Turn, Turn 

The art of the DJ

THU 4/17

When he invented the phonograph back in 1878, Thomas Alva Edison probably never imagined that one day, turntablists would be rewriting the rules of music at 33 1/3 (and sometimes 45) rpm. He was a genius, but even he could not have foreseen the rise of a turntable as a musical instrument, or that the disc jockey would become a pop-culture icon, ultimate coolness personified on the wheels of steel. Of course, Edison never had the pleasure of moving a crowd by backspinning a breakbeat, executing a crab scratch, or rearranging a prerecorded drumbeat with a precise beat-juggle.Today's DJ culture may have germinated in underground clubs and basement studios, but it's become pretty damn ubiquitous to mainstream lifestyles as well. When prime-time TV commercials feature soundtracks by the likes of Q-Bert, professional-quality CD players are designed to scratch like turntables, and no self-respecting nu-metal band goes on tour without a DJ, it's obvious we've reached a new era. Exactly what all this means is what Words and Music from the Frontiers of DJ Culture aims to explain. The panel discussion, Thursday at 7 p.m. at Ex'Pression Center for New Media (6601 Shellmound St., Emeryville, 415-597-6705), collects some heavy hitters from the DJ and electronic music world, followed by --what else? --a DJ dance party. -- Eric K. Arnold

FRI 4/18

Creeper Feature

Rumor has it that when nationally hyped SF band Creeper Lagoon's original lineup disintegrated a few years back, Sharky Laguana got to keep the band name, while his childhood friend, Ian Sefchick, got custody of the Dreamworks-bought ProTools. So who got the short end of the stick? You be the judge when Laguana's reconstituted Creeper plays for free at UC Berkeley's Lower Sproul Plaza. The show starts at 5 p.m. and the Velvet Teen also performs. The music starts at 5 p.m. -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 4/18

Card Players

Magic Acts Ritual Theater aims to see what lies ahead for these dismal times, and your help is needed. During the return run of Oracles from the Living Tarot, you can watch the cards come to life and help choose the ones whose influence will rule the days ahead. Stay after the show to talk to the cards directly and get your own living tarot reading. The show plays at 8 p.m. at the Oakland Metro (201 Broadway) April 18-20 and 24-26. Tickets cost $13-26, $1 of which goes to the American Red Cross. Call 510-547-6997 or visit www.magicalacts.org for more details. -- Stefanie Kalem

WED 4/16

Youth Booth

The East Bay has been supplying the world of entertainment and fine arts with first-rate talent for such a long time that it gets taken for granted. Don't take it for granted. Beginning today at the Berkeley Art Center (1275 Walnut St., 510-644-6893), the eleventh annual Berkeley Youth Arts Festival celebrates the creativity of local public school students and their teachers with nearly a month of visual-art exhibitions and live performances. Today's reception (5-7 p.m.) features singing first-graders, a kindergarten capoeira demonstration, poetry in English and Spanish, the Willard Middle School Choral Group, and more -- initiating a schedule of performances that runs from April 26 to May 10. There are also weekend workshops on everything from "Demystifying Shakespeare" to "Shadow Puppets" (register in advance: 510-644-6893). Except for the workshops, which charge a nominal fee, all the events are absolutely free. To learn more, log onto www.berkeleyartcenter.org -- Kelly Vance

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