While no one was looking, Martinez grassroots concert mogul Jim Ocean slipped across the Carquinez Strait to Vallejo's California Maritime Academy and launched the new, free Maritime Academy Concert Series -- debuting Saturday (7 p.m.) with the high-energy acoustic blues duo Norton Buffalo & Roy Rogers (right). Sea chanteys might seem more appropriate fare for the idyllic waterfront setting, but slide guitarist Rogers and harmonica master Buffalo will sing and play original blues songs from their three CDs. The duo is familiar with the Strait turf: Rogers graduated from high school in Vallejo, and Buffalo was born in Richmond and now lives north of Vallejo. Booked by Ocean, the free series is sponsored by the academy to draw attention to its Morrow Cove campus at the base of the Carquinez Bridge -- the only state maritime college in the western United States. Ocean, whose own singing career always seems to take a back seat to bringing culture to his Contra Costa neighbors, created Musicians Coffeehouse in Walnut Creek, as well as civic music programming in Danville, Pleasanton, Pleasant Hill, and Concord. The far East Bay would be a lot less lively without his efforts.
Gates open at 6 p.m. on the Morrow Cove lawn at 200 Maritime Academy Drive. 707-654-1550 or CommunityConcerts.com -- Larry Kelp
Mise en Zine
Inky assist in Berkeley
It's no surprise that fund-raising events for the 2003 San Francisco Zine Fest are being held in the East Bay -- folks who pour their blood, sweat, and fears into self-publishing projects generally can't afford to live on the other side of the bridge. This weekend you can help subsidize the festival, and probably some of the artists as well, if you head to the Long Haul (3124 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) for Local Zine Short Movie Night (Saturday) and a Cafe Night/Zine Open Mic (Sunday). Saturday, you can check out video screenings of 1994's Get Off My Wagon, 2000's Grrlyshow, and other locally produced, zine-related films, starting at 8:30 p.m. On Sunday at 7:30, enjoy a vegan dinner and zine reading, and find out about volunteering at the August convention. Long Haul is asking for a $3-$5 donation for the cafe night, and whatever you can spare for the screenings. 510-540-0751. -- Stefanie Kalem
Viva la BBQ
On July 26, 1953, a group of guerrilla soldiers led by Fidel Castro laid siege to the Moncada Garrison, starting the Cuban revolution. Celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the event at an ANSWER Potluck Picnic in Mosswood Park (MacArthur and Broadway, Oakland), starting at 11 a.m. There will be games, softball, music, and barbecue, or you can bring your own dishes to cook and share. Donations appreciated. Call the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition at 415-821-6545 for details. -- Stefanie Kalem
Wanna buy a tile?
The links page on the Web site of Portland's the Out Crowd (above) has a rather telling array of destinations: the Dandy Warhols (whose members produce and remix the band's music); a place where you can buy an authentic tile from the pool where Brian Jones drowned (in honor of singer/guitarist Matt Hollywood's former band, the Brian Jonestown Massacre); anti-anxiety drug Paxil; hipster photographer Ray Gordon; and more. Find out just how psychedelic pop, morbidity, nervous energy, and fashionable hedonism work together when the Out Crowd headlines the Ivy Room (858 San Pablo Ave., Albany, 510-524-9299), with Connexion and precious folkstresses Willow Willow. -- Stefanie Kalem
Culture Spy - April 20, 9:52 AM
Culture Spy - April 13, 12:18 PM