This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 21

Most of the visual art found in doctors' offices, hospitals, and other health-care facilities tends toward the bland, with occasional forays into the impenetrable. Not the artwork at the Richmond Health Center this season, though. Laughter Is the Best Medicine, an exhibition curated by Ann Schnake of ArtsChange.org, with help from artist and performer Rene Yanes (who cofounded the Culture Clash comedy troupe), aims to engage the viewer directly with humor, in a variety of paintings, prints, sculptures, and objects by artists from Richmond, the rest of the Bay Area, and Los Angeles. This evening's reception (5-7 p.m.) also goes for laughs, with standup comic Side2Side, an open mic, and "funny foods" (rutabagas? Ding Dongs?) in the second floor lobby of the center, 100 38th St., Richmond. Through January 1. Phone 510-231-1348 or e-mail artschange@artschange.org -- Kelly Vance

THU 22

You'll find only a smattering of brown faces on TV, where Paul Rodriguez, Jimmy Smits, and the late Freddie Prinze have had to shoulder the weight of an entire population segment. Not so at the Latino Film Festival, where the lives of Latinos and Chicanos are given more than a cursory nod. Tonight at 7:30, La Peña (3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) screens A Silent Love. Crossing not only cultural boundaries, but international borders, the story concerns a Canadian professor who travels to Mexico to rendezvous with a woman he meets through an Internet marriage agency, who agrees to tie the knot only if her recently widowed mother accompanies her. Comedic and dramatic plot twists ensue, and emotional commitment is tested in the first feature film by Argentine director Federico Hidalgo. www.lapena.org -- Eric K. Arnold

FRI 23

Whatever happened to Ralph Macchio? According to IMDB.com, the formerly boyish actor is appearing as "Best Friend" in a film called Beer League, scheduled for a 2006 release. What a letdown for the star of My Cousin Vinny, Crossroads, and tonight's midnight movie at the Act in Berkeley, The Karate Kid, but that's showbiz for you. The Karate Kid franchise, which stretched to at least three sequels, was also notable for putting veteran Japanese-American actor Noriyuki "Pat" Morita to work as the kindly sage Mr. Miyagi, starting a nationwide fad of martial arts for kids, and its corny scenarios. But none of the above will stop twenty- and thirtysomethings from getting in touch with their inner Daniel tonight and tomorrow at midnight. 2128 Center St. in downtown Berkeley. Landmark Theatres.com -- Kelly Vance

SAT 24

Aging can be approached with not only grace, but joyous artistic expression. Take the Art of Aging Festival happening today and tomorrow at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, for instance. It's proof positive that art has no expiration date. Among the featured performers are Avotcja and Modupue, a poetry-infused progressive jazz outfit; legendary jazz singer Barbara Dane, performing with the Golden Gate Hot Five (a tip of the newsboy cap to Louis Armstrong's classic band); playwright Naomi Newman, cofounder of SF's A Traveling Jewish Theater; poet and visual artist Rafael Jesús González; Oakland-based Stagebridge Senior Theatre Company; and the Timeless Jazz & Blues All-Stars, a talented, self-explanatory outfit. Together, they'll prove that they're not getting older, they're getting better. The festival kicks off with a performance gala tonight (7 p.m., 2640 College Ave., Berkeley) and concludes with a day of workshops tomorrow. Visit SongwritingWorks.org for complete details. -- Eric K. Arnold

SUN 25

They're playing bas-ket-ballll, we love that bas-ket-ballll, goes the refrain of the classic Kurtis Blow rap tune. And with the advent of women's professional league the WNBA, basketball is not just a boys' club anymore; it's no longer uncommon to yell out, "She got game!" With that in mind, pay close heed to the East Bay Panthers, an AAU-sanctioned basketball club sponsoring a series of upcoming clinics to stress b-ball fundamentals -- defense, ball handling, shooting, passing, rebounding, and team skills -- for girls aged ten to fourteen. The clinic takes place today from 3 to 5 p.m. at Pleasanton Middle School (5001 Case Ave.), with events in both Pleasanton and Walnut Creek to follow. Cost is $75 per baller, and instruction is available for girls in grades 4-6. Info: EastBayPanthers.org -- Eric K. Arnold

MON 26

Talk about bombing out of town. It's only fitting that composer John Adams and producer and director Peter Sellars are visiting UC Berkeley's Wheeler Auditorium at 8 o'clock this evening to talk about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the subject of Adams' new opera, Doctor Atomic (which debuts October 1 at the San Francisco Opera). After all, it was at Berkeley's Lawrence Radiation Laboratory that Oppenheimer and his colleagues first helped develop the atomic bomb, thus ushering in the Atomic Age. The death and destruction. The politics. The military-industrial complex. The anxiety. The moral quandary. The taxes. Be that as it may, Adams and Sellars call their program Science and the Soul: J. Robert Oppenheimer and Doctor Atomic, and it features excerpts from the opera. The event is free, but you'll need a ticket from the Zellerbach Hall box office. -- Kelly Vance

TUE 27

Got a newborn? Do stress and sleep deprivation have you singing the new baby blues? Feel like you need support from, well, a support group? Check out the Nurture Center's ongoing afternoon drop-in groups (Tuesdays 12:45.-2:15 p.m. and Wednesdays 2-3 p.m.; 3399 Mt. Diablo Blvd in Lafayette), facilitated by Meri Levy. The center's executive director, a mother of three, will help you connect with other parents, share insights, discuss common problems, and illuminate how to solve them. The first session is free; $8 thereafter. Babies welcome; no advance registration required. For more info, call 925-283-1346. -- Eric K. Arnold

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