This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 27

A blend of American hip-hop and R&B, Jamaican dancehall reggae, Cuban salsa, son, and merengue, and Borinquen/Dominican cultural sensibilities, reggaetón has emerged as the most exciting urban club subgenre since the Dirty South got crunk. Originators like Tego Calderon have recently been joined by young up-and-comers like Daddy Yankee and Ivy Queen, and rap stars from N.O.R.E. to 50 Cent to Pitbull have all dabbled in the energetic sound. Most interestingly, reggaetón appears to be gaining steam as its popularity grows; you can hear it regularly these days on the radio (KYLD in particular) and in da club. It's getting to the point where, if a club doesn't have a reggaetón night, it's just not cool anymore. The best place to hear it regularly in the East Bay is @Seventeenth's Wednesday weekly party, Reggaetón Nights, featuring rotating DJs Rich Era, Tony O, ICU, and Jose Malandez. Get there before 11 p.m. and it's free; $5 afterward. At17th.com -- Eric K. Arnold

THU 28

Are you a lonely butch or a solo femme in search of companionship and/or a funky good time? Well, it's time to put down your power tools, TiVo The L Word, and get your bad self on down to the Bench & Bar in Oakland for its Butch/Femme Social tonight. According to the event's organizers, it's not only perfectly okay to arrive by yourself (though you may well leave à deux or even à trois), but there's "no label required." In other words, distinctions like butch, femme, FTM, MTF, bi, dom/sub, leather/linen, etc. aren't as important as just being there and showing off "your inner slut" for the world to recognize. There's no dress code, either, although slut wear is encouraged. Remember, the freaks come out at night. No cover. E-mail ButchFemmeSocials- subscribe@yahoogroups.com or mujeres2@lycos.com -- Eric K. Arnold

FRI 29

Christian comedy -- what is it? ("So these three wise men walk into a bar ...") If you're curious, tonight's Christian Comedy Jam can enlighten you, perhaps literally. The 8 p.m. affair at Deer Valley High School Auditorium stars three talents whose careers triangulate around the 1996 Wayans brothers movie Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood and BET's Comicview: gospel comedian and ordained minister Lester Barrie, Darrel Heath (who also was in Woo and Love Chronicles), and Rip -- just plain Rip. Adding ballast to the bill is veteran standup comedian Rick Pulido. Tickets ($15) available at various Christian bookshops, or by calling 510-228-7038. Deer Valley HS is at 4700 Lonetree Way in Antioch. -- Kelly Vance

SAT 30

For three decades, the Egypt Theatre has dedicated itself to furthering the artistic community in East Oakland, hosting and sponsoring classes, workshops, plays, a jazz orchestra, a TV talk show, and other performing arts events. The venue is currently getting ready for its Fall 2005 season, when it'll premiere two new theater productions, but in the meantime, it's bringing the power of poetry to Foothill Blvd., with a new spoken-word series (which debuted last week). The verbalization begins at 7:30 p.m. and continues "until we get yo' mind right," according to an online posting. Admission costs $7. To sign up for the open mic, call 925-759-8039; for more info, call 510-436-4877, or visit EgyptTheatre.com -- Eric K. Arnold

SUN 31

Like many shutterbugs before him, Berkeley's Terrence Lo was so inspired by Mono Lake and Death Valley on a December 2004 road trip down I-395 that he devoted a show -- a succinct photo series of six black-and-white prints, six color -- to these natural mystery spots. At Mono Lake, he focused mainly on 200- to 800-year-old tufa formations; at Death Valley, the sand dunes at the so-called "Racetrack" caught his eye. Explains Lo: "The black and white photographs were shot with a digital camera modified for infrared, hence their 'surreal' look. The color photographs were shot with Fuji Velvia professional slide film." Lo's photos are on view, now through September 1, at L'Amyx Tea Bar, 4179 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, 510-594-8322, and on his Web site LucidTravels.home.comcast.net/show -- Kelly Vance

MON 1

The free Actors Reading Writers series goes on vacation tonight, in a manner of speaking. Travels are the subject, and Nigeria, the wine-dark Mediterranean, and Ireland are the destinations, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Berkeley City Club (2315 Durant Ave.). Ripley Light reads from John Updike's short story "Cruise," in which a tourist cruise ship follows the route of the mythic Odysseus from Troy to Ithaca. Then, in Maria Thomas' "Summer Opportunity," a Mississippi woman finds her lost identity in Nigeria. Finally, a mother and daughter discover something about themselves on an Irish journey, "Which Is More Than I Can Say About Some People" by Lorrie Moore, read by actor Dylan Russell. There's also a book exchange -- bring a book or take one home. -- Kelly Vance

TUE 2

Malian musician Issa Bagayogo comes all the way from Timbuktu to Yoshi's tonight for an evening of contemporary African groove. Bagayogo's sound is layered enough to be called jazzy, but he isn't a jazz musician per se. What he does -- and does well, it should be said -- is mix traditional folkloric West African melodies with a squeench (somewhere between a pinch and a handful) of state-of-the art technology. Most of the songs on his latest Six Degrees CD -- Tassoumakan, or "Voice of Fire" -- feature Bagayogo on kamele n'goni (a stringed gourd), backed with other traditional instruments, drum programming, and electronic keyboards. The fact that the overall effect is more low-key than overproduced speaks to his ability to balance the past with the future. 8 and 10 p.m., $10-$16. Yoshis.com -- Eric K. Arnold

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