World Class 

Women of color, step up

8/7

Finally, a beauty contest with no height, weight, or size requirements -- and no bathing suit competition. The Ethnic World Pageant, established in early 2003 with the tag line "Educating the World on Cultural Diversity One Pageant at a Time," celebrates the vast meaning and scope of the commonly used expression "women of color." According to founder Michelle Prior, the pageant "is about empowering all women ... dress size doesn't determine if one is a great role model." This Saturday in Walnut Creek, women from all ethnic backgrounds will compete in the Miss & Ms. Urban California Pageant, a preliminary contest for the 2004 Miss Ethnic World competition. Grouped by age category, contestants are scored on evening and athletic wear, a personal interview, cultural expression, and community service. Winners will act as community role models and volunteers before heading to Washington, DC, to compete for a host of swell prizes, including a $1,000 cash scholarship.

Showtime is at 7 p.m. at Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $10. For more info: 925-943-SHOW or MissEthnicWorld.com -- By Joy White

8/4-8/10

Lit Happens

Chow's on at Lafayette Public Library, but only for 3-to-5-year-olds (and their grownups). A morning storytelling session comes with free breakfast, so as to live happily ever after (Thu., 10:15 a.m.). ... If William Blake were to join the Poetry in the Garden Twilight Tour at UC Berkeley's Botanical Garden (200 Centennial Dr.), he'd proclaim, "Ah! Sunflower" and "O Rose, thou art sick." The tour meanders slowly through the garden, with staff docents reciting appropriate poetry as day fades gossamer and golden into dusk. $12-$17, preregistration required: call 510-643-2755 (Thu., 5:30 p.m.). ... Podner, that train-whistle means it's Depot Days at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley (205 Railroad Ave., Danville), where in partnership with the Danville Library a storytelling session for kids revives the language and lore of these parts when the West was still wild. 925-837-3750 (Fri., 10 a.m.). ... Remembering the bomb, visitors to the Berkeley Public Library's North Branch will fold origami cranes to be sent to Hiroshima after the Teen Playreaders present a public reading of Elaine Coerr's Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, the true story of a twelve-year-old victim (pictured above) who folded paper cranes in hopes of prolonging her life, but died before completing the thousand said to guarantee success (Fri., 3 p.m.). ... A slaying and sexual slavery make Nicola Griffiths' Stay not your mother's cozy crime novel. The Lesbian Gay Bi Transgender Book Club discusses this thriller at the Oakland Public Library's Piedmont Ave. Branch (Mon., 6:30 p.m.). ... Summertime, and the livin' is easy as stories are read aloud to kids at Altamont/Goodenough Books while their parents sip coffee gratis and chill out (Tue., 10:30 a.m.). -- Anneli Rufus

8/6

Art-Backwards

Oakland artists Griffin McPartland and Christopher Duncan are taking a cue from those expert hype-builders at NASA, starting their new art zine, Hot and Cold , with Issue 10 and working backward. The quarterly promises to be as unique as its chronology, with a rotating crew of contributors supplying screen prints, stickers, and other hand-made wonderstuff á la the old gorgeous X-Ray zine. Mama Buzz Cafe (2316 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) hosts a release party for Issue 10 from 7-10 p.m. Friday, which will kick off a monthlong exhibit of Hot and Cold artists. Info: MamaBuzzCafe.com, 510-465-4073. -- Stefanie Kalem

8/7

Hear the One ... ?

Before there was Club Nouveau, there was Timex Social Club . Jay King produced and Michael Marshall sang "Rumors," a big hit in 1986. Now Marshall's back with the "Original Timex Social Club" at a Hip-Hop Soul Party at Blake's (2367 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley). Also appearing are Equipto, Clever Jeff, Angel of Thorns, and DJ Pause. $12 advance, $20 door. Info: Million DollarDream.com, 877-488-6533. -- Stefanie Kalem

8/6-8/7

Fire, Noise, & Blood

Bringing the noise to Berkeley

Ever wonder how to destroy the universe? Think you could do it from Berkeley? Now, now, don't get all upset -- we're not suggesting a hostile takeover of the Nuclear-Free Zone. Rather, we'd advise using what the Bay Area has plenty of, namely, art: performance art, artfully deafening music, and fire arts. That's what Ethan Port (who used to be in the band Savage Republic, and therefore knows a little bit about fucking things up) and his bandmate in fiery (literally) punk outfit F-Space, Scot Jenerik, did late in 2003, with their How to Destroy the Universe concert at StudioZ.tv. This weekend, the East Bay can see how it's done when How to Destroy the Universe II rolls into the Shipyard (1010 Murray St., Berkeley) between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. Friday (Hiroshima Day, baby) and Saturday. The second incarnation is focusing on all manner of bands featuring brazen women, such as Sixteens, Black Ice, the carnie death metal of BINKY, and others. There will also be the burningest art this side of the playa, including Ryon Gesink's F*ck Machine and, to cool things down, a John Cage-inspired, two-ton sonic ice sculpture by Jim Mason.

Looking for something more animate? Saturday night, Los Angeles' Aesthetic Meat Front performs "Blood Sun Rising," a public deprogramming ritual. How about performances by the Indra and DeeDee Lux, video by the Kipper Kids, and DJ duties handled by Otto Von Stroheim (TikiNews.com), Rick A Mortis (Post-Punk.com) and Tracey (Pyro Kitten)? Tickets cost $10-$20 (sliding scale) and are extremely limited, so visit Mobilization.com/destroy.html for yours. E-mail ImBroke@mobilization.com for a sponsored ticket. -- Stefanie Kalem

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