This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 16 Not only is that river bright, it's freakin' unstoppable: Tim Barsky's beatboxing, klezmertastic sightseeing trek through the trains and tunnels of the underworld, The Bright River, is proving to be the East Bay's Rocky Horror Picture Show. It's just finished a seven-week run at Julia Morgan, and now Epic Arts has dropped its development partnership with A Traveling Jewish Theater to stage the show at the Oakland Metro. This run is officially until March 16, but word on the street is that it'll keep going on Wednesday nights till it's not drawing anymore. Can audience participation be far behind, with attendees tossing bus tickets and bird feathers at Barsky's Quick the Fixer? Well, already two more folks have stepped into the fray -- Tommy Shepherd and Carlos Aguirre of Felonious will be rotating in with local beatboxing sensation Kid Beyond. Showtime is at 8 p.m., tickets cost $15-$35, and the Oakland Metro is at 201 Broadway. All ages. 510-763-1146.

-- Stefanie Kalem

THU 17 In his work as chief preservation officer of the UCLA Film and Television Archive, Robert Gitt has become one of the world's leading film preservationists. As such, his traveling clips show, A History of Color, is sure to delight film fanatics who can never get enough old Hollywood movies. His illustrated lecture, which features scenes from such color films as The Toll of the Sea (a 1922 Technicolor drama starring Anna May Wong), the 1935 Miriam Hopkins starrer Becky Sharp, Lon Chaney's 1925 The Phantom of the Opera (infinitely superior to the 2004 Andrew Lloyd Webber-Joel Schumacher wheezer), and the Janet Gaynor-Fredric March version of A Star Is Born (1937), among others, plays the Pacific Film Archive tonight only (7:30 p.m.) as part of the PFA's Film Preservation Week series. Gitt sticks around the rest of the weekend to introduce several programs of rare movies, including an evening of Vitaphone shorts (the first music vids, as it were) from 1927-29. The PFA Theater is at 2575 Bancroft Way on the UC Berkeley campus. Info: 510-642-1412 or -- Kelly Vance

FRI 18 Knock it all you want, but you've never heard Leonard Cohen till you've heard the words of the bard of Montreal sung by the Conspiracy of Beards. We cannot stress this enough: You were giving me head on an unmade bed takes on a sacred timbre when bellowed by 18 to 25 adult males in layered a cappella harmony. And though they have chops, no, they don't all have beards. The Beards will (hopefully) silence the Starry Plough's bar chatter tonight with the all-woman avant-toybox ensemble Toychestra (headlining) and folk quartet the Hall Flowers (up first). The music begins at 9:30 p.m. and cover is $6 at the door. 3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley.510-841-2082. 21 and up. -- Stefanie Kalem

SAT 19 Oh, Elton John. First you rip the Taiwanese paparazzi a new one; then you go ahead and get yourself forcibly removed from Madonna's holiday gift list (no Kabbalah water for you, Rocket Man). And now you're gonna have some long-dead princesses haunting you, just like in the fairy stories. See, John has collaborated with The Lion King's Tim Rice on the music for Aida, a Broadway smasheroo about a love triangle laid out on the sands of ancient Egypt, now playing at the Willows Theatre Company in Concord. Today's show is at 8 p.m., and it plays through March 26. Willows is located at 1975 Diamond Blvd., and ticket prices range from $15-$35. Info: 925-798-1300 or -- Stefanie Kalem

SUN 20 Remember the 1997 film Gadjo Dilo, in which a young Frenchman went into deepest Romania in search of ultra-authentic Gypsy music and ended up going native? Fast-forward to 2005 and tonight's musical performance by Markus James and the Wassonrai at Ashkenaz. The California guitarist and frequent public-radio personality has evidently been seeking out the roots of African-American blues music in the West African country of Mali. His latest sojourn took him to northern Mali, where the guitar-toting toubab (foreigner) recorded local Wassoulou and Songhai musicians. Following a screening of a documentary film, Timbouktoubab, James and his Malian friends will hit the gutbucket. Ashkenaz is at 1317 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley. Doors 6:30. or 510-525-5054. -- Kelly Vance

MON 21 Jay Nelson likes to hide out. The Bay Area artist reportedly built a treehouse on the big island of Hawaii recently, just to get away from it all. We can all sympathize with that impulse. That's why his obscurely titled art show, When Everything Is Clear, This Ram Will Be Me, is nevertheless so instantly appealing -- Nelson's paintings play on our desire to escape, using animal and nature imagery like the aforementioned treehouse, as well as cactus, big skies, and yes, rams. You, too, can get away from it all. Visit Nelson's exhibition at Mama Buzz Cafe and Gallery, 2316 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. But hurry -- the window of escape closes on Friday. Mama Buzz is open Mondays through Fridays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from 8 to 6. -- Kelly Vance

TUE 22 Everybody knows there's no use crying over spilled milk. But in a post-apocalyptic world, some souring milk may be worth some serious misery. Said past-due beverage is the catalyst for the new full-length film by Anthony Marchitiello (whose Ready to Drop won the Award of Excellence -- Short Feature at last year's Berkeley Film and Video Festival). In Neptune, the last bits of humanity forge pathetic lives -- and puke a lot, judging by the trailer -- far from cities, while Mother Nature blooms all around them. The film, starring Dan Abbott, Dylan McPuke, John Mink, and Corbett Redford, and introducing Estrella Espinoza, plays tonight at the Parkway at 9:15 p.m. 1834 Park Blvd., Oakland. $5, 21 and up. 510-814-2400. -- Stefanie Kalem


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