This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 


Lafayette preschool director, seminar leader, parent educator, mother of three, and grandmother of two Susan Isaacs Kohl has written books on discipline for kids, kids' self-esteem issues, and even organizing kids' rooms. With her latest publication, she returns to parents, the subject she began with in her 1979 book, The Inner Parent. The Best Things Parents Do aspires to be an antidote to the constant criticism levied onto today's 'rents. Within its pages, Kohl expands on the inspiring stories of parental growth and change she has been collecting for several decades, dispensing advice and warm fuzzies for not just moms and dads, but also grandparents, teachers, and caregivers. Get your back patted by the author herself at Barnes and Noble, 1149 S. Main St., Walnut Creek, this evening at 7 p.m. Call the bookstore at 925-947-0373, or find out more about Kohl at -- Stefanie Kalem


As you walk into the gallery, you can't help noticing the life-size, full-color, full-frontal-nude photo portraits of Japanese men with their arms locked behind their heads, hanging above eye level. They're from the "Japanese Males Surrender" series by Taro Hattori and Mayumi Hamanaka -- part of The Big Picture, a new show of oversized images at Berkeley's Kala Art Institute. Designed to comment on the everyday bombardment of supersized commercial graphics, the exhibit also features jiggered portraiture by Kerry Loewen, whimsical angora body suits by Anna Maltz, manipulated dioramas of the San Francisco skyline by Sean McFarland, time exposures of a church service by Gary Nakamoto, and landscapes shot from a speeding car by Johnna Arnold -- all jumbo. Today is the opening reception, 6-8 p.m. 1060 Heinz Ave., Berkeley, 510-549-2977 or -- Kelly Vance


Celebrate the weekend with flava at Freestyle Fridays, a weekly hip-hop party hosted by Naomi and Rashad at the Mandela Arts Center. The event is brought to you by the Oakland Fund for Children and Youth, but all ages are invited to participate in the open circles for all kinds of break, hip-hop, and freestyle dancing. There are live DJs and an open mic, and the whole thing goes down from 6 to 9 p.m. The Mandela Arts Center can be found at 1357 5th St. (at Mandela Parkway) in West Oakland, across from the West O. BART station. For more information, e-mail or, or call 510-451-5466, ex. 316. -- Stefanie Kalem

SAT 10

Today at the Lakeview Branch of the Oakland Public Library: T.S. Eliot, Edgar Allan Poe, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Thomas Hardy, and Robert Burns. Or at least a fair approximation of each of these dead poets, performed by San Francisco actor Kevin Reilly. Reilly's one-man show is called Voices from Another Room, and it's in the spirit of his previous characterization, Dylan Thomas in San Francisco -- a dramatic staging of memorable poems such as Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." Scuttle your ragged claws across the floor of silent Oakland to the Lakeview Branch (550 El Embarcadero) this afternoon at 2 p.m. It's free. Visit -- Kelly Vance

SUN 11

The 46th Annual Ebony Fashion Fair is the world's largest traveling fashion show, black or white, and is always a charity fund-raiser (the Oakland event benefits two scholarship programs of The Links, Incorporated). And, bless it, if a strong wind blows through the Oakland Marriott City Center tonight, the models won't all just fly away, since the female models that the show picks from applicants across the US are required to be an American dress size 6-8 or full figure size 18-20, and male models wear a suit size 44 to 48. Former Fashion Fair models include Richard Roundtree (Shaft, can ya dig it?), Janet Langhart Cohen, New York news anchor Sue Simmons, and Teri Springer, and the show's commentator since 2000 has been San Pablo-born, Orlando-based former Fashion Fair model Jada Jackson Collins. This year's theme is "Color Splash," and those who pony up the $75 admission price this afternoon will get to see vivid styles by designers both internationally known and brand-new. Show up at noon for the luncheon and at 2 p.m. for the fashion show itself. Call 510-928-8066 to purchase tickets. The Marriott is located at 1001 Broadway. -- Stefanie Kalem

MON 12

The bad news is that Fleeting Trance's Manny Bernal, that talent hound all-around nice guy, doesn't do his Not So Open Mic Night at the Bistro anymore, depriving Hayward of its coolest weekly music night. The good news is that Bernal now hosts a monthly event, Manny at the Bistro, and since it happens only once a month -- on the second Monday, specifically -- it's that much cooler. Tonight's lineup, which begins at 8:30, features the Light Brigade, Bernal himself, the Wildlife (formerly known as Bocci), and one more act to be announced. So go be pleasantly surprised; the showcase is free, the venue is 21-and-up, and it all happens at 1001 B St. in quaint downtown Hayward. 510-886-8525. -- Stefanie Kalem

TUE 13

The trick to having the maximum good time at this week's Sing-a-Long Sound of Music is to discover an overlooked character, someone in the cast only you have noticed, and then to dress up as that character for the show. Like Frau Schmidt. Or one of the butlers. Sing-along movies are, of course, one of the banes of modern existence, somewhere above genital warts and just below Pauly Shore on a scale of ascending repulsiveness. But if you're determined to make a fool of yourself by dressing up as a nun or a Nazi and singing "Do Re Mi," tonight's show at Landmark's California Theatre (2113 Kittredge St., above Shattuck, 7 p.m.) is a safe place to do it. The rest of us are waiting for the Sing-a-Long Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Tickets: $15 adults, $10 children and seniors, from or -- Kelly Vance


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