This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 25

Pleasure is where you find it. At the Berkeley Art Museum's For Your Pleasure exhibitions -- part of the ongoing MATRIX project -- you have three chances to experience pleasurable sensations: visual, aural, and tactile. Relax in a massage chair and witness Cai Guo-Qiang's electric "fireworks," a floor-to-ceiling installation reconfigured from his Fireworks from Heaven. The digital wall mural by Chiho Aoshima imitates Japanese manga-style comics. The animated sculpture called Geometric Automerge, by Angela Bulloch, reacts to recorded music with patterns of light and color. All three pleasure units are available until August 3 at BAM, 2626 Bancroft Way on the UC Berkeley campus, which is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu -- Kelly Vance

THU 26

Not every writer gets to put blurbs by Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney up on her Web site. But then again, not every writer is Ariel Gore, adventurer, zine publisher, former welfare mom, and underground superstar. Gore made motherhood cool in The Hip Mama Survival Guide, The Mother Trip, and Breeder (with Bee Lavender), addressing the politics of parenting as well as the usual health-and-discipline business. But her new memoir, Atlas of the Human Heart, steps back in time to her prenatal days. S-K singer and guitarist Tucker called the tale of Gore's teen wanderings, from Silicon Valley to Hong Kong to Italy, "a terrific and important book. Ariel Gore rips through the cultural wasteland of the 1980s with fierce desire and female angst, taking us on a wild ride." Gore's "Wanderlust Tour" touches down at AK Press (647-A 23rd St., Oakland), reading selections from Atlas at 7 p.m., doors 6:30. 510-208-1700. -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 27

George W. Bush has his State of the Union, and PEN Oakland has one of its own. The two don't agree. Things are expected to go pretty hard on the Bushman and his evil minions tonight, when a group of lefty journalists, teachers, and public policy wonks present their State of the Union report at Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland. Among the notables lined up to denounce the PATRIOT Act, state terrorism, and the repeal of civil liberties are public-radio newsman Dennis Bernstein of KPFA-FM, author and professional contrarian Ishmael Reed, op-ed commentator Norman Solomon of the Institute for Public Accuracy, activist Yuri Kochiyama, social crusader Elizabeth Martinez, and author William Lloyd Roller. Boy, are they pissed off. The harangues begin at 7 p.m. at Pro Arts, 461 9th St. in downtown Oakland. $3-$7 donation. Info: 510-525-3948. -- Kelly Vance

SAT 28

There are a lot of ways to feel connected to other cultures. Watch movies from India; get a pen pal in Johannesburg; click on www.thehungersite.com every morning when you get to work. But Cameron Powers and Kristina Sophia choose a more direct route. Powers, a 58-year-old musician, and Sophia, a 49-year-old singer and early-childhood educator, have traveled all over the Middle East, from Morocco to Baghdad, learning Arabic music from anyone who will teach them, and performing it, with their voices and Powers' oud (lute), for anyone who will listen. You can hear all about the Boulder, Colorado, pair's "musical missions" at "Baghdad and Beyond: Healing the Wounds of War" tonight at 8 p.m. at Epic Arts Studio (1923 Ashby Ave., Berkeley). $10 suggested donation, no one turned away for lack of funds. 510-644-2204 for venue details, or visit www.musicalmissions.com for more information on Powers and Sophia. -- Stefanie Kalem

SUN 29

Destiny Arts' DREAM (Destiny Redefining Education through Art and Movement) is much more than a dance company. Founded in 2002 by Destiny Arts Center's Naomi Bragin, DREAM is a hip-hop theater troupe, a coalition of performance artists, aged 18-23, with community in their minds and underground dance culture in their hearts. The ensemble's debut production, ReminEssence, which they've performed throughout the Bay Area, tackles themes of permanence and repetition, with jazz flowing into hip-hop, street poets swapping rhymes and life advice, and dance as ritual. There will also be performances by MC FLO, singer Viveca Hawkins, and MC/poet Advocate. Check it out tonight at 7 p.m. at La Peña (3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley). Tickets: $10-$25 sliding scale. 510-849-2568 for venue info. -- Stefanie Kalem

MON 30

Hey, kids: Want to learn how to throw a lasso? Want to hear stories of bulldogging, mustang roping, bushwhacking, gold miners, outlaws and sheriffs, and other legends of the rootin'-tootin' Old West? You have to be at least three years old, pardner, to come and see Lariat Larry this evening (7 p.m.) at El Sobrante Library. Larry is happy to demonstrate lariat spinning (it's harder than it looks) for his youthful audience, and naturally the tall tales are sure to follow. The El Sobrante branch of the Contra Costa Library System is six days a week at 4191 Appian Way, and all Youth Services library programs are free and open to the public. Want to know more? Phone 510-374-3991. -- Kelly Vance

TUE 1

Norfolk, Virginia's the Strap-Ons used to be known as the Pimps, till an alt-metal outfit on Hollywood Records took that moniker away. When the coed quintet brings its drunk punk to NorCal this week -- making six stops from San Francisco to Chico to San Jose -- let's just keep to ourselves that little thing about San Antonio band the Strap-Onz that came around in April, shall we? "When I listen to this band," wrote "Johnny Bravo" on the band's online message board, "I wanna drink beer, start a fight, and try to take over the world. Love the singer's style, love the music. What ever [sic] type of drugs this band is on, I want some." The Strap-Ons play an all-ages show tonight at Rooster's Roadhouse (1700 Clement Ave., Alameda). Call 510-337-9190 for lineup, start time, and cover charge information. -- Stefanie Kalem

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