This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 


Slavoj Zizek may come in last in the alphabetical faculty list at the European Graduate School (EGS) and the Institute for Sociology, Ljubljana, but the Slovenian philosophy and psychoanalysis professor leads the pack in published works. The scholar has written and edited somewhere between fifty and five hundred works (depending on who you ask), using the theory of Jacques Lacan to explain pop culture and politics, and vice versa. His charisma, humor, and leftist morals have made him a hit speaker all over the world. Catch him this evening when Zizek lectures on "Gilles Deleuze as a Hegelian Theorist of Castration" in UC Berkeley's Dwinelle Hall, and then again at 5:30 p.m. when he reads from his new book, The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity (MIT Press), at University Press Books, 2430 Bancroft Way. 510-548-0585. -- Stefanie Kalem


When is a poetry series not a poetry series? When it's having a Prose Night! The First Thursdays series at Albany Library welcomes Oakland-based writer and pediatrician Jan Steckel tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. A Harvard- and Yale-trained doctor, Steckel's fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Hospital Physician, Anything That Moves, Clean Sheets, Yale Medicine, and more, plus the anthologies Becoming Doctors and Touchwords. Short stories, rhetoric, erotica -- Steckel's got it covered. Hear her read for forty minutes and then step up to the open mic with five minutes of your own prose. Sign-up is at 7, with cookies baked by series organizer, librarian, and Albany Journal columnist Julie Winkelstein. 1247 Marin Ave. 510-526-3720. -- Stefanie Kalem


Are you ready for Carnaval? Kimball's East is. The SF Carnaval season (brought to you by starts off with a Caribbean bang when Alison Hinds and Square One play the club tonight. For seventeen years, the outfit has garnered accolades for its soca sounds -- and Hinds' sexy stage presence -- in its native Barbados and beyond. The band's style is classic, but recent collaborations with Foxy Brown and Elephant Man have kept it current. 9 p.m. at 5800 Shellmound St., Emeryville. Call 510-658-2555 or visit for tickets -- $25 in advance, $30 at the door. -- Stefanie Kalem


Bay Area musician RebbeSoul started out your average Zeppelin fan, picking up the guitar at age thirteen to imitate his idols, but it was a different kind of "Immigrant Song" that earned his music attention. While working as a jazz and rock session player in Los Angeles, RebbeSoul was moved to record an acoustic version of "Avenu Malkenu" ("Our Father, Our King"), the Jewish litany of supplication to G-d. Months later, his rendition of the prayer received the biggest-ever listener response on radio station KKSF. Since then, he has continued to blend Jewish music, rock, and world-fusion to create a sound that Kent Zimmerman of the Gavin Report said "blends melody and electricity ... there's a depth of soul that sucks you in." He brings guests to his show at iMusicast (5429 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) tonight, celebrating the day before erev Yom Kippur with Reb Isaac Soncino chanting Moroccan Havdallah, rapper Prophet X, DJ Yehudit, and more. 8 p.m.; tickets $15 advance, $18 door, two students for the price of one with ID. or 510-601-1024. -- Stefanie Kalem


Are you a California native? If not, you can at least mingle with native plants and feel better about being part of the relentless onslaught of humanity that has clogged the Golden State since the days of the Miwok -- by going to day two of the Annual Sale of Native Plants, sponsored by the East Bay chapter of the California Native Plant Society, at Merritt College in Oakland (12500 Campus Dr., off Highway 13 at Redwood Road exit), and taking home a new friend or two. Get up close and personal with manzanitas, wild lilacs, dogwoods, buckwheats, sages, flowering currants and gooseberries, pipevine, and the ever-popular bunch grass (requires almost no care). You'll admire them, and they'll never quiz you about your accent or criticize your driving technique. Bring boxes, wagons, or a helpful friend, and arrive early -- they go fast. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Info: 510-525-6614, 925-376-4095, or -- Kelly Vance


Some critics didn't like the way director Hector Babenco made Kiss of the Spider Woman in English. Some even objected to the casting of American actors William Hurt and Raul Julia as the effeminate homosexual and macho revolutionary, respectively, of novelist Manuel Puig's redemption-in-prison story. Others hated the staginess -- as if a drama of two men in a cell could be otherwise. See the 1985 film tonight at Diablo Valley College's Fall Film Series, and those objections will fade away behind the ironic fantasy sequences and rueful political intrigues of one of Babenco's best films. He makes it completely Brazilian, and he makes it hurt. At the Forum in the library building on the DVC campus, 321 Golf Club Rd., Pleasant Hill. Free. 925-687-4445. -- Kelly Vance


The bluegrass revival had its turn. Celtic is passé. Tuvan throat singing never quite caught on. Forget about them -- the hottest world/ethnic music these days for thrill-seeking ethnographic foot-stompers is Balkan brass band music. The kolo dance music of Serbia or Roma (Gypsy) cocek dance tunes are part of the great multicultural hodgepodge of the Balkans, where strains of Turkish belly dance, Jewish klezmer, and Roma fiddlers combine and recombine, and tempestuous trumpet-fronted bands such as those led by Boban Markovic and Milan Mladenovic tear the roof off the sucker with blasts of pure brass. Just drop by Ashkenaz in Berkeley (1317 San Pablo Ave.) tonight (8:30 p.m., dance lessons at 7:30) and catch Brass Menagerie, a nine-piece Bay Area band devoted to the whole Bosnian-Macedonian-Serbian-Bulgarian-Greek whirligig. $9. 510-525-5054. -- Kelly Vance


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