This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 17

As Lisa Drostova put it in these very pages two weeks ago, Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke differs from some of his other works in that "Nobody goes insane, nobody's lover gets fatally shot, and unlike some of the better-known works -- Suddenly Last Summer or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof -- nobody is in agony because he has to conceal his homosexuality." That isn't to say that the play isn't seamy. It tells the story of a messy, protracted love affair between two very different neighbors, and it's just the kind of thing you kids love. Under 35 Night is the perfect way to check out Center REPertory's current production at Dean Lesher, with wine and hors d'oeuvres at 6:30 p.m. and a performance at 7:30, immediately followed by a Q&A forum with the actors. Tickets cost $27; call 925-943-SHOW or visit DLRCA.org for further details. -- Stefanie Kalem

THU 18

Given all the baffled amazement, fearmongering, and outright confusion on both sides of the presidential election, now might be the time to find out how the other half thinks. The Honorable Gayle B. Uilkema, Contra Costa County's District 2 supervisor, wants to give you that opportunity. She's hosting a Let's Talk America Conversation from 7 to 9 p.m., one of many similar events organized nationwide by the group of the same name. Let's Talk America (LetsTalkAmerica.org) hopes to start a "movement to take American politics from diatribe to dialogue," and in June, the group got the rubber stamp from such differing opinion-heads as Diet for a Small Planet author Frances Moore Lappé and David Keene of the Christian Coalition. The meeting takes place in Uilkema's office conference room, 3338 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette. Info: 925-376-7004 or msleila@hotmail.com -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 19

Remember in Monty Python's Life of Brian, when a big, menacing Roman centurion (John Cleese) catches Judean rebel Brian Cohen (Graham Chapman) writing anti-Roman graffiti in the public square one night, and corrects Brian's bad Latin grammar, so that "Romanes Eunt Domus" is properly changed to "Romani Ite Domum"? The members of the SF punk quartet Romans Go Home obviously do. What that academic-yocks movie joke has to do with the band's music, which tends toward standard-brand hard-rock ditties such as "Wastoids from the Blue Ribbon Planet," is anybody's guess. But you could do worse than to suck a few brews while they saw away on their instruments tonight at Bourbon Street, where hair meets wood over beer. They share the stage with Scraping for Change and Idoleyes. 2765 Clayton Rd., Concord. 925-676-7272. -- Kelly Vance

SAT 20

Get ready for a Japan vs. America competition at this year's International Taiko Festival. The major program of the two-day Japanese drumming event at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall is a taiko drum battle between the Rising Stars Dream Team, a youth ensemble tutored by SF Taiko Dojo artistic director Seiichi Tanaka, and Kijimadaiko, a group of young drummers from Kijima in Nagano Prefecture who performed at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano. The fest also hosts the premiere of Soul of the Bell, a collaboration of performance artist Brenda Wong Aoki, jazz musician Mark Izu, and grandmaster Tanaka; as well as drumming by Sacramento Taiko Dan, Marco Lienhard, Master Etsuo Hongo and the Los Angeles Matsuri Daiko, and lion dancer Nosuke Akiyama. The beat goes on today (7 p.m.) and Sunday (3 p.m.). $26-$36 from CalPerfs.Berkeley.edu or 510-642-9988. -- Kelly Vance

SUN 21

The pleasure is to play, it makes no difference what you say. You may choose to keep those Motörhead lyrics in mind if you come along to Mama Buzz' monthly acoustic Ace of Spades feature. Those scruffy bards are hauling themselves out of their hangover to play for you because they love it -- makes no difference what you say. Lucky for you, this week's event is guaranteed to please, with a special acoustic set by Sub Pop's Rogue Wave, Ace of Spades organizers Mandrake, and the folk-rock guitar of Yosef Lewis, plus special guests. The show is free and all-ages, and there's beer, wine, caffeine, and comfort food to be had. 1 to 3 p.m., 2318 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-465-4073. -- Stefanie Kalem

MON 22

The New York lottery had a slogan some years ago: All you need is a dollar and a dream. With apologies to them, for Dr. David Jenkins' new dream discussion group, all you need is twelve dollars and a dream. Oh, and you gotta be a guy: his new monthly session is a men-only, drop-in dream group. See, Ph.D Jenkins says that men dream about three times more than women about sex, and they also have more dreams about physical violence. So why not get the men talking to each other, and only each other, about these nocturnal missions? After all, we don't want to frighten the fillies. Find out what it all means from 7 to 9 p.m. at 554 Grand Ave. in Oakland. Visit PracticalDreamwork.com or call 510-644-2369. -- Stefanie Kalem

TUE 23

Oakland's sprawling Chinatown wasn't always in its present location. In the 1860s, a settlement of Chinese immigrants sprang up on San Pablo Avenue between 19th and 20th streets, only to be eventually displaced by ... wait for it ... developers. But these days at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, a new display curated by archaeologist Anna Naruta tells the story of Oakland's First Chinatown, centering on a 120-year-old storefront at 1972 San Pablo Ave. This celebration of early Chinese Californians coincides at the center with "Search for Roots," a visiting exhibit on a Chinese workers' camp at Lake Chabot. The San Pablo Avenue Chinatown exhibit is now permanently on display, both at the center (388 9th St., Oakland), where admission is free, or online at UptownChinatown.org -- Kelly Vance

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