This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 9 Two potent strains of literary distillation can be quaffed in Berkeley tonight. At 9 p.m. at Cody's on Telegraph, vet hip-hop activist and journo Jeff Chang reads from with his new book Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, wherein he breaks down the culture of hip-hop into legible bites of social commentary, political analysis, and music history (510-545-7852, free). Over at the Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave.) at 8:30, Charles Ellik and Three Blind Mice host the Berkeley Slam's fifth annual Erotic Slam, wherein you're encouraged to shape into words the slippery stuff you usually keep in the bedroom. Sign-up starts at 7:30, with slots guaranteed to the first seven signed up (a lottery at start time determines the rest of the slots). Each poet gets three minutes and a ten-second grace period; the audience determines the winner. Oh, and no props, costumes, or music, please -- just you, your nasty words, and a hundred or so eager ears (510-841-2082, $7 to get in the door, $5 with a student ID). -- Stefanie Kalem

THU 10 Judging by the split opinions of the Express editorial staff, a person's reaction to the lemony crackle of Garrison Keillor's voice is dependent on whether they listened to him growing up. If your parents were avid NPR-heads, Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion is the aural equivalent of hot cocoa and your favorite soft toy; but if you first encountered the Lake Wobegon raconteur as a sass-eared grownup, his folksy ruminations may very well make you do the old cringe-and-gag rag. If you fall into the first camp, grab your fuzzy-wuzzy and head to Zellerbach Hall tonight, where Cal Performances present a Keillor solo show at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $35-$45 and are available by calling 510-642-9988. And if you're in the second camp, well, I'm sure there's a very serious foreign film playing somewhere around here. -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 11 Screw that "desert island disc list" construct -- who needs a boombox, batteries, and a CD wallet when you've got your body, man? That's the idea Slammin' is working with: Keith Terry smacks his body upside itself, Steve Hogan beatboxes, and, over it all and over the top, vocalists Bryan Dyer, Zoë Ellis, Kenny Washington, and Destani Wolf do what can only formally be called a cappella, including a vinyl-scratching, hyper-hop take on Outkast's "The Way You Move." Get slammed at Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley, tonight at 8:30 p.m. (doors at 8). $13 general admission, $11 students. All ages. Tickets: 510-525-5054 or -- Stefanie Kalem

SAT 12 Before it sold out to corporate giant Unilever in 2000, Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream was the epitome of a socially progressive business, with a charitable foundation and a generous corporate giving plan, not to mention its hippie-munchie flavors such as Wavy Gravy and Cherry Garcia. Nowadays the company is described as a "wholly owned autonomous subsidiary" of the leviathan Unilever, but hey, cofounder Bennett "Ben" Cohen is still making the rounds under the company logo. Today (2-3 p.m.) finds him at the Jack London Square Scoop Shop in Oakland, where he'll sign copies of Ben & Jerry's Cookbook while dispensing ice-cream lore and no doubt dissing the current political situation, etc. Ask him if the foundation still gives money to antiglobalization groups. Or just crunch a Chunky Monkey, as the case may be. 505 Embarcadero West. -- Kelly Vance

SUN 13 Whatcha doin' tonight? Assuming you've finished shopping for your favorite assistant calendar editor's birthday gift, you should check out The Wonders, a Traveling Jewish Theatre production celebrating considerably more years of Jewish life in America than said asst. calendar ed. -- specifically, 350. The dancing, singing, joking, puppeteering, story-spinning, acrobatically leaping vaudeville play touches down at the Berkeley-Richmond JCC this weekend -- after a three-day stand at the TJT space in SF -- for an 8 p.m. show Saturday, and two shows Sunday, one at 2 p.m. and another at 7. The BRJCC is located at 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley, and tickets are $22- $35. Info: 415-285-8080 or -- Stefanie Kalem

MON 14 You missed the first session, but if you sit up straight and look the teacher in the eye, Patrick Dooley of the Shotgun Players will probably let you catch up with his Directing: The Process class. The Monday-evening class (7:30-10:30 p.m.) is most useful for those who've directed stage plays before; in it, Shotgun artistic director Dooley gets down to the basics of his ensemble-oriented approach to stage direction. The course runs through April 11 and costs $300. It's just one of the classes and workshops being offered in Shotgun Players' Spring 2005 Theater Classes for Adults, which cover everything from auditioning to acting to movement in ten-week bites, all taught by professionals -- members of the critically hailed Shotgun Players theater troupe -- at Berkeley's Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, 2640 College Ave. To enroll, call Marilyn Stanley at 510-845-8542 ex. 301, or at -- Kelly Vance

TUE 15 It seemed harmless and actually kind of charming at the time. Who knew that American Pie would grow into a franchise? Well, how could it not have a sequel? The 1999 release has everything a high-school-guy audience could hope for in a movie, and more: masturbation jokes, up-the-skirt spy cameras, pants-pissing, apple-pie frottage, and general post-Farrelly-Bros. gross-outs galore, plus, so it's not a total loss, a relatively talented cast, including Natasha Lyonne, Chris Klein, Alyson Hannigan, Jason Biggs, and Eugene "Mr. Eyebrows" Levy as poor old dad. The Parkway is screening American Pie tonight at 9:15. Enjoy a cold beer with your slice of eternal adolescence. The Speakeasy Parkway Theater is at 1834 Park Blvd., Oakland, 510-814-2400. -- Kelly Vance


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