Golden Brown 

Folky lessons in Fremont

SAT 8/30

From May through October, are your kids still calling California's hills brown? And do they say it all looks and sounds dead and ugly, so "why can't someone just water it?" The bluegrassy music duo Ambergrass wants to tell your kids the truth about the California summer landscape -- it's amber-colored grass, they say, and the music it makes is "ambergrass," a sound indigenous to the West Coast as bluegrass music is to the blue-green hills of Kentucky. But Ambergrass' singing and guitar-playing duo, Anne and Phil, don't stop there. They also want to tell you about oil, war, and the Mexican border fence (the "Taco Curtain") with a blend of poetic irony and gentle musical truth-telling. "My name is oil, I flow through steel veins/I cause men to quarrel/I cause iron to rain." Given how many educated grown-ups think the Terminator would make a great gov, imagine kids' confusion? If your teens think the lilting harmonies and minor-key melodies Anne and Phil offer up are rather tame, and your ten-year-olds are terrified of not being cool, tell them it's like going to a church that offers pizza and beer with its message. Only cool churches, like the New Mission Pizza and Pub (1572 Washington Blvd., Fremont), would do that. Then watch as your kids begin to think about the California grasses, the California governor, and Middle East oil a little differently. The show starts at 7 p.m. and features special guests Dave McAnelly and Suzannah Wedgwood. 510-651-6858. -- Ann Murphy


Story Sprite

Every once in a while, real fairies land at Children's Fairyland. Okay, okay, maybe not real fairies -- let's just say convincing ones. Jacqueline Lynaugh, as the Blue Fairy , is one of the more plausible and engaging of such pixies, with her guitar named Prince Charming and her puppet pal Pinocchio. Lynaugh performs participatory folk faves and dramatic storytelling that seem to come straight from a spritely heart, not the hills of North Jersey. Her hour-long show kicks off daily at 12:30 and 1:30, and each one ends with the Blue Fairy encouraging wishes from kids in the crowd. 699 Bellevue Ave., on the shores of Oakland's Lake Merritt. Admission costs $6 and includes all rides. 510-452-2259. -- Stefanie Kalem

SAT 8/30

Open Eats

Feast on history at the OMC

On a Monday morning in 1969, eleven children were fed at the inaugural Black Panther breakfast at downtown Oakland's St. Augustine's Episcopal Church; by week's end the Panthers were serving 135. Soon BPP chapters throughout the country were hosting morning meals of their own, making it the first nationally organized free breakfast program in the United States. This weekend, in conjunction with the multi-site exhibit Reflections in Black: Smithsonian African American Photography, the Oakland Museum of California (1000 Oak St.) is hosting a Children's Cafe modeled after those landmark BPP breakfasts. Bobby Seale and Ruth Beckford will be on hand to talk about the program, and there will be hands-on activities and performances by a clown and a magician. The event goes from 9 to 11 a.m. 510-238-2200. -- Stefanie Kalem


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