This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 29

What Moor can be said about Shakespeare? Othello, of course. The tragic play about a Moorish king deceived by his best friend and ensnared in a web of treachery, jealousy, envy, and lust has proved one of the most enduring of all of Shakespeare's classics. Although it is not specifically about race relations -- though often interpreted as such, due to the title character's ethnicity -- Othello is about power, and how our ego-driven impulses can sometimes work against our best interests. Director Sean Daniels' current CalShakes production modernizes and urbanizes Othello, giving it a contemporary hipness that should appeal to more than just dyed-in-the-beard Bard buffs. On that note, if you're thirty or younger, you can get tickets for tonight's performance (or any Tuesday-Friday show) at Bruns Amphitheater for just $10, about the price of a cineplex seat. Movies, shmovies. The play's the thing. 510-548-9666 or -- Eric K. Arnold

THU 30

Yacine Kouyate is an authentic jali man from Mali -- also known by the French word griot -- a keeper of oral history, or, as it's referred to in the epic poem Sundiata, "the memory of mankind." In addition, he is also an excellent musician, able to play guitar, piano, or drums with equal skill, whether solo or with his band Sumanguru Legacy. Meanwhile, Angel of Thorns is the latest band to be fronted by the legendary Bailey (once the booker for the late, great Berkeley Square); they mix funk and rock into an ear-splitting, booty-shaking experience. And Ashkon and the Sex is not what's happened to cradle-robber Demi Moore recently, but rather an up-and-coming local indie-rock band with designs to conquer the world, one show (and many groupies) at a time. All three acts will be on display tonight at the Oakland Metro for a 9 p.m. show. $8. -- Eric K. Arnold


Music and life are interchangeable in the African village of Bibaba, a small town deep out in the bush of Ghana. Drums, dancing, and singing are ubiquitous for celebrations of all kinds, from marriages to funerals to harvests. It was in this environment that the five brothers who call themselves the African Showboyz were raised, and since coming to America in 2003, they've collaborated with Speech of Arrested Development, as well as world-music superstars Femi Kuti and Alpha Blondy. Tonight, they come to Ashkenaz, bringing with them the magic of music, rhythm, and culture straight from the Motherland. 9:30 pm, $11-$13. -- Eric K. Arnold


Finish that mojito and put your Buena Vista Social Club CD back in its case, because Ricardo Lemvo is coming to town. One of the most versatile Afro-Cuban musicians around, Lemvo and his band Makina Loca switch from soukous to rumba to salsa to son to bomba to merengue faster than you can say "oba oba," while singing in several languages, including Portuguese, Lingala, Kikongo, Spanish, French, and English. This weekend, Lemvo will pass through Yoshi's for four shows (8 and 10 p.m. on Saturday, and 2 and 8 p.m. on Sunday). And if the music wasn't special enough, the dancefloor will be open, so you can move along with the spirit without feeling fettered. $5-$20, -- Eric K. Arnold


Inferno Gallery, housed in the former Vulcan Studios foundry/art colony on San Leandro Street in industrial East Oakland, takes itself seriously as a refuge for rebellious anticommercial artists. It's also a fun place to visit, with its massive "Gates" wooden door, its saffron-infused floor, and a '60s-era Sputnik chandelier. Right now Inferno is hosting a catch-all show called 17 Artists on the Wall -- full of "poppish to pornish to post-postist" artworks by a varied group of Bay Area artists, which continues through July 12. If you want to go today, though, you'll have to make an appointment (510-435-4843 or e-mail 4401 San Leandro St., Oakland. Info: -- Kelly Vance


Even if you can't tell a planxty from a strathspey, Pat Ryan's Celtic Junket will get you in the explorin' frame of mind when Pat and his trio (featuring himself on six-string fretless bass) step onto the stage at today's Fourth of July celebration at the Berkeley Marina (160 University Ave.). Go ahead and try out your Kerry waltz or your highland fling -- this music is for dancing, and Pat duly covers all the musical territory in the wanderings of the Celtic people, from Ireland, Scotland, Northumbria, Cornwall, and Wales to Galicia and Asturias in Spain. The band goes on at 2 p.m., leaving you plenty of time to drink, dance, pass out, sleep it off a bit, and then reawaken in time for the fireworks on the shore. For more info: 510-548-5355 or -- Kelly Vance


It explored both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian troubles in Seeing Double (1989). It protested at seeing its City for Sale. It winced when Mr. Smith went to Obscuristan. And last year it staged a Showdown at Crawford Gulch, but the bad guy won the election anyway. That would be the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the country's preeminent counterculture performance company, which has been barnstorming the parks and vacant lots of Northern California spreading the word about social injustice and war resistance ever since R.G. Davis founded the troupe in 1959. Writer and Cal State Los Angeles theater arts and dance professor Susan Vaneta Mason has been following the Mime Troupe for about thirty years, and she knows her Factwino from her Hotel Universe. Her book, The San Francisco Mime Troupe Reader (University of Michigan Press, $60), sums up the history of this unique group of actor-agitators. She reads from it tonight (7:30 p.m.) at Black Oak Books, 1491 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. 510-486-0698 or -- Kelly Vance


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