Brutality 

What are you looking at?

SUN 1/4

If you want to know what the New Brutalism is, you should go to Diesel: A Bookstore this Sunday. No, Monsieur Smarty-Pants, we're not talking about Le Corbusier's austere post-1930 architectural style. We're talking about experimental poetry. More specifically, we're talking about a reading by a group of Bay Area poets who published an anthology this year in response to Akira Kurosawa's Dreams. That's the 1990 movie comprised of eight short films based on the dreams of the Japanese director, which range from ethereal to catastrophic, as one might expect from the slumbering mind of one of history's finest filmmakers. If you haven't seen it, you should, but caveat spectator -- it ain't no walk in the park. The book -- titled Involuntary Vision: After Akira Kurosawa's Dreams and published by Avenue B Press -- came to be when a local writer named Michael Cross thought he'd like to showcase the work of Oakland-area poets in an innovative way. In 2001 Cross had started a reading series at 21 Grand (also called "The New Brutalism"), so he had a cadre of willing poets, and he'd always wanted to write about Dreams, which he sees as "an important movie to poets, as it works in the same way many of us work." So he delivered ten copies of the film to his colleagues with an injunction to "Write poems, or die!" (or something similar -- the sands of time have buried those momentous words), and sat down to write his own response. He's since moved to Buffalo to pursue his Ph.D in poetics, but the Brutalism continues.

"Man is a genius when he is dreaming," Kurosawa said, and he probably meant himself. Here's his chance to share the fame. Six poets will be reading -- Stephen Ratcliffe, Tanya Brolaski, Trevor Calvert, Eli Drabman, James Meetze, and Geoffrey Dyer. 2 p.m. at 5433 College Ave., Oakland. For more information, visit DieselBookstore.com -- Nora Sohnen

1/3-1/6

New Leaf

Lit Happens

Join the crowd -- and there's always a crowd -- at Pegasus/Pendragon's annual three-for-$10 calendar sale. Lines form -- and they always form -- outside the College Avenue, Solano Avenue, and Shattuck Avenue stores before they open (Thu., 10 a.m.) . ... Kids who just gotta mate can check out books by Bobby Fischer and join the Golden Gate Youth Chess Club, which meets at the Oakland Public Library's Golden Gate branch. Open to grades K-12 (Sat., 1 p.m.). ... He has translated the secrets of tantra, the sutras, and so much more: Prolific polyglot Thomas Cleary reads at Cody's with co-translator Bannie Chow from their latest, Autumn Willows: Poetry by Women of China's Golden Age. Hear the rhymes of three Tang-dynasty bardesses, one of whom was a slave and two of whom were Taoist clergy and died violently. $2 (Sun., 7:30 p.m.). ... It's out the upstairs window all over again in Laurie Fox's new novel Lost Girls, which retells Peter Pan through modern eyes which have seen childish men and sullen children, madness and motherhood, enchantment and entrenchment. Meet Berkeley's Fox this Twelfth Night at Diesel (Tue., 7:30 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus

SAT 1/3

Please Stay Tuned

"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" That line from Network -- yelled by TV news anchor Howard Beale (played in full froth by Peter Finch) -- is one of the most instantly recognizable movie sound bites of all time, in a class with "Go ahead, make my day" or "Show me the money." Director Sidney Lumet and screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky's over-the-top-bitter 1976 satire of network television has been used as a club over the heads of broadcasters ever since, and it still packs a punch, especially when Faye Dunaway's claws come out as the evil corporate bitch, Diana Christensen. Go see the movie that imagined "reality TV" a good two decades before it took the world by storm. William Holden, Robert Duvall, and Ned Beatty round out the cast. Network screens at the Long Haul in Berkeley (3124 Shattuck Ave.), Saturday at 8 p.m. For more info, visit TheLongHaul.org -- Kelly Vance

THU 1/1

Japanese Medicine

Fun punk for what ails you

You there, with the hangover. Think you'll feel better by nightfall? Or is the post-festive world -- politics, money woes, cleaning whatever that is that someone left around your toilet after midnight -- already settling into a gristly cloud of "how the fuck did it get to be 2004?" Well, here's your punk-rock prescription: a concentrated dose of Peelander-Z. When asked if they were fans of the band KISS, whose "Detroit Rock City" they cover, a member of the trio replied, in true form, "No, I never respect music. Any music. I love wrestling and comics and food." If you love wrestling and comics and food, not to mention three-chord punk and things Japanese, then you might want to consider heading over to the Stork Club (2330 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) tonight to see the NYC-based band do its thing. The founders of CBGB's twice-annual Japunks Panic Jamboree play with Wiggum (who, presumably, taste at least a little bit like burning), starting at 9 p.m. or so. $5, 21 and up, 510-444-6174. We can't wait to see what Peelander-Z does with all those Barbies. -- Stefanie Kalem

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