FRI 2/25

Ain't nothin' sexier than a dude with a guitar, right? Wrong. Ain't nothing sexier than a chick with a guitar, because rock 'n' roll is the devil's chamber music, and the ladies' lower centers of gravity are just that much closer to the fiery gates. Experience some of the different ways you can jam out with your clam out Friday at Blake's on Telegraph, when Oakland's own Sabrina Stewart -- singer and guitarist for power poppers the Flipsides -- previews some of the bouncy, radio-friendly rock on her debut solo album, titled (rather shruggingly) So This Is Desire. Also on the Udders Productions-hosted bill are the newly sponsored (by Marshall Amps) and newly signed (by My Shorts) punk-pop quartet Inspect Her Gadget, female-fronted LA rock band Cigarette -- whose singer bears more than a passing vocal resemblance to Concrete Blonde's Johnette Napolitano -- and the Bay Area's Stiletta and Dynamite 8.

The eighteen-and-up show starts at 9 p.m.; cover is $7 in advance, $9 at the door., 510-848-0886. -- Stefanie Kalem


Lit Happens

Raised in a Yiddish-speaking Hassidic household, Pearl Abraham included tales of the 19th-century kabbalist Nachman of Bratslav in her new novel The Seventh Beggar, a story about storytelling. She'll be at A Great Good Place for Books (Wed., 7 p.m.). ... Every new war inspires new poems. Northern California's own Adrienne Rich responded to 9/11 with her collection The School Among the Ruins: Poems, 2000-2004. Meet the Lambda Book Award- and National Book Award-winner at Diesel, but don't expect any easy answers (Wed., 7:30 p.m.). ... And you thought the Kama Sutra was the end-all and be-all. Poet and translator Andrew Schelling begs to differ with Erotic Love Poems from India, his translation of the Amarushataka, an 8th-century Sanskrit collection. Prepare to tingle at Black Oak (Wed., 7:30 p.m.). ... In his novel Winners, the quaint bygone era evoked by local author Eric Martin is none other than the dot-com boom, during which his chimney-sweep protagonist adores pickup basketball and observes the growing frenzy. Mope with Eric about the millions you didn't make at Orinda Books (Thu., 4 p.m.). ... He blogs bilingually, he's a poet, he's a philosophy professor in Tijuana, and boy, does Heriberto Yepez hate totalitarian states. He ponders fighting the power in the Mills Hall Living Room at Mills College (Thu., 7 p.m.). ... Dig up island history with Eric Kos and Dennis Evanosky, authors of East Bay Then & Now, at Alameda's Spellbinding Tales (Sat., 7 p.m.). ... Pop music owes its very life to African Americans, as J. Othello reveals in his book The Soul of Rock 'n' Roll. The former hard-rocker-turned-monk has returned to secular life and speaks at the Oakland Public Library's Elmhurst Branch (Mon., 5 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus

3/1, 3/2

Finding Neverland

World musicians don't come any world-ier than Omar Sosa. The Bay Area-based pianist and composer embraces all the characteristics of the catch-all musical genre -- including electronica, North African trance colors, and the persistent clave rhythms of Latin jazz from his native Cuba -- but it is Sosa's lyricism that makes his world a special place. His new CD Mulatos, on the Oakland label Otà, continues the infatuation with the Neverland that hovers in the air somewhere above Africa, Europe, and Latin America. Starting next Tuesday for two nights only, Neverland turns into Yoshi's for Sosa and his quartet. -- Kelly Vance

SAT 2/26

A Freightload

The Freight & Salvage supplies a good old-timey time in the ol' town of Berkeley tonight. Hometown fiddler Suzy Thompson is on the top and bottom of the lineup, starting the evening with the ragtime and saucy blues of Thompson's String Ticklers, and capping it off with her own solo roots eclectica. In-between you get sly guitar mama Del Rey and Jew's-harp savant Larry Hanks., 510-548-1761. -- Stefanie Kalem

Still, Moving

Westward go the sculptures

Major outdoor sculpture gallery and fifteen-year Berkeley resident A New Leaf packs up its eight thousand square feet of garden art and takes its world-class act to San Francisco this April, but not without some final showings of the latest in long-lasting, weather-ready figurative, abstract, and kinetic art. British Columbia resident Frances Semple presents Seriatim, three ghostly, cast-concrete figurative sculptures going for $8,500. The four-foot-tall human figures lack gender, specific features, or colors, but Semple evokes a searching and transcendence in the body posture and texture of the minimalist concrete statues. Privately collected Mark Oldland also displays several abstract steel sculptures this month; Peculiar Tension is five feet and hundreds of pounds of patinaed steel, appearing to be so deeply stained and rusted brown as to be composed entirely of dark wood. Embracing a simple "S" curve, the abstract piece resembles a submerged sea serpent complete with an extra pointed-steel "tail." Ready for endless seasons outdoors, Tension mimics no known flora and fauna; rather, it juxtaposes nearby organic shapes with the smooth, controlled curves and broad angles.

On the kinetic end of the New Leaf, Welton Rotz presents Ascend, an imposing, six-foot square granite column with a thin sheen of water pouring down the entire exterior surface to a four-foot-diameter splash pool. Water doesn't trickle so much as burst from Ascend's pores, intriguing viewers as do many of the pieces in this charming, vanishing collection.

Drop by A New Leaf one last time at 1286 Gilman St., Berkeley. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed.-Fri and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun. -- David Downs



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