Tall, Dark ... 

Where are the womyn?

8/17, 8/22

As long as there are marginalized groups, there will be new film fests in the Bay Area. Your latest chance to take advantage of this bittersweet reality happens this Tuesday at the Parkway Theater (1834 Park Blvd., Oakland), when the second annual Oakland International Black Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Film Festival kicks off at 6 p.m. Tuesday is the world premiere of The DL, Oakland filmmaker Ron Fulcher's provocative look at African-American men who have sex with men, but do not consider themselves gay or bisexual. Also Tuesday, the fest presents Patrik-Ian Polk's Noah's Arc, which follows a diverse cast of friends around Los Angeles as they reinterpret the book of love for these days and times. Next Sunday's program includes Oakland's Maurice Jamal's feature-film directorial debut, the all-male romantic comedy The Ski Trip, and Polk's 2001 ensemble comedy hit Punks, starring Oz' Seth Gilliam and Oakland native Rockmond Dunbar (Soul Food). $8 per film. Call 510-814-2400 or visit ClubRimshot.com/filmfestival.html for complete schedule. -- Stefanie Kalem


Lit Happens

Savage scanning and aggro alliteration manifest manically at the Berkeley Poetry Slam, hosted by international performer and slam-coach Charles Ellik, with poets competing for a cash prize based on audience response. At the Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck Ave.; 21 and up; $5-$7 (Wed., 8:30 p.m.). ... Laugh and cry in brief little spasms throughout Bizarre Shorts, a two-night festival of teensy monologues and plays presented by the Teen Playreaders at the Berkeley Public Library's North Branch, featuring works of ten minutes' duration or less by David Ives, Itamar Moses, and others (Wed.-Thu., 7 p.m.). ... Deep discounts on shelf upon shelf of brand-new books and videos -- up to 70 percent on many titles -- beckon both the bighearted and the frugal at Fremont Main Library's Book Fair, with proceeds benefiting the library's children's department (Sat., 10 a.m. and Mon., 1 p.m.). ... Be thankful for your ceiling: local poets Sharon Fain and Adam David Miller host an open mic on the theme of home and shelter at Alameda's Frank Bette Center for the Arts, 1601 Paru St. (Sat., 7 p.m.). ... Okay, so it starts with a sled on fire: a four-session screenplay-writing workshop begins today at Oakland's Changemakers for Women, guiding participants from the amorphous-idea stage through plot development and character arcs to completing Act I. For details, call 925-286-7071 (Sat., 11 a.m.). ... Think the great SF earthquake was devastating? Novelist James Dalessandro says you don't hardly know the half of it. He reads from 1906, in which many perish, at Bookshop Benicia (Mon., 7 p.m.). ... Sate a yen for lit chat by joining the Orinda Owls at Orinda Books to discuss The Book of Dead Birds, Gayle Brandeis' novel in which a Korean-African-American twentysomething ponders avian mortality (Tue., 7 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus


We Don't Need No Water

Lewis and Artesia Sanders -- the sibling team behind UrbanKandy.com -- and Rip the Playa will have some special cohosts at the second installment of The Mic Is on Fire . This weekend, the monthly party at the Lucre Lounge (2086 Allston Way, Berkeley) is the Official "Battle of the Bay" After-Party, so the Oakland Raiderettes will be on hand to helm the festivities. This month's fashion show spotlights designs by Mamasan, and this will be the second of six talent competitions offering cash prizes and a chance to compete at UrbanKandy's big "White-Out" party December 19. 10 p.m. $15.-- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 8/13

Bush Baiter

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is the man the White House loves to hate. With his withering criticism of the Iraq war, the administration's economic policy, and corporate greed, the Princeton-econ-professor-turned-op-ed-dissenter will undoubtedly bring down the house Friday (8 p.m.) when he talks at Berkeley's M.L. King Jr. Middle School (1781 Rose St.). $15 advance from 510-848-6767 ex. 611, or $20 door. -- Kelly Vance 8/11

Africa in E'ville

Kimball's East discovers world music

t's been said that music is a universal language, and perhaps nowhere is that more true than in the sounds of West Africa. There, music became a way that hundreds of different native tribes -- each with their own dialects and customs -- could communicate with each other, through the rhythms of the djembe, kora, balafon, kalimba, and other indigenous instruments. Luckily for us, those traditional rhythms not only formed the basis of blues, jazz, rock 'n' roll, R&B, and hip-hop, they have been preserved and updated through what's been called world music. And if you've been paying attention to our local scene in the past four or five years, you might have noticed a tangible upsurge in global rhythms at local venues. The world music explosion has finally reached Kimball's East -- which usually features a steady diet of jazz and R&B -- with the African Sounds series, happening Wednesdays, now through September with such artists as Djialy Kunda Kouyate, Samba Ngo, and Sacred Journey. This week, Ivory Coast soprano Fely (together with Divers) kicks things off, showcasing songs in the mapouka style from her most recent CD, De Zere Gnan. The album, whose title pays homage to African ancestors, also touches on contemporary global issues such as Afghanistan, as Fely offers up social commentary in the Bete, Gourou, French, and English languages. In the following weeks, Kimball's hosts a procession of similar artists, at once thought-provoking and joyfully danceable.

Expect to be transported into a musical environment of polyrhythmic grooves. 6:30 p.m., $15. 6005 Shellmound St., Emeryville. Info: Kimballs.com or 510-658-2555. -- Eric K. Arnold


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