With all due respect to local music writer Derk Richardson, Scott Amendola does exist, so there's no need to invent him. In fact, if you've spent any time at all in the Bay Area music scene in the last decade-plus, you've probably caught the drum-kit equivalent of a guitar god many a time. Amendola is such a snare stud, he uses outboard effects to further massage his percussive licks, and his new album with the Scott Amendola Band, Believe, will make you a disciple of Mahavishnu Orchestra and John Scofieldesque jazz/rock fusion, if you weren't already. In addition to Amendola, bassist John Shifflett, guitarist Jeff Parker, and violinist Jenny Scheinman, the band features guitarist Nels Cline (currently a member of Wilco). Tonight's gig at Yoshi's promises to be special, as Amendola will be on the road with Madeleine Peyroux the rest of the year -- so if you snooze, you lose. 8 and 10 p.m., $10-$14, Yoshis.com
Rohinton Mistry may be the finest writer of Indian descent not named V.S. Naipaul or Salman Rushdie. Born in Bombay (Mumbai) in 1952, he emigrated to Canada in 1975 and over the last two decades has notched considerable recognition for his work. Mistry's greatest honor, however, may have come when his 1995 novel A Fine Balance was selected for the Oprah Winfrey Book Club. Set in Mumbai, the novel addresses India's changing society during a time of government-mandated restrictions on civil liberties called for by then-Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. A Fine Balance will be the topic of discussion for The Remainders book club meeting tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. at the El Sobrante Library (4191 Appian Way). Call 510-374-3991 for more info.
A few weeks ago, Chris Marsol played live at Oakland's Oasis club. Appearing on stage in a mini Mohawk and polo shirt, guitar in hand, the singer-songwriter looked like a wayward member of Fishbone or Living Color who had missed the last decade altogether. But as soon as the music started, Marsol proved that black funk-rock is far from passé. Revving into selections from his current album Rocket Science, he was clearly a star in the making. The next phase in his development happens tonight, when he headlines Blake's (2367 Telegraph Ave.), along with International Loose Cannons, Dubb Sack, and J.D. Doors at 8, show at 9, $10. BlakesonTelegraph.com
If you're in the Emeryville area today, be sure and stop by 1650 65th St. on your way back from IKEA. There, you'll find a sprawling display of art and crafts from more than 90 E'ville-affiliated artists and artisans, from paintings to woodblocks to sculpture to photography exhibits to ceramics to monoprints to mixed media -- even jewelry, furniture, and blown glass. Collectively, it's called the Nineteenth Annual Emeryville Art Exhibition, and it continues through October 30. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Visit EmeryArts.org for more info.
Is it dance? Theater? Performance art? If the answer is "all of the above," it might be butoh, a movement-based performing art birthed in post-atomic Japan that diverges from traditional dance, often incorporates colored body makeup, and is frequently performed not in stuffy theaters, but on bustling urban streets, making it -- like graffiti frescoes -- accessible public art, as well as kinda new wave/punkish in its sensibility. This Sunday, the Barely Human Dance Theatre stages From Here We Watch the World Go By, a butoh-inspired performance piece choreographed by Dawn McMahan, with an experimental score by Gregory Scharpen, Jesse Quattro, Jesse Burson, and Jon Brumit. The performance begins at the Downtown Berkeley BART station (corner of Shattuck Ave. and Center St.) at 5 p.m., then moves to three other nearby locations during the course of the show.
In many ways, award-winning playwright Anne Galjour personifies the close connections between the Bay Area and Louisiana. A native of Lafourche Parish in the Mississippi Delta, where hurricanes were as much a part of life as Cajun spices, gumbo, and jambalaya, Galjour has been a Bay Area resident for the past 25 years. In 1994, her one-woman show Hurricane debuted at SF's Climate Theater; two years later, Berkeley Rep premiered Mauvais Temps, the second installment in her "Hurricane Trilogy." Both shows were then packaged together as Alligator Tales, which slammed into Broadway with the force of 150 mph winds in 1997. Not only does a river run through Galjour's work, but it now seems eerily prescient, post-Katrina and Rita; many of the real-life places referenced in her plays have been washed away by swollen floodwaters. Tonight at 7:30, she performs Hurricane at Berkeley's Aurora Theater (2081 Addison St.), in a benefit for Habitat for Humanity's rebuilding efforts. Bring children's books and school supplies, and they'll be donated to needy Gulf Coast youngsters. Tickets are $50-$100 (or more, if you can spare it). AuroraTheatre.org or 510-843-4822.
Anyone who has ever complained that Berkeley Rep's plays weren't edgy or groundbreaking enough can now (kindly) shut up. Tonight at 8 p.m., Finn in the Underworld -- referred to in PR as a "psychosexual ghost story" -- written by 27-year-old wunderkind Jordan Harrison, premieres at the Rep's Thrust Stage (2025 Addison St.) and runs through November 11. A haunted house is the setting for this unsettling family drama, which promises chair-gripping suspense and psychological turmoil as close-kept secrets are revealed one by one, and otherworldly beings come to life. Les Waters directs this production, which Berkeley Rep expects to captivate teens, young adults, and other folks more likely to rent Scream 2 than watch Our Town. Tickets cost $43-$59; BerkeleyRep.org
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