This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 3

Twenty years after his death, the legend of German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder continues to grow. His leftist skepticism of the status quo, his open homosexuality, his reverence for Hollywood movies, the brilliance of his stock company of actors, his lumpen-proletarian face -- Fassbinder is a very 21st-century kind of guy, even though his heyday was the late '60s to the early '80s. To celebrate his career on the anniversary of his death (he expired in 1982 of a drug overdose in his flat in Munich while watching an old movie on TV), the Pacific Film Archive is screening sixteen features, plus shorts, from the director's prodigious output, through September 24. Tonight it's a double feature of The Merchant of Four Seasons (1971) at 7:00 p.m. and Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (a 1973 remake of Douglas Sirk's All That Heaven Allows) at 8:50. Bampfa.Berkeley.edu -- Kelly Vance

THU 4

Companion-piece plays are all the rage onstage, what with the Berkeley Rep's upcoming production of Continental Divide and, now, Broadway West's 1959 Pink Thunderbird. James McLure's pair of one-acts presents two sides of marriage and, in doing so, paints a vibrant, funny picture of small-town life. In Laundry and Bourbon, Elizabeth and Hattie sit on the front porch of the former's home in Maynard, Texas, cooling off with bourbon-and-cokes and sharing secrets. Then, in Lone Star, Elizabeth's husband, Roy, just back from Vietnam, reminisces about his adventures overseas while downing beers at the bar with his brother, Ray. Troublemaking interlopers plague both conversations. Will love -- and Roy's T-Bird -- save the day? Sample some of McLure's sly wit tonight, and every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 p.m., through Sept. 13, with a 1 p.m. matinee this Sunday only. Tickets are $15. 4000-B Bay St., Fremont. Info: 510-683-9218 or Broadway-West.com -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 5

What do chickens, prostitutes, and cops all have in common? They're all alternate meanings of "les poules." But back in 1986, when Les Poules, the musical trio, began as a splinter group of Montreal's Wondeur Brass, their name was a take on "chicks," a derogatory term for feminists. Back then they played icy, cacophonous, New Wave pop with improv icing. Since breaking up and re-forming again in 2000, Les Poules -- Joane Hétu, Diane Labrosse, and Danielle P. Roger -- have moved toward the quieter side of free improv, with sampler work, textural percussion, alto sax, and wild, wordless vocals. Come see what happens when "avant" and "rock" meet when the band plays with Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Saint of Killers, and Annie Gosfield at the exquisite Mills College Concert Hall (5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland). The music starts at 8 p.m.; and tickets are $6 for seniors, $12 for everyone else. -- Stefanie Kalem

SAT 6

Cal students are back, and so are the Act Midnight Movies at Landmark's Act 1 & 2 in downtown Berkeley. No vintage porno movies this season, but beginning with tonight's screening of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (the ultimate study of writer's block), a parade of familiar oldies will keep insomniacs in stitches and popcorn. Other flicks scheduled: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Poltergeist, War Games, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Little Shop of Horrors (the Frank Oz/Rick Moranis version, not the Roger Corman one), The Lost Boys, Child's Play, and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Terry Gilliam's most misunderstood film. LandmarkTheatres.com -- Kelly Vance

SUN 7

Saul Williams, the "hyphen artist extraordinaire" whose 1998 performance in the feature film Slam was one of the finest examples of hip-hop's power to connect across cultures, is a very busy man. His latest project is a book of poetry, Said the Shotgun to the Head, with a typical introspective Williams stance: "propaganda makes me fight but what am i fighting for?/my way of life: beans and rice, give or take less or more/see through the eyes of the poor. plus, I'm black to the core/ignorance is on tour booking stadiums and more." This evening at 6 p.m., he appears in person at the Lipman Room on the top floor of Barrows Hall on the UC Berkeley campus (near Telegraph and Bancroft) for a reading followed by a Q&A and book signing. He's sponsored by Revolution Books and Poetry for the People. More info: 510-848-1196. -- Kelly Vance

MON 8

Aailyon Mulk. A name to wrap the tongue around. The mythology goes like this: Oakland artist Amy Morrel's alter ego is transported to a faraway planet in which she's alone, with no one else to rely on -- but eventually Ms. Mulk has to come back down to Earth. That's the gist of Recent Findings of Aailyon Mulk, the newest creation by Morrel, who also designs clothes. The installation -- featuring seven-foot foam sculptures, obviously brought back from the strange planet -- is now on display at Buzz Gallery, 2316 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland. 510-465-4073 or MamaBuzzCafe.com -- Kelly Vance

TUE 9

The artistic imagination is alive and well and living in Hayward. At least that's the idea of a new gallery show at the John O'Lague Galleria in Hayward City Hall. Wondrous Creative Imagery is the name of the exhibition, and the list of works reflects the wonder of it all: Imaginary structures. Invented Situations. Abstract Totems. Avatars. Steles. Profoundly Heartfelt Dolls (heartfelt dolls?). Doug Desmond, Ralph Holker, and Shlela Triebull are the artists. The show runs through October 29 at the O'Lague Galleria, 777 B St., downtown Hayward. The gallery is open Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. More info: 510-538-2787. -- Kelly Vance

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