The Plot Sickens 

But Gilman St. still pulls off a good one

FRI 5/7

The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower has been squelched. Okay, okay, so just its current tour has, and it's really not all that funny. Because of a family tragedy, the San Diego band has canceled its upcoming dates, including one this Friday at Berkeley's 924 Gilman. But there's still some good music going down in that sticker-laden, all-ages hangar tonight. Vancouver's Raking Bombs, for instance, are a ringer, at times, for the late, lamented At the Drive-In, with mad, dissonant guitar attacks and an intense, jazzcore drummer. There will be more danceable and spazztastic stuff from Davis trio Brilliant Red Lights, whose sound Splendid E-zine called "an exercise in balance -- dance-it-up grooves (complete with funktastic bass lines that bulge like Dirk Diggler in a Speedo)." San Diego's Tamora delivers its political and personal agendas on a barrage of hardcore in songs titled "Loving Jesus Is Like Kneeling in Vomit," "I Like You ... Don't Fuck It Up," "Art Has the Responsibility to Alienate the Enemy," and "It's Hard to Eat Meat with Broken Fingers." Santa Cruz's A Burning Water is also on the bill. The show starts at 8 p.m., and cover is $5. Call 510-525-9926 for further deets. -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 5/7

Drums Along the Congo

Kinshasa-to-Los Angeles salsero Ricardo Lemvo has been rifling cultures ever since he arrived here in the '70s, mixing Cuban son grooves with Congolese soukous and singing his heart out in Lingala, Kikongo, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and English. He formed his band Makina Loca in 1990 -- now eleven musicians plus three dancers -- and when they hit it you cannot remain seated. Just try to resist the Afro-rumba Friday night (8 p.m.) at UCB's Zellerbach Hall. Tickets for the cancelled ¡Cubanismo! show will be honored for Lemvo's gig. Otherwise tix are $22-$30-$42 from 510-642-9988. Info: -- Kelly Vance

SUN 5/8

Art Fights Back

Gentrify this! Some say the massive exodus of artists from the Bay Area in recent years has left us with a nasty case of cultural anemia. At a time when the underground art circuit is seemingly on the run, Long Haul Infoshop has created Cycles of Gentrification, an art exhibit exploring the roles of artists in gentrification and its effects on their work. The antidisplacement struggle has ignited a new wave of political art -- wheat-pasted posters, liberated billboards, and rowdy cartoons painted on the sidewalk. Artists are yearning to champion neighborhood diversity and thwart the plans of big developers. See what mischief they've been up to at the opening, this Sunday at 3 p.m., then stick around for dinner at 7:30. The show continues through May 28 at 3124 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. Info: -- Amrah Johnson

SAT 5/8

Rent Party

Pro Arts' change of venue

Pro Arts, the thirty-year-old visual arts org, has joined the cluster of entertainment venues and general artiness in Oakland's Jack London Square neighborhood. After ten years in Old Oakland a few blocks north, Pro Arts is now ensconced in a new, sunny, 2,500-square-foot gallery space at 550 2nd St. at Clay, obviously anxious to pick up the foot traffic and street buzz of such nearby destinations as Yoshi's and Oaklandish. To celebrate the move, Pro Arts Inc. is throwing a benefit bash Saturday (5 to 9 p.m.) in its new digs, with performances by Avotcja, the Jenna Mammina Trio, Tennessee Reed, and the Diamond Dance Company among others, plus the usual hors d'oeuvres, champagne and wine, and procession of politicians. On the walls: the East Bay Open Studios 2004 Preview Exhibition, with artworks available for purchase. All that fun comes at a price, $125 a pop, but it's for a good cause. Info: -- Kelly Vance


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