This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 24

Hey! Where are those babies going?! In Caldecott Medal-winner Peggy Rathmann's new kiddie joint, The Day the Babies Crawled Away, the grown-ups are too busy competing in a pie-eating contest at the fair to notice their babies a-crawlin' off. Only one little boy sees them, and it's up to him to follow as they blithely chase bees in trees, frogs in a bog, even bats in a cave. Rathmann has, in the past, given us 10 Minutes Till Bedtime, Officer Buckle and Gloria, Good Night, Gorilla, and more. The distinctive illustrations in The Day ... are of black silhouettes against colorful skies -- hear the story from Rathmann herself when she reads at Rakestraw Books, 409 Railroad Ave. in Danville, today at 10 a.m. To make reservations to bring a class group, call 925-837-7337. -- Stefanie Kalem

THU 25

Nobody likes to get sick, but when health problems happen it's good to know there's a place nearby like La Clinica de la Raza in Oakland's Fruitvale district, the reborn home of the original free clinic founded in 1971. Especially amazing since it's opening in a time of cutbacks in public services, the all-new health-care facility at 3451 E. 12th St. in Fruitvale Transit Village can provide a full range of health services for as many as 13,000 patients a year, including family medicine, pediatrics, ob-gyn, dental, X-ray, and internal medicine, plus a lab and pharmacy. To help make all that a reality as well as to celebrate, La Clinica is hosting a Grand Opening Fund-Raiser this evening from 6:30 to 8:30, with live music. Tickets are $75, available in advance from 415-651-1826. -- Kelly Vance

FRI 26

The spoken-word scene in the East Bay continues to draw hopefuls who refuse to remain silent. It's the most democratic of art forms -- all you need to get over is a voice, some rhythm (electronically supplied or self-generated), and something to say. Tonight at La Peña Cultural Center, the eighth annual Teen Poetry Slam East Bay Semi-Finals steps forward, a magnet for young poetry slammers and hip-hop raconteurs looking to make their mark. The two-night competition, which continues Saturday, is open to anyone aged thirteen to nineteen. To register, phone 415-255-9035 ex. 21, or e-mail slam@youthspeaks.org. Admission is $10 general, $4 youth under twenty. 7 p.m. at La Peña, 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. For more info, visit www.lapena.org -- Kelly Vance

SAT 27

Last October, Eric Arnold wrote in the Express that neo-soul siren Maya Azucena "comes across as a completely real character in her songs, someone you not only believe in, but you're rooting for to win in the end." Appropriately, if you drop by the Brooklynite's home in cyberspace, MayaAzucena.com, you can read her journal entries, which often take form as stream-of-consciousness poetry. Further proof of Azucena's lack of divaesque artifice is her "Music of Choice" series, themed monthly parties designed to bring together music, spoken word, and art. Such unaffected displays are rare in music today, and even less so in a young hottie with a big voice. Check out Azucena's rock- and hip-hop-accented live show, with full band (her only Bay Area stop on the current tour, presented by Dee Cee's Soul Shakedown and Happs magazine), tonight at the Shattuck Down Low, 2284 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. Deuce Eclipse of Oywalk Sounds/Zion I Crew and live hip-hop outfit the 808 Band open the 21-and-up show. Doors are at 9 p.m., and tickets cost $8 for students, $10 for everyone else. -- Stefanie Kalem

SUN 28

As Bay Area theatrical traditions go, there are none sweeter than the annual Stagebridge Family Matinee and Ice Cream Social. For thirteen years now, playwright and director Linda Spector has been adapting kids' books about grandparents for the nation's oldest seniors' theater company. This year's production, Grandfather's Journey and Other Grandparent Tales, features a multicultural, multigenerational cast depicting a Japanese grandfather and his grandson's similar journeys around the world; the friendship between a young Mexican migrant worker and a library worker; and the undying desire for freedom of an African prince sold into slavery. Would you like whipped cream and a cherry on your happy endings? Then come to Arts First Oakland (2501 Harrison St.) today at 3 p.m. Tickets cost $5 for kids, $10 for grown-ups, and there is plenty of free parking and wheelchair access. Make your reservations at 510-444-4755 -- these events have been known to sell out. -- Stefanie Kalem

MON 29

The weekend is not over. We repeat: The weekend is not over. Proof positive can be found every Monday night at Cafe Van Kleef (1621 Telegraph Ave., Oakland), when DJ Kitty, Prozack Turner, and Magic Martinez play soul, hip-hop, and anything and everything else that could possibly get your body rockin'. Order an ojos rojos and act like it ain't a school night -- the party starts at 9 p.m. Info: 510-563-7711. -- Stefanie Kalem

TUE 30

Painter James C. Christensen's art deals with themes of myth, fable, the natural world, and the so-called "feminine divine," with a strong nod to the Pre-Raphaelites of the 19th century. His daughter, Cassandra Christensen Barney, paints similar subjects with a more 20th-century sensibility and flamboyant use of color. The elder Christensen appears in person this afternoon (4 to 8 p.m.) to narrate a slide show of his work, in connection with a show of limited edition prints and original paintings by Christensen Barney, at the Frame Shop & Gallery, 1661 Botelho Dr., #100, Walnut Creek. As a benefit for the Perinatal Council, a print will be raffled off ($2 per ticket). Want to learn more? Phone 925-937-1151 or log onto FramingManiacs.com -- Kelly Vance

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