Trash Talk 

What a waste

FRI 11/4

You know it, and you probably feel at least a little guilty about it: Americans make a mess. We're the world's largest producers of trash, and we just keep getting better at it. Over the past thirty years, America's garbage output has doubled, according to Heather Rogers, who chronicles the "political history of rubbish" in a new book, Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage. At a free event sponsored by AK Press Friday night (7 p.m.), Rogers comes to Oakland to screen the 2002 short film, Gone Tomorrow, the nineteen-minute documentary that sparked the book. Rogers explains that, despite popular wisdom, this torrent of trash is not primarily the responsibility of the individual consumer. Instead, it's the outcome of a free market system that needs waste to maintain high consumption levels. Every pound of crap you toss has already generated seventy pounds more during the manufacturing process. And that's good news for big business, Rogers says. Buying bulk food and recycling are all well and good, but they take our eyes off the ball -- that big blue and green one hanging in space. "So far, the environmental movement has worked as separate from issues of labor and inequality and race," she says. "But social and economic justice and environmental issues are deeply connected. The exploitation of nature happens on the same spectrum as the exploitation of humans."

To illustrate that connection -- and to show how people can make a bigger difference -- Monica Wilson, an organizer and activist from the grassroots group Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance, joins Rogers to discuss how her group worked with Alameda County residents to halt the construction by the city of Alameda of a new incinerator in San Leandro. GAIA says these so-called "green" incinerator projects put a disproportionate pollution burden on low-income communities of color. Find out why your personal trash is political Friday at 7 p.m. at AK Press, 674-A 23rd. St., Oakland. For more info, call 510-208-1700 or visit AKPress.org -- Susan Kuchinskas

11/2-11/8

Lit Happens

Uncle Al

It's all about tossing and folding with Jeremy Shafer. The Origami to Astonish and Amuse author performs his juggling act before hosting a paper-folding workshop at Pinole Library (Wed., 3:30 p.m.). ... And now nobody's gonna tear them asunder. Gay and lesbian couples who tied the knot at San Francisco City Hall celebrate their stories in Cheryl Dumesnil's Hitched! Meet her at Borders Pleasant Hill (Wed., 7:30 p.m.). ... He did his stint in the land of Lorca, but San Francisco is poet and Bend, Don't Shatter author Francisco Aragón's hometown. He reads with a grad-student poet in the Maude Fife Room on the third floor of UC Berkeley's Wheeler Hall (Wed., 7:30 p.m.). ... Gulf Coaster, folksinger, DJ, UC Berkeley grad, and now California Poet Laureate Al Young reads in the Lunch Poems series at UC Berkeley's Morrison Library (Thu., 12:10 p.m.). ... Mixing Fish & Game high-jinks with postwar British spy thrills, Dead Game author Kirk Russell and Spectres in the Smoke author Tony Broadbent appear together at Orinda Books (Thu., 4 p.m.). ... At elite Ivy League schools, the roster of who gets in says a lot about who gets left out, as Jerome Karabel reveals in his landmark work, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, which he discusses at Mrs. Dalloway's (Fri., 7:30 p.m.). ... Lying liars aren't welcome when Cody's Books presents The Truth (with Jokes) author Al Franken at the Berkeley Community Theatre. Tickets are $5 with purchase of book at Cody's; $12 from City Box Office (Sat., 6:30 p.m.). ... Jackson Pollock, Willem DeKooning, and the whole gang created what art critic Jed Perl temptingly calls a "dialectical extravaganza" in mid-20th-century Manhattan. Perl discusses his book New Art City at the 2626 Bancroft Museum Theater in Berkeley (tickets $8; free for UC students) (Sun., 3 p.m.). ... Sometimes everything hurts. San Ramon psychologist Ted Zeff shows how to soften the sharp spots in The Highly Sensitive Person's Survival Guide, which he discusses at San Ramon Library (Tue., 7:30 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus

SUN 11/6

Plead a Case of Noilly Prat

When mojitos ruled the earth, Berkeley's César had the best in the East Bay. César's martinis are no slouch, either. The Berkeley Gourmet Ghetto cafe's managing partner, Olivier Said, certainly knows his pastis from his Lillet. He and veteran Berkeley foodie James Mellgren, who together penned the book César: Recipes from a Tapas Bar, have just about got this cocktails-nibbles-wine thing down, as evidenced by The Bar: A Spirited Guide to Cocktail Alchemy (Ten Speed, $17). Their latest, they beg to clarify, is more than a mere drink recipe book -- it's a gazetteer of civilized sipping from the bartender's point of view, with the emphasis on "classic." Just reading the index, your liver will begin to palpitate. Tame that vital organ and wander over to Diesel: A Bookstore this Sunday afternoon (4 p.m.) to hear Said and Mellgren divulge their trade secrets and talk about life behind The Bar. 5422 College Ave., Oakland, 510-653-9965. For more info, visit DieselBookstore.com -- Kelly Vance

SAT 11/5

First Things First

All's well on Black Wall Street

Its name may suggest otherwise, but Black Wall Street is about more than strictly business. The East Oakland-based not-for-profit organization's main focus is community development, and though its lofty goals include creating a thousand new jobs by 2007, two hundred new black businesses by 2008, and the establishment of a $12 billion black business district on International Boulevard between 45th Avenue and the city limit by 2010 -- including a bank, event center, hospital, science research facility, sports arena, and a university -- it is aware that wealth without health isn't worth a plugged nickel. To that end, this Saturday, the org holds a free Health Fair at the East Oakland Deliverance Center, 7425 International Blvd featuring live music, free food, health screenings, chair massages, Medicare workshops for seniors, games and activities for children, social service organization and vendor booths, and, as you might imagine, plenty of community networking opportunities with African-American entrepreneurs, businesses, and organizations. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. -- Eric K. Arnold

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