This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 28

The Blackhawk Museum is an amazing collection of ... stuff. Its ongoing "Spiders!" and "Snakes!" exhibits may consist largely of freeze-dried specimens, but the museum's automotive displays are undeniably world-class. Now showing are a grouping of antique race cars, a few "Cars of the Stars," and a special exhibition of front-engined V-12 Ferraris of the 1960s. There's also the nostalgic automotive fine art of Brad Schmehl, through September 7. And as if to temper the boy's-bedroom feel of the place, a collection of twenty paintings of birds of the West by 19th-century artist Andrew Jackson Grayson is up through September 7. The museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays at 3700 Blackhawk Circle, Danville. www.blackhawkmuseum.org or 925-736-2280. -- Kelly Vance

THU 29

"Rex Brulee is not afraid," the experimental "electra-vocal improv trio" assures us. Find out tonight as the arty trio takes the stage at Epic Arts Studios, 1923 Ashby Ave., Berkeley, smack dab in the middle of South Berkeley's boho zone. On the bill along with Rex Brulee's "invented languages" and throat singing are Pushing Air -- vocal manipulation by singer Diana Thompson -- and Tonal Chaos, a nine-piece vocal ensemble that veers from Bulgaria to Broadway to vocalese sound effects in a performance format. Electronic-aided voice improvisation is the common denominator of the musical show, Evocations, which accompanies painter Simran Singh Gleason's art exhibit, Undeveloped Mythologies. The fun begins at 8 p.m. $10 suggested donation, all ages welcome. -- Kelly Vance

FRI 30

Now this is what you call unplugged. Four vocalists, a beatboxer, and a body musician comprise Slammin, an all-body band performing tonight at Jazzschool. A project of Crosspulse, a two-decade-old, nonprofit arts organization dedicated to rhythm-based, intercultural music, and dance, Slammin's repertoire includes covers of such jazz classics as Miles Davis' "All Blues" and Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance," plus plenty of its own compositions. The band features such luminaries as the Tonight Show band's Vicki Randle and members of SoVoSá, O-Maya, and Crosspulse offshoots Body Tjak Project and Professor Terry's Circus Band Extraordinaire. The show starts at 8 p.m., tickets cost $18, and reservations can be made at 510-845-5373. Jazzschool is located at 2087 Addison St., Berkeley. -- Stefanie Kalem

SAT 31

After watching The Atomic Café, you'll better understand the formative years of George W. Bush, Michael Moore, Jeff Koons, Woody Harrelson, and the other members of the Baby Boom generation. Tilted. Completely nuts. You'll also learn the meaning of "duck and cover" and hear some amazingly good novelty honky-tonk music. Kevin Rafferty, Jayne Loader, and Pierce Rafferty's hilarious and horrifying documentary explains the "atomic era" (1945-57) the only way it should -- with a rapid-fire montage of blast footage, government propaganda, classic Yankee mercantilism, and insane yuks. Think of it as a preamble to Bowling for Columbine. The Atomic Cafe plays one time only, tonight at 8 p.m., at the Long Haul, 3124 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. For more info: www.thelonghaul.org -- Kelly Vance

SUN 1

"We are Maggie and Terre and Suzzy/We spell our last name R-O-C-H-E." So sang the Roches on their self-titled 1979 debut as a trio. That introduction is no longer necessary for folk music fans of the last few decades, though the Roches never quite got the recognition they deserved. The sisters' quirky sense of humor and amazing, unusual harmonies have made them legends, and their fans keep coming back. Tonight at Freight & Salvage, catch Suzzy and Maggie Roche -- the baby sister with the acrobatic middle range, and the deep-voiced eldest. Chances are they'll draw heavily from their 2002 collaboration, a collection of nondenominational hymns and devotionals called Zero Church (Red House Records). The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are $15.50 in advance, $16.50 at the door. The Freight can be found at 1111 Addison St. in Berkeley. 510-548-1761. -- Stefanie Kalem

MON 2

The brainchild of Fleeting Trance's Manny Bernal, Not So Open Mic Night has been going on for a while now at the Bistro (1001 B St., Hayward) and, true to its name, the weekly event is a notch better than your average free-for-all hootenanny. This evening's bill includes the aching, Anglophile reveries of Fleeting Trance's Scott Robertson; post-shoegaze dream-pop duo Orbit to Leslie; the exquisitely coiffured singer-guitarist Alex James Muscat, a Berklee College of Music grad (and former member of Ten to Six and Shrug, and founder of Last Stop Records) whose hooky, rocking songs most closely resemble a stripped-down Urge Overkill or Matthew Sweet; Terese Taylor's Cat Poweresque indie folk; and Nine Day Fall's Mark Alan Camper. Call 510-886-8525. Music starts at about 7:30 p.m. -- Stefanie Kalem

TUE 3

Any gringo who has gotten drunk in El Yucatán will tell you -- the place is magical. Just how magical is the subject of Jesse Lerner's film documentary The American Egypt, a 2001 production shot on 16mm, that uses archival newsreels, recreations of early lost films, and other cinematic devices to weave the complex story of the Mexican peninsula, home of the ancient Mayans as well as, reportedly, the first socialist government in the Americas (1915-24) and the first feminist congress (1916). It's been downhill ever since, mostly because sisal hemp, a local product, was deemed vital to US agricultural production -- leading to Yanqui intervention in the region's politics and economy. Political filmmaker Lerner blows the lid off the sleepy land at 7:30 tonight at the Pacific Film Archive, in a program including two other investigations into incipient globalism. 510-642-1412 or www.bampfa.berkeley.edu -- Kelly Vance

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