Friday, March 29, 2013

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Time to get your weekend on. Here's how:

"Paid Regulars"
Until recently, Oakland held the unfunny distinction of being one of the few big American cities with no professional comedy club. Enter the Continental Club, first opened in 1945 as a eatery-by-day (Christy's Grill) and supper club-slash-dance-spot by night (Rumboogie). The current owners decided to launch a comedy club in the space after a trip to LA, where they saw just how much a supported comedy scene is lacking in their city. Join them each Friday and Saturday night, including Mar. 29-30, as they host "Paid Regulars," their new comedy show of ten- or twenty-minute sets for local comedy talent. 8 p.m., $15. 510-673-8813 or ContinentalComedy.comAzeen Ghorayshi

  • Julie Blair

Imogen Binnie
On the surface, it seems like Imogen Binnie wrote her debut novel, Nevada, for the same reasons anyone writes a novel: to tell a story that hasn't been told before. But Binnie's concerns extend further; as a trans woman, she said she wasn't seeing anyone like her portrayed in any kind of media, with any semblance of realistic substance. "I wanted to see a story about trans women that wasn't all trans 101, deceptive/pathetic dichotomies, and inevitable death tropes," she wrote on her blog. In the darkly comedic Nevada, Binnie tells the story of Maria Griffiths, a young trans woman living in New York and grappling with an unraveling relationship and her ensuing inability to emotionally engage with her own history as a trans woman. Join Binnie on Saturday, Mar. 30, as she reads from her novel at Pegasus Books Downtown. "Despite all the grim theoretical circumstances around it it's actually pretty funny," Binnie continued. "Also there's lots of sex and cussing. The sex is pretty unfulfilling, though." 7:30 p.m., free. PegasusBookstore.comA.G.

Bomba Estereo
Bomba Estéreo may sing in Spanish, but its global electro and hip-hop beats translate to any dance floor. The Bogotá, Colombia-based band will come to The New Parish on Monday, Apr. 1, for the second stop on its Caribbean Power US tour to promote its fourth full-length album, Elegancia Tropical, which Spin called "riveting." According to Spin, Bomba Estéreo has been touring the world for the past two years and refining its live performances, which combine the traditional cumbia music of its native Colombia with more modern electronic influences. Vocalist Liliana Saumet — who sings, raps, and dances with seemingly limitless energy — has earned comparisons to M.I.A., Santigold, and Brazilian female rockers CSS for her explosive stage presence. Saumet's three bandmates feverishly multitask on various instruments — laptop, keyboard, sampler, synth, bass, guitar, and drums — to create Bomba Estéreo's huge live sound, which has translated to massive arena and festival gigs back in Colombia. Don't forget earplugs. 9 p.m., $20. TheNewParish.comLenika Cruz


Lawrence Wright, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist best known for his explorations of extremism in the Middle East, steps into the role of playwright to take on one of his profession's furthest fallen idols, Italian reporter Oriana Fallaci. Wright's marvelous result, Fallaci, grills its infamous subject — master of the "combative interview" and once the most feared journalists in the world — toward the controversial and rather ugly end of her life, when she became an outspoken Islamophobe. He does so by creating the foil of Maryan, an Iran-born obituary writer who works her way into Fallaci's apartment to conduct a special interview. The lengthy exposition falters and grows thin, but the second scene crafts a psychological tête-à-tête of gripping depth, and the play's otherworldly epilogue, although risky and strange, ends this fierce play on a high note. All in all, it is easily the best East Bay theater production of the season so far. Through April 21 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. 510-647-2900 or BerkeleyRep.orgAlex Bigman

"Apichatpong Weerasethakul / MATRIX 247"
Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall his Past Lives) fills Berkeley Art Museum's matrix gallery space with his 2007 short film, Morakot (Emerald). Running eleven minutes on loop, the quiet, dreamlike film exposes interiors of a once lively, now abandoned Bangkok hotel. Weerasethakul digitally superimposes layers of glittering debris, such as dust and feathers, upon the already oneiric scenes to the accompaniment of a trio of voices, all speaking in Thai. Even without benefit of subtitles, it is clear enough that the voices share a reminiscent tone (however, curator Dena Beard's supplementary material points out that the content of the speech is rather more traumatic than one might expect). While the video's visual content is rich, the gallery itself is spare, consisting only of the screen and a hanging green light that seems to bridge the physical and cinematic spaces. It makes for a ghostly and compelling eleven minutes. Morakot (Emerald) runs through April 21 at the Berkeley Art Museum. 510-642-0808 or BAMPFA.Berkeley.eduA.B.

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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