International relations

Wed 12/8

What is it about hitting the road that makes us want to hit the sack as well? Why does the open sea call us to open our, ahem, hearts to those around us? It's probably better not to analyze this phenomenon too closely -- erotic appeal, like night-blooming jasmine, tends to wilt under bright lights -- but let's just say there's probably a sizable dose of escapism, a sense of anything-can-happen, and the excitement of taking on a new sexual role -- the mysterious stranger, the exotic foreigner, the naive day-tripper. Plus, did you know that almost a quarter of air travelers are hoping to meet a date or even a spouse while aloft? (That's according to a recent United Airlines credit-card survey.) So this holiday season, whilst slogging through the metal detectors and hoping your luggage won't be searched, you might keep in mind that the friendly skies are ripe with possibilities. And that's before you've even reached your destination. Cleis Press' new book Foreign Affairs: Erotic Travel Tales, edited by Mitzi Szereto, includes work by Bay Area writers Diane LeBow, Opal Palmer Adisa,Sage Vivant, and Donna George Storey. They'll be reading their stories and participating in a panel discussion about erotic travel literature at Easy Going Travel Shop and Bookstore in Berkeley tonight (Wednesday). Narrated from locales including a steamy jungle retreat in St. Lucia (Adisa's "At the Falls"), an idyllic Greek island ("Three Days on Santorini" by Vivant), and a brothel in Tokyo's Gion pleasure district (Storey's "Ukiyo"), these tales meld ass and class, lit and clit. Panel moderator LeBow's contribution to the collection, "The Sex Critic" -- which could well be titled "Around the World in 80 Lays" -- explores cultural differences from a unique point of view.

If you can't get away for a quick one (trip, that is), remember that you don't have to be lounging around tropical climes in a loosely fastened sarong to get lucky. Even Antarctica in winter can be sexy... especially when there are two months till sunrise. The free discussion and reading is at 7:30 p.m. at Easy Going Travel Shop & Bookstore, 1385 Shattuck Ave. (at Rose St.), Berkeley, 510-843-3533. More info at EasyGoing.com and CleisPress.com -- Nora Sohnen


Bad Juju

Deep in the Bush

We're now arriving at the third stage of George W. Bush political caricatures. The first stressed how dumb the man was. Nobody much cared. The second stressed the president's evil deeds. He was reelected anyway. Now, with the pulpy parodies in Bruce Yurgil's Political Velocity show -- such as The Crawford Wife's sci-fi-movie riff -- Bush-bashing has moved into the realm of the fanciful. Michael Schiess, operator of Alameda's Lucky Ju Ju Pinball/Gallery, found Bay Area artist Yurgil's work while surfing the Web, and this week it goes on display through January 5 at one of the East Bay's most unique art spaces. There's a Friday-night opening reception (6-midnight). Lucky Ju Ju is at 713 E. Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. 510-205-9793 or UJuju.com -- Kelly Vance

Fri 12/10

The Lars and Natalie Show

If rock musicians are the sum of the bands they've played with, Lars RO must be a superstar. The guitarist, vocalist, and bassist, who makes his home in the South of France, has lent his indie-style talents to such bands as Tremolo Beer Gut, God Speed You! Black Emperor, Truman's Water, Navratilova, and many, many more. Meanwhile, Angeleno singer Natalie Woodlawn (late of Miss Spiritual Tramp of 1948 and Lutefisk) and Lars RO hooked up for a CDEP called The Las Zadan EP. Now they're touring the West Coast together, and you can see them at the Stork Club in Oakland this Friday night. 2330 Telegraph Ave., 510-444-6174, StorkClubOakland.com-- Kelly Vance

Thu 12/9

Title Bout

PEN, the international organization of poets, essayists, and novelists, has had a Bay Area chapter since 1989. One of PEN Oakland's chief functions, aside from the general task of keeping the East Bay safe for multiculturalism, is the presenting of awards. Thursday evening (5:30-8:30 p.m.) at the Elihu Harris State Building Auditorium in Oakland (1515 Clay St.), a number of authors and poets will receive awards, including Edgardo Vega Yunqué, for his novel, No Matter How Much You Promise to Cook or Pay the Rent You Blew It Cauze Bill Bailey Ain't Never Coming Home Again -- a title for the ages. Free and open to the public. Info: 415-845-6786.-- Kelly Vance


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