This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 29 Start your New Year's weekend early with a fat load of heavy at the Golden Bull. Take the Mass, for instance. The first full-length slice of the Oakland band's sax-assisted, hardcore prog, City of Dis, will finally see a North American release (with redesigned artwork and enhanced live video footage) on January 4, just as the band is about to step into the studio to record its follow-up, once again with the Fucking Champs' Tim Green. They're joined at tonight's Alcoholocaust showcase by I Love a Parade and San Jose's El Buzzard. The Golden Bull is at 412 14th St (at Broadway) in downtown Oakland, and it'll cost ya $5 for this 21-and-up show. Doors are at 8 p.m., show starts at 9. 510-893-0803. -- Stefanie Kalem

THU 30 Time to take Dad out for some air. The old fart loves model trains, let's face it. He's not one of those guys who puts on an old-fashioned engineer's hat and carries a timetable in his pocket (not yet, anyway, thank god), but he definitely digs the choo-choos. Nothing for it but to drive him out to the Blackhawk Museum for its All Aboard! exhibition before it closes Sunday. Good way to kill an afternoon during the holidays. The European Train Enthusiasts (ETE) have put together an enticing rig of HO-scale model trains, with early Lionel trains and other 20th-century delights to please the mechanically inclined -- which is the crowd the Blackhawk Museum caters to so lovingly. The museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville. Visit or phone 925-736-2280 for more details. -- Kelly Vance

FRI 31 It's dismaying to Google Suffering Bastard and read some of the hideous permutations to which this classic cocktail has been subjected. Mixologist and author Gary Regan sets the story straight; his source is Esquire magazine circa 1947, which credits the drink to one Joe Scialom, a bar steward at Shepheard's Hotel in Cairo, Egypt, where it was originally christened the "Suffering Bar Steward." As recapitulated in a later Esquire article, the Suffering Bastard is the perfect drink to help you forget all about this nasty year -- indeed, about everything else, as well:

3 ounces brandy
3 ounces gin
2 teaspoons Rose's lime juice
Angostura bitters
Ginger beer
Put several dashes of bitters in a 12-ounce glass and swirl to coat the glass. Add brandy and gin, lime juice, and a few ice cubes, and fill with cold ginger beer. And then, on January 2 ... -- Kelly Vance

SAT 1 New Year's Eve can do a lot of harm-a to your karma. Random acts of vandalism, drunken dialing (when will Virgin Mobile bring its call-block technology to the United States, where we really need it?), forcing a roomful of revelers to watch New Year's Rockin' Eve with Regis Philbin -- there are just so many opportunities to fuck up. But you can get a jump start on fixing your juju by attending World Yoga's New Year's Day Yoga Class with Toi Lynn Wyle. Not only will you get your chi bumping with flow yoga from 10 to 10:45 a.m., yin yoga from 10:45 to 11:30 a.m., and meditation and intention setting from 11:30 a.m. to noon -- proceeds from this donation-only event go to the Contra Costa Labyrinth Project. All levels welcome. 1530 South Main St., Walnut Creek. Visit or call 925-274-9642. -- Stefanie Kalem

SUN 2 Would you like some klezmer to go with your kishka? Then check out Kugelplex at Saul's Deli, every Sunday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. All you need to do is buy dinner -- the Bay Area quintet comes free with your nosh. Violin, mandolin, percussion, clarinet, bass, and accordion conspire, all gypsy-like, to move your heart and, occasionally, get you off your tuchis. After all, to paraphrase Cynthia Rhodes in Dirty Dancing, "G-d wouldn't have given you knishes if he didn't want you to shake 'em!" (It's official. My journalism career is complete -- I have quoted Dirty Dancing in print.) Saul's Restaurant & Deli is located at 1475 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley. Call 510-848-3354 to find out what else is on the menu. -- Stefanie Kalem

MON 3 Pianist Benny Green met guitarist Russell Malone when they recorded together for Blue Note in the 1990s. Both were hard swingers -- Green from his days with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and bassist Ray Brown, Malone from keeping up with B-3 guru Jimmy Smith and later backing up singer Diana Krall -- but lately they have simmered down into a sophisticated hard-bop approach, the place where melody is king. Their latest Telarc release, Bluebird, lays on the romanticism with such tunes as "Feel Like Makin' Love," "Love for Sale," and "Where Is the Love?" Some critics have even compared their duo style to Oscar Peterson and Joe Pass. Beginning tonight at Yoshi's, the Berkeley-bred Green and Georgia native Malone swing tightly and politely in a four-night stand, with shows at 8 and 10 p.m. -- Kelly Vance

TUE 4 You, my friend, are getting very sleepy. The paper you hold in your hand feels lighter than air; the words wiggle on the page. You are in our complete control. Now, turn to the back page, pick up your phone, and -- naw, we wouldn't do that! But imagine what would happen if the power of hypnosis fell into the wrong hands (as opposed to the Express, whom you trust as a lamb trusts her shepherd, as Lindsay Lohan trusts Paris Hilton ... well, you get the point). Take the power into your own hands today -- World Hypnotism Day. Locally, the International Spiritual Hypnotherapy Institute is sponsoring lectures and workshops at Pharmaca, Elephant Pharmacy, and at the ISHI campus near UC Berkeley. Go to or call 800-642-9355 for details. -- Stefanie Kalem


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