Just Folks Now

Blanche, Al, and Moore

FRI 2/18

For a long while, the Moore Brothers‘ press bio prominently featured a Scritti Politti poster that hung in Thom and Greg’s shared bedroom while growing up. That mention has been excised and, with it, it seems, any pretensions toward new wave, cawk rawk, or studio trickery that may have been clinging desperately to the hems of their slacks. Now Is the Time for Love, the duo’s third full-length (out last year on Plain Recordings), is all acoustic guitars and supple, acrobatic harmonies, unexpected bubbles in the shimmery pop, and songs about heavy metal, bicycles, and love, love, love. Live, the boys are truly a wonder, swapping guitar duties as easily as they do vocal registers. See for yourself at the Ivy Room, 858 San Pablo Ave., Albany this Friday night, with slinky garage trio Blanche Devereaux and Al Larsen, singer and guitarist of legendary Olympia indie rockers Some Velvet Sidewalk. The music starts at 10 p.m., cover is $7, and the Ivy is 21 and up. 510-524-9220. – By Stefanie Kalem


Lit Happens

It’s not easy writing an icon’s life story. The task took Evelyn C. White ten years, during which time the legend grew. She reads from her biography Alice Walker: A Life at Oakland’s African American Museum and Library (Thu., 6:30 p.m.). … Four young friends discovered the strange powers of a pair of trousers in Ann Brashares‘ debut novel The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Celebrating its second sequel, Girls in Pants, Brashares is the guest of honor at a brunch hosted by Rakestraw Books (reservations required: 925-837-7337). Attendees are encouraged to bring articles of new or used clothing for donation to charity (Sat., 11 a.m.). … He’s been around the bardic block a few hundred times, and Bill Berkson shows off his well-honed poetic chops at Moe’s, where he reads from Sweet Singer of Solitude. Also on hand is experimental prose writer Steve Emerson (Mon., 7:30 p.m.). … A major motion picture is now showing based on The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill: A Love Story, Mark Bittner‘s quirky memoir about the dozens of colorful feathered friends he came to know, name, and adore in the middle of San Francisco, where their presence and provenance are the stuff of local legend. Meet Bittner at Altamont Books (Mon., 7:30 p.m.). … Hemoglobin is the thing at Black Oak, where San Franciscan Bill Hayes discusses Five Quarts, a history of blood that mixes the historical with the personal — from Roman gladiators swigging their victims’ blood to the author’s own experiences with an HIV-positive partner (Mon., 7:30 p.m.). … A plié isn’t just a plié and a swan isn’t just a swan, as New Yorker dance critic and Mark Morris author Joan Acocella explains in “Ballet and Sex,” her lecture in the Morrison Room of UC Berkeley’s Doe Library (Tue., 7:30 p.m.). — Anneli Rufus

SAT 2/19

Fire in the Belly

Think the weather’s been weird this year? Well, wait till the belly dancers of Beneath the Veil 2 get ahold of late winter. Saturday at the Oakland Metro, Lotus Tribal Belly Dance presents performances by Ultra Gypsy (whose full-length “modern trance ritual performance” film, Medusa and Machine, will be out this spring), Clandestine, Natya Hara, Janice & Ariellah (formerly of the Indigo), and Lotus, with live world-fusion music by Riffat Sultana & Party and Rena Jones. The all-ages show starts at 8:30 p.m. and tickets cost $10 in advance, $12 at the door. OaklandMetro.comStefanie Kalem


Teen Dreams

Youth Speaks’ annual Teen Poetry Slam was the first of its kind in the United States, and is now in its ninth year of giving young poets a chance. Throughout the month, more than four hundred contestants throughout the Bay Area will take a shot at participating in the February 26 Grand Slam. This weekend, the words fly at La Peña, starting at 7 p.m. both nights. www.lapena.orgStefanie Kalem


Remembering Jimmy

From one B-3 wizard to another

Joey DeFrancesco was weaned on the Hammond B-3 organ but he still remembers the impact of his first experience hearing Jimmy Smith, the jazz visionary who in the mid-1950s transformed the B-3 from the squarest of instruments, redolent of skating rinks and church functions, into a self-contained groove machine. “I was about four years old, and I heard ‘The Sermon,'” DeFrancesco says, referring to one of Smith’s classic Blue Note jams. “My dad plays organ, but when I heard that it was like, whewww! That was it, I was hooked.” His passion for the instrument turned out to be infectious. He was such a prodigious musician that Miles Davis hired him at the age of sixteen. DeFrancesco almost single-handedly revived the moribund fortunes of the B-3 in the late 1980s. Through all his successes, his fantasy was to share the bandstand with Smith. That dream finally came true in 2000 at Bimbo’s as part of the San Francisco Jazz Festival, an encounter captured on DeFrancesco’s Concord Jazz album Incredible!

The two B-3 masters were scheduled to celebrate the release of their Concord follow-up, Legacy, kicking off a five-night run tonight at Yoshi’s, but Smith passed away last week at the age of 76 (or 79, depending on your source). The cantankerous but still forceful Smith became the first B-3 player presented with a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award, in January. DeFrancesco, 33, is dedicating the concerts to Smith’s memory. Performing with his working band featuring drummer Byron Landham and guitarist Paul Bollenback, DeFrancesco will be joined by legendary saxophonist James Moody. Info: Yoshis.com Andrew Gilbert

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