Wake Up 

Words, music, and healing

THU 2/19

Artist Chandra Garsson says she began writing seriously in journals five years ago. It allowed her to delve inside and to heal from the wretched effects of having been sexually abused. Garsson's journals inspired her to make an on-the-wall version, to be viewed alongside an evocative body of mixed-media artwork. The exhibition, Insomnia (Awakening), a retrospective of her work, opens with music and poetry Thursday at 6 p.m. at Pro Arts Gallery, 461 9th St., Oakland. Musician Steve Halpern, who was at the forefront of the space music invasion 25 years ago, plays for the opening, with Garsson, Daphne Muse, and Jeanne Powell reading their poetry. Garsson describes "Insomnia (Awakening)" as an uplifting celebration -- not a morose look at a morose subject. "Artists evolved in their own healing by working on the project," she declares. "Everybody is enthusiastic and in very high spirits." ProArts is also hosting poetry readings, talks, and more in conjunction with the retrospective on February 22, 25, 26, and on Thursdays in March, from 7-9 p.m. On February 26, there's a "Men's Night" screening of the film Last Chance for Eden by Lee Mun Wah. Kim McMillon is curating the poetry. Suggested donation: $3-$6. A closing reception is planned for Saturday, March 27, with Staci Haines, author of Sexual Healing, as well as Dancers Without Borders. 510-763-4361, VSPCity.com/insomnia, or ProArtsGallery.org -- Natasha Nargis

FRI 2/20

Suggestible

Improv gone CoCo

Delta City Improv wants to do more than just entertain you. The Contra Costa-based troupe's mission is to "raise the awareness, explore the potential, and establish the standards of excellence for the art of improvisation." That includes adult classes at the Livermore Academy of Performing Arts and Rivertown Art Center, "Imaginate!" kids' shows, and corporate training (using improvisation to refine team-building, customer service, and more). Oh, and improv shows, like the ones the troupe does the third Friday of each month at Cue Productions (1835 Colfax St., Concord), wherein founders Kimberly MacLean and Kenn Adams lead their ensemble in spontaneous comedic theater, taking your heckles and running with them to create stories, songs, short plays, and poetry. Doors open at 7:30 and the show starts at 8 p.m., and reservations are required, so call 510-384-8848 or e-mail kmaclean@deltacity improv.com. Tickets are $10. -- Stefanie Kalem

2/18-2/19

Modern Dance

The last time playwright Kathryn G. McCarty collaborated with director Clay David, it was on Bessie! The Life of Bessie Smith. With When We Danced , the duo explores the contemporaneous at a birthday party for an Oakland inner-city schoolteacher. Friendship, politics, Internet sex, and racial identity are on the bill at the Dean Lesher Center (1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek), 7:15 p.m. this Wednesday and Thursday. Tickets: $13-$15. Info: DLRCA.org or 925-943-7469. -- Stefanie Kalem

TUE 2/24

Stillness on 48th Street

Butoh comes to North Oakland

"From embodied stillness through the crevice of chaos arises gesture." Words to live by from the folks at Butoh at Home. Fitness fanatics, movement enthusiasts, and bodi-con people in general have a new outlet for their creativity -- a workshop series in butoh and movement at Oakland's Temescal Arts (511 48th St., near MacArthur BART). Butoh at Home -- their home, not yours -- begins Tuesday at 8:15 p.m., with a six-week workshop on "Butoh & Suzuki Method Theater Training," followed in subsequent weeks by three more sessions on various butoh-related disciplines. Preregistration is required: $85 for one workshop, discounts for more. 510-601-7494 or paigesorvillo@mindspring.com -- Kelly Vance

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