WC Bolero 

One hot Latin dance evening

FRI 8/13

Eat lightly Friday night, because Adrian Flores wants you to step out with him -- to Walnut Creek. The dancer, teacher, and impresario is bringing Latin "feelings, flavors, and strong emotions" to the Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts Friday with the Latin Show, the first of three dance performance events showcasing an exciting variety of dance styles (the next one, coming up early next year, will celebrate Rogers-and-Astaire-type swing with big band accompaniment, and the third will be strictly ballroom). Flores, who used to put on big shows at San Francisco's late, lamented Cesar's Latin Palace in the '80s, decided after a hiatus that his native Walnut Creek needed a dash of Latin flavor. So he got together top dancers, singers, and musicians for one hot evening of everything from salsa and samba to Argentine tango, cha-cha, bolero, and a fillip of flamenco. Beto and Lani Da Silva will be there with their unusual Brazilian/Hawaiian-influenced salsa. Locally beloved dancers and teachers Marcelo Solis and Romina Hahn join Yanina and Gennaro to round out the tango contingent. Also expect some big flashy numbers from the glittery Katia Vaz and Salsa de Carnaval and the jazz/hip-hop-influenced Mambo Romero Dance Company.

But the Latin Show, featuring more than forty performers, including international award-winning headliners Silke Heleine and Alex Harnicholas dancing cha-cha, rumba, and samba, isn't something you watch impassively from your comfy seat. Flores isn't just showing off the best dancers and troupes from the Bay Area and Los Angeles. He has three bands playing an after-show dance party for anyone so moved: the Inspiration Tango Band, Gary Flores and Salsa Caliente, and mariachi favorites Los Cachorros. Flores calls it "the show where everyone dances!" and he means it, as the performers will go out into the audience and encourage people to come up and enjoy themselves for another two hours. Definitely worth dusting off your dancing shoes.

The Latin Show, 7:30-11 p.m., Friday. $26-$30. The Hofmann Theatre at Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek. Tickets: AdrianFloresPresents.com or 925-943-7469.-- Lisa Drostova

SAT 8/14

By the Slice

Poetry 'n' pizza

The free poetry series put on by Joe Pachinko (Superstition Street Press, The Urinals of Hell) at Leaning Tower of Pizza brings in some heavy hitters this week. First up is Christopher Robin , the Santa Cruz vagabond and zinester renowned for his homelessness and transsexuality (female to male) almost as much as his "Moonlight Insanity Plea." Then, batting cleanup, it's Jarret Keene , the Florida-bred, Vegas-based teacher (creative writing and lit, at UNLV), editor (of The Underground Guide to Las Vegas), and poet whose new book of verse is Monster Fashion (Manic "D" Press). 8 p.m. Saturday at Leaning Tower, 498 Wesley Ave., Oakland, 510-444-6824. Order a slice if you dare.--Kelly Vance

THU 8/12

Racial Extravaganza

Quddus -- original NY cast member of The Beat -- invites you into a "racial extravaganza where the construct of the word 'nigger' is irreverently played upon like a fiddle violin, and curse words lead to deeper meaning." In his self-titled one-man hip-hop theater show, Quddus weaves an abstract world where '70s disco dude meets '80s B-boy and civil rights fighter meets millennial gangsta, all in the flow of spoken word. (Please note that this is not the Quddus from MTV. He performs Thursday night at Epic Arts, 1923 Ashby Ave., Berkeley, at 8:30 p.m. Info: EpicArts.org. $5-$10 suggested donation. --Stefanie Kalem


Wilde Nights

Oscar Wilde called The Importance of Being Earnest "a trivial comedy for serious people." It's full of ruses, mistaken identities, long-lost relatives, and characters intent on "Bunburying," but behind the Victorian parlor games lies a concerted, amusing attack on the middle class. Good old Oscar. Cal Shakes tackles Wilde's 1895 chestnut -- the most "modern" play in its summer 2004 season -- in a production directed by Jonathan Moscone and starring Anthony Fusco, Susannah Schulman, Julie Eccles, and Nancy Carlin. Previews begin today, August 11, and the show runs through September 5. CalShakes.org --Kelly Vance


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