High Praise 

Berezan's big band at Lake Merritt

SAT 11/15

Berkeley folk-rocker Jennifer Berezan has worn several hats over the past decade, performing her original songs with a band in local clubs and leading women's tour groups to spiritual sites around the world. She has blended those two pursuits in a series of recordings unlike any others, hour-long folk chants with repeating choruses over which some of the world's greatest artists add solos and improvisations. Her latest, the uniquely inspired and inspiring Praises for the World, was performed last March in Oakland's cavernous Scottish Rite Center on Lake Merritt to a sold-out audience. Berezan has gathered most of that performance's four dozen musicians, singers, dancers, aerial artists, poets, and spiritual leaders, along with some new faces, for a repeat performance Saturday at 7:00 p.m., again at Scottish Rite Center (1547 Lakeside Drive, Oakland).Praises for the World, which, onstage, stretches easily to two hours and seems to fly by in an instant, features a house band and performers representing nearly every world culture. This concert adds Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation and a renowned author and activist, Vagina Monologues creator Eve Ensler, Indian classical singer Rita Sahai, Hawaiian dancer Leilani Birely, activist Farai Chideya, Indian tabla player Aushim Chadhuri, Tibetan singer Techung, belly dancer Rachel Brice (a hit on the most recent Lollapalooza tour), and poet Drew Dellinger.

Other faces are more familiar to Berezan's followers, including revolutionary aerial dance creator Terry Sendgraff's company overhead and the Dance Brigade on the floor below, several members of the original Bobby McFerrin Voicestra (Linda Tillery, Rhiannon, Joey Blake, and David Worm), Patti Cathcart (of Tuck and Patti), Betsy Rose, Erika Luckett, Native American singer Sharon Burch, guitarist Nina Gerber, Yoruban priestess Luisah Teish, cellist Jami Sieber, and dozens more. Though, in performance, she is just one more member of the troupe, Berezan's music and artistic vision has inspired these performers to pool their talents in a common artistic cause, to uplift themselves and the audience.

Tickets and info: EdgeofWonder.com or 510-919-5794. -- Larry Kelp

11/12 - 11/18

Whip It Out

Lit Happens

On the sore heels of Wang Ping's nonfiction book on footbinding, Aching for Beauty, comes a new poetry volume, The Magic Whip. Soles, souls -- it's all good with Wang at Black Oak (Wed., 7:30 p.m.). ... Sometimes you can't just say no. Dirty author Meredith Maran hung out with drug-using kids and drew some controversial conclusions: mainly, that it's the system's fault. Berkeley resident Maran speaks at Diesel (Thu., 7:30 p.m.). ... Billed as fiction, Edmund White's Fanny is the tale of real-life radical Fanny Wright, who founded a utopian community for freed slaves circa 1825 -- written in the putative voice of Wright's real-life friend, Fanny Trollope. White reads at Rakestraw (Fri., 7 p.m.). ... Reading at Moe's tonight, the literati behind Loop magazine include Yuo-Fong Bénédicte Chang, Kendra Drischler, Christine Fort, Glenn Ingersoll, Rodda Leage, Johanna Mangahas, and Christopher Nealon (Mon., 7:30 p.m.). ... A twenty-year-old Kabul University student who founded Afghanistan's first feminist organization in 1977 only to be assassinated ten years later is the heroine of Meena, Melody Ermachild Chavis' new biography of a little-known martyr. At Easy Going, Chavis hosts a slide show based on her sojourn in Meena's footsteps (Tue., 7:30 p.m.). ... With a debut novel on the New York Times best-seller list for more than a year, surely The Lovely Bones author Alice Sebold has something to say about writing. Find out at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall, where she makes her only Bay Area lecture engagement since the book was published. Tickets are $18-$28; for details, call 510-642-9988 (Tue., 8 p.m.). ... Capping off the fifteenth annual Contra Costa Jewish Book Festival, Cal State Hayward history professor Theodore Roszak reads from The Devil and Daniel Silverman, in which a blizzard maroons a gay novelist in a small Fundamentalist Christian college town, at the Jewish Community Center, 2071 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek (Tue., 10 a.m.). -- Anneli Rufus

SAT 11/15

Represent!

Though they may not realize or want to admit it, musicians usually need legal representation as much as they need coke, booze, and loose muses. Find out more about what that guy in the suit could do for you -- and what you could do for yourself -- at the Volume 2003 Music Business Seminar at Yoshi's (510 Embarcadero West, Jack London Square, Oakland). Between 10 a.m. and 4:45 p.m., music industry insiders like keynote speaker and entertainment lawyer Michael Ashburne will share their takes on management, legal, creative, and technical issues. The event costs $30-$65, so dig into the band fund and visit CALawyersfortheArts.org for registration and other info. -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 11/14

This Year's Model

It may have started out on the Weezer/Modest Mouse tip, but the Anniversary has fulfilled the promise that only a five-member, three-vocalist band from Kansas with a propensity for pyrotechnics can make. Their last album, 2002's Your Majesty, had a decidedly spacey bent, with countrified vocals and a stoner feel. The band's label has folded, so lawd knows what it has been up to since then. What we do know is that it's touring with Boston trio Apollo Sunshine (whom Pitchforkmedia described as "like Ben Folds without the sarcasm, or the Flaming Lips without the psychedelic twist") and Carrier, touching down at the Bear's Lair on UC Berkeley campus on Friday. 8 p.m. $10 students, $12 everyone else. -- Stefanie Kalem

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