This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 19 Some people distrust all Oliver Stone films. Steer clear of such persons; they lack souls, and their vision is afflicted. Others think Stone is the greatest thing since canned ham; you can see them doing the hippie two-step in front of theaters whenever Born on the Fourth of July is showing. Most of us fall into the middle camp -- that is, we think Nixon was greatly underrated but are afraid of Alexander and everything it represents. But when it comes to The Doors there is no middle ground, just Val Kilmer (in the definitive Jim Morrison performance) and Meg Ryan (unrecognizable to those who recoil at her Tom Hanks rom-coms), lost in a Roman wilderness of pain. Druggy as it is, The Doors is one of the most coherent films in Stone's '60s scrapbook. Dance on fire as it intends at 7 p.m. at Humanist Hall, 390 27th St., Oakland. -- Kelly Vance

THU 20 It's a new year, and it follows, therefore, that Havin' a Blast Karaoke has a new contest. It's the third week of twelve in the search for the best amateur warbler in the Bay Area, and you have multiple chances to compete for that grand prize of $500 and seven hours of studio time. Tonight, it's the Union Jack Pub (725 Main St., Pleasanton, 925-462-5596) from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., the Oak Door (3062 Pacific Ave., Livermore, 925-373-0400) from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., and Mr. Pickwick's British Pub (4633 Clayton Rd., Concord, 925-459-0574) from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Two semifinalists are picked each night at each location, and one contestant is picked at random each week for a three-hour recording session. Visit HavinaBlastKaraoke.com for all the weekly singin' sessions. -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 21 Are you a person who appreciates a good Mohawk? Do you take delight in the idea of a pair of performance artists "exploring contemporary relationship [sic] in its most raw and primal forms"? Do you have $5 in your pocket -- forget that, it's sliding scale. If you answered "Boy, howdy" to any of the above, buzz on over to Operation Free Mohawk: A Retrospective, a video installation and live performance by roving artists Pete Kuzov and Edie Tsong, featuring video loops of East Bay scenes on twenty screens, dramatic moments and, perhaps best of all, free Mohawk haircuts to all comers. The Media Martini presentation happens this evening from 6 to 9 p.m., at Berkeley Community Media, 2239 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. BETV.org -- Kelly Vance

SAT 22 Some mothers are domineering, directing the courses of their children's lives as long as they live. And some mothers -- real muthas -- keep on driving the train even after they pass on. That's what happens to the protagonist of Brown, the third new work in Crowded Fire Theater Company's Matchbox Workshop series. Berkeley playwright Aaron Loeb gives us the story of Beth, whose life consists of caretaking the museum of her late mother, a famous globe-trotting artist. But when Emmy enters the picture, everything changes. And why is that mechanic so interested in what they're doing? This is your last weekend to find out -- Brown plays Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at LaVal's Subterranean, 1834 Euclid Ave., Berkeley. Directed by Molly Aaronson-Gelb. Tickets are $10; visit CrowdedFire.org or call 415-675-5995. -- Stefanie Kalem

SUN 23 Carvell Wallace began his creative road as a clarinetist. But unfortunately, as he put it in his bio, "in the eighth grade, he began feuding with the racist drummer who sat behind him in band. Not wanting his adversary to have any extra ammunition in their war of image, Carvell abandoned the clarinet and took up cursing." Cursing led to theater, theater led to NYU, NYU led to starting a band in a warehouse above a yarmulke factory in Brooklyn, Brooklyn led to love, love led to Thailand, Thailand led to a $40 guitar, which led to Los Angeles, which led -- as many such circuitous roads do -- to Oakland. And here he strums, and sings, with the likes of Broun Fellinis, Jolie Holland, and his own band, the Accidental Beauties. Needless to say, his folk-blues is definitely all his own. He'll play from 1 to 3 p.m. today at Mama Buzz, 2318 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. The show is free. 510-465-4073. -- Stefanie Kalem

MON 24 In some audition classes we've heard of -- in New York, mainly -- you actually have to audition to be admitted. Which brings to mind the question: Who gets in? The ones who do a bad job and can therefore benefit the most, or the ones who don't need to start from the beginning? Luckily, one need not solve such Zen koans to take the Auditions with Jonathan Moscone class at Cal Shakes Rehearsal Hall, 701 Heinz Ave., Berkeley; all you need is $170 and eight Monday evenings. From 7 to 9 p.m., tonight through March 14, the California Shakespeare Theater artistic director will lead acting workshops, coach participants in monologue selections, host guest artists during selected sessions, and more. All levels welcome. Registration and information: 510-548-3422 ex. 127, erin@calshakes.org. -- Stefanie Kalem

TUE 25 There are chairs, and then there are the chairs of Garry Knox Bennett: Preoccupations of a Serial Chairmaker. Alameda furniture maker Bennett is famous worldwide for his whimsical chairs, and the new exhibition features 43 of his works spread between the two Oakland Museum of California off-sites in downtown Oakland: Gallery 555 (555 12th St.) and the Sculpture Court at 1111 Broadway. The chairs at the Sculpture Court are inspired by Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld's notorious 1934 Zigzag Chair. Those at Gallery 555 take off from designs by George Nakashima, Philippe Starck, and Frank Lloyd Wright, using unusual material combinations such as wood, 23K gold-plated brass, and G-10 (epoxy-filled woven glass composite reinforced with glass fiber). The exhibitions run through March 25. For more info: MuseumCA.org -- Kelly Vance

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