This week's day-by-day picks.


Tower of Power is surely the band that refused to die. The renowned '70s-era purveyor of "East Bay Grease" rides again -- at least partially -- when trumpeter Mic Gillette, leader of the late Oakland jazz-rock aggregation's fabled horn section, takes the stage Saturday for the third annual Lafayette Jazz Festival. The Generations of Jazz Foundation's yearly fund-raiser opens tonight (7:30) with singer Countess Felder, backed by 25 big band-era musicians. Thursday, it's the Brubeck Fellows, five student players from the Brubeck Institute at UOP. Pianist Mark Levine and a Latin jazz group perform Friday, followed by the Dick Hindman Trio, opening for Gillette's Tower of Talent on Saturday. All of the above shows take place at the Town Hall Theatre (3535 School St., Lafayette), except for tonight's Countess Felder gig, which happens at Del Valle Auditorium in Rossmoor. For more info: 925-283-1557. -- Kelly Vance


The Hebrew phrase Kol Isha translates roughly as "a woman's voice" -- which is exactly what a new workshop series at the Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center hopes to nurture and promote. If Women Named the World: A Jewish Women's Poetry Workshop meets this evening and the next three Thursdays at 7:30 to explore modern Jewish poetry by females as a springboard for the participants' own writing, culminating in a March 30 get-together led by poet Yiskah Rosenfeld. The workshop series costs $50. Register by phoning 510-848-0327, x127 or e-mailing The BRJCC is at 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. -- Kelly Vance


Ted Leo and the Pharmacists' wiry pop is the hottest thing since wasabi peas. The New Jersey quartet does its influences good service, shining up the snide recklessness of late-'70s and early-'80s power-pop (à la Elvis Costello, the Undertones, even Thin Lizzy) with a punchy 21st-century gloss. But you don't have to visit the West Bay to hear it this weekend -- TL and the P play an all-ages show at 924 Gilman in Berkeley, with Lookout mates the Pattern, Illinois' Fourth Rotor, and This Is My Fist! The show starts at 8 p.m. and cover's $5. Call 510-525-9926 for further info. -- Stefanie Kalem


Jeffrey Laudenslager's Split Circle, a trompe l'oeil stainless-steel mobile mounted on a steel pedestal, has been likened to a silent ballet. It's only one of the pieces in Kinesis: Contemporary Sculpture in Space and Time, a new exhibition opening today at Berkeley's A New Leaf Gallery, 1286 Gilman St. Laudenslager's playful geometry is echoed by the other works in the show, by artists Phill Evans, Susan Pascal Beran, Zachary Coffin, John Tyler, Bella Feldman, Mark Oldland, Motosuke Ohtake, Mark White, and John Mishler -- all of which display movement and most of which are wind-driven. Today's opening reception happens at 2 p.m. at the gallery, and be sure to check out www.sculpturesite .com, the gallery's Web site. "Kinesis" runs through June 1. Phone 510-525-7621 for more details. -- Kelly Vance


Boom times are here again. Kids and grownups can get their pounding and loud noise fix in a big way this afternoon at Emeryville Taiko's interactive concert at Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. After taiko dojo director Susan Horn leads her children's and adult groups through their repertoire, audience members -- especially kids -- are invited to take a whack at the big taiko drums. As Emeryville Taiko sees it, their brand of Japanese drumming is "a traditional music form with an American attitude." So beat it, kid. The concert begins at 2 p.m. at Julia Morgan, 2640 College Ave., Berkeley. Tickets are $10 adults, $5 children from Community Box Office Network, 925-798-1300. -- Kelly Vance

MON 10

The concept ranks alongside the "Condensed Proust Project" and "Ten Classics in Ten Minutes" in the Too-Busy-for-Culture-Give-It-to-Me-in-a-Hurry Hall of Fame. The 24-Hour Play Fest takes seven local playwrights (all female, as it happens), seven local directors (also distaff), and some 35 local actors (men and women), then gives them a mere 24 hours to write, rehearse, and stage seven new original plays. Not even George Bernard Shaw worked this fast. The seven plays unfold in a leisurely two hours total, so you don't have to sweat -- they do. This is the fifth annual, and as before it's a benefit for Woman's Will, the all-female Shakespeare company. The "fun-raiser" takes place at Julia Morgan Theater, 2640 College Ave., Berkeley. Admission ranges from $12 to $25, sliding scale. Information and reservations: 510-420-0813 or -- Kelly Vance

TUE 11

Twenty years ago, Oaklandish guitar hero Fred Frith gave up using a traditional six-string as his primary improvisational tool. Instead, he strung up some planks of wood and used those rudimentary instruments to explore the music he was chasing. Frith will unleash those rickety constructions for the first time in years, collaborating with Tadashi Usami and Sudhu Tewari under the name NORMAL at the Black Box (1928 Telegraph Ave., Oakland). Appropriately, the junk-shop maven Tewari will be playing a modified stereo receiver, amplified springs, homemade instruments, and electronics, while Usami wields his laptop and fader box. The show starts at 8 p.m. and admission price is on a sliding scale, $6-10. Call 510-451-1932. -- Stefanie Kalem


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