Castro East 

GLBT Oakland stakes its claim

Sun 10/10

Despite a sizable lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender population that includes the largest concentration of LGBT African Americans in Northern California, Oakland has always played second fiddle to San Francisco under the lavender-tinged rainbow. Gay Oakland City Councilman Danny Wan and the city of Oakland are out to change that. "We want to make sure that our gay and lesbian residents feel a sense of ownership in our city," he explains. "We're trying to create amenities so they can do everything they want here." To that end, Wan and the city, together with SBC and a host committee composed of prominent LGBT organizations, are sponsoring this Sunday's Out in Oakland LGBT Pride. The free event takes place from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday, on the eve of National Coming Out Day, on the lawn surrounding the Athol Plaza tennis courts at East 18th Street and Lakeshore Boulevard. The afternoon features entertainment from BETTY (introduced by The L Word producer Ilene Chaiken), Momma's Boyz, Deep Dickollective, Julia Serano, Linda Tillery, and Mark Weigle. With the exception of New York City's BETTY, a five-piece alternative rock band fronted by three women, all are local. Musician and spoken-word artist Serano is the host of GenderEnders, a "trans/intersex/genderqueer-focused" performance art show, while the all-male Deep Dickollective performs its out version of hip-hop. Superb singer-songwriter Mark Weigle has earned a record number of OutMusic Awards, and Linda Tillery's legendary musicianship needs no introduction. Filling out the program are DJ Kaliente, Omeyocan, Harlem Shake Burlesque, and Afia Walking Tree and Spirit Drumz.

Beyond the party lies the goal of creating a LGBT business and residential district in the Parkway Theater area to serve Oakland's diverse LGBT population. Of equal importance is spreading the word about organizations and groups serving the community, and ensuring that future Pride celebrations take place in Oakland. To that end, different organizations will meet before the festivities to discuss creating future annual events. Hopefully they will heed Wan's words: "People in the community need to take this idea and run with it." But whether Oakland succeeds in creating its own Castro by the Lake, great music and communal connections are guaranteed. Business2Oakland.com/ParkwayPride or 510-444-2489. -- Jason Victor Serinus

Sun 10/10

Crustaceous

Crabtastic

Don't mess with a crabby chef. And if there's a bunch of them, it's best to just stay calm and wait till they're done cooking. That's our advice to those attending the Crabby Chef Competition 2004 in the Spenger's Fresh Fish Grotto parking lot where, starting at 2 p.m., chefs will compete, Iron Chef-style, to create the best crab dish. The contest will be judged by -- no, not you -- a panel of celebrity judges. There will be, however, a mobile fish market on-site, and outdoor cooking booths set up from 11 a.m. till 4:30 p.m., selling crab cakes, clam chowder, and a variety of other DFKS (delicacies formerly known as swimming), with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Berkeley Historical Society. 1919 Fourth St., Berkeley, 510-845-7771. -- Stefanie Kalem

Sat 10/9

Bali Would

This weekend's concert at a certain "private amphitheatre" in the Berkeley Hills looks like it will be quite a bit calmer than the $250-$1,000-a-ticket affair four weeks ago, but the word "party" is in the title, so neighbors beware. The occasion is a Gamelan Birthday Party , specifically the 25th anniversary of the renowned El Cerrito ensemble Gamelan Sekar Jaya, and special guests include Balinese dancer I Nyoman Wenten, musicians, dancers, and artists I Dewa Putu Berata, and many others. The concert begins at 2 p.m., and suggested donation for admission is $50. Invitations and info: 510-237-6849 or GSJ.org -- Stefanie Kalem

Wed 10/6

Bellies Against Bush

We have a feeling Teresa would like this one. The Bay Area is using more of what it's got lots of at Dance for Democracy, a belly-dancing benefit for the John Kerry Campaign. Can a fire-dancing fund-raiser be far behind? In the meantime, you can chow down on Middle Eastern food and drink starting at 7 p.m. at Afghan Oasis, 2086 Allston Way, Berkeley, while undulating lasses and lads from local troupes snake their arms and beat their zils for regime change. You get a raffle ticket for every dollar you donate ($15 suggested), and regular menu prices apply. For more info, visit Home.earthlink.net/~dance4democracy or call 510-684-6530. -- Stefanie Kalem

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