This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 2

If you live in the East Bay, chances are you know about the talents of Gwen "Sugar Mama" Avery and the Blues Sistahs. The Berkeley City Council even designated January 17, 2003 (her sixtieth birthday) as Gwen Avery Day. She can be sophisticated, sexy, tender, and tough, channeling the spirit of the blues, gospel, jazz, and R&B through a contralto as warm and multifaceted as sauce-soaked barbecue ribs. Appropriately enough, tonight's show takes place at Dotha's Juke Joint, the nighttime face of Everett & Jones BBQ (126 Broadway near Jack London Square, Oakland). The music goes from 7 till 9 p.m., and there's a $10 cover. Call 510-843-3014 for venue information. -- Stefanie Kalem

THU 3

Gauzy gray shirts imprinted with pinkish pointing fingers and clenched fists. Larger-than-life photos of naked Japanese men meant to evoke surrendering WWII soldiers. A family of scientists described by colorful prints as well as blueprints and data charts. Antiqued digital photos of spurious, fictional "freaks of nature" that mock early scientific photography. Four provocative artists in one show, Kala Art Institute's 2 x 4 exhibition. The work of eight artists is being displayed four at a time this summer. Now through July 31 at the Kala Gallery are May Chan (the shirts), Taro Hattori (naked men), Amanda Knowles (family study), and Andrew Mano ("freaks"). 1060 Heinz Ave., Berkeley. 510-549-2977 or www.kala.org -- Kelly Vance

FRI 4

People in Antioch want to revive the old El Campanil Theatre downtown, so they're throwing a free Fourth of July open house and jazz concert to reintroduce the movie house to the public -- and also to gauge interest in the project (see Aisle Seat in the Film section). Moment's Notice will provide the sounds, beginning at 7 p.m., and visitors get a peek into the theater's ornate Spanish-style interior, hosted by El Campanil Theatre Preservation Foundation. 602 W. Second St., Antioch. For more info, phone 925-757-1366 or visit www.antiochrivertown.com -- Kelly Vance

SAT 5

Originally opened in 1936, Lake Temescal is one of the East Bay's oldest parks. Today, it will be the site of the East Bay Network Independence Day Picnic. The social organization for Bay Area adult gay, lesbian, and bisexual folks, the EBN promises a grand ol' time, with the help of Lake Temescal's 48 acres, 13-acre lake, 10 acres of turf, rose garden, and more. The group will provide plates and cups, charcoal, flatware, ice, and nonalcoholic bevvies, but it's up to you to bring a dish to share. There will be a lifeguard on duty and a handicapped-accessible entrance at the lake's north end. The swimming fee is $3 for grown-ups, a daily fishing permit costs $4, and parking in one of the lots is $4 per car. The park can be found at 6500 Broadway in Oakland. Call 510-562-PARK or visit www.ebparks.org/parks/ temescal.htm for park info and directions. -- Stefanie Kalem

SUN 6

If you're like most people, a visit to a Hungarian village is one of those things you've never quite gotten around to. Fear not. Téka, one of Hungary's most popular folk bands, is coming to Ashkenaz tonight (8 p.m.) for an evening of genuine Central European abandon. Just as they do on their periodic tours of the Hungarian and Transylvanian countryside, the boys will play authentic wedding and festival music on such instruments as the borduda bagpipe, the tekero hurdy-gurdy, and the ütogardon, a violin-shaped wooden percussion instrument, as well as on the more familiar fiddles and bass. Showtime is 8 p.m. $12. 1317 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley. www.ashkenaz.com -- Kelly Vance

MON 7

A marine researcher named Nathan Quinn sees something startling one day while cruising Hawaiian waters -- a humpback whale with the words "Bite Me" scrawled on its tail fluke. So begins Christopher Moore's Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings (HarperCollins), the playfully perverse novel by the author of Lamb -- which features a master race of undersea dwellers that adore baked goods. Moore drops into Cody's Books' T'graph location (2454 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley) at 7:30 this evening to spin this whale of a tale and sign autographs. Log onto www.codysbooks.com to learn more. -- Kelly Vance

TUE 8

Psst ... you, in the black-framed glasses and moth-munched cardigan. Wanna get in on the ground floor of some good buzz? Well, have we got the show for you. Continuous Peasant is a band led by Chris Stroffolino, a professor at St. Mary's College in Moraga. In his spare time, he's been known to play keyboards in a number of bands, including Rising Shotgun, Volumen, and fellow poet David Berman's Silver Jews. Stroffolino played on the Jews' third full-length, American Water, and Continuous Peasant owes much to the association with Berman. Not to say that the music on CP's debut disc, Exile in Babyville, apes the Silver Jews -- it must just be what happens when poets make indie rock. The band sounds like it's having a lot of fun on the mostly mid- and up-tempo cuts, and the lyrics are smart, packed tight with obtusely clever turns of phrase ("Some day in the morning/I will even will think I used to see/It's not looking in one eye/Only looking in all three"). Stroffolino's delivery owes a lot to Dylan, but his playing strays deliciously toward honky-tonk territory, over occasional horn vamps and new wave and country flavors. Tonight's gig at the Stork Club (2330 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) is the band's first, so be gentle. Blanche Devereaux opens the show, which starts around 9:30. 510-444-6174. -- Stefanie Kalem

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