Open Says She

Oakland's got its own

8/18-19, 8/22

Artist and activist Hanifah Walidah is the mind behind the one-woman show Black Folks’ Guide to Black Folks; now she blends those folks in the flesh with Oakland’s Own Open Stage Festival. The three-day fest blends the work of individual performing artists into two evenings of hip-hop theater and one night of straight-up partying. It’s all a way for the New York-born Walidah to acknowledge the artistic merits of her adopted hometown. Wednesday night is “The Open Word” at the Oakland Box (1928 Telegraph Ave.), wherein favored local poets and playwrights Walidah, Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Aya de Léon remix excerpts of their works to tell a new story (9 p.m., $10). Thursday night is “The Open Soul” at Oaklandish (411 2nd St.), wherein Walidah, Tim’m West, Nonamenko, and Gabrilla Ballard perform specially selected songs, fusing them into a hip-hop/soul musical theater concoction (9 p.m., $10). Sunday night brings an outdoor dance party to the Black Dot Collective’s new West O space, the Village Bottoms (924 Pine St.), as “The Open Boogie.” Musicians improvise, DJs Dedan, Cecil, and Rashad spin soul, hip-hop, and deep house, Rashad — also a dancer and choreographer — performs, and all are invited to boogie themselves open (2-8 p.m., $5). or 877-802-0313. — Stefanie Kalem

Hey Rube!

The circus is in town


These thrills are not computer-generated, they’re live and in-person. You can smell them, especially the lions and elephants. When the 134th edition of the legendary Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus puts up its big top inside the bigger top of the Oakland Arena this week, circus fans with as little as $12 (or as much as $85 for high-rollers) can soak up the original article, pre-Cirque du Soleil, pre-Blue Man, post-A-Sucker-Born-Every-Minute. Laugh at David Larible the frumpy clown. Watch Jason Peters play with the big cats. Follow the bouncing Crazy Wilson on his Pendulum of Pandemonium. See female vocalist Danette Sheppard shoot flames from her fingertips. There are Chinese acrobats (natch), a lady who jumps around on horseback (Sylvia Zerbini), and of course a ringmaster, Kevin Venardos. Nine shows, today (Wednesday, August 18) through Sunday. Info: Ringling.comKelly Vance

Start by Admitting …

SUN 8/22

Simone Signoret once said, “Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.” Tell that to the producers of Guys & Doll , a touring stage show of old Broadway and cabaret show tunes — not the Damon Runyon musical — stopping by Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts for one show only this Sunday (2:30 p.m.). For musical theater fans who can never get enough Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim, etc., Craig Jessup, Barry Lloyd, and Samantha Samuels will feed that habit. $20-$22, 925-943-7469. DLRCA.orgKelly Vance

Take That, Julia

Something red at live Oak


Runaway brides have long been a plot staple, from Gaucho Serenade to Private Benjamin to Friends. But if you want dark poetry with your nuptiae interruptae, you want Federico Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding. The 1935 play by the great Spanish poet and playwright was one of his three “folk tragedies,” all of which rely heavily on the dark, mystical forces of nature to nudge their plots along. The Breaking Ground Collective’s production of Blood Wedding this weekend at Live Oak Theatre (1301 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) concerns itself with a runaway bride and the family feud she causes. Saturday’s performance is at 8 p.m., Sunday’s is at 2 p.m. Tickets $5. 877-519-3300. — Stefanie Kalem

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