Wear a Party 

Underground fashions

Sat 5/15

Looking for something unique to wear to parties this summer? How about a Chia Pet wedding gown, or a nihilistic bondage gear ensemble? This Saturday night, the Cloud Factory Design Collective presents its sixth annual spring fashion performance extravaganza, titled Particles: Articles of Party Art. A group of young designers connected to the Bay Area's underground dance culture and the Burning Man community, the collective describes its work as "Emerging fashion fresh from the underground" (check them out at CFDesign.net). There's a tremendous variety of inventive approaches, using found materials, precious metals, rubber, and silk, and design ideas that would never find their way to Christian Dior's atelier. It all takes place at Historic Sweet's Ballroom, a lovingly restored Art Deco dance palace built in 1923. Doors open at 8, the fashion performance starts at 9, and the party goes on until the wee hour of 2 a.m. 1933 Broadway in Oakland. Call 415-281-9432 for more information. -- Sarah Cahill

Wed 5/12

Bring it to life in P-Hill

What does SARK have that other self-help creative types don't? A friend named Maya Angelou, and a warm mix of patience, self-deprecation, insight, neuroses, and workbook activities, seemingly in endless supply. Oh, and a new book: Make Your Creative Dreams Real. It's her first hardcover, and its subtitle, "A Plan for Procrastinators, Perfectionists, Busy People, and People Who Would Really Rather Sleep All Day," just about covers everyone Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy may have missed with her other dozen offerings. Make Your Creative Dreams Real offers not one but two tables of contents, one for the linear, rational mind and another for the nonlinear, visually oriented mind. SARK appears at JFK University's holistics department, 100 Ellinwood Way in Pleasant Hill, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Info: 925-674-9332 or 925-969-3500. -- Stefanie Kalem

Sun 5/16

Idol Youth

American Idol has an age restriction of 16 to 24 (Oakland's own current finalist, La Toya London, turned 25 after her successful audition). The marTEENez Singing Competition, on the other hand, has a younger scope. Anyone between the ages of ten and nineteen is invited to compete this Sunday, with two singers being chosen by three judges to compete at First Night Martinez against ten finalists from future contests. Today's match takes place at 12:30 p.m. at the Martinez Farmers' Market, and aspiring idols must be registered 24 hours prior to the competition. There's an entry fee of $10, which includes an entrance button for First Night Martinez. More info at Geocities.com/firstnightteenboard -- Stefanie Kalem

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