Future Shock 

Japan's Roaring Twenties


The Taishō (1912-1926) and early Shōwa (1926-1989) periods in Japan saw sweeping changes in that country's culture. Western influences rushed in as the 20th century arrived fashionably late, and suddenly the "fast-life" icons of the Jazz Age -- European clothing, cars, "modern" women, and movies -- were competing with traditional culture. Not everyone was pleased. In Taishō Chic on Screen, a thoughtful film series now running at UC Berkeley's Pacific Film Archive, curator Mona Nagai screens 29 rare movies that illustrate that future shock -- from period works by directors like Heinosuke Gosho and Yasujiro Ozu to later portraits of the era such as Seijun Suzuki's Zigeunerweisen (left), which plays Saturday evening. Because movie sound didn't reach Japan until the 1930s, most of the period films are silent, and the PFA has chosen interesting composers and performers to accompany each of the programs. "Taishō Chic on Screen," the film component of Berkeley Art Museum's two current major exhibitions on Taishō Japan, continues through December 11. BAMPFA.berkeley.edu -- Kelly Vance


Lit Happens

When the doctor's first wife was murdered, he was nearly convicted. Now his second wife has disappeared. Jonnie Jacobs spins a web of suspense at Spellbinding Tales, where she reads from her latest mystery, The Only Suspect (Wed., 7 p.m.). ... Why is Fruitvale called Fruitvale? Orchards, cargo ships, and of course oaks are eye candy in Annalee Allen's Oakland in Vintage Postcards. Wax nostalgic with Allen at Diesel (Wed., 7:30 p.m.). ... Pain is only part of it. Historian Mary Felstiner gets personal in her memoir Out of Joint: A Private and Public Story of Arthritis, from which she reads at Black Oak (Wed., 7:30 p.m.). ... Save your place. A bookmark-making workshop at Lafayette Library launches Children's Book Week (Thu., 3 p.m.). ... Spinning sensual recollections of faraway times and places, Libyan-born poet and translator Khaled Mattawa reads his works in the Mills Hall Living Room at Mills College (Thu., 5:30 p.m.). ... Riding that train, high on -- what was that again? David Dodd savors hot couplets from his new book The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics at Benicia Library. Folks from Bookshop Benicia will be on hand selling copies (Thu., 7 p.m.). ... Fudgy buttercream: It's not just for Valentine's Day anymore. In Chocolate Holidays, Berkeley truffle queen Alice Medrich offers recipes for a year's worth of festivities. She serves samples at Mrs. Dalloway's (Thu., 7 p.m.). ... What made Honest Abe honest? Renowned historian and accused plagiarist Doris Kearns Goodwin discusses Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln at the Berkeley City Club (2315 Durant Ave.) at a deluxe hors d'oeuvres reception (Fri., 6:15 p.m.). ... Lehrhaus Judaica (2736 Bancroft Way) hosts an evening called "Poetry and Music of the Sacred," with bards Daniel Altman, Dan Bellm, Stewart Florsheim, Rebecca Fromer, and more (Sat., 7 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus


I Spy

Donna Ferrato isn't just a prolific contributor to magazines and books -- the Bay Area-trained photojournalist is a crusader against domestic violence, as her book Living with the Enemy attests. Her photos (right) have an astonishing fly-on-the-wall immediacy. She explains: "To get great pictures you need to put yourself on the line. You have to want people to show you what their lives are about." That skill can be learned. Saturday and Sunday at the UC Journalism school's North Gate Hall, Ferrato conducts a workshop on socially conscious photography and how to practice it. Sign up at Fotovision.org. She also lectures Friday at 7 p.m. -- Kelly Vance

SAT 11/19

Red, Black, and Proud

Most black folks in this country have some red in them, and for some tribes, like the Cherokee, racial mixing was a means of survival. The Oakland Public Library main branch (125 14th St.) explores this fascinating but rarely discussed topic this Saturday during its annual Native American Culture Day. This year's theme is Walking in Two Worlds, and the public is invited to a celebration Saturday at 1 p.m. For more info, visit OaklandLibrary.org -- Eric K. Arnold

THU 11/17

Unplugged Trip

Folky-spacy guitarists rally

When most people think of '60s folkies, they think of singer-songwriter types like Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, or Phil Ochs. But there was another scene altogether, one peppered with people like John Fahey and Sandy Bull, who played solo guitar instrumentals that blended jazz improvisation and Indian raga meditation with folk's delicate strum. Of late, there's been a revival of this style, with local axe wielders like Sean Smith, Kaki King, and avant-garde composer Terry Riley's son Gyan all performing acoustic, instrumental material. In honor of this movement, New York's Tompkins Square label has compiled Imaginational Anthem, a collection featuring these young upstarts as well as their '60s progenitors. The label is hosting a release party on Thursday at the Starry Plough, with sets by Smith and Riley, plus Steve Mann and Janet Smith, two old-timers included on the CD. Mann's set, in particular, should prove fascinating, as he's something of a '60s casualty. At the start of that decade, the San Bernardino native gained a reputation playing with Sonny & Cher, Dr. John, Frank Zappa, and members of Jefferson Airplane. Eventually, however, he got heavily into drugs -- in his autobiography Dr. John recalled Mann as "one of the first people I met who did LSD, heroin, and speed at the same time" -- and suffered a severe breakdown. After spending decades in halfway houses, Mann moved to Berkeley in 2003 and took up performing again, playing striking originals and covers. Prepare to turn on, tune in, but not drop out at 9:30 p.m. at 3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. For more info, call 510-841-2082 or visit StarryPloughPub.com -- Dan Strachota


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