.Anime You

Do the Ghibli at the PFA


Most otaku (read: anime nerds) find themselves beholden to the throbbing tentacles and pink-haired maidens with piercingly high-pitched voices that populate most Japanese anime. But even the uninitiated can derive a sense of wonder from the amazing work of Studio Ghibli, the Japanese creators of Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and other mystical animated films. These are not simply soap operas set against a backdrop of giant robots and J-pop theme songs — they are massive adventures of moribund magic, and mysterious mythology manhandling the mundane. Hayao Miyazaki’s films speak to the waning child in all of us, often capturing the inherent sense of wonder and loss that go along with growing up. When you finish watching a Miyazaki film, you may want to pause at the theater doors to look back into the darkened room. Imagine old-growth trees snarling down from the walls, vines growing over the seats, a small flock of forest spirits clicking their heads at you from some lofty perch. Watching a Ghibli film is like wandering lost through a magical glen, and only upon exit will you finally understand and appreciate the amazing experience you’ve just had.

To celebrate the release of Miyazaki’s latest epic, Howl’s Moving Castle, the Pacific Film Archive has designated June as Studio Ghibli month. Starting with Thursday’s showing of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (7:30 p.m.) and ending June 30 with Only Yesterday, the work of Miyazaki-san’s famous animation house will be shown on the big screen, a rare occurrence in the States for all but its most recent films. Adding to the experience is the fact that all of the films, save one, will be shown in Japanese with English subtitles. The only English-dubbed film, The Cat Returns, a short featuring the voices of Cary Elwes, Peter Boyle, and Elliott Gould, will be shown at a free screening Sunday at 2 p.m. For more information, including an updated calendar with show times for Howl’s Moving Castle, visit BAMPFA.berkeley.edu. The PFA is at 2575 Bancroft Way, Berkeley. 510-642-5249. — Alex Handy

FRI 6/3

Smoke It

Don’t Drink It

What’s from Japan, moves as carefully as (a) Tortoise, kicks it slow and hypnotic like Barrett-era Floyd or Damo-era Can, and is nearly as psychedelic as Acid Mothers Temple, but without so much clattery squawk und drang? It’s Green Milk from the Planet Orange, and it’s rolling into the Stork Club this Friday to fill your ears with fancy fog and some sparkly shit. The Planet Orange, it seems, is Japan herself, and the green milk rose from the grindcore ashes of No Rest for the Dead in early 2001. Now they bring the prog-rock to the people. Like-minded local openers Axolotl get the noise up, Top Brown get the goof on, and Battleship break stuff starting at 9:30 p.m. or so at 2330 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. $5, 510-444-6174. — Stefanie Kalem

SUN 6/5

Small Town, Big Eats

What day is today? Omigod — stop eating! What are you, crazy? There’s still time to save room for the stuffed vegi delight from Mother Nature, Ruen Pair’s fish cakes and crispy wontons, gravlax from the Albany Bistro, and palatable delights from fourteen other restaurants participating in the fourth annual Taste of Albany: A Small-Town Walkabout. For $20 in advance, $25 day of, spend all the hours between 1 and 7 p.m. stuffing your punim and pockets at two outdoor cafés, being entertained by lion dancers, magicians, and musical performances by Orixa, Odis Goodnight, and many others. There’s a Kids’ Town, too. Buy your ticket at AlbanyChamber.orgStefanie Kalem


Open Sez Me

The East Bay is a mother lode of visual arts talent. If you doubt that, pay a visit to any of the artists in Pro Arts’ annual East Bay Open Studios, in which more than five hundred working artists in four hundred studios throw open their doors and give us a chance to see their workplaces as well as their art — everything from Anthony Holdsworth’s cityscapes to Ginny Parsons’ whimsical still lifes, such as the acrylic-on-canvas Year of the Bike (2005), which is excerpted at left. Tickets for the guided tour are $75. Artists’ reception (all of them?) at Pro Arts, 550 Second St., Oakland, Thursday, 7-9 p.m. For more information, visit ProArtsGallery.orgKelly Vance


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

East Bay Express E-edition East Bay Express E-edition