Friday, March 15, 2013

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 6:00 AM

In the words of our potential new national anthem, "It's the freakin' weekend baby, I'm about to have me some fun." Here are five ways to begin going about doing so:

Bang Data
In terms of sheer visibility, Bay Area rap-rock trio Bang Data's big moment came when its song "Bang Data" was featured in an episode of AMC's hit series Breaking Bad (it played during a scene in which a meth kingpin invites a slew of bikini girls out by the pool, right before a bloody shoot-out). But even without this dose of publicity, Bang Data organically grew a strong following for its ever-morphing mezclaof sounds influenced by rock, hip-hop, Latin, and dub reggae. When the trio recently performed a cover of Radiohead's "Optimistic," at a show at Rickshaw Stop that featured all Radiohead covers, it was easily the night's most original reinterpretation: What started out as a loud, straightforward cover quickly transformed into a dub reggae groove with Spanish hooks, thick bass, and rap interludes; the charismatic showmanship of bilingual vocalist Deuce Eclipse reeled the audience in, and the expert musicianship of Juan Manuel Caipo and Dave Lopez kept them interested. Fall under Bang Data's spell when it performs with Candelaria, Dos Four, and DJ Leydis at The New Parish on Saturday, Mar. 16. 9 p.m. $12, $15. TheNewParish.comLenika Cruz

  • Natasha Harden

A Naked Lady Soiree
For women, vintage shopping can be synonymous with the girl-to-girl check-out: At all times, you're pretty much guaranteed to be secretly or not-so-secretly eyeing your fellow customers' duds, awe-inspired by the diverse shopping prowess of the women of the world. These good vibes are part of the inspiration behind the monthly clothing swap — dubbed "A Naked Lady Soiree" — happening on Sunday, Mar. 17, at Halmoni Vintage. The women-only swap was made to "promote a healthy approach to body consciousness and fashion," all while attendees sip fancy cocktails, munch on hors d'oeuvres, and mingle with fellow lovers of vintage. Bring a bag of gently worn clothes, accessories, and shoes to swap, and then feel free to verbally ogle your fellow vintage-ladies' styles. Fortunately, this time, everything's up for grabs. 6-8 p.m., $5-$10 sliding scale. Halmoni.net/A-Naked-Lady-SoireeAzeen Ghorayshi

Good Game Con
Video-game conventions, or "cons," have been happening for decades, and their popularity shows no signs of waning: The biggest general-gaming convention in the world, Tokyo Game Show, set an attendance record last year with more than 200,000 eager gamers competing, industry heads unveiling new products, and spectators reveling in the modern marvel of video-game culture. On Friday and Saturday, March 15-16, Oakland welcomes its first-ever gaming convention, Good Game Con, at Laney College. The gaming tournament will feature six fighting video games (Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition and Super Smash Brothers Melee among them), a computer game called League of Legends, and a Magic: The Gathering tournament on the side. Game designers — including Chris McGee, one of the designers of the Star Wars games — will be on hand to offer insider knowledge about the industry. Other extracurriculars will include anime screenings, costume competitions, a female-friendly twist on the Japanese "maid cafe" (where servers dress up as parlor maids), and an exhibit of anime- and video-game-inspired art. 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; $10 admission, $20 to compete. GoodGameCon.comA.G.

Amy Stewart
Humans have pretty much always liked getting drunk. And over the centuries, ingenious souls have tested the limits of trial and error to contrive clever new sources for a buzz: sake from rice, scotch from barley, tequila from agave, rum from sugarcane, and bourbon from corn, to name a few. Join Amy Stewart on Sunday, Mar. 17, at Mrs. Dalloway’s as she discusses her new book, The Drunken Botanist, a catalog of the herbs, flowers, trees, fruits, and fungi that humans have endeavored to ferment and distill — successfully and less so — over the years. In addition to the human-to-plant history, Stewart’s book presents more than fifty drink recipes and gardening tips for aspiring drunken home botanists. And those worried about their thirst levels need not fear: The reading, appropriately staged on St. Patrick’s Day, will also feature cocktail tastings from the book. 4 p.m., free. MrsDalloways.comA.G.


Ramen Shop
The buzz has been deafening since the news first broke that three Chez Panisse alums would be opening a noodle shop that fused Japanese tradition with the market-driven approach that Bay Area cuisine is known for: ramen topped with seasonal ingredients like Meyer lemon and Dungeness crab — whatever is best and freshest on a given day. While the labor-intensive soup bases aren’t strictly traditional, each bowl of ramen is marked by the precision and obsessive attention to detail that is the hallmark of Japanese cooking. The noodles are always springy; the spit-roasted chashu pork is tender and unctuous; and each soft-boiled egg has a bright-orange yolk with just the right consistency. Meanwhile, some of the most memorable items are the non-ramen dishes: a halibut tartare salad that was a study in bright, clean flavors; a wonderfully varied pickle plate; and intensely aromatic fried rice featuring shrimp and wild nettles. RamenShop.comLuke Tsai

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.

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

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