This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 28

Bay Area bands Rustbelt Music and Carrier may have different sonic approaches -- RM falls most conveniently into alt-country territory, while Carrier has a herkier-jerkier sound. But the bands share a lyricism that spirals far above the typical rock morass of sunshine feelings and comparisons of eye color to bodies of water. John Lindenbaum of Rustbelt Music, who plays solo tonight in Moraga, has a knack for the well-told tale, whether he's making listeners feel the pain of "The Loneliest Boy in the State of Nevada" or fantasizing (in character, of course) about shooting the president in "The Numbers." Carrier, which also performs, waxes equally poetical: My baby carries a thermometer in her purse and/Strain in her face from always bracing against the worst, she/Says everyone has a secret love affair with a malady, yeah/So don't take it out on yourself ("Oh My"). Dryden Hall, Saint Mary's College, 1928 Saint Mary's Dr., 9 p.m. 925-631-4000. -- Stefanie Kalem

THU 29

Ashley McNamara writes that when she met Sascha Scatter, "I was fascinated to find out what kind of maps he'd followed through his life." But this is not the beginning of a love story -- this is the beginning of an inspiring enterprise, the Icarus Project, an online community of people diagnosed with manic depression, and of a remarkable document, Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness: A Reader and Roadmap of Bipolar Worlds. McNamara and Scatter, like the contributors to the new anthology, question capitalism and the medical establishment through art and discussion, diet, exercise, and spiritual focus. The big black-and-white book with the zine look spills over with collages, drawings, quotes, data, and diverse first-person accounts so honest and thoughtful that you can't help but get it. Navigating the Space may be the ultimate GPS tool for people who have come to doubt whether they'll ever be able to figure out which way is up. Meet McNamara and Scatter at AK Press, 674-A 23rd St. in Oakland, today at 7 p.m. $5 (sliding scale). 510-208-1700. -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 30

Kitchen Sink magazine is celebrating its "Latency" issue with a tribute to Oakland and a three-ring circus of entertainment. What better place for that than Oaklandish (411 2nd St., Oakland, 510-451-2677), proud purveyor of the East Bay aesthetic? Tonight at 8 p.m., Kitchen Sink hosts an Oakland Variety Show featuring the homo-hop rappers and performers of Deep Dickollective; Killer Banshee Studios' live video art from the heart of Oaktown; readings from assorted poets and prose writers including D/DC; and no doubt a few walk-on guests. The event is free, but donations for the performers are accepted. Info: KitchenSinkMag.com -- Kelly Vance

SAT 1

Music lovers come from all over the world to shop at Down Home Music in El Cerrito, lured as much by the melodies they've heard on its sister company, Arhoolie Records, as by the store's legendary slice of roots Americana. The accordion figures in one helluva lot of that music, so someone got the happy idea of throwing a free in-store concert devoted to accordions, the "Squeeze Box Social" World Accordion Festival, today and Sunday at Down Home, 10341 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito. Today, hear Tex-Mex performers Familia Peña-Govea, with teenage whiz René Peña-Govea; the Creole Belles and their Southwest Louisiana Cajun and zydeco tunes; and Gerry Tenney's California Klezmer band. Sunday afternoon, it's French, Mexican norteña, and Eastern European. The concerts start at 2 p.m. both days. Phone 510-525-2129 for more details. -- Kelly Vance

SUN 2

Think your hot stuff is Hot Stuff? Then enter it in solYluna's fourth annual Salsa Tasting Contest. The gift and art shop, located at 1322 Pomona St. in Crockett, invites one and all to compete in three competitions: Traditional, Most Interesting Ingredients, and Ay Chihuahua! (extry hot). So come on down between noon and 4 p.m. today. Entry fee is $5, and 20 percent of the store's total sales today will go to CAP-Hilltop, an organization in West County that works with adults with developmental disabilities and their families. Register by Saturday by calling 510-787-2509, e-mailing solylunagifts@aol.com, or stopping by the store. -- Stefanie Kalem

MON 3

Trumpeter Dave Douglas has a brand-new bag. He describes the Dave Douglas Quintet's debut recording, Strange Liberation, as "coming from the classic concept of a small-group jazz album." The ensemble features fresh cohorts Seamus Blake on saxophones and Clarence Penn on drums, alongside pianist Uri Caine and bassist James Genus, both of the Dave Douglas Sextet, and Bill Frisell lends a hand on the disc. But since Frisell just did his own thing at Yoshi's last week, it's unclear whether he'll stop by during the DDQ's two-night stand in Jack London Square. The group plays 8 and 10 p.m. shows, tonight and tomorrow, with tickets costing $18 for the early sets, $12 for the late ones. 510-238-9200, Ticketweb.com, Yoshis.com. -- Stefanie Kalem

TUE 4

It seems astounding that the United States is still sorting out the issues of slavery and the Civil War almost 150 years later, but here's UC Berkeley associate professor and author Stephen M. Best to remind us that they haven't gone away yet. In his new book, Fugitive's Properties: Law and the Poetics of Possession (University of Chicago Press), Best argues that property, including human chattel, and the notion of the fugitive had deep roots in the attitudes, laws, and customs of antebellum America. What does this mean for us enlightened citizens of the 21st century? More than we realize, it seems. Learn all about it at 5:30 this evening, when he discusses his tome at University Press Books, 2430 Bancroft Way, Berkeley. 510-548-0585. -- Kelly Vance

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