This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 12

Stock up on vegetable oil and never go to the pumps again. No, this isn't some post-apocalyptic scenario -- it's the miracle of biodiesel, the clean-burning alternative fuel produced from renewable household resources. You can learn more about biodiesel during the Ecology Center's Biodiesel 101 class. From 7 to 9 p.m., you'll hear about what you can do to get started using the fuel, where to buy it or where to learn to make it, where you can go for community support (cooperatives, upcoming events, biodiesel activism), and more. The Ecology Center is located at 2530 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, and the class is free. 510-548-21220 ex. 233.

THU 13

If you think long and hard enough, you can find ways to connect just about anything. Case in point: Alchemy Works' Where There's a Wil(l) There's a Play. The theater company, devoted to increasing theater opportunities for those from nontraditional groups (especially folks with disabilities), presents pieces by Oscar Wilde, Lanford Wilson, Wendy Wasserstein (inspired by William Shakespeare), and Christopher Durang (transforming Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie). Tonight through Saturday, Dylan Russell directs an excerpt from Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan, reconfigured for the Eisenhower era; Anthony Schmiesing helms both Wilson's Ikke, Ikke, Nye, Nye, Nye and Wasserstein's meditation on the Bard's "Sonnet #94," Waiting for Philip Glass; and John Warren offers up Durang's For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls, wherein our young invalid is no longer a Laura, but, rather, a Larry. The show plays at 8 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, with a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $10-$15; call 925-798-1300.

FRI 14

How do you like your prog-rock? Do you like it globe-trotting and string-bending, with saucy female vocals and arpeggios up the wazoogle? Or do you prefer it darker, more ambient, with tones of Cocteau Twins (prog-gaze?), King Crimson, and Steve Reich? Well, either way, dear hobbits and faeries, you've got something to do tonight. The Oakland Metro presents Azizga, boasting an expanded ensemble with additional percussion, strings, and vocalists to bolster its epic, world-fusion earscapes, and Headshear's "neo-minimalist funk" Both bands hail from the misty mountains of San Francisco. The Oakland Metro is located at 201 Broadway (at 2nd St.), in Jack London Square, and the music starts at 9 p.m., supposedly. Tickets: $10 advance (at JamBaseTickets.com), $13 at the door.

SAT 15

Lola, Lola, Lola. Looks like a backyard party, talks like a film fest. Either way you dress her, we're glad that Lola's Film Frenzy is still around. The latest installment in the sporadic series begins at 8 p.m. with a musical tribute to Johnny Cash, with Antonio Aguilar (of Totimoshi), the Rulers with Rob Tyler, and Devon Angus paying homage to the late man in black. The films begin at 9:15, with Alan Decker's Excessive Force and end with Demon of the Derby, Sharon Rutter and Christine Murray's chronicle of the life and times of roller-derby queen Ann Calvello. There will, as always, be door prizes and raffles. Bring blankets and chairs, but no dogs, to 929 Grace St., near Powell and Lowell streets on the Oakland/Emeryville border. E-mail lola@lolafilms.net

SUN 16

Though the St. Petersburg Academic State Capella has garnered acclaim for its versions of major Western choral works by Mozart, Verdi, and the like, for its first-ever US tour, the group has chosen to represent its homeland with a program of sacred hymns and Russian folk songs. The choral troupe was established in Moscow some five hundred years ago, and though it's safe to assume that these are not the same singers as were in the original incarnation, the choir is still extraordinary. With fourteen sopranos, fourteen altos, twelve tenors, and seventeen bass voices, the ensemble easily cures any longing audiences may have for instrumental accompaniment. They appear at Zellerbach Hall (UC Berkeley campus, Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave.) at 3 p.m. today; tickets cost $24-$46 and are available by calling 510-642-9988 or visiting CalPerfs.berkeley.edu

MON 17

Many of Berkeley's progressive institutions are collectively run, but perhaps none are as committed to the survival of the city's population as the Berkeley Free Clinic. For 34 years, the clinic at 2339 Durant Avenue has been providing general medical, dental, peer counseling, information, referral, HIV and STD testing, and educational services to anyone who has the patience to sit and wait. Attend a volunteer orientation tonight at 7:30 p.m. and become one of the calm, cool, and collected faces who greet the uninsured masses every day. No previous medical experience is necessary, although most volunteers are asked to make a minimum one-year commitment following completion of training.

TUE 18

In the 1992 film C'est Arrivé Près de Chez Vous (known stateside as Man Bites Dog), a camera crew follows a serial killer and thief around on his daily business, eventually becoming wrapped up in his grisly affairs. In F-Stops, the script is flipped -- a determined director and his devoted band of actors shoot a crime film guerrilla-style, eventually smudging the line between fact and fiction, turning the project into a documentary of the criminal lifestyle. F-Stops was written, directed, and produced by three East Bay natives -- Jeff Bassetti, Chris Fetherolf, and Jim Stafford. After being sucked in and spit out by the Big Movie Machine some years ago, the trio, along with friends, family members, and one kindly philanthropist, started Burning Galileo Films (BurningGalileoFilms.com), and set about making the film their own selves. You can see the results tonight at the Parkway Theater (1834 Park Blvd., Oakland) at 9:15 p.m. The filmmakers will be on hand for Q&A, and admission is $5.

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