This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 25

The Oakland Arena is the place for princesses tonight. They'll be out in force -- Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Jasmine from Aladdin, the eponymous Mulan, Belle from Beauty and the Beast -- when Disney on Ice presents its latest singing-and-skating extravaganza, Princess Classics. Hey, what about the Princess and the Pea, Princess Phone, and the Princess Bride? Whoops, wrong studio. Take it up with Michael Eisner -- he doesn't have much pressing business these days. Glide along on a frosty two-hour trip to the undersea kingdom of Atlantis, the haunted French chateau, the splendiferous castle in downtown Baghdad (on second thought, let's not go there), and all the way to the furthest reaches of Fantasyland, for nine performances tonight through Sunday. This evening's show is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $14-$50 from or 510-762-2277. -- Kelly Vance

THU 26

Given how many songwriters claim to add their lyrics at the last minute after the music is all written, it's not too rational to take out the instruments and rearrange songs for voice only, is it? Maybe that's where the Irrationals got their name. The sextet, built around three women and augmented by bass, tenor, and percussive vocal components, gives the a cappella treatment to everything from Talking Heads ("Slippery People") to Marvin Gaye ("Inner City Blues"), Patti Smith ("Because the Night"), traditional folksongs, and originals. See if you notice what's missing when they play Kelly's of Alameda (anointed Outstanding New Business of 2003 by the Alameda Chamber of Commerce) from 8 to 11 p.m. There's no cover charge or age minimum, but Kelly's serves up California cuisine till 10, so you may want to bring some extra scratch, anyway. 1313 Park St., Alameda. Info: 510-769-1011. -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 27

Since 1987, the Omega Boys Club/Street Soldiers organization of San Francisco has been offering opportunities and support for young males. Saving generations of at-risk youth isn't easy -- and therefore is bound to make for good drama. See for yourself when the Berkeley Black Repertory Theatre presents Street Soldier: The Play. Learn about the brave souls behind the organization, Dr. Joseph Marshall, Jack Jacqua, Margaret J. Norris, and Wilbur "Coach" Jiggetts, at 8 p.m. tonight, 2:30 and 8 p.m. tomorrow, and 3 and 8 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $20. Call 1-800-SOLDIER for reservations and further details. The Berkeley Black Rep can be found at 3201 Adeline St. -- Stefanie Kalem

SAT 28

Did you miss out on Mardi Gras this year? Yeah, pal, that's right, it already happened. But the Alameda Education Foundation will do more than just school you tonight. AEF, a volunteer group that supports local public school programs, invites you to a Mardi Gras Masquerade Gala, a fund-raising soiree starring Alameda resident and internationally known opera star Frederica von Stade, who will sing and emcee. She'll have a wide-ranging supporting cast, too -- Alameda Civic Ballet creator Abra Rudisill and her dancers, Catherine Matovich's Cajun string ensemble; the Mardi Gras Marching Band conducted by Jeff Lewis, cellist Emil Miland, jazz guitarist Jerry Fiddler, musician Michael Denten, and a jazz orchestra. The concert, which will also include blues and "avant-garde techno-opera," takes place at 7 p.m. at Alameda's Kofman Auditorium (2200 Central Ave.). General admission tickets are $25 and $50, and VIP tickets, which include a post-concert reception and ball at the Elks Club, cost $75. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Alameda Civic Light Opera box office at 510-864-2256. Additional details: and -- Stefanie Kalem

SUN 29

Take a look at the calendar, boyo. This is a day that only comes around once every four years. You should do something special, something you would remember. In past years, February 29 came to be known as Sadie Hawkins Day, a day on which women were entitled to ask guys for a date. That's archaic. We're in the 21st century now. The folks at Long Haul (3124 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) have another suggestion for how to act up on this special date: Universal Uprising on Leap Day! Long Haul is calling all those interested in "a world based on cooperation, freedom, and respect for the earth" to show up at 6 p.m. at the downtown Berkeley BART station and ... rise up universally. Long Haul's advice: "Bring your running shoes and whatever insane signs and props come to mind." Bail money might be a good idea, too. Just remember to look before you leap. Visit the Long Haul Web site at for the skinny. -- Kelly Vance


On last year's Just Guitars, John Schneider interpreted works by Harry Partch, Terry Riley, Lou Harrison, and Carter Scholz. This evening in the Mills College Ensemble Room, he performs and discusses works by Oakland-born composer, microtonal theorist, instrument-builder, writer, and visual artist Partch, as part of the Center for Contemporary Music's Songlines Series. The three pieces in question are "Bitter Music," "Barstow," and "Poems by Li Po." Wrap your mind around it starting at 7:30 p.m., for free! Mills is located at 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland. Visit for directions, and call 510-430-2296 for general information. -- Stefanie Kalem


Put a little suspense in your life -- paddle with the orcas. Tonight at 7 p.m. at REI Berkeley (1338 San Pablo Ave.), whale research biologist David Briggs talks about kayaking alongside whales. He should know -- Briggs is a veteran, paddling off the northeastern tip of Vancouver Island in all weathers, even at night, when he can see the enormous creatures swim under his kayak in the moonlight. Learn how to plan your own kayak trip, where to go (Briggs recommends British Columbia), what gear to bring, whale-watching etiquette, etc. As always, this REI event is free and open to the public. For more info: 510-527-4140. -- Kelly Vance


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