This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 15

Are the Oakland A's coming out of the late-May swoon that caused them to drop 20 out of 24 games? Could be. Their recent sweep of the godawful Devil Rays proved they can beat bad teams at home -- a requisite for any team with any notions of being a serious contender -- and their starting pitching has finally improved, which may shut up critics bemoaning the loss of aces Huddy, Muldy, and Lilly. In addition, the team is getting more consistent at providing offensive run support; after two months he'd rather soon forget, third baseman Eric Chavez suddenly remembered his fearsome stroke. Tonight's game against the not-so-amazin' New York Mets doesn't quite have the panache of an A's-Yankees showdown, but then it's a game our green-and-gold heroes might actually be able to win. First pitch is at 7:05. -- Eric K. Arnold

THU 16

Kenny Chesney, Gretchen Wilson, and Pat Green might be too young to have been country when country wasn't cool, but there's no doubt that they're three of the drivin' forces behind the Ford F-150-powered, blue-collar-redux C&W resurgence. Only six entertainers have ever won the Academy of Country Music's coveted "triple crown" -- Best New Male/Female Group, Best Male/Female Group or Duo, and Entertainer of the Year -- as Chesney did this year. Meanwhile, Wilson moved away from the Target chic of Faith and Shania and back into familiar meat-and-potatoes territory with her infectious ode to trailer- trash debutantes, "Redneck Woman," while Pat Green's surfer-boy looks belie a voice filled with enough twang to make your brown eyes blue. Welcome the new "New Country" tonight at the Oakland Arena at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $52.50-$65.50 from or 510-762-2277. -- Eric K. Arnold

FRI 17

Comedian-magician Ken Sonkin may have begun his career as a street performer in San Francisco, but his miming and prestidigitation are renowned all over the world -- he has performed for the Queen of England and opened for such acts as Manhattan Transfer and Donny and Marie. But all that was just a preamble to Sonkin's date this weekend at California Magic Dinner Theater, where the Bay Area entertainer opens a two-night stand this evening backed by magician Norman Ng. The dinner show ($45) begins at 7:30 p.m. Visit to find out more about Cal Magic, located at 729 Castro St. in Martinez, or phone 925-374-0056. -- Kelly Vance

SAT 18

Alameda may be the East Bay's up-and-coming arts and entertainment hot spot, but there's another reason people will flock to the island this weekend -- the Summer Sailstice Open House, a summer celebration of sailing open to all Bay Area sailors and would-be salts. The worldwide event, built around the summer solstice, encompasses open houses at six Alameda yacht clubs -- Aeolian, Alameda, Ballena Bay, Encinal, Island, and Oakland -- where you can find or join a crew, learn about sailing, or just hang out and look nautical among Alameda's numerous marinas, launch ramps, boat slips, and marine businesses. The clubs, each of which has a slightly different approach to sailing, are open from 2 to 6 p.m. today for tours, FAQs, and refreshments. Go to to learn more. -- Kelly Vance

SUN 19

Dancer-choreographer Ruth Botchan has been performing and teaching in the Bay Area since 1980, so this weekend's performances by the Ruth Botchan Dance Company celebrate her 25th anniversary on the local scene. A new dance created for the occasion, Death Is Killed Dead, pays homage to the poetry of e.e. cummings, while Iris, Blue Each Spring is based on composer Margaret Garwood's musical accompaniment to six haikus about cherry blossoms, butterflies, and the like. Botchan herself will perform a solo piece, Loneliness Like a Mountain, a klezmer-inspired dance by Nina Haft. In addition, New York choreographer Susan Cherniak will show a video of her dance Ardor. The concert, More Matters of Life and Death, has its final performance tonight at 8 p.m. at Western Sky, 2525 Eighth St., Berkeley. $20, students $18. 510-848-4878 or -- Kelly Vance

MON 20

In these days of Beyoncés, Britneys, Celines, and Christinas (we'll omit lip-synch queen Ashlee and her vapid sister Jessica), an honest-to-god jazz singer is hard to find. Luckily, Bay Area music lovers don't have to look much further than their own backyard, the home of Miss Faye Carol. Coming off her triumphant "Tribute to the Divas" show a couple of weeks back, Carol has proven she can channel Billie Holiday, but she is also well-versed in the inflections of Betty Carter, Sarah Vaughan, and Dinah Washington, and her time on the cabaret circuit has made her live show extradynamic, especially because her band often consists of locally bred musicians. She performs two shows at Yoshi's at 8 and 10 p.m.; tickets are $10-$15. 510-238-9200 or -- Eric K. Arnold

TUE 21

Political activists don't just pop up out of the ground after a spring rain -- they're ordinary people who one day decided to take their political opinions to the next level, that of active involvement. Such a threshold-crossing experience is being offered this evening for vegetarians, in Berkeley of all places. At 7 p.m. at Au Coquelet Cafe (2000 University Ave.), Bay Area Vegetarians are holding a Letter Writing Party, crafting letters to the editor and to state and federal officials, urging compassion to animals. Says organizer Tammy: "This is a new event, aimed at bringing in more East Bay folks. If you're hiding out there, this is an easy and effective way to get started in activism." Just meet in the back room of Au Coquelet, at the table under the clock, and try to bring a list of names of your legislators. RSVP at -- Kelly Vance


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