All over Emeryville

WED 5/25

Do not be worried if someone tells you to check out the unzipping guy on Christie Street across from the Burger King -- over there, on the utility box. Or the guy with the puzzle-piece head at Powell Street at Beaudry. These are not troubled souls in need of medical assistance. They are paintings of the familiar stick-figure pedestrians who usually live in traffic signs, delivered from functionary featurelessness by the artist Seyed Alavi in collaboration with eight Emeryville High School students for a public art project called Signs of the Times. Alavi's installations throughout the Bay Area, often in collaboration with young people, have combined grace, heady inventiveness, and goofball charm. He has a knack for elevating the ordinary and inducing the contemplative double take. He spent a fruitful couple of months ruminating with the students on human nature by means of stick-figure drawings, refined their favorite themes into what he calls "poetic vignettes," and is now implementing the project. In coming weeks, Alavi's paintings will enliven seventeen Emeryville utility boxes. The artist is pleased, the students are pleased, and the stick figures seem jazzed about it, too -- to wit, the blocky Saul-Bass-style guy at Powell and Christie who looks as if he's doing the robot. -- Jonathan Kiefer


Bed Time

Six models to choose from

Artist Liz Konsella wants to invite you into her boudoir. In fact, she wants you to visit all six of the life-size, interactive bedroom installations she has set up for her new art exhibition, Where Darkness Meets Light ... in Bed, at John F. Kennedy University's Arts and Consciousness Gallery (2956 San Pablo Ave. at Ashby Ave., Berkeley). The multipart installations -- incorporating sculpture, painting, lighting, video, and sound -- each correspond to a different mythical dream character, and viewers are allowed to "sleep" in several of the beds and to note "the changes in their own states of mind." Says Konsella: "I love to create fantasy where people become unsure of time, space, and reality. From there they can venture out to wherever my sculptures might take them." The show opens Tuesday and runs through June 9. There's a reception, with Konsella herself doing an "artist bed demo," on June 4 from 7 to 10 p.m. Info: 510-649-0499. -- Kelly Vance

SAT 5/28

Expert Teas

Fancy yourself a sultan of Ceylon, a duke of Earl Grey, or Her Royal Highness of Rooibos? Show your true caffeinated colors by attending the Saturday tea tastings at Julie's Coffee and Tea Garden (1223 Park St., Alameda), during which you'll taste and talk about a different leaf from noon to 1 p.m. This week's strains of choice are Keemun and Yunnan, China's most prominent black teas. The two are from different regions, taste unlike one another, and have many variations. 510-865-2385. -- Stefanie Kalem

WED 5/25

Fly PINE*am

001010111-track recording

Listening to Pull the Rabbit Ears, the second full-length by PINE*am -- and the band's US debut -- it's hard to believe that, since the three members all live in different cities, its creation was essentially one long cyber-chain letter. Files were sent from Osaka to Vancouver to Tokyo, with new parts added as they went along, and bassist Tsugumi Takashi producing the final product, a sugary take on Stereolab-style thoughtful poptronica, fizzing over with darling harmonies and occasionally ravey rhythms. The jet-setting women of PINE*am make a landing at the Ivy Room Wednesday night, playing with like-minded locals From Bubblegum to Sky. $7, 10 p.m. 858 San Pablo Ave., Albany. 510-524-9220. -- Stefanie Kalem



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