Spooky 7th 

Back that classical up

3/18, 3/19

How can there be two world premieres for the same event? Simple. One is in Richmond and the other in Oakland. And while the cities are only a few miles from one another as the crow flies, evidently they are worlds apart, if press releases are to be believed. Actually, it's easy to forgive overeager publicists for telling a small fib, especially when the event in question has the potential to be as groundbreaking and earth-shattering as Devolution, a revolutionary new work by Anthony de Ritis, currently the acting chair of the Multimedia Studies program at Northeastern University in Boston. Billed as "A Concerto for DJ and Orchestra," Devolution represents nothing short of a deconstruction of classical music through technology. The piece draws elements from Beethoven's venerable Symphony No. 7, breaking them down to their essential fragments -- with the help of laptop computers, turntables, and a mixing console -- then building them back up again with a flourish that threatens to redefine the time-space continuum as we know it, as the future and the past merge into one. The aim is not only to make good ol' Ludwig's tried-and-true melodies sound so fresh and so clean (so fresh and so clean-clean!) again, but to elevate today's high-tech DIY DJ artistry to a level far above bedroom studios and smoke-filled electroclash clubs.

Assisting de Ritis in his audio alchemist's wet dream is none other than Paul D. Miller, better known as DJ Spooky, "That Subliminal Kid." Spooky -- an accomplished turntablist who has issued several critically-acclaimed albums, scored the film Slam, and collaborated with everyone from Yoko Ono to Kool Keith -- is the kind of high-minded intellectual whose grand ambitions often go way above the heads of drunken club kids and chronically stoned backpack scenesters. What seems pretentious to some is often lauded by others as true art, which is why it's only right that Spooky gets to cut, scratch, and transform on a big stage, surrounded by a full orchestra -- the Oakland East Bay Symphony, to be precise. He gets to do it not once, but twice: on Thursday, Devolution plays at the Richmond Convention Center (510-620-6793); on Friday, the show comes to the Paramount in Oakland (510-625-8497).

Both evenings also include a performance of Beethoven's Seventh -- which should provide listeners with a before-and-after perspective -- while the Paramount show includes a preconcert lecture plus a rendition of Maurice Ravel's famous Bolero. The Richmond show is free to the public, while tickets for the Oakland show will run you anywhere from $15-$58. Either way, Devolution promises to be something to tell the grandkids about one day. -- Eric K. Arnold


Shake It

Black burlesque in Oakland

Two members of the 21st century's first African-American burlesque troupe, Harlem Shake Burlesque -- Simone de la Getto and Missy Marmalade -- are showcased Friday night in Risqué Rhythms, a '30s-style girlie show at the Oakland Box (1928 Telegraph Ave., 510-451-1932) hosted by singing comedienne Carolyn King. Also on the bodacious bill is burlesque legend Isis Starr, among others. There's a PG show at 7:30 p.m. and an adult performance at 9:30. HSB also performs at the Oakland Metro (201 Broadway, 510-763-1146) at 9 p.m. Saturday with gender-warping, '50s- and '60s-style troupe the Woodyz. -- Stefanie Kalem


The Bible, A to N

Is The Passion of the Christ too bloody for you? Too dour? Too ... nonmusical? Then try Children of Eden on for size. It's based on the first nine-and-a-half chapters of Genesis, from Adam to Noah, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell) and book by John Caird (Les Misérables). And it's not just a Bible story, darn it -- it's a play about family relationships and legacies. See it Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m., at Willows, 1975 Diamond Blvd., Concord. Call 925-798-1300 or visit WillowsTheatre.org for complete schedule and prices. -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 3/19

Avant-Pop Locking

Dancers from as far away as Florida and DC will be goin' off at Ashkenaz Friday, when Outta Nowhere Entertainment, Zulu Kings, and Funk Lab present the first installment of A New Hope B-Boy/B-Girl Battle -- and you can, too. Don't worry if your headspins involve multimedia props -- the 2-on-2 matches Friday and the 3-on-3 competitions Saturday in San Jose are light side (traditional) vs. dark side (abstract), while the 1-on-1s in San Jose are open to whatever. Sign up at the Ashkenaz (1317 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley) event if you want a shot at any of the more than $1,200 in cash prizes. Showtime is 7 p.m., cover is $10. Info: 510-525-5054. -- Stefanie Kalem


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