Schoolin' 'Em 

The young and the restless

Fri 1/14

"We see art and hip-hop specifically as a tool of consciousness-raising," says Raquel Jimenez, director of programs at Youth Together. For the past eight years, the Oakland-based organization has focused on addressing social, political, and cultural inequities in the public school system through community development and student empowerment. YT has developed student organizing teams at various high schools in the East Bay, created need-assessment programs, and made considerable efforts to identify proactive solutions to racial tension, violence, mental health and wellness, and quality-of-education issues. "We're at a very important time in education," Jimenez says, noting that the failures of school administrators and state and local officials to provide an "adequate learning system" has led to the growing privatization of public education. Young people nowadays have also been affected by voter-approved bills such as Props. 21, 187, and 209. Most egregiously, on both a legislative and a bureaucratic level, policies are being made without any input by those most affected by them. "Kids are often left out of the process," Jimenez adds, which is one reason it's imperative for youth to unite and to raise their voices about their concerns.

Youth Together is helping along this process with their Friday event at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, Go Stupid Don't Be It! A Concert for Student Power. Scheduled to perform is a plethora of local hip-hop artists -- many of whom are high school students themselves -- including Ise Lyfe, Kiwi, the Attik, Flojos No Visten, Firme, La Muñeca y Los Muertos, Freepotroc, somosOne, Yung G Capone, DJ Capski, DJ Fela, the Knumroc Crew, Jimi Handtrix Project, and DJ Juganot. These multicultural community representatives are all proponents of positive lyrical consciousness. As Jimenez explains, they are all "artists who express what's happening in the community and what youth are doing to empower themselves." All the performers are donating their time and energy, while proceeds ($5 for kids, $7 for adults) will go toward Youth Together's Student Power Campaign and the Organize Da Bay project. Info: 510-645-9209 or -- Eric K. Arnold

Sat 1/15

Shell Out

The hills are alive

Until you see it all together on a stage -- or on a page -- it's surprising how many theater productions take place every year in the Central Contra Costa/Diablo Valley region. Producer Scott Denison has a pretty good idea. He founded the Shellie Awards 26 years ago to honor the area's best stage shows, both musicals and dramas, in some twenty categories. The latest edition of the awards show takes place Saturday evening at 7:30 at Dean Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, and features production numbers from the nominated musicals (with Joe Barnett conducting), scenes from the plays, and special guests. The $25 ticket price includes a champagne gala reception. Info: 925-943-SHOW or -- Kelly Vance


Fremont and Ham

Good Geisel! Good Geisel! Good Great Auntie Liesl! How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. January's half-gone before it's June. My goodness, how the time has flewn! But don't just lie quiet or even lie prone -- you can still get your kicks at that college, Ohlone, where on four days of this week and three days of next, the old Jackson Theatre has put on its best: Lori Stokes of Star Struck will gather her faves from the works of that doctor, that favorite of babes! It's Seussical the Musical and it probably rhymes; or (510-659-6031) for price, address, and times. -- Stefanie Kalem

Sat 1/15

Dancing into Big Shoes

Carmen has been played out on every stage from ice (starring Katarina Witt) to MTV (starring Beyoncé). But chances are that Nikolai Kabaniaev's ballet version -- playing Saturday night only at Zellerbach Hall -- will draw from more traditional sources (namely the Bizet opera and the novel by Prosper Mérimée) to tell the tale of this troublemaking hottie. Kabaniaev's choreography will be danced out by Diablo Ballet to music by Shchedrin; also on the bill is Viktor Kabaniaev's abstract Opus for a Table , with a company of six dancing to music by Beethoven, Saint-Saéns, and Schubert. 8 p.m., $18-$25, 510-642-9988. -- Stefanie Kalem

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