This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 11

In the latest issue of Kitchen Sink, John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats is quoted as saying, "Words are the only thing that matters in music, pretty much. Except for maybe the saxophones; those kinda matter a lot too." And though Darnielle -- who is the Mountain Goats -- now releases records featuring full instrumentation, under the lush umbrella of the 4AD label, don't expect a brass section when he plays the Mills College Chapel tonight at 7 p.m. The formerly lo-fi Iowa singer-songwriter will most likely be all by his lonesome for this intimate evening, bringing his messages of imaginary romance -- peppered with mythological imagery -- to the lucky faithful. The Peels open the show, and the whole thing starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $6 and available by e-mailing kstanfor@mills.edu. Mills is located at 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland. -- Stefanie Kalem

THU 12

The photos of faraway lands that we take for granted in the 21st century were once -- in the 19th-century frame of the Time's Shadow exhibition now at the Berkeley Art Museum -- rare art objects, obtained at great cost and effort by traveling photographers using bulky equipment and metal, paper, and glass printing techniques. Ancient ruins and exotic landscapes were favorite subjects, so whisk yourself away to that slower, more awestruck period. Give in to the spell of the antique photographs donated to the museum by Bay Area collectors Jan Leonard and Jerrold Peil. Gaze, for instance, at the majesty of the Hypaethral Temple at Philae, shot by Francis Frith in 1857. Nothing like it ever was. "Time's Shadow," curated by Lucinda Barnes, runs through August 8 at 2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley. BAMPFA.Berkeley.edu or 510-642-0808. -- Kelly Vance

FRI 13

Indie films aren't what they used to be -- but likewise neither is IndieFest, the San Francisco Independent Film Festival, now in its sixth year. Indies these days are further out on the edge, less commercial, less apt to use gratuitous sex to sell themselves. But they still gaze at their navels a lot. Jeff Ross' fest, opening tonight at the Oakland Metro (201 Broadway) after a week at the Castro, the Roxie, and the Women's Building in the city, has, as they say, something to razz everyone: a mock-biblical-epic musical (Gory Gory Hallelujah), a documentary on global electronic eavesdropping (Echelon), the comic narrative of a farm girl called Piggie, and Value-Added Cinema, Steve Seid and Peter Conheim's lively exposé of product placement in "major motion pictures." Plus more, through Sunday, and there's an after-party tonight, as well. Log onto SFIndie.com for details. -- Kelly Vance

SAT 14

Here's a suggestion for those into counter-programming: Don't join the crowds at expensive restaurants, wining and dining your sweetheart. Skip the corny boxes of candy and long-stemmed red roses. Forget about that fuzzy, floppy-eared puppy you were going to give her (or him). Instead, spend your Valentine's Day evening drinking beer and eating onion rings at Ricky's Grill and Sports Bar in San Leandro, and take in a comedy show by Miracle Malone. The Oakland-born, Bay Area-based "Queen of Comedy," who has appeared in such movies as Heavy in the Game and Me & Mrs. Jones and who works regularly at a long list of clubs including the Punch Line and the Comedy Store, has an announcement to make on her Web site, MiracleMalone.com: She's "currently on a husband hunt." So you might want to keep an eye on her during breaks. Ricky's, the East Bay's legendary sports bar, is at 15038 Hesperian Blvd., San Leandro. For tickets and more info: 510-352-0200. -- Kelly Vance

SUN 15

There's nothing that quite says "spring" more than a ginormous meeting hall packed to the rafters with product, so head to the Alameda County Fairgrounds, 4501 Pleasanton Ave., Pleasanton, for the last day of the Alameda County Spring Home & Garden Show. The show features 400 booths with approximately 350 exhibitors, showcasing and demonstrating (and occasionally giving away) items related to roofing, landscaping, windows, furniture, flooring, gift and decorator items, and more, plus the odd vendor of jewelry and other gewgaws. "Our show is not a hype thing," says Kari Damron, the show's manager. Regardless, there will be giveaways, including plants given to the first three hundred folks through the door, to give to their sweethearts, natch. The fair is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today, and admission is $5 for adults and free for kids twelve and younger; with an $8 parking fee. Call 800-222-9351 for information on the fair, 925-426-7600 for venue details. -- Stefanie Kalem

MON 16

You gotta love a class that instructs participants to "bring very high shorts or a thong/G-string to class. High heels/boots are also recommended but not mandatory." Starting tonight and continuing through Monday, March 15, former professional exotic dancer Catherine Rose teaches a Pole Dancing Weekly Class in downtown Oakland. Rose aims to "create a safe, nonjudgmental, and playful environment where women of all ages and body types can safely explore their sensual selves." To that end, she invites women to learn a variety of swings around the pole, how to grip, climb up, come down, pose with, hang upside down, and perform a "peepshow" on the pole. Call 510-465-7607 for class location and other information, and please refrain from wearing any lotions, body oils, or moisturizers. -- Stefanie Kalem

TUE 17

Tuesday nights have been a bit jazzier this month, thanks to Reorchestra's regular weekly gig at Berkeley's Lucre Lounge and Afghan Oasis. The jazz/funk/worldbeat quintet plays the big, black and red lounge of the Shattuck Hotel, 2086 Allston Way (at Shattuck), hosting special guests and providing a danceable, intriguing soundtrack for the exotic edibles. Tonight's guest band is Bizar Bazaar, and the music starts at 9 p.m. Cover is $5. 510-841-1390. -- Stefanie Kalem

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