New Routes

Jahi enlightens Berkeley

SAT 9/6

Filmmaker and hip-hop artist Jahi moved from Cleveland to Oakland last year, but not before releasing his paean to the hip-hop you won’t hear on Clear Channel, Redefinitions: Hip-Hop Roots & Future. He provides quite a bit of hip-hop tutorial in the documentary, and logs a performance of his own to add to a wealth of forefathers and underground dignitaries therein. If you attend the Bay Area premiere tonight at La Peña Cultural Center (3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley), you’ll get to see such talking heads as Afrika Bambaataa, Heather B, Cassius D of Zulu Nation, Umar Bin Hassan, and Grandmaster Caz dropping knowledge on screen, and performances by DJ Red Alert, Blackalicious, Prezni Blackman from MTV, Raheem DeVaughn, Talib Kweli, and Slum Village. And that’s just in the video — Jahi and the Life will perform live at La Peña, as will Organic Flavor: Soulful Grooves performing songs from The Next Level Project. The event begins at 9 p.m. and tickets cost $10. Call 510-849-2568 or visit for further details. — Stefanie Kalem


Lit Happens

9/3, 5:30 p.m.: A woman who is sure she was born online — in a Web site, yet — vanishes before her girlfriend’s eyes in Spirits in the Wires, the latest Newford novel by urban-fantasy maestro Charles de Lint. At Dark Carnival, he’ll discuss this saga of cyberviruses and computer crashes that prove truly lethal. 9/4, 8:30 p.m.: Who better than a great-grandson of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard to helm the Bay Area’s most outrageous periodic poetry show, of which death metal, haiku duels, freak acts, and porn are standard features? Jamie Kennedy is the kingpin of Tourettes Without Regrets, which mixes hip-hop, comedy, and, oh yeah, poesy at the Oakland Metro (201 Broadway), $6. … 9/4, 7:30 p.m. : Living in the hot vacationland of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, never stopped Sharon Poppen from writing about the postbellum South; she’ll read from After the War, Before the Peace at Goodenough Books in Livermore. 9/7, 5 p.m.-9 p.m. : Swing cerebrally at a release party for issue five of the Oakland-based literary journal Watchword at the Oasis (135 12th Street), with music by DJ Femenio, Hudson Bell, and Helene Renaut/Beam. 9/8, 10:30 a.m. : Diapers don’t stop the fun every Monday at Baby Bounce and Toddler Tales, a reading experience for 6- to 36-month-olds at the Berkeley Public Library‘s central branch. Cody’s, 9/8, 7:30 p.m.: The world’s edgiest Oregonian (Ken Kesey, after all, having left us), Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk (above), is at it again with his funny, fearsome, and dark-as-fudge new novel Diary, in which a comatose man’s wife probes creepy secrets. What do you expect from an author whose grandparents died in a murder-suicide and whose father was slain by a jealous ex-husband? … 9/8, 7:30 p.m.: Who’s applying electrodes to testes and beating prisoners’ feet? Amnesty International knows. All are welcome to AI’s monthly meeting at Diesel. — Anneli Rufus

SAT 9/6

In the Lemongrass

A wildlife film festival in a Vietnamese restaurant — you don’t get any more Bay Area than that. But Kamala Appel, organizer of Saturday’s Call of the Wild Film & Video Festival , wants us to think of it as a “niche festival.” “I love animals, and I think a lot of people do,” she declares. Beginning at 6 p.m., the whimsical documentary Animal Crackers and a program of bestial shorts, all on DVD, will be screened at Vo’s Restaurant, 59 Grand Ave., Oakland. One hopes the snacks will be vegetarian. Admission is $10. For more info: 510-301-6822 — Kelly Vance

SAT 9/6

Smooth or Chunky?

The city of Alameda has gotten credit — or blame — for many things, but did you realize it’s the birthplace of Skippy Peanut Butter? Webster Street is the purported goober zone, but that’s really more of an excuse to throw a nutty street party, the second annual Peanut Butter Jam , which fills Webster between Lincoln and Central this Saturday (11 a.m.-6 p.m.) with live bands, food, and kids’ games. Free — Kelly Vance

FRI 9/5

Sit and Grin

And spend … for a good cause

Practically every parent in the East Bay knows about Habitot Children’s Museum. They know that on a rainy morning or during a long and dreary afternoon, it’s the best place to hang out. Where else can children paint on a wall with sticky rainbow-drenched fingers, splash in water up to their elbows, and explore a fully nonfunctioning spaceship complete with control center? It’s a lively learning oasis in the calm of a half-dead educational system, appreciated by parents and kids alike. That’s why, in conjunction with Ethan Allen and its “Chairs That Care” program, twelve local celebrities have volunteered their precious time and creative jujus to design and decorate the perfect little chair for you and yours. Make the right bid at the live auction and you could take home Robin Williams’ and daughter Zelda’s collaborative piece, “The Time for Peace Is Now,” or Lucasfilm’s spooky, iconic starscape à la Darth Maul. There’s a seat for every taste. The sports enthusiast can check out what the Oakland A’s did during the off-season. Or for the budding dancer, there’s the SF Ballet’s resourcefully fashioned prima ballerina, pink as a spring tulip with recycled tulle from the ballet’s costume archives. Even if you don’t bid, you can still make a difference by attending the kid-free benefit event, which lavishes contributors with wine, hors d’oeuvres, and jazz — just a hundred bucks a pop. Take a Seat takes place at Casa de La Vista on Treasure Island, Friday, September 5 from 7 to 10 p.m. For directions or reservations, visit Habitot online at or the museum itself at 2065 Kittredge St. in downtown Berkeley. — Justine Nicole


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