This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 28

The late SF Chronicle columnist Herb Caen once speculated that dim sum was invented by a man named Sum Dum Goy. This news should not deter you from joining author Kim Wong Keltner as she reads from her novel, The Dim Sum of All Things, at noon today at Diesel Books in Oakland. The book, clearly in the general spirit of The Joy Luck Club and other Chinese-American cross-cultural narratives, at least has a sense of humor going for it. Its protagonist, a 25-year-old woman named Lindsey Owyang, constantly runs afoul of her Tiger Balm-dispensing grandmother, the search for romance, the hyphenated-American thing, and even the dreaded Hello Kitty. Here's a treat: Keltner will serve dim sum to everyone attending the reading. 5433 College Ave., Oakland. DieselBookstore.com -- Kelly Vance

THU 29

Ibrahim Miari, an Israeli Arab, and Meirav Kupperberg, an Israeli Jew, met north of Haifa as part of the Akko Theatre Company, renowned for its sensitive meditations on themes of Israeli culture and politics. Now they bring their experience and expertise to UC Berkeley's Wurster Hall, when they perform their original stage production Ambassadors of Very Good Will, which emphasizes the similarities between the two sides of Israel's internal strife. Ron Wiseman provides music and video and the show was translated by director Howard Rypp. Showtime is 7:30 p.m., and this show -- sponsored by the Israel Center of the SF-based Jewish Community Federation -- is free and open to all. -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 30

The Richmond Art Center's annual "Art of Living Black" show is superambitious, with something for everyone, black or otherwise. The show -- now in its eighth edition -- is divided into two parts: a group exhibition by more than ninety artists at the center (2540 Barrett Ave., Richmond), and the Art Tour, in which some thirty artists show and sell works from their studios. Among this year's highlights are "A Conversation in Wood and Metal" by Laurie Marson and Michael Cullen; prints by Casper Banjo; a ceramics exhibit, "The Buddha Code," by Robert Milnes; illustrations by Joseph Rivers; the photography of Bayeté Ross-Smith; and paintings by Lorraine Bonner. But that short list doesn't even begin to do justice to this wide-ranging show. "The Art of Living Black" runs Wednesdays through Saturdays through March 20. For more info: TheRichmondArtCenter.org or 510-620-6772. -- Kelly Vance

SAT 31

Danville Fit is the East Bay version of the national USA Fit network of programs, reportedly first developed by a group of Houston marathoners. Danville, along with the other Fits nationwide, is a 26-week running (and walking) program dedicated to getting its members fit enough to run a marathon. It costs $95 to join ($65 to re-up), and the annual fee entitles you to discounts on sports apparel and shoes as well as coaching and networking, training guides, seminars, etc. That noted, our attention turns to the San Ramon Valley's Iron Horse Trail, where the season's first "ability-group placement" run or walk is being held today (8 a.m.), along with an orientation and sign-up -- all in preparation for the August 1 San Francisco Marathon. Meet at the corner of Prospect and Railroad avenues in Danville. If you're the sort who needs prodding to get the job done, but you want to be in terrific shape, this might be for you. You can sign up for the program online at DanvilleFit.com through February 28. -- Kelly Vance

SUN 1

Button up your overcoat and lace up your spectators for the Art Deco Society of California's walking tour of downtown Berkeley. Interested parties should converge at the UA Theater (2274 Shattuck Ave.) at 11 a.m. today, for a guided, ninety-minute trek that will include such examples of 1920s and 1930s architecture as Berkeley High School, the former Kress Department Store, and the Life Sciences and Men's Gymnasium at Cal. The tour is free for ADSC members (including those who join up on the spot), $10 for crashers. Inclement weather cancels; call 415-982-DECO to make sure you're not all wet. -- Stefanie Kalem

MON 2

Ah, Monday. Good for almost nothing but reality TV and band practice. But what if you can't stand watching humanity go down the toilet, and you haven't managed to get that perfect group of players together? Maybe you should tote your Telecaster out to Concord for Vinnie's Jam Night. Every Monday from 9 p.m. to midnight, house band Cultivated Steel invites aspiring jazz, blues, and Top 40 rock musicians to step up to the stage and play with them. The band provides the amps, microphones, and drum kit -- you just bring your sticks and axe of choice. And if you just want to sit back and listen to what happens when strangers plug in and play off the cuff, there are Moosehead pitchers for $8, an ever-changing roster of drink specials, and a friendly atmosphere to keep you coming back. Vinnie's is located at 2045 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Concord. Call 925-685-9515 for more info. -- Stefanie Kalem

TUE 3

Author Pham Thi Hoai's first novel, Thien Su (The Crystal Messenger), was banned by the Vietnamese government shortly after its publication in 1988. Since then, the book has been widely published elsewhere and awarded a literary prize, and Ms. Pham has published two more novels and three short-story collections -- but the ban in her native country must have smarted. This evening (5-6:30 p.m.) at the Lipman Room on the eighth floor of UC Berkeley's Barrows Hall, she speaks on "The Machinery of Vietnamese Art and Literature in the Post-Revolution, Post-Communist (and Post-Modern) Period," presumably drawing in part on her own experience. The free lecture is sponsored by the UC Berkeley-UCLA Consortium for Southeast Asia Studies, and will be delivered in Vietnamese with English translation. A reception follows. 510-642-3609. -- Kelly Vance

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