Friday, August 23, 2013

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

By Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, Aug 23, 2013 at 10:42 AM

It's the weekend! Here are the five best things to do with yourself this Friday to Sunday:

Game of Thrones Extravaganza
If your life has lacked meaning since the Game of Thrones season finale in June, fear not, for winter is coming (sort of). On Friday, Tourettes Without Regrets is hosting a Game of Thrones variety show at the Oakland Metro. So if you have been boring your non-GoT-watching friends with your ruminations on whether you would pledge allegiance to the House of Stark or Lannister, or internally debating whether you’re more of an Arya Stark or a Daenerys Targaryen, here is your chance to nerd out with fellow fans as you watch live jousting, GoT-themed stand-up comedy, and fantasy “cosplay” burlesque. The night, of course, would not be complete without Westeros medieval house band Thee Hobgoblins — though if you’re a Stark, keep your fingers crossed they don’t break into “The Rains of Castamere.” Friday, Aug. 23. 8:30 p.m., $15. OaklandMetro.orgZaineb Mohammed

  • Ravi Shankar

Berkeley South Asian Radical History Walking Tour
How well do you know your radical Berkeley history? Fill any gaps in your knowledge during this walking tour of South Asian history. Organized by longtime Berkeley activists Barnali Ghosh and Anirvan Chatterjee, the monthly tour covers about two miles and visits seven locations, each highlighting a lesser-known aspect of South Asian Bay Area history. Beginning at the Pacific Center, the tour describes how Trikone, the oldest South Asian LGBT organization in the country, was founded. Winding through Berkeley’s streets, the guides will regale the group with stories, including one about a protest organized by sixteen South Asian UC Berkeley students in 1908 against a talk by a Christian evangelist about how Hinduism was the source of India's problems. Proceeds go towards BASS, a youth camp for South Asian teenagers to learn about progressive issues. Sunday, Aug. 25. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-5 p.m., $15 for general admission, $5 for students. BerkeleySouthAsian.orgZ.M.

Gary Soto
“Soto’s remembrances are as sharply defined and appealing as bright new coins,” the noted literary critic Alicia Fields wrote in the Bloomsbury Review in 1987. She was discussing Gary Soto’s poetry — which mostly encompasses acute and evocative portrayals of Chicano-American life, coming of age, and California, and which has earned him several literary awards — but the statement can just as easily apply to a different kind of remembrance, the kind Soto delivers in his new memoir, What Poets Are Like. In the book, from which Soto reads at Books Inc. Alameda, the longtime Berkeley resident offers sixty vignettes, each about a distinct episode over the course of a long life spent writing: the sting of rejection and the uneasy triumph of success, the death of Cody’s Books and the inherent oddness of meeting readers face-to-face, the hangovers and defeats and moments of clarity — bright new coins, every one. Friday, Aug. 23. 7 p.m., free. BooksInc.net/AlamedaEllen Cushing

26th Annual Oakland Chinatown StreetFest
The Year of the Snake may be less auspicious than the Year of the Dragon, but regardless, it’s time to celebrate with Oakland’s 26th Annual Chinatown StreetFest. The festival, held between 7th and 9th streets and Broadway and Harrison Street, is hosted by the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce and draws thousands each year. Taking place on Saturday and Sunday, the festivities will showcase Chinese culture (as well as others) with performances by US Shaolin Kung Fu Martial Arts, Budabelly Band, and China’s Spirit Music Ensemble. More than two hundred vendors will be on hand offering jewelry, crafts, and food. If you’re in the mood for authentic ethnic cuisine, check out Hawaii BBQ and Mr. Lumpia, or get your fried food fix from the funnel cake and corn-dog stands. Kids can enjoy the carnival or art activities organized by the Oakland Asian Cultural Center and the Oakland Museum of California. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 25-26. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., free. OaklandChinatownStreetFest.comZ.M.


Urban Hunting - Squirrel Season
Squirrels are pretty hilarious. Acrobatic, manically greedy and — somewhat tragically — hunted by hicks, they are an animal of contradictions and perhaps a metaphor. Indeed, one senses a looming significance at every turn of Urban Hunting: Squirrel Season, Julie Alvarado’s truly one-of-a-kind exhibition, now on display at Mercury 20. Her works are razor-sharp faux kitsch: a squirrel-hunting “evening wear” suit, trimmed with pink lace; a backyard setup including a lawn chair, pink toy rifle, and a martini glass filled with Pink Squirrel — what was apparently a popular cocktail in the Sixties. In addition to these installations there are several series of carefully rendered squirrel paintings. In one, hordes of squirrels, sometimes Godzilla-sized, vex humanity. In another, the artist depicts hair models sporting big, out-there ’dos, which eager squirrels seem to eye as potential nests. In its collapsing of femininity, violence, and Americana about this humble creature, Urban Hunting is without question one of the more memorable shows now on the Saturday Stroll itinerary. Through Sept. 21, free. MercuryTwenty.comAlex Bigman

Plus... 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 Zaineb.Mohammed@EastBayExpress.com.

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