Sarajevo Joe 

Reporter Sacco visits Cody's

FRI 12/5

With his thinning blond hair and his paunch, Neven looks like an ordinary Joe Six-Pack from anywhere in Europe or America. Hard to believe that in the Bosnian civil war of 1992-93, he went into bars, pulled a revolver, and rounded up every man he saw for trench-digging duty on behalf of a Muslim warlord named Caco. Or that he hustled foreign journalists for cigarettes, drinks, and serious money as a guide to the anarchic chaos that was Sarajevo.But that's the point of Joe Sacco's remarkable memoir, The Fixer (Drawn & Quarterly, $24.95) -- that Neven the Fixer was no different than anyone else, doing what was necessary during the brutal years when displaced people, killing fields, and gangsters-turned-chieftains transformed tolerant, multicultural Sarajevo into a graveyard of dreams. Neven knows where the bodies are buried. Sacco, who appears Friday evening (7:30) at Cody's Books on Telegraph to sign copies of his book, also knows Sarajevo well. As a political reporter who uses "commix-journalism" to tell his stories, he has covered Palestine (his first book) as well as Bosnia (Safe Area Gorazde) and other hot spots. 510-845-7852 or CodysBooks.com -- Kelly Vance

SAT 12/6

Diaspora

Afghanistan's Art Scope

The Willits Center Gallery's third annual Afghan art exhibit, A Cultural Journey: The Art of Afghanistan, features work by artists from diverse backgrounds such as 32-year-old illustrator Bismillah Iqbal, who attended SF's Academy of Art; painter, poet, short-story writer, and novelist Youssef Kohzad, founder of the National Gallery in Kabul; and Abdul Shokoor Khesrawi, who continues his work in realism, impressionism, and abstract and classical Afghan calligraphy while in exile in Pakistan, despite suffering from bone disease and a kidney disorder. Attend tonight's 6 p.m. reception to see their artwork, plus pieces from the Gholam M. Maimanagi School of Art, CHA Art Gallery, Kabul University Department of Fine Arts, HIFA (School for Deaf Children), Achiana (Center for Street Children), and Al Fateh girls' school in Kabul. 3755 Washington Blvd., Fremont. Call 510-979-5600 for information. -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 12/5

Xaxado Marks the Spot

It's raucous, then spiritual

You'll have a hard time not moving your boots at the Henry J. Kaiser Auditorium this Friday, when Tânia Santiago and Aguas da Bahia samba into Oakland for their show Aguas. Santiago spent several years as a principal dancer and choreographer for Olodum -- a world-renowned Afro-Brazilian Carnaval group -- in her native Bahia, Brazil, before moving to the Bay Area and forming this troupe of dancers and musicians. Featuring drummer Gamo da Paz and percussionist/performer Emiliano Benevides, Aguas, which manages to be both raucous and spiritual, showcases authentic dance and music forms from Northeastern Brazil, like samba de roda, puxada de rede, caboclo, and xaxado (a folk dance pronounced "sha-sha-do," named for the sound of boots scraping on earth). 8 p.m., $16 advance, $18 door. -- Nora Sohnen

12/6-12/7

Fungus Amungus

They're small and they grow in damp places, nestling beside tree roots and beneath large leaves, hiding from us -- probably because we want to eat them. No, they're not elves, they're mushrooms. And you, the wily urbanite, have much to learn about their ways. That's where the Oakland Museum's 34th Annual Fungus Fair comes in. The "celebration of all things mycological" encompasses six experts, a video, workshops on how to cultivate your own funghi, and plenty of tall tales about rain forests in Guyana and Thailand. Want to know more? Visit MuseumCA.org -- Kelly Vance

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