Gimme a Beat 

Ladies by the lake

SAT 8/23

The problem with most marches and rallies is the lack of a good beat. Think about it. You show up at the appointed place and prepare to move for the cause, but the chants are kinda stale, some of your compatriots are a little too lazy or too caffeinated, and before long, your stride becomes uneven, clumsy. Soon, all semblance of solidarity is lost. Not so at Sistahs Steppin' in Pride. When the second annual so-named incarnation of the East Bay Dyke March begins at 10:30 a.m., it will be to the rhythm of dozens of women percussionists marching along, making it difficult for marchers not to move themselves in festive time. Interested participants can meet at 10 a.m. on the shores of Lake Merritt, in front of the pillars between Grand and Lakeshore avenues. Bring a bagged lunch to eat at Snow Park (20th and Harrison) afterward, and enjoy an opening ritual, speakers, community booths, spoken word, comedy, live music, vendors, and more between 1 to 5 p.m. -- Stefanie Kalem


Lit Happens

8/20: He beat the Beatles to Rishikesh, reached the Bay Area circa '64, then became a hypnotist -- nurturing, all the while, a passion for paying for sex. Hustlers reign supreme in Joseph Itiel's latest book, Gay Traveler: Sexual, Cultural, and Spiritual Encounters, from which he'll read at 7:30 at Barnes & Noble Berkeley. ... 8/20: The Spanish-speaking book group, El Grupito, meets at Diesel tonight at 7:30 para charlar como siempre. ... 8/20: Kimberley Snow was an executive chef at a Kentucky horse center and didn't stop cooking when she took up Tibetan Buddhism. One of her favorite aphorisms is "Don't transfer the ox's load to the cow," as she tell us in Buddha's Kitchen: Cooking, Being Cooked, and Other Adventures in a Meditation Center, from which she'll read at 7:30 at Black Oak. ... 8/21: Set in 9850 BCE and 2037 CE, neatly leapfrogging the present, Adam Johnson's new novel Parasites Like Us concerns a woeful archaeology prof and two grad students (one of whom is named, of all things, Eggers) who unearth a deadly ancient plague. Life's like that. "It's very funny," opines Stanford writing-teacher Johnson, set to read at 7:30 at Barnes & Noble Oakland. ... 8/22: Big-wave surfer Eddie Aikau vanished at sea while attempting to save his shipmates during a dramatic re-creation of an ancient Hawaiian voyage. A local expression sprang up to signify all brave, dangerous ventures: "Eddie would go." That's the title of Stewart Coleman's new Aikau biography, from which he'll read (7 p.m.) at Borders Emeryville. ... 8/23: Geoffrey Blum is the world's leading authority on Donald Duck mastermind Carl Barks. Now a writer for Uncle Scrooge comics, Blum is also the guy who puts PC attitudes in Duckburg and who makes Huey, Dewey, and Louie call each other "dude." He'll be at Comic Relief this afternoon at 2 p.m. ... 8/26: Inquisition-era Alfonso discovers that his family has pretty much been faking it at Mass -- and even though they eat pork in public, they really don't mean it -- in the novel Incognito: Journey of a Secret Jew, from which Maria Espinosa, whose name at birth was Paula Cronbach, will read at Black Oak Books (7:30). -- Anneli Rufus

SAT 8/23

Of the Essence

De La Soul may have set the bar too high with its 1989 debut, 3 Feet High and Rising, but with its ensuing four albums, the legendary rap trio (right) has remained true to its compulsion for reinvention, consistently striving to subvert the prevailing hip-hop paradigm. The trio headlines a mixed bag of an all-ages show at UC Berkeley's Haas Pavilion this week, with Oakland's own crew Hieroglyphics, Fat Wreck Chords stalwarts No Use for a Name, and local punkish pop outfit the Matches (né the Locals) also appearing. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and tickets cost $10 for Cal students, $20 for everyone else. -- Stefanie Kalem


Go See Cal

Already? This weekend on and around Sproul Plaza, UC Berkeley's Athletics and Recreational Sports Department, the ASUC, and the Cal Student Store host Caltopia 2003 , a welcome-back-to-campus party. Among the attractions are the Golden Bear Expo with more than 105 exhibitors, Taste of the Bay food stands, and two stages with more than twelve bands. Info: -- Kelly Vance


Soapbox Populi

Get the Texan lowdown

As manifestos go, Jim Hightower's new book is unusually loose, chatty, and sometimes briskly unserious. This could have something to do with his being from Texas, an arguably nontrivial qualification for the author of something called Thieves in High Places: They've Stolen Our Country and It's Time to Take It Back. The populist public radio rapscallion will be in the East Bay this week to get started on taking the country back. As the tens of thousands of subscribers to his monthly pamphlet, The Hightower Lowdown, already know, he has high hopes for grassroots activism, and refuses to let it suffer the nagging reputation of seeming ultimately provincial and ineffectual. His goal is to give regular folk -- the "Powers That Ought to Be" -- courage and real resources for taking on and breaking down the brokers of corporate and political greed and corruption, including "King George the W" himself. Granted, for a club-busting anti-elitist, Hightower is remarkably well-blurbed. Arianna Huffington calls him smart and sassy, Michael Moore sees him as the new Tom Paine, and Molly Ivins calls him "Ralph Nader with the sense of humor of Jon Stewart and a Texas accent." Well, he must be doing something Left. Places in the progressive lecture-circuit pantheon have always been hard won, but Hightower still knows how charming and fun raising hell can be. Hear him speak Sunday, at 3 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, 98 Broadway, Oakland, and Monday, at 7:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way. The Oakland event is free, and the Berkeley event is $10, or free with book purchase at Cody's. -- Jonathan Kiefer


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