This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 24

When Robbie Conal caricatures someone, he stays caricatured. The LA-based teacher, illustrator, and political poster maker (educated at SF State in the '60s) also does kittens, mutts, and benign personalities such as Mahatma Gandhi, but he's sharpest when skewering establishment ogres: Dick "Enronergizer Bunny" Cheney, Colin "Skull Fucker" Powell, Joe Lieberman, etc. This evening at 7:30, Conal returns to Oakland's Diesel: A Bookstore to flog his new book, Artburn: The Twenty-First Century Shots from a Guerrilla Artist (Akashic Books, $19.95), named after his LA Weekly column, and no doubt to bemoan the state of the union. 5433 College Ave. 510-653-9965, Diesel.booksense.com, or RobbieConal.com -- Kelly Vance

THU 25

Come to that reliable bastion of Republican sensibilities, the Freight & Salvage, tonight, for an appearance by the cofounder of the GOP, Kathy Kallick. Oh, wait a minute -- that's the Good Ol' Persons, not the Grand Old Party (harumph -- some party), and Kallick is a venerable bluegrass player (recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the California Bluegrass Association) and a folkie, not just another paradoxical "compassionate conservative." Kallick's thirteenth release, Reason & Rhyme, is a solo affair, but her GOP cofounder, Laurie Lewis, contributes vocal, fiddle, and/or bass on four of the record's fifteen tracks. The tunes include a cover of Kate Wolf's "Trumpet Vine" and Kallick's arrangement of the traditional "Handsome Cabin Boy" mixed in with the originals and collaborations. The two guitarists, acoustic bassist, mandolin player, harmony vocalist, and fiddler who accompany the Susan Sarandon lookalike on Rhyme & Reason will appear at tonight's record release party at the Freight (1111 Addison St., Berkeley). 8 p.m., $16.50 at the door. 510-548-1761. -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 26

Fresh from headlining the third annual "Latinos Locos" comedy tour, Carlos Oscar appears tonight and tomorrow night at Tommy T's, 1655 Willow Pass Rd., Concord. "I just sort of talk up there," he says. "I'm really more of a storyteller, not a comic. I just sit on the stool. I don't even stand up." And despite an Air Force stint, he sat a lot prior to hitting the comedy circuit, too. Oscar started out in radio, with his own show on LA Talk Station 97.1 (KLSX), and now hosts Galavision's Que Locos! His greatest influence? Why, Chico himself -- Freddie Prinze. The opener will be Modesto's own Manny Maldonaldo, a USF comedy champ and frequent visitor to Que Locos! Tonight's show starts at 8 p.m., and tomorrow's are at 8 and 10 p.m. 925-686-6809. -- Stefanie Kalem

SAT 27

The strings are the things today at the Berkeley Farmers' Market String Band Festival. Starting at 11 a.m., fifteen bands (Early Girls, Buck Fush Entertainers, Fiddle Doves, the Pork Belly Futures) compete before a panel of celebrity judges (to be identified the day of the event). Then, at 2:30 p.m., Evie Ladin calls a community dance open to anyone and everyone. Got a string band that you think could play second fiddle, at least? Then show up for the 10:30 a.m. registration, and if one of the participating bands flakes, maybe you can grab their spot. Your host for the day will be Suzy Thompson (Bluegrass Intentions, California Cajun Orchestra) and the emcee will be Mary Tilson, host of America's Back Forty Show, which airs on event cosponsor KPFA. The Berkeley Farmers' Market runs from 10:30 a.m. till 3 p.m., and can be found at Civic Center Park, Center St. at MLK. EcologyCenter.org or 510-548-3333. -- Stefanie Kalem

SUN 28

So a guy walks into a bar and meets a woman wearing a hat. ... Or was he imagining the whole thing? Thus begins a nightmare for the protagonist of Phantom Lady, director Robert Siodmak's 1944 noir thriller, adapted from Cornell Woolrich's pulp novel and starring Ella Raines, Franchot Tone, and the unavoidable Elisha Cook Jr. Phantom Lady doesn't show up often at noir fests -- it's one of several hard-to-find titles in the Grand Lake Theater's remarkable Film Noir Festival, running through October 9, along with such irresistibles as Nightmare Alley, Crossfire (with Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan, and Gloria Grahame), and The Burglar, featuring welterweight sneering champ Dan Duryea. Phantom Lady plays today (2:15, 6:00, 9:45) on a twin bill with one of the all-time classics, Billy Wilder's ultra-nasty Double Indemnity (12:15, 4:00, 7:45). Check RenaissanceRialto.com -- Kelly Vance

MON 29

It may be happening in Milpitas, but when foursomes tee up today at Spring Valley Golf Course for the nineteenth annual Ohlone College Foundation Golf Tournament, it will benefit Fremont's Ohlone College's student athletic scholarship fund. Fees are $175 per golfer or $700 per foursome, including lunch and dinner. The eighteen-hole Spring Valley course, set in the rolling hills of the Southeast Bay, is located at 3441 Calaveras Blvd. in Milpitas, 408-262-1722. Registration and lunch is at 11:30 a.m. First tee-off is at 1 p.m. Dinner at 6:30 p.m. www.ohlone.cc.ca.us/org/foundation/golftournament.html -- Kelly Vance

TUE 30

Poets Helena María Viramontes and Arturo Dávila S. appear this evening as part of Mills College's Parallel Lines: A Celebration of Latin American Arts. Currently teaching at Cornell University, Viramontes has published a novel, Under the Feet of Jesus, and a short-story collection, The Moths and Other Stories, using stream-of-consciousness, magic, and multiple narrators to illustrate the burdens of Chicana women. Dávila S. is poet laureate in Spain and Mexico, and has won, among other accolades, the 2003 Juan Ramón Jiménez Hispano American Poetry Prize for his most recent anthology, Poemas para ser leídos en el Metro ("Poems to be read on the subway"). He currently teaches Chicano literature at Mills. This free event takes place in the Faculty Lounge in the Rothwell Center, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland. 510-430-3250. -- Stefanie Kalem

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