Mind Openers

Diesel powers small presses

SUN 5/18

Sample what’s exciting and innovative in locally published journals, poetry collections, and other new titles Sunday at Diesel Books’ third annual Small Press Extravaganza, brainchild of Bay Area poet and publisher Elizabeth Robinson, who coordinates the event with Diesel’s John Evans. Recent Poetry Society of America award-winner Rusty Morrison of Omnidawn Publishing sees the afternoon of readings as a powerful, positive way for independent presses to impact the community by fostering “an opportunity for the meeting of diverse ideas which will further inspire creative thinking, conversation, and action.”Along with Morrison, meet editors and publishers from Atelos, Big Fan Press, Kelsey St., EtherDome, Five Fingers Review, Listening Chamber, Apogee, 26: A Journal of Poetry and Poetics, Xantippe, and Owl Press. Writers Kevin Killian, M. Mara An, Julia Bloch, Margaret Butterfield, Tsering Wangmo Dhompa, Denise Lawson, and Kevin Opstedal will read. The free festivities begin at 2 p.m. at Diesel Books, 5433 College Ave., Oakland. 510-653-9965. — Pat Katzmann


Junction Jam

The Destiny Arts Youth Performance Group has chosen crosswalks and crossroads as central themes in its original production Walk … Don’t Walk. Through hip-hop, modern, and aerial dance, spoken word, martial arts, and more, the diverse troupe explores the repercussions of both action and inaction in shaping their own futures and those of the world. The players, from Berkeley High, Oakland Tech, St. Mary’s, Street Academy, Head Royce, Longfellow Middle School, and others, are affiliated with Destiny Arts Center. Walk … Don’t Walk plays Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at McClymonds High School (2607 Myrtle St., Oakland). Admission costs $12 for adults, $6 for those under 18. Call 510-597-1619 or visit www.destinyarts.org for more info. — Stefanie Kalem

SAT 5/17

Phenom Improv

You kill me, kid

Like most live entertainment venues in the Bay Area these days, the Clean Comedy Club in Walnut Creek (2363 Boulevard Circle) hasn’t had much to laugh about lately — it puts on the occasional sketch comedy, stand-up, and improv shows in connection with its comedy classes — but this Saturday audiences can catch a rising star. Clean Comedy’s Tom McMillan compares twelve-year-old Michael Sugarman to a young Robin Williams: “He’s as strong as any adult we’ve seen.” He takes the stage Saturday (8 p.m.) along with McMillan and Patsy Bishop for an evening of improv. Be there. 925-943-6252. — Kelly Vance

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