Friday, August 19, 2011

Weekender: Five Things to Do Over the Next Three Days in the East Bay

Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Plan the next 72 hours of your life with help from our crack team of ceaselessly knowledgeable and impossibly good-looking critics.

Book release and signing for Devon Blood's Keep Laughing
When tattoo artist Devon Blood suffered a gunshot to the head in 2006, it threatened to end his life and his hard-earned career. The tenacious artist, who endured months of hospital stays, surgeries, and physical rehabilitation, had to relearn his trade using his left hand. Now he's returned to his job at Sacred Tattoo (707 Broadway, Oakland), and he's penned a book about his experiences. The shop celebrates on Friday, Aug. 19, with a release party and signing of Blood's new autobiography, Keep Laughing, which is filled with photographs and illustrations by the artist and friends. 8 p.m., free. 510-251-8287 or DevonBloodTattoo.com — Cassie Harwood

Jack London Square Fit Rave
If you like exercise as much as a good party but find you lack the time for both, there's a new solution for getting in a good workout and some simultaneous social time. Jack London Square hosts its first Fit Rave on Saturday, Aug. 20, where health-minded socialites can choose from a series of outdoor cross-training activities while a DJ provides fast-paced tunes. Do some spinning, some yoga, and a little strength training, and then stick around for a post-workout party with refreshments by Miss Pearl's Jam House. Spinners, bring your bikes. On the waterfront plaza, outside the Waterfront Hotel (10 Washington St., Oakland). 2-5 p.m., $20-$25. 510-645-9292 or JackLondonSquare.com — Cassie Harwood

Gamelan Sekar Jaya and Gamelan X
Sixty-member collective Gamelan Sekar Jaya is one of the premier groups playing classical folk music of Bali. It appears in a number of different configurations, depending on the venue. The one appearing at Ashkenaz this week features the band's Bamboo Jegog, an orchestra of tuned bamboo marimbas that produce a forceful, primal sound. As any listener can attest, the powerful, rumbling notes of bass jegog register in the body as well as the head, and the effect is downright psychedelic. Similarly-themed opener Gamelan X uses the music of Bali as a foundation for improvisational flights that incorporate influences from Balkan wedding music, as well as African, American, and Indian grooves. At Ashkenaz (1317 San Pablo, Berkeley) on Sunday, Aug. 21. 8 p.m., $10, $12. Ashkenaz.com— j. poet

S. Clay Wilson Benefit
In 2008, San Francisco underground cartoonist S. Clay Wilson (who is said to have inspired R. Crumb, as well as a whole generation) was found face down, roughed up, and unconscious between two parked cars. The circumstances of his state remain unknown (Did he fall? Was he attacked?), as he suffered a traumatic brain injury and spent three weeks in a coma. Though he eventually awakened, Wilson now suffers from aphasia, short-term memory loss, and needs 24-hour care. A fund has been set up for the cartoonist (who still draws), and a fund-raiser featuring poets A.D. Winans, Clive Matson, Richard Krech, and Luis Garcia will be held on Sunday, Aug. 21, at Art House Gallery & Cultural Center (2905 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley). 7 p.m., $10 donation. All proceeds go to the S. Clay Wilson Special Needs Trust. SClayWilsonTrust.com— Kathleen Richards

The Road to Hades
Despite his rather sizable writing portfolio, long-time circus performer Jeff Raz is a better entertainer than he is a playwright. His gags and antics are largely what carry The Road to Hades, which he framed as both an anti-war protest play and a modern spin on Greek myth. Produced by Shotgun Players and directed by Raz's longtime friend, Sabrina Klein, it stars Raz as Aristophanes, the classical dramatist whose oeuvre includes The Birds, Peace, and Lysistrata. He's been dead — and apparently trapped in Hades — for more than 2,000 years, which was just long enough to form his own independent theater company. And now he's searching for a ticket out, namely, by persuading Zeus that he can fill the open position for "God of Peace," on Mount Olympus, because artists promote peace by nature. Several talented actors serve as comic foils: Mime Troupe regular Velina Brown plays Aphrodite; Ryan O'Donnell is the shepherd god Hermes, and an intergenerational ensemble trails Raz at all times. John Mercer, who plays the war god Ares, is the real star of the play. Through Sept. 11 at John Hinkel Park (Southampton Ave. between San Diego Rd. & Somerset Pl., Berkeley). $10. ShotgunPlayers.org— Rachel Swan


Catch a Movie: Our movie critic recommends Amigo, opening Friday (though sadly only in Union City).

Eat Up:Our critic recommends the wild salmon curry, the pumpkin curry shrimp, and the sun-dried pork at Richmond's Ran Kanom Thai.

Get Buzzed: Chevys: Come for the wanton cultural appropriation and unholy disregard for grammar; stay for the Happy Hour.

Waste Some Time:

The best of liquor store signs. Because the only thing better than sassy signage is sassy alcohol-related signage.

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Feed Us: Got any East Bay news, events, video, or miscellany we should know about? Holler at us at Ellen.Cushing@EastBayExpress.com.

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