10 Venues 

To Visit Before the Fog Disappears

This ain't your typical Top Ten list. It isn't trendy, mind-blowing, or comprehensive, and you'll never see it on TV. It's a guide to where the locals go -- ten East Bay places you'll be happy you visited this summer, and which you'll revisit again and again, because they capture the diversity and original spirit of our sprawling, growing, phenomenally creative part of the world. Want to dance your fool head off to African rock? Or get up and shout your poetry? Discover the nuances of Ansel Adams' photography up close? Live and die with the fortunes of major league baseball's most exciting young team? Or just slug down a beer and listen to live rockabilly? You've come to the right place. Welcome to the East Bay.

1. The Oakland Museum hosts two exhibitions this summer. The first, now open and continuing through September 22, is a retrospective survey honoring San Francisco's Ruth Asawa, a nationally recognized sculptor, arts-education advocate, and mother of six. The show spans forty years of Asawa's life and includes nearly 75 works of art. The second show, "Ansel Adams in Context," opens June 29 and continues through September 22. Celebrating the centennial of Ansel Adams' birth, it highlights his crucial role in twentieth-century photography by placing Adams' photos alongside images by his students, his contemporaries, and the photographers who influenced him. 1000 Oak St., Oakland, 510-238-2200, www.museumca.org -- Lindsey Westbrook

2. Ivy Room What is there about this unprepossessing bar squatting on the corner of San Pablo and Solano that makes it the live-music venue of choice for twang lovers, neo-retro-urban-dance-music fiends, pub crawlers, and slackers and slackerettes of all ages? Most say it's the Ivy's famed lowbrow ambience, a relic of the days when San Pablo Avenue was lined with working-stiff saloons and correspondingly stiff drinks. But we know better, don't we? No matter who's playing, the crowd is always the main attraction. 858 San Pablo Ave., Albany, 510-524-9220. -- Kelly Vance

3. The Chabot Space & Science Center is home to one of the most technologically sophisticated planetariums in the world, telescopes that are open for free public viewing, and all kinds of classes, lectures, and special events. This summer, come check out "The Human Body Exhibit," featuring hands-on activities and a 3-D computer fly-through of the human anatomy, and "The Lost Spacecraft: Liberty Bell 7 Recovered" (opening June 29) where you'll see the actual Liberty Bell spacecraft that sank to the bottom of the ocean in 1961, and learn about its recovery by Discovery Channel divers 38 years later. 10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland, 510-336-7300, or visit www.chabotspace.org -- Lindsey Westbrook

4. Oakland A's at the Coliseum Whatever the second half holds for the young Oakland A's, baseball fans can count on at least a few certainties -- the team's promotional days. Circle these two dates on your calendars. Sunday, August 18, against the tough Chicago White Sox, is Baseball Card Day. It's fun to run around swapping cards with other fans while ducking Kenny Lofton foul tips. Then on Sunday, September 1, when the A's meet the surprising Minnesota Twins, the last of the four Bobblehead Days (following ones honoring Tim Hudson, Eric Chavez, and the late Jim "Catfish" Hunter). As of this writing, the identity of the final 2002 bobblehead is yet to be determined -- how about broadcaster Bill King? Tickets: 510-762-2277. -- Kelly Vance

5. 21Grand With a new location that doubles the gallery's amount of performance space, 21Grand codirector Sarah Lockhart promises a summer of "larger apparatus." Besides hosting the Bay Area's wandering avant-jazz scene, 21Grand programs electronic music you won't find in an electronica bar, literary performance you won't find at a poetry slam, and visual work offering more than just wry commentaries on pop. The result is a comfortable eclecticism pushing the envelope of artistic languages, which makes 21Grand the place for junkyard gearheads, Burning Man burnouts, and Mills College eggheads to meet and form the jug-wine-sipping elite -- while the rest of us marvel. 449B 23rd St. (between Broadway and Telegraph), Oakland, 510-444-7263. ww.21grand.org -- Aaron Shuman

6. Poetry Diversified The East Bay's vibrant spoken word/poetry slam/open mike scene continues to grow, thanks to the inspiration and perseverance of presenters like Alison Chokwadi Fletcher. Her biweekly event at Oakland's World Ground Cafe, now called Poetry Diversified, takes place the first and third Tuesday of every month, and features nationally known spoken word artists such as Valentine Pierce and N-Side, as well as an open mike (and piano) for "all creators/performers/lovers of sound, song, and intriguing word combinations." Guess that takes in just about everyone. World Ground is at 3726 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland. Info: 510-482-2933. -- Kelly Vance

7. Traywick Gallery, the place to see edgy contemporary art in the East Bay, hosts two shows this summer. "Part One: New Painting and Sculpture" (June 22 through July 20) features works by four California artists: Benicia Gantner, Kelsey Nicholson, Jessica Snow, and Victoria Wagner. They use a wide range of media and approaches; some provoke a strong and highly personal response, while others use more abstract imagery and mass-produced industrial materials to explore broader ideas. "Part Two: New Drawings and Photography" (July 27 through August 24) will feature artworks by Hillary Bleecker, Amanda Marchand, Carolyn Castano, Rebecca Morris, Hilary Chartrand, and Kris Timken. 1316 10th St., Berkeley, 510-527-1214. www.traywick.com -- Lindsey Westbrook

8. Ashkenaz Where else can you go to find a Balkan music marathon accompanied by all-night dancing? When folk-dancer David Nadel founded the place in 1974, he was breaking down the modern walls between art and popular culture by showcasing authentic folk music and dance in a celebratory environment, the way music and dance have served in nations, tribes, and families for thousands of years. You have to go there. Kids are welcome and hot and cold food plus beer and wine are served. 1317 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, 510-525-5054. -- Ann Murphy

9. Oakland Metro This isn't your father's opera, or even his opera house. This is one of Oakland's new black box theaters, inhabited by a company determined to bring opera into the present day through the judicious use of new music and technology. The Oakland Opera Theater just finished a run of Federico Garcia Lorcá's Así Que Pasen Cinco Años. Next up is Queen Clara in July, about American Red Cross founder Clara Barton, by local composer Mary Watkins. The intimate, flexible, well-equipped Metro -- just a block from Jack London Square -- will also host other musical, dance, and theatrical events this summer, including a Cuban dance troupe and a "spoken-word crossover event." Check www.oaklandopera.org for events and times. 201 Broadway, Oakland, 510-465-8480. -- Lisa Drostova

10. Berkeley Public Library. It's your one-stop visual and performing arts supply store, where everything's free! During its two-year closure for reconstruction, the Central Library's librarians were busy buying new materials to fill the expanded floor space, including at least a ton of CDs and art books. Anyone with a library card can check out stacks of vinyl LPs (they haven't gone out of style at the library), CDs, books on tape, and videos, many of them out of print and unavailable at commercial video stores. To say nothing of music instruction books, and songbooks and scores for everything from blues piano to Bartók concertos. 2000 Kittredge St. (at Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley, 510-981-6100 -- Larry Kelp

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