This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 10

Rivalry. Dancing. Incest. Sure sounds like a recipe for romantic comedy, don't it? Sample this hot brew when La Peña screens Paradise Under the Stars (Un Paraíso bajo las estrellas) tonight at 7 p.m. to benefit SF-Bay Area Friendshipment and Pastors for Peace. The 2000 Cuban hit centers on young Sissy's dreams of dancing, like her mother before her, at Havana's storied Tropicana club (despite her father's objections), and her love affair with a boy who may or may not be her long-lost brother. Admission is on a sliding scale, $8 to $15, and La Peña is located at 3105 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley. Call 510-849-2658 or visit LaPena.org for further lowdown. -- Stefanie Kalem

THU 11

Now that Buy Nothing Day is a coupla weeks behind us, you can feel free to start shopping for the radicals on your list. Prime target: the AK Press Annual Holiday Book Sale. Between 4 and 10 p.m. today only, everything in the warehouse will be at least 25 percent off. Books, CDs, videos, DVDs, gear starting as low as $1, remainders, damaged goods, and overstock to buy in bulk or singularly, it's all there for the bargain-taking. Oh, and refreshments! There will be refreshments! The warehouse is tucked into 674-A 23rd St., Oakland (we'd recommend using MapQuest or the like, if you've never been there before). Call 510-208-1700 or visit AKPress.org for more information. -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 12

Urban public installation art, with or without a license (mostly without), is the rallying point for tonight's Urbanology show at Oakland's Liminal Gallery. Among the featured works are sculpture, panel pieces, and studio projects at different stages of completion by several "street-side" artists from as far away as Berlin and Tokyo and as nearby as the corner of 7th and Mandela: Justin Artifice, Eric the Box Guy, the Cement Collective, Kiesho, and Daas Limac. The idea is that the art may be illegal, but the city needs it desperately. The musical portion of the evening is provided by hip-hop artists Foreign Legion and the Buckle Bros., and don't be surprised if a pick-up basketball game happens. That's a lot of fun for only $6-$10 (sliding scale). 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. at 2000 Myrtle St., Oakland (at West Grand). 510-798-6566. -- Kelly Vance

SAT 13

As a youth, composer Gian Carlo Menotti became crippled, and was reportedly cured after a visit to a religious shrine. Later, in 1951, his belief in this "miracle" inspired Menotti to compose Amahl and the Night Visitors, the epochally popular Christmastime opera about a young boy unable to walk -- until a fateful encounter with the Three Kings on a winter's night in Bethlehem. Menotti's tuneful, inspirational, blessedly brief opera (it runs a concise sixty minutes) is firmly established as a Christmas tradition. It plays today and tomorrow, in a production by Concord-based Solo Opera Company, at Walnut Creek's Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts (1602 Civic Drive). Showtimes both days: 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22 adults, $17 students and seniors. Info: DLRCA.org or 925-943-7469. -- Kelly Vance

SUN 14

If there's one thing at which the East Bay excels, it's resistance to authority. This afternoon and into the night, an army of spoken word artists, hip-hop DJs, lefty politicos, firebrand speakers, and various ad-hoc groupings (Anti-Militarist Anarchists, International Solidarity Movement, Food Not Bombs, etc.) descends on Humanist Hall in Oakland (390 27th St. between Telegraph and Broadway, below Pill Hill) for the Anti-Militarist Festival of Resistance. On the agenda: opposition to the war in Iraq, the prison-industrial complex, and the militarization of police in the United States, among other topics. Entertainment by Lynx, Insurgent Poets, Six Pack Four, former members of the Molotov Mouths, and more. Admission is $5-$15, or free with a donation for homeless shelters (blankets, warm winter clothing, shoes, etc.). A teach-in begins at 4 p.m., the arty stuff at 6 p.m., and it runs until midnight. Info: 510-547-7486. -- Kelly Vance

MON 15

Holiday hubbub driving you crazy? You're not alone. Writer-directors Erin Gilley and Evren Odcikin, along with the rest of the Shotgun Theatre Lab ensemble, know the "holiday more-than-blahs" feeling well enough to have written a collaborative theater piece about the phenomenon. The piece is called Heavy Days, and it's about teeth-gnashing Christmas dinners, self-help books that don't help, Martha Stewart -- you know, the usual suspects -- and how four women cope with it all. Or fail to cope, as the case may be. Heavy Days continues, tonight through Friday, December 19, all shows at 8 p.m., at La Val's Subterranean, 1834 Euclid Ave., Berkeley -- where holiday migraines get turned into performing art. All tickets $10, from 510-704- 8210 or ShotgunPlayers.org -- Kelly Vance

TUE 16

Today you'll have not one, but two (count 'em, two) opportunities to learn the ancient art of sauerkraut-making. Yes, it is ancient -- Chinese laborers building the Great Wall of China over 2,000 years ago ate shredded cabbage fermented in rice wine. And it may also be the cure for what ails you, according to self-described "fermentation fetishist" Sandor Ellix Katz, who is presenting Fermentation Fervor events throughout the Bay Area this week. Katz, a long-term AIDS survivor, deems live-culture foods a significant part of his healing process. He's promoting his book Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods with a series of demonstrations and free workshops, starting in San Francisco and heading eastward. Today you can taste the kraut at 3 p.m. at the Berkeley Farmers' Market (Derby St. and Martin Luther King Jr. Way), and from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Organic Cafe and Macrobiotic Grocery (1050 40th Avenue, Oakland). -- Stefanie Kalem

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