This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 11

Get a crashing course in your choice of Balinese arts during a five-week series of Balinese Music and Dance Workshops at Gamelan Sekar Java Studios, 6485 Conlon Ave., El Cerrito. Beginners and intermediates are invited to get hands-on experience playing in a gamelan gong kebyar, a bronze orchestra consisting of a variety of metallophones, gongs, and more, with composer, instrument maker, and performer I Made Terip. Or, for dancers who are just starting out, or looking to add more steps to their bag of tricks, I Wayan Budiarsa offers a variety of agem (dance postures) and movement vocabulary, and insight into how the dance and music work together. Wednesday nights, 7:30-9 p.m., through June 8; $60 for the entire series, or $15 per session. Give them a call at 510-527-6849 and let them know what section you'll be taking. -- Stefanie Kalem

THU 12

Foolish, unheeding scientists -- the bane of humanity in many a sci-fi flick -- are once again the cause of all-natural havoc in director Jun Fukuda's Son of Godzilla (Kaijuto No Kessen: Gojira No Musko), a 1967 entry in the Japanese kaiju (giant monster) sweepstakes. Seems the scientific bumblers, attempting to research weather control, accidentally dabble in gigantic praying mantises and spiders, then stumble unwittingly on Son of G, who screams for help. Which makes ol' Dad rise up angry, and massive destruction ensues. Tadao Takashima stars as Dr. Kusumi, with Bibari Maeda as the love-bait. Will the Speakeasy Parkway Theater serve sake along with the flick? How about live hula dancers onstage? Showtime is 9:15 p.m. at the Parkway, 1834 Park Blvd., Oakland, 510-814-2400, -- Kelly Vance

FRI 13

If you attended El Cerrito High School, this Friday the 13th will either be a horror or a hoot, as the buildings quake in preparation for their date with demolition, to be replaced by a brand-new campus. "Before the Wrecking Ball Hits the Wall" kicks off today with a "Homecoming Gaucho Mixer" party in the "cafetorium." Saturday at 12:30 p.m. check out a one-mile parade highlighting every decade since the 1940s, led by Miss USA 1966 Maria Remenyi Cantrall, class of '63. The parade winds down at the football field, where opening ceremonies honor notable alumni, followed by historical school tours, games, archiving memorabilia for sale, and performances. Saturday night is the "Save the Last Dance for Me" reunion dance in the gym (to be razed the next day), and Sunday is your last chance to tour the school and event booths from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Info: 510-233-7731. 540 Asbury Ave., El Cerrito. -- Stefanie Kalem

SAT 14

Even if the title Stuffed with Hugs: Project Bearlift doesn't tickle your inner chin, its mission will. The first 200 kids at each of more than 180 Build-a-Bear Workshop stores across North America (plus fifteen stores abroad) at 10 a.m. will get to make a bear for free, to donate to kids who survived the tsunami in Myanmar, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and India. Forty thousand teddies will be "bearlifted," and East Bay residents' chance to give a child something to hug on comes at the Build-a-Bear store at 1248 Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek. Info: -- Stefanie Kalem

SUN 15

Light up the saganaki and pluck those bouzoukis -- it's time for Greece by the Bay: Festival of Greece 2005. The 33rd annual celebration of Greek culture, food, and drink heads into its third and final day today on the grounds of the Ascension Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the Oakland hills (4700 Lincoln Ave.). All manner of Greek-style entertainment brightens the day (11 a.m.-9 p.m.), including various folk-dance troupes, cooking demos, art exhibits, and live Greek music, highlighted by a performance by the Ascension Liturgical Choir. And let's not forget the food: light and flavorful galatabouriko pastry, plenty of souvlaki, gyro, and spanakopita; moussaka and pastitzio; grilled lamb chops; and of course the legendary wines of Greece -- try a little mavrodaphne dessert wine with your baklava and a demitasse of strong Greek coffee, and you'll stay awake until next year's festival. Opaa! Admission is $6, with free parking. Info: 510-531-3400. -- Kelly Vance

MON 16

Did you check out Impact Theatre's Othello back in March, and can't get enough of that Moorish intrigue? Well, sit tight -- California Shakespeare Theater will mount the tragedy come June, and you can get a peeky-sneaky tonight at the Orinda Library, during "Inside Scoop: Othello." Meet Cal Shakes artistic director Jonathan Moscone, associate artistic director Sean Daniels, dramaturge Madeleine Oldham, and actors Billy Eugene Jones, Sarah Grace Wilson, and Bruce McKenzie as they take a break from rehearsals for the season opener. No reservation necessary, and not only is the event free, so are the coffee and ice cream. 7 p.m. at 24 Orinda Way. Info: Cal or 510-548-9666. -- Stefanie Kalem

TUE 17

Sam Rivers has been playing outside so long it looks like inside to him. After an early stint in Miles Davis' band, the veteran saxophonist and flutist made himself a stalwart of the loft jazz scene in New York in the '70s and '80s and founded Studio Rivbea, a practice and performance space that hosted such adventurers as Henry Threadgill, David Murray, Anthony Braxton, and Hamiet Bluiett. Rivers even teamed up with Dizzy Gillespie. Now, as one of the high priests of improvisatory free jazz, he performs exclusively with two other multi-instrumentalists, Doug Matthews (bass clarinet, double bass, drums) and Anthony Cole (drums, tenor sax, piano). Their explorations are not for everyone, but if you can handle virtuoso unpredictability on the outer fringes, this one-night-only visitation at Yoshi's by the Sam Rivers Trio will undoubtedly be one of the jazz highlights of the season. 8 and 10 p.m. -- Kelly Vance


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