This week's day-by-day picks

WED 19

"What happened to the bunny who used to come to our backyard?" "Well, son, a coyote ate him." Explaining to children the predatory nature of animals has never been easy for parents, but now the Lindsay Wildlife Museum has a new exhibit that turns natural selection into a game -- an interactive electronic one, natch. Predators, which runs through May 1 at the museum (1931 1st Ave., Walnut Creek, 925-935-1978), turns kids into investigators, with a character named Eagle Eye who helps them solve "missing animal" cases -- and thus teaches them that it is indeed a mean old world out there. The key predator, aside from bears, owls, hawks, mountain lions, snakes, and your own housecat, is of course the human being. So mom and dad still have some 'splaining to do after all. Lindsay Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is $6 adults, $5 seniors/students, $4 children, children under 3 free. Visit -- Kelly Vance

THU 20 is a tricky business. If you cut the twang with too much urbanity, you lose the soul. But if you stay too close to the original blueprints, you run the risk of becoming a caricature or a novelty act. The four ladies of Santa Fe's Dolly Ranchers have all that licked -- they're talented, cynical, and they keep their cred intact by playing lots of hobo conventions. Sarah-Jane Moody and Amy Bertucci's voices go together like lime and tequila -- one recalls Ani DiFranco, while the other is like well-worn sandpaper, always just on the edge of softness. Backing the pair are bassist Anne Cullerton and Marisa Anderson, whose flat-picked guitar just as easily evokes oil in a hot skillet as it does a slow dance in a darkened barn. The hillbilly belles play the Freight & Salvage, 1111 Addison St. in Berkeley, at 8 p.m. Doors are at 7:30, and tickets cost $14.50 in advance, $15.50 at the door. -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 21

Quan Yin, aka the "Lady Buddha," Chinese goddess of mercy and protector of seafarers, might seem an unlikely source of inspiration for a combination of free-form spoken word and experimental music, but SF artist C.J. Reaven Borosque would disagree. Ms. Borosque's show The Metal Quan Yin pays tribute to the Buddhist female deity while blending spoken poetry with abstract, emotive music by Rent Romus, Bill Noertker, Toyoji Tomita, Dave Mihaly, and Jesse Quattro. Also on the bill tonight at 21 Grand (449-B 23rd St., Oakland, 510-444-7263) are Jim Ryan's Subjects of Desire, another poet-meets-musicians scene, with Parisian overtones. Vive la différence! 9 p.m., $6-$10. -- Kelly Vance

SAT 22

Eric Utne, founding editor of the nineteen-year-old counterculture bimonthly digest the Utne Reader, is among the speakers at Social Change through Spiritual Practice: An Intergenerational Dialogue, a symposium taking place this weekend in Berkeley. Utne will be joined by an array of spiritual and political thinkers, including folks from Zen centers, the People's Grocery in Oakland, Goethe scholars, et al. They'll sound off on the subjects of personal destiny and world affairs tonight (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.), at the Coros Institute, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Way. To attend as a sponsor costs $110, but students and less affluent seekers of wisdom only have to pay $25. Info: 916-864-4923. -- Kelly Vance

SUN 23

Where was your toaster made? Did you ever stop to think about where your toothbrush came from, not to mention your favorite sweater, or the coffee you drink every morning? The stories behind the origin of such mundane items might shock you -- if you have a social conscience. If not, you probably wouldn't be interested in this afternoon's screening of Life and Debt anyway. Stephanie Black's 2001 documentary takes us to Jamaica, where the IMF and "free trade" have made a pudding of the local economy. Showtime is 4 p.m. at Our Saviours Lutheran Church, 1035 Carol Lane, Lafayette. The film is sponsored by the Mt. Diablo Jubilee Debt Cancellation Coalition, which holds a bread and soup dinner and discussion afterward. 510-524-6645 for more info. -- Kelly Vance

MON 24

Why should you come out tonight to help Mark Levine and the Latin Tinge celebrate their new disc, Isla? Well, for one thing, Joe Millionaire is over. And Married by America is just the old world's arranged unions, tarted up in 21st-century American duds. More importantly, the San Francisco-based Afro-Cuban/jazz outfit has already released two highly acclaimed records on Independent Records, and pianist Levine has played with Tito Puente, Bobby Hutcherson, Cal Tjader, Art Pepper, Dizzy Gillespie, Poncho Sanchez, and many, many more. If that's not reason enough to trade reality TV for Yoshi's sushi, then maybe America should vote on what to do with you. The band plays at 8 and 10 p.m., tickets cost $10, and Yoshi's is located at 510 Embarcadero West in Oakland's Jack London Square. Call 510-238-9200 for more information. -- Stefanie Kalem

TUE 24

The paintings of Claude Clark mirror their times -- realistic depictions of everyday people such as jitterbug dancers and steelworkers in the Great Depression, African and Caribbean street scenes, and bucolic New England landscapes. As a veteran of the Harlem Renaissance, the late Oakland resident worked African-American themes into his boldly textured works, which he continued working on as an instructor at Merritt College. Although his work was displayed at the Smithsonian Institution and several Bay Area museums, surprisingly few of his paintings sold in his lifetime. Clark died in 2001, but his paintings live on in a new exhibition at Oakland's Thelma Harris Art Gallery covering his five decades of oils, now through April 15. 5940 College Ave., 510-654-0443 or -- Kelly Vance

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