Friday, January 27, 2012

Weekender: The Top Five Events Over the Next Three Days in the East Bay

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 8:14 AM

Ninth Annual Cheshire Rock Opera
Alice's penchant for traveling through looking glasses, falling down rabbit holes, and eating psychedelic mushrooms isn't the only reason she's been a consummate pop culture muse since the Victorian age. She's also beloved simply for having a rebellious spirit. By all appearances a sweet blond in ruffly knickers and a pinafore, Alice nonetheless refused to play by societal rules. She couldn't be tamed by stiff clothing, or children's primers, or even a hostile Queen of Hearts. Thus, it's little surprise she's embraced by the underground arts community in Oakland. One of Alice's more devout local followers, a musician named Sean Lee, put together a "full-immersion" celebration of Alice in Wonderland back in 2004, complete with a costumed tea party, a dance competition, and themed songs. The event had enough fairytale cachet to draw a following and ensure real longevity. This year's ninth iteration will feature antics by Wanderlust Circus, plus a "Queen's Concert" with several musical guests, including Thee Hobo Gobbelins. It happens at Oakland Metro Operahouse (630 3rd St., Oakland) on Friday, Jan. 27. 8 p.m., $10 for those wearing Wonderland costumes, $15 for everyone else. OaklandMetro.org — Rachel Swan

Ghost Light
Jonathan Moscone's theatrical version of himself might be slightly exaggerated, but it works well for a play about a child dealing with his father's death — especially given that Jonathan's father, former San Francisco mayor George Moscone was a well-known, widely respected public figure whose career kept him somewhat estranged from his children. Ghost Light spawned from conversations between the younger Moscone, who directed, and Berkeley Rep artistic director Tony Taccone, who wrote the script. Some details may have been altered for the purpose of plot, but it hews to a fairly realistic storyline: Jonathan hears about the assassination of George Moscone first from a gelid Diane Feinstein, speaking numbly through his television screen, then from a police officer (Peter Macon), who comes knocking at the door. He has to confront that traumatic event first in therapy; then repeatedly in dreams; then in pop culture, where the term "Twinkie defense" quickly becomes common coin; and finally as an adult, such as when he was invited to consult on set for the movie Milk, which lionized fellow shooting victim-turned-LGBT-martyr Harvey Milk while underplaying his father's death. The play is dreamlike, sometimes ponderous, and often profoundly sweet, particularly as an encomium to San Francisco. Through February 19 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre (2025 Addison St., Berkeley). $14.50-$73. 510 647-2949 or BerkeleyRep.org. — Rachel Swan

Ash Reiter with Trails and Ways
It's always a gamble covering a well-loved song, especially one as universally adored as M83's "Midnight City," which in December earned the distinction of being Pitchfork's favorite track of 2011. So the version of the song by Oakland's Trails and Ways — at once eminently recognizable and completely original, incorporating worldly accents, slowed-down chord progressions, and even a flute — shows that the band's not only very, very good, it's also fearless. Perhaps unsurprisingly, press as high-profile as NME and as far-flung as France took notice. That's par for the course for this four-piece, which appears to be rising at meteoric rate based on its self-described "bossnova-dream pop" sound and a relentless work ethic. On the heels of an East Coast jaunt that began late last year, the band will be back in the Bay on Friday, January 27 for a show at the Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley); if you're lucky they may just drop their latest cover — a brilliant, just-released rendition of Drake's "Headlines." 9:30 p.m., $5. StarryPloughPub.com-—Ellen Cushing

Good Vibes Lakeshore Grand Opening
The vibe in Oakland's trendy Lakeshore shopping district got a lot sexier this month. We're talking sexiness of the female-friendly, health-positive variety, not the salacious, seedy sort. That erotic upswing came with the January 2 opening of Bay Area-based sex-toy purveyor Good Vibrations' sixth retail space at 3219 Lakeshore Avenue. The new location marks the 35-year-old company's first foray into Oakland, where, according to Events and Publicity Manager Camilla Lombard, the retailer has wanted to set up shop since venturing to Berkeley in 1994. he store celebrates its grand opening on Saturday, January 28, during which Grammy-winning songwriter and producer Kandi Burruss debuts her new line of discreet sex toys, "Bedroom Kandi" (vibrators disguised as lipstick and compact mirrors). Partiers can also snap pictures in a photobooth, spin the "Wheel of Pleasure" to win sexy prizes, and pick up coupons for "Kandi Kiss" cocktails at the revamped Easy Lounge. 6-9 p.m., free. 510-788-2389 or GoodVibes.com —Cassie Harwood

Leah Tysse
There was a point when local soul and gospel singer Leah Tysse billed herself as "hot and spicy," but since then she seems to have calmed down and adopted a more serene, sedate persona. In truth, though, any female balladeer with a voice as strong and a demeanor as sweet as Tysse's could re-chisel her persona whenever she saw fit. This year, she's released a new solo album, Love Again, which includes a superlative cast of Bay Area musicians -- among them keyboardists Sundra Manning and Mike Blankenship, guitarist Errol Cooney, and bassist Eric "Picfunk" Smith. It kicks off with an immediately catchy blues tune, "Hope Is Rising," which sets the tone and establishes the singer's church roots. Tysee will appear at Disco Volante (347 14th St., Oakland) on Saturday, Jan. 28. 9 p.m., free. DiscoVolanteOakland.com - Rachel Swan

Get your cheapskate on: This is how much we love you guys: Here are our searchable listings of every single free event happening in the East Bay this weekend. Friend and Follow Us: Here we are on Facebook and Twitter. 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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