When Elections Were Fun 

See the past at Carson City's Wild West Tour

SAT 5/29

Finally the question "Why the hell would I go to Carson City?" is answered: It might just learn ya a thing or two about yer own democracy-flavored guvmint. If you think American elections are a farce now, you should have seen one in Nevada's capital at the turn of the last century. This Saturday, you can. The Wild West Tour winds through a mile and a half of the city's early history, taking a gander at rough-and-tumble governance in action. Rally for the right to vote; play croquet with William Stewart, the "father of American mining law"; and mingle with lobbyists, six-gun peacekeepers, and the slyly subversive women's rights advocate Hannah Clapp. You'll get some dust on your boots, and some perspective on your civic duty. Tours run every thirty minutes from 9:30 a.m. through 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Nevada State Museum, 600 North Carson Street, Carson City, NV. $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and children twelve and under, children under six free. Reservations recommended: 775-687-7410. -- Jonathan Kiefer

5/29-5/30

Street Life

Good and E'ville

You have to hand it to Bay Street Emeryville -- it's trying everything it can think of to make the three-block, mall-ified shopping strip feel and behave like a real, live city street. Take this weekend's free Bay Street Emeryville Arts & Music Festival . Two stages featuring Latin music, rock, bossa nova, jazz, New Orleans, a Beatles tribute band, and R&B, all afternoon on both days. Then there's the customary array of kitsch 'n' crafts, two beer and wine gardens, eats from Bay Street restaurants, and such kids' activities as a climbing wall and a jump house. BayStreetEmeryville.com or 510-655-4002. -- Kelly Vance

THU 5/27

Not-So-Nervous Rex

What is a Rex Aquarium, anyway? Is it, as it seems, a glass tank full-to-bursting with square-jawed pet dogs? Not exactly. It's a band, a group of smooth and stylish guys who sometimes tend toward the melancholy. They have promo pictures with half-naked women, and a drummer named Daren VonBaron. Yep, Rex Aquarium is from Los Angeles -- Silver Lake, to be specific. The quartet, raised up around brothers Chris and Charlie Wadhams, plays loose with the pop formula, with the vocals of guitarist Charlie recalling a croonier Iggy Pop and Wes Thompson's keyboards occasionally evoking fellow Angelenos the Tyde. Rex Aquarium plays Thursday night at the Ivy Room, 858 San Pablo Ave. in Albany. 21 and up, music starts at 10 p.m., and DJ Sullivan spins the night into a party. 510-524-9220. -- Stefanie Kalem

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