Here Comes the Future 

Bay Area performers do their part to get out the vote.

The other morning I found no fewer than four election-related e-mails languishing in my inbox: one enjoining me to protest Sarah Palin's recent Bay Area appearance; another from a publicist regarding Larry Flynt's new Sarah Palin porno; one from a co-worker advertising Gary Shandling as his new vice presidential pick; and one from Mary J. Blige's publicist, with an open letter declaring this year's election "the most important in our lifetime" (signatories included Blige, Jay-Z, P-Diddy, and Kevin Liles). Tensions always ratchet up a few weeks before an election, but in this presidential race, as everyone knows, the stakes are much higher. This year we've seen numerous "Get Out the Vote" events, from rap concerts to cocktail parties to folk festivals.

The latest in this spate, called "Prepare for a Future," will happen Friday, October 17 at the Shattuck Down Low (2284 Shattuck St., Berkeley). Officially it's a nonpartisan event, so Kev Choice is free to come in full Obama regalia, and if Larry Flynt wants to flier for his new Sarah Palin porno then, well, he can do that too. Performers include local actor and monologist Thandiwe Thomas De Shazor, who just finished a month-long run playing James Baldwin in Richard Talavera's play, Before the Dream: The Mysterious Death (and Life) of Richard Wright. When not in the guise of a brooding civil rights-era novelist, De Shazor is more apt to take on campy or absurdist roles. (In improvisational theater sketches he's acted out "death by hairspray," and appeared as a saucy Bible thumper.) He'll perform alongside dance artist and choreographer Rashad Pridgen (aka Soul Nubian) and spoken-word poets Emerald O'Leary and Nicole Klaymoon, who recently staged a one-woman show at San Francisco's Intersection for the Arts. Best of all is the music, which includes the old doo-wop group Oaktown Passions, singer-songwriter Jo' Boyer, and funky keyboardist Dana Salzman. Headliners are Linda Tillery & the Cultural Heritage Choir (yes, the East Bay's best bandleader will be in effect) and jazz vocalist Valerie Troutt, who stole the show at the Express' recent Taste for Art Party (she thinks in odd meters and does a cover of Bill Withers' "Just the Two of Us" in 7/8). Troutt will have copies of her new Prepare for a Future EP available for sale, and the League of Women Voters will be on hand with bipartisan info. 9 p.m., $12-$20. ShattuckDownLow.com

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