Friday, December 9, 2011

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

Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Here's what you're doing this weekend:

Grief is Good: The Daily Existentialism of Peanuts
Don't be fooled by the crude drawing style and pre-teen protagonists — Peanuts was always a mature, complex, and deeply felt coming-of-age tale slyly disguised as a newspaper comic strip, fraught as it was with themes of inertia, unrequited love, anxiety, and the profound injustice of having an opportunity yanked from under you just as you're ready to kick the football. On Friday, Dec. 9, the always-awesome literary series First Person Singular intends to celebrate all things Peanuts at Pegasus on Solano (1855 Solano Ave., Berkeley) with a slate of seven local actors performing the "dialogues, monologues, and doghouse meditations" of Lucy, Linus, Charlie, and the gang, with accompaniment by Richard Leiter, the pianist for CBS' Charlie Brown specials. 7:30 p.m., free. PegasusBookstore.com or 510-525-6888. — Ellen Cushing

Live 105's Not-So-Silent Night

Leggy, red-haired, and tattooed, English diva Florence Welch could probably get plenty of mileage from her looks alone, even if she weren't a terrific singer. Yet Welch has both things going for her. The fierce 25-year-old balladeer launched her career singing at art collectives and "squat parties," where she competed with drunk carousers and rinky-dink sound systems. Despite having a light and feathery speaking voice, she often characterizes her singing persona as "baroque" or "primal" — and it shows. For someone who can seem so diminutive in person, Welch is capable of near-operatic heights in performance. She performs with her rather large backing band, The Machine, at Live 105's 2011 edition of Not So Silent Night, which also stars fabulous Nineties alt-rock group Jane's Addiction, as well as Mumford & Sons, Bush, and Young the Giant. At Oracle Arena (7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland) on Friday, Dec. 9. 6 p.m., $39.50-$59.50. Coliseum.com. — Rachel Swan

"Make Something Cool" Workshop Weekend
You can make something of yourself (or, at the very least, learn how to make a multitude of things) at Tech Liminal's (268 14th St., Oakland) "Make Something Cool" Workshop Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 10-11. The technology service company hosts two full days of primarily technology-based one- to three-hour workshops for people of all ages and experience levels. Learn how to solder, work with electroluminescent wires, make a two-string instrument from a tin can, turn motors into scampering beetle robots, and more. Sign up for individual classes online. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., $20. 510-832-3401 or WhatWillYouLearn.com — Cassie Harwood

Sister Crayon
If you're into that bleepy-bloopy stuff, this is your one-stop shop for the weekend. Sister Crayon is the closest thing there is to a new trip-hop band. What started out a couple years ago as simply singer Terra Lopez playing with a sampler has evolved into a full-fledged electro-pop band. Though the eerie tunes are in the tradition of Bjork and Portishead, they gel better with those of more contemporary groups such as Warpaint. And you might get away with calling James and Evander the male equivalent of Sister Crayon. The Oakland-based duo also makes delicate, snowy pop with mostly electronic instruments — though if Sister Crayon is of the earth, J&E come from outer space. And that would make Elephant & Castle some sort of water base, which makes sense, since his tunes derive mostly from the smooth and soulful tunes on old vinyl records. Altogether it should be satisfying on an elemental level. At The Uptown Nightclub (1928 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) on Saturday, Dec. 10. 9 p.m., $12. UptownNightclub.com — Will Butler

Occupy Amazon
It may not be on the scale of, say, Goldman Sachs or Freddie Mac, but the books industry certainly isn’t immune to its own set of market imbalances and near-monopolies, as megachains like Amazon and Barnes and Noble are free to use their size to undercut local, independent bookstores in an already-squeezed market. Few know this better than the folks at Diesel (5433 College Ave., Oakland), who’ve been fighting the good fight for years now, mostly by merely continuing to exist in the face of such competition. The three-store chain is now taking the movement to coffee tables and backpacks everywhere with a beautiful, be-sloganed coaster and pin set designed by the LA store’s Jon Stich and available absolutely free while supplies last. Show your support by stopping by the store to pick a couple up — and maybe buy a book while you’re at it. Mon.-Thu. 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. DieselBookstore.com or 510-653-9965 — E.C.


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