) Canadian-born author Ward wanders into Berkeley's Easy Going Travel Shop (1385 Shattuck Ave., 510-843-3533) to read from his book, Arousing the Goddess: Sex and Love in the Buddhist Ruins of India (Monkfish Publishing, $16.95), and to talk about the secret meaning of the Earth-Touching Gesture, making the beast with two backs in Vaishali, and bathing -- but not rinsing his mouth -- in the Ganges. Friday night (7:30 p.m.), Ward pops up at the Berkeley Psychic Institute (2018 Allston Way, 510-548-8020) for a reprise of his lecture and slide show. Both events are free. For a good time, log onto www.timwards books.com -- Kelly Vance

2/19-2/24

Lit Happens

Dietary Habits

She wrote Chocolat, so now watch her eat: Lafayette Books hosts a lunch next door at Postino Restaurant with Joanne Harris, whose latest novel, Holy Fools, concerns hysterical 15th-century French nuns ($25; for details, call 925-284-1233) (Thu., noon). ... AIDS is a scourge that knows no boundaries, as Cal grad Jacob Levenson learned when he went cross-country to research The Secret Epidemic: The Story of AIDS and Black America. He reads at Cody's Southside (Thu., 7:30 p.m.). ... California's Boswell family drained one of America's biggest lakes and carved out the world's richest cotton kingdom. Today, farmer J.G. Boswell controls more than a billion dollars' worth of water rights and real estate. Rick Wartzman discusses The King of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of a Secret American Empire at Orinda Books (Thu., 4:30 p.m.). ... Kidz are bardz, yo. In the Slam in the Schools Finals, winners of seven Oakland high-school slams compete at the Oakland Box Theater (1928 Telegraph Ave.; $4-$10; for details, call 510-451-1932) (Fri., 7 p.m.). ... If "future" means more to you than just a tense, join the California Writers Club for a sci-fi/fantasy panel discussion featuring authors Jennifer Hall and Ray Nelson, at Barnes & Noble Berkeley (Sat., 10 a.m.). ... What makes a whodunit? Meet locals David Corbett, Cara Black, Don Bruns, and Libby Fischer Hellmann at a mystery authors' panel, hosted by the High Crimes Book Club, at Bookshop Benicia (Sun., 4 p.m.). ... Empires galore: State of the World Forum founder Jim Garrison, author of America as Empire: Global Leader or Rogue Power?, answers his subtitular question at Black Oak (Tue., 7:30 p.m.). ... Beware of kitty cats bearing swastikas. Cal Performances presents Pulitzer Prize-winner Art Spiegelman, who will discuss his Holocaust comic books Maus and Maus II at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall ($18-$28; for details call 510-642-9988) (Tue., 8 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus

SAT 2/21

Doper than Thou

Capable of being both high- and lowbrow, local crew Foreign Legion kicks aside the gap between underground and mainstream hip-hop. This month saw the national release of FL's second full-length, Playtight, on Look Records, which picks up where 2000's Kidnapper Van left off, with DJ Design's keenly honed crate-digger skills as a doper-than-thou backdrop for Prozack and Marc Stretch's sharp talk about drinking, roommates, and hip-hop itself. Challenge Prozack to a joke-off tonight at the Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. 9:30, 21 and up, $10, $7 with student ID. 510-548-1159. -- Stefanie Kalem

TUE 2/23

Low-Fat Tuesday

Between 2 and 6 p.m. Tuesday, there ain't no healthier place to get fat than at the Berkeley Farmers' Market Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras Celebration . Ain't no wrong time to show up at MLK and Shattuck, because at some point, the Berkeley Mardi Gras parade will arrive. Until that bead-festooned second line shows up, enjoy live music, crafts, and goodies. www.berkeleymardigras.org -- Stefanie Kalem

SAT 2/21

What's the Frequency?

Party for underground radio

Anarchist seeks infinite love and solidarity with like-minded people for combating social injustice and censorship and honoring diversity; no hippie rhetoric or fluffy pink hearts need apply." This is probably what a personal ad from Berkeley Liberation Radio would look like. Ever since being raided and being practically shut down in 2000, the reincarnated station (formerly Free Radio Berkeley) has struggled to make ends meet in the nonlucrative industry of pirate radio. Thanks to round-the-clock work and literal fund-raising from within, LBR is making a steady if not gradual comeback and is eager to get out there and make some new friends, hence the Love Ball Dance Benefit. Saturday's event at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Berkeley (1924 Cedar St. at Bonita) includes a long list of local activists and performers, reflecting the eclectic programming and heartfelt opinions at 104.1. Get riled up with speakers such as Berkeley Councilman Kriss Worthington, KPFA mainstay Kris Welch, youth advocates and performers East Bay Politix, and Andrea Pritchert speaking on Copwatch. Then, when you're feeling all juiced up, party down to local music, from the hip-hop of Rene J and Eyecue to the rock of Cosmic Mercy to silver-clad girl-powered band Space Vacuum. Even performance shock artist Frank Moore will be on hand to do his thing, all in the name of protecting your dwindling rights to free speech and the safe preservation of the Constitution. Now that's love. The benefit begins at 8 p.m. Admission is on a sliding scale, so bring what you can. -- Justine Nicole

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