In the tradition of ancestor worship -- the only religion native to China -- Ching Ming, or Grave-Sweeping Day, is observed on April 5. During this festival, the Chinese honor dead relatives by weeding grave areas, cleaning headstones, laying food and fresh flowers at the site, lighting incense, and burning imitation paper money (for the departed to spend in the afterworld). Such a morbidly celebratory holiday has surely lit the fire of inspiration under more than one artist's keister. Through April 10, check out how Chai H. Ng, an advanced art student at Ohlone College, commemorates the holiday with an exhibit of traditional and Americanized Ching Ming family artifacts and photographs with explanatory text. Ching Ming Celebration is up at the Louie Meager Art Gallery (Ohlone College, 43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont) right now; gallery hours are Monday-Friday, noon-3 p.m. Info: Ohlone.edu/org/artgallery, 510-659-6176.
Judith Miller isn't the first writer to be threatened with jail time for refusing to reveal a source; as recently as 2001, Houston author Vanessa Leggett was imprisoned for 168 days for declining to disclose research and name sources for a true-crime book as part of a grand jury inquiry. Miller's case, however, is the first in thirty years to be brought before a federal appeals court. You can find out the latest developments in the Pulitzer Prize-winner's case -- and whether she thinks she'll do time for refusing to answer questions about the leak of CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity -- when Miller appears in conversation with Lowell Bergman for "The Consequences of Confidential Sources: Jail," at UC Berkeley's Wheeler Auditorium this evening. 7:30 p.m., $10 (students free). Reserve your spot by calling 510-642-9988.
There is a long history of art created in transit -- poetry written on long flights, sketches created on late-night subway trains, and so forth. But what of the time spent waiting to be en route? Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company explores the feelings of "stuckness" experienced by individuals stranded in a terminal by a flight delay in Tomorrow Is Today. The piece, written and choreographed by Destiny Arts' young members in collaboration with professional artists, plays this and next Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and this Sunday at 3 p.m., at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts (1428 Alice St., Oakland). Ticket price is on a sliding scale, $12-$20, or $6 for those under eighteen. Visit DestinyArts.org or call 510-597-1619.
Today is your last chance to see John Casey's first solo show of mixed-media sculptures and pen-and-ink drawings. For Unusual Suspects, Casey has loaned his demons to the Cricket Engine Studio and Gallery, and man, are they cute -- in a grotesque kind of way. The Oakland-by-way-of-New England rez creates detailed drawings and glossy, small-scale sculptures of clownish monstrosities that somehow -- despite their gimp masks, vestigial horns, feet for bodies, boxing gloves for legs, sphincter-lipped mouths, and incorrectly hairy parts -- seem to beg for your love. Cricket Engine is located at 499 Embarcadero Ave., Building 3, Oakland, and gallery hours are noon-5 p.m. CricketEngine.org, 510-326-7936. Check out Casey's work at BunnyWax.com
Rahim AlHaj was born in Baghdad and began playing the oud at age nine. In 1991, after the first Gulf War, his political activism against the Hussein regime forced him from his home country, leading him to first Jordan, then Syria. In 2000 he came to the United States as a political refugee and has been here ever since, carving a name for himself as a successful musician in Albuquerque. "Rahim's music is the most eloquent expression of his desire for peace," writes Joanne Sheehy Hoover, a music critic for the Albuquerque Journal. "I cannot imagine a better ambassador, especially during the current war madness." AlHaj performs a solo concert in Berkeley tonight at the Freight & Salvage, 2015 Addison St., beginning at 8 p.m. $18.50 in advance, $19.50 at the door. Info: TheFreight.org, 510-548-1761.
Got a case of the Mondays? Stop into the Lakeview Branch of the Oakland Public Library, 550 El Embarcadero, tonight for a Stress Less Seminar. From 6:30-7:45 p.m., Tess M. Oulette will share skills for handling everyday stress (you know, paper jams, micromanaging bosses), how to experience deep relaxation, and how hypnosis can give you more energy and focus for what matters. We can't guarantee you'll walk out feeling like you're on a fishing trip, but hey, it's free, so why not, right? Please skip the scented products, though. 510-238-7344.
Attention, all ye droppers of knowledge, spinners of science, victors of verse, and rhyming rapscallions of all range: There's a new open mic in town, and its name is Twilight Tuesdays. Each week, the Theatrical Poetic Collective presents an open mic from 7-7:30 p.m., with any original or improv pieces welcome (no profanity or explicit language, please), followed by an hour of Third Eye Theater, wherein participants' original poetry will be incorporated into a theatrical scene. The evening ends with a topical, impromptu round-robin session, with contestants given a theme or words and two minutes to compose a poem, with cash prizes awarded. $5 admission fee, no one turned away for lack of funds. The Third Eye Theater activity requires rehearsal -- e-mail email@example.com for more information. At the Black Repertory Group theater, 3201 Adeline St., Berkeley.
What the Fork - October 20, 3:19 PM
Culture Spy - October 20, 2:22 PM
Culture Spy - October 19, 5:10 PM
Culture Spy - October 18, 2:55 PM
What the Fork - October 18, 1:45 PM