click to enlarge Rachel Furst of Smuin Ballet, which is opening its annual Christmas ballet show this weekend in Walnut Creek.

David Allen

Rachel Furst of Smuin Ballet, which is opening its annual Christmas ballet show this weekend in Walnut Creek.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

November 21, 22 & 23

By Sarah Burke
Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 9:07 AM

The holidays have really begun. From here on out its all about forced family interactions, too much food, getting rained in, and pie. Hey, at least I included pie! That means this is your last weekend to have some totally typical non-seasonal fun before being swallowed whole by holiday festivities. Here's what we recommend: 

Goapele 
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One of Oakland’s most cherished artists, the R&B singer Goapele emerged in 2001 with the self-released Closer. Backed by a homespun team, entrepreneurial spirit, and Goapele’s silken voice, Closer quickly spread beyond the Bay Area and snared a distribution deal with Sony. After 2005’s Change It All, the Sony arrangement collapsed, so Goapele and her close-knit management team, composed largely of family, persevered independently, issuing the hip-hop-inclined single “Milk and Honey” in 2010, followed by the bold full-length Break of Dawn. Earlier this year, Goapele appeared on stage with the seminal Hieroglyphics crew at Hiero Day, praising the organizers’ support and longevity before addressing the crowd: “Where all my ladies at? We’ve got to represent, too,” and dominating the afternoon with a rendition of the song that Oakland fans made a classic, “Closer.” Goapele begins a four-night run at Yoshi’s on Thursday to celebrate her latest album, Strong as Glass.— Sam Lefebvre
Nov. 20-23, 8 p.m. $27-$42. Yoshis.com


Stand Up Sit Down 
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At Stand Up Sit Down, the audience is invited to take a load off while also remaining cognizant of current events. In the part stand-up comedy, part sit-down interview show, local comedians riff on social issues with wit and raw honesty. In the upcoming edition, which takes place at La Peña Cultural Center, comedian hosts Karinda Dobbins and Dhaya Lakshminarayanan will invite featured guest Matt Lieb on stage with his satirical takes on income inequality and gentrification. Then, they will sit down for an interview with Chinaka Hodge, an author, educator, and hip-hop artist whose work focuses on gentrification and police violence. Dobbins and Lakshminarayanan will poke fun at the absurdity of social injustices in America by asking Hodge naïve questions. Hey, sometimes you just have to step back, look around, and have a good, long laugh at the reality of things before you get back to being an activist.— Sarah Burke
Friday, Nov. 21, 8 p.m. $12-$15 LaPena.org

Pauline Oliveros
Pauline Oliveros figured prominently in the Express’ Fall Arts Guide feature on the local avant-garde, notably for her involvement in the San Francisco Tape Music Center. The 1960s collective relished institutional autonomy and worked at the intersection of technology and innovative composition, a characterization befitting local experimentalists today. Her early work, such as “Bye Bye Butterfly,” which employed oscillators, manual tape delay, and a recording of Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly, jettisoned past themes and conventions in favor of electro-acoustic manipulation. Much of her work since has involved a meditative approach to perceiving sound known by her coinage as “deep listening,” and Oliveros continues to lecture at Mills College (She was the first director of its music department in 1965). In May, an installation entitled Deep Listening Room manipulated the sounds of its setting — the Whitney Biennial — in real time to focus attendees on the autonomic function of hearing. As part of the Berkeley Art Museum’s L@TE series, Oliveros will perform with the local Thingamajigs Performance Group on Friday.— S.L.
Friday, Nov. 21, 7:30 p.m. $7. BAMPFA.Berkeley.edu


Mallory Ortberg 
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What if your favorite literary figures had smartphones and unlimited data plans? Such is the premise of Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters, the first book from the wry and always amusing Mallory Ortberg, Oaklander and co-creator of the women-centric website The Toast. Ortberg draws from well-known literary figures and books (Jane Eyre, obvs., along with Sherlock Holmes, Atlas Shrugged, The Hunger Games), as well as less prominent figures (Circe, The Wife of Bath), but you don’t have to be a former English major or someone who wears bloomers to enjoy these missives. A few favorites include texts from Odysseus to Circe: “Why did you turn my friends into pigs?” “I don’t know. Maybe the real question is why are your friends so turn-into-pigsable”; Beth from Little Women complaining that sun shining through a window is killing her; and a (presumably teenage) Virginia Woolf texting her intrusive mother: “I NEED A ROOM OF MY OWN NOT A ROOM YOU COME INTO WHEN I’M GONE AND CLEAN UP … MY FICTION IS THAT YOU’RE AN UTTER BITCH TIDY THAT UP.” Ortberg will sign, read, (and hopefully shout) from her book on Saturday at Pegasus Books. Regardless of your literary inclinations, Texts from Jane Eyre is sure to leave you ROFL B-) — Anna Pulley
Saturday, Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m. Free. PegasusBookstore.com

Noche Unida and Collections by Juntos Dance Oakland resident Joanna Poz-Molesky founded Juntos Collective dance studio in 2008, not long after graduating high school. Through the non-profit, she j now leads three international dance trips a year, bringing groups of about ten dancers to small towns in Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Guatamala to perform and teach in hospitals, orphanages, public schools, and dance studios — at which they also exchange workshops with local dance groups. The students she works with hail from top American dance schools including the Ailey School, Juilliard, SUNY Purchase, the LINES Ballet, and the Boston Conservatory. Their collective goal is to challenge personal boundaries and build cross-cultural connections with lasting effects.
Although Poz-Molesky is local, it's pretty rare that Juntos will perform in the Bay Area, because the participants are dispersed across the country. But on Friday, November 21 and Sunday, November 23, dancers from Boston, New York, Guatemala, and San Francisco will be coming together at Classic Cars West to perform for Juntos' annual fundraiser. Noche Unida will take place on Friday, and will include dinner and drinks, performances, and presentations by Juntos dancers, and an optional group salsa dance lesson. On Sunday, Juntos presents Collections, a series of eight short performances that demonstrate its most recent choreography and reflect experiences that the dancers have had abroad. — S.B.
Noche Unida: Nov. 21, 6–10 p.m., $65. Collections: Nov. 23, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., $15–$20. JuntosCollective.org
click to enlarge Juntos performing at Caras Alegres in Xela, Guatemala in 2013.
  • Juntos performing at Caras Alegres in Xela, Guatemala in 2013.

Bonus: If you like ballet, you shouldn't miss The Christmas Ballet, Uncorked!, opening this weekend at the Lesher Center for the Arts. This year it will feature choreography by the acclaimed Amy Seiwart, currently the choreographer-in-residence at Smuin Ballet.  

If your pockets are feelin' light and you're still yearning for more suggestions, we've got a ton, and these ones are all FREE!

We're Hungry: Got any East Bay news, events, video, or miscellany we should know about? Feed us at Sarah.Burke@EastBayExpress.com.

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