This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 


If you've seen a fight onstage in the Bay Area, chances are you've seen the work of Richard Lane. The executive director of the Academy of the Sword teaches aspiring Zorros and Xenas how to smack and slice their opponents without looking like they're swatting flies or punching cattle. If you're curious but still a little on the yellow side, check out the academy's stage combat presentation at the San Pablo Library today at 3 p.m. The performers will present stage combat scenes and demonstrate their techniques. And refreshments! Let us not forget the refreshments! All for free, of course, and for all ages. The books and would-be Captain Hooks can be found at 2300 El Portal Dr. -- Stefanie Kalem


Landmark Theatres are known throughout the film exhibition industry as an innovator, but this time around, they're borrowing a page from the Speakeasy Theater book. Like the Parkway's Monday night "Baby Brigade" series, Landmark's Shattuck Cinema is now offering Rattle & Reel, wherein every Thursday at noon, caregivers can bring their little bundles of scream (up to eight months) to a first-run showing especially for them. There will be a stroller check-in and diaper-changing station available, and the movies will be shown at a lower volume and with higher lighting for the comfort of everyone involved. Tickets are only $7 for grown-ups, and the babies get in free. This week's feature is Being Julia, starring Annette Bening. Check Landmark for more details. -- Stefanie Kalem


Have you ever had a roommate who talked in his or her sleep? Peter DeRome did, and the resulting recordings of Dion McGregor's detailed somniloquies -- recorded by McGregor's songwriting partner, Michael Barr, and almost all ending in frightful shrieks -- became the 1964 Decca album The Dream World of Dion McGregor (He Talks in His Sleep) and the 1999 "sequel," Dion McGregor Dreams Again. Now, with A Breach in the Ghostly Skin, 21 Grand attempts to answer the question "How would the world be if we talked only in our sleep?" This live performance of the Barely Human DanceTheatre is set to McGregor's rants and the "talismanic dirt folk music" of Black Bird Stitches, visually attended by the art of M.S. Waldron, William Smith, John Scharpen, and Gregory Scharpen. If you're the type who likes to amble over to the fridge on your nightly sleepwalks, you'll appreciate the food and wine provided by Fellini. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. and the show begins at 9:30. Tickets cost $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Limited seating available; call 510-883-0302 or write -- Stefanie Kalem


Celebrate the fungus amongus this weekend at the Oakland Museum of California during the 35th annual Fungus Fair, a practical tribute to the joys of mushrooms. Even in the culinarily sophisticated East Bay, there are plenty of new uses you can discover for the multitude of 'shrooms popping up all over: as a base for dyes for yarn and paper, raw material for jewelry, even as an ingredient in, ahem, earth-based spirituality (aka magic). Beginning today on the first level of the museum, the Mycological Society of San Francisco presents two days of cooking demos, slide shows, lectures, kids' activities, gewgaws, and gimcracks devoted to the lowly, mighty mushroom. Admission is $8 general, $5 students and seniors. E-mail for made-in-the-shade details. 10th and Oak streets, Oakland, -- Kelly Vance


The Yoruban orisha Chango is a bit of an enigma. He is the manifestation of the African god Chango imprinted onto the Roman Catholic patron saint of artillerymen, Santa Barbara -- a powerful deity that not only governs fire and lightning but the thunder of drums. That implied duality must have appealed to the Berkeley-Palma Soriano Sister Cities Association, organizers of this evening's Chango Fest! But you don't have to be religious to get down with the Cuban music and dancing supplied by the all-women drum orchestra Obini Tambor (led by percussionist Carolyn Brandy), the Arenas Dance Ensemble Olorun, Quimbombó's salsa conjunto, Trinidadian steel-pan player Val Serrant, and the rumbera dance band Los Gatos de la Rumba. It's all about bonding with the town of Palma Soriano, Cuba, on the dancefloor. And it all happens at La Peña at 7 p.m. $10-15 sliding scale. 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. Info: -- Kelly Vance


So the poor Cowboys are taking on the mediocre Seahawks? Who cares? Grab a shot of cognac, play some videogames, and Juke it out at The Ultimate Monday Night Football Party. That's right, sports fans, this evening (6 p.m.) at Everett & Jones' Q's Lounge, Oakland's preeminent barbecue spot will levitate to the sounds of ESPN's NFL2K5 videogame tournament (prizes for winners), the turntable stylings of DJ Dat and DJ Juice, fifteen screens of nonstop sports action, and the combined presence of selected, as yet unnamed Raiders and Raiderettes. Can you handle this mess? Complimentary appetizers, drink specials, and gift bags, too. And there's no cover. How much fun can a human being stand? Get there early for some 'cue and brew. 126 Broadway, near Jack London Square, Oakland. For more info: or 510-663-2350. -- Kelly Vance


It appears North Oakland's Mile High Club is on the verge of closing. But that doesn't mean we can't send off the latest (the ultimate?) incarnation in appropriate style. They are certainly busting up the joint. Mile High's Holiday and Fez Night Show tonight features the Comfy Chair (not that!), Indra the neo-vaudeville beauty queen, and high-tone burley-cue by Cherry Lix, Vidalis Paradise, Bombshell Betty, and Rose Pistola. Plus more surprises than this space can safely describe. 3629 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland, 510-654-4549, OaklandMile -- Kelly Vance


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