This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 27

Ladies! Ladies! Don't get dragged in that Mercedes! Enroll in Living Safe 101, a six-hour defense seminar for two women, starting tonight (7 to 10 p.m.) and continuing tomorrow night at 654 Oakland Ave., Oakland. The course uses lectures, discussion, individual and partner exercises, and more to school you in martial techniques, power dynamics, environmental awareness, threat de-escalation, and physical skills. Women over the age of fourteen are invited to gain confidence in a comfortable and supportive environment. $50 for all six hours. E-mail info@real worldpersonaldefense.org -- Stefanie Kalem

THU 28

The Conversation Cafe movement began in Washington State, and is spreading like spilled cappuccino. Why? "Because," says www.ConversationCafe.org, "when you put strangers, caffeine, and ideas in the same room, brilliant things can happen. For that very reason, the British Parliament banned coffeehouses in the 1700s as hotbeds of sedition." Java Rama at 1333 Park St. in Alameda is hoping to help foment this kind of gab-de-guerre every second and fourth Thursday between 7:30 and 9 p.m. A host will provide a "talking object" to be passed around and commented upon, and anyone who can follow the rules can attend. Those rules are: Suspend judgment as best you can. Listen with respect. Seek to understand. Invite and honor all points of view. Speak what has personal heart and meaning. And be brief. -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 29

Like the Fillmore in SF, the historic Sweets Ballroom was originally a dancing school that morphed into a dance hall. Unlike the Fillmore, however, the recently renovated Oakland gem hasn't seen a whole lot of rock 'n' roll lately. Assaf Jaffe wants to change that. Tonight is the inaugural event in an ongoing series of live, Bay Area-band concerts that Jaffe is putting together, and if rootsy rock is your thing, well, then it's a doozy. San Francisco's 7th Direction has been likened to the classic Band as well as the recently split Mother Hips, while the Hot Buttered Rum String Band, outta the East Bay, takes a more acoustical, bluegrass approach. SF-by-way-of-LA outfit Transcendental Hayride has somehow managed to parlay seemingly mutually exclusive predilections for Americana and techno into a -- you guessed it -- jam-band sound. And Oakland's own David Gans, radio host and producer (of the Grateful Dead Hour), preeminent Dead scholar, and acoustic balladeer, kicks the night off at 8 p.m. Sweets is at 1933 Broadway (next to Sears), tickets cost $10 at the door, and all the acts have promised to distribute free CDs like so much candy. -- Stefanie Kalem

SAT 30

It's that time of year again when everyone and their Uncle McMoishe get to be Scottish. (Insert obligatory haggis joke here.) Today and tomorrow between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., the Caledonian Club of San Francisco proudly presents its 138th Annual Scottish Gathering and Games, with over one hundred athletes, four entertainment stages, the Highlands Dancing Championships, sheepdog trials, vendor booths, traditional food and drink, and more than a thousand musicians. And, no, it ain't all just bagpipes -- there's everything from Drums of the Canadian Scottish Regiment to Celtic rock bands like Kinship and Tempest. Alameda County Fairgrounds, 4501 Pleasanton Ave., Pleasanton. Tickets: $12-$15 for a single-day adult, $20-$22 for both days; and $8-$10 for seniors, the disabled, and kids eight to sixteen. Children seven and under are free, and parking is $8. 800-713-3160 or www.Caledonian.org -- Stefanie Kalem

SUN 31

Hear that? It's A Multitude of Voices, a sweet little publication whose first issue came out on Christmas Eve, 1995, in Salt Lake City. Thus far, there have been a dozen of the free anthologies of writing and illustration, two CD samplers, two spin-offs, and eighteen editions of A Night of Voices, the live version of the zine. Tonight at Jupiter (2181 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) will be the latest one, featuring host and Multitude of Voices mastermind Matt Holloway, turntable pyrotechnics by Golden Chyld of the Fingerbangerz, animated (heh, heh) guitar playing from Slow Wave's Jesse Reklaw, Chinese blues by harmonica player Kou Chen, the bass quartet Otis, and other performers to be announced. The event is free and starts at 7 p.m. -- Stefanie Kalem

MON 1

What's that acronym that's supposed to help you remember the colors of the rainbow, again? ROYGBIV? Or is it LGBTQI? No, no, that stands for "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Questioning," and nowhere else are the differing hues of this spectrum more vibrant than in Berkeley. To celebrate that diversity, and the progress the community has made, Rainbow Berkeley is hosting its Fifth Annual Berkeley Brunch. This year's theme is "Health Care for Our Community," and honored guests will be two movers and shakers in that department: Congresswoman Barbara Lee and William Rogers from the Berkeley Public Health Department. Sex activist, educator, editor, and former Express advice columnist Carol Queen is the evening's featured speaker, and the emcee slot will be filled by a surprise comedian (the Unknown Comic?). The UC Men's Octet will provide musical entertainment. The brunch takes place at Hs. Lordship's on the Berkeley Marina and starts at 11 a.m. 510-649-1223. -- Stefanie Kalem

TUE 2

These days at the movies, sliced eyeballs and horses being thrown out of windows are commonplace. But when filmmaker Luis Buñuel and artist Salvador Dalí -- that pair of wily Spanish surrealist pranksters -- collaborated on Un Chien Andalou in 1928, and when Buñuel followed that short with the similarly outrageous L'Age d'Or in 1930, audiences reportedly rioted in Paris. Capture a bit of that early-20th-century anti-middle-class avant-garde frisson this evening (7:30) when the Pacific Film Archive presents both films. Info: Bampfa.Berkeley.edu -- Kelly Vance

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