This Week’s Day-by-Day Picks

WED 20 Arthur Giron’s sentimental drama Becoming Memories skips from couple to couple living in the early 20th century, telling their stories with nothing but ten actors and a bare stage to support the gush and glory of relationships and history. The Center Repertory Company in association with the Illusion Theatre Ensemble is presenting the play at Dean Lesher, as directed by Lee Sankowich. And though it’s clearly a misty-eyed look back at days gone by and the lives of our elders, Center REP would just love to have some whippersnappers come on by, especially tonight, when the company’s Under 35 Night offers patrons wine and hors d’oeuvres at 6:30 p.m., a performance at 7:30 p.m., and a Q&A forum with the actors directly following the show, all for $27. Visit or call 925-943-7469 for more deets. — Stefanie Kalem

THU 21 This week, Eastenders Repertory Company brings not one but two brand-new plays by Bay Area scribes to the Ashby Stage (1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley), rotating the pair on alternating dates. Tonight at 8 p.m. there’s a preview presentation of A Knight’s Escape ERC founding artistic director Charles E. Polly’s paranoid post-9/11 drama, directed by the playwright with a hand from Simon Kaplan. Tomorrow night at 8, see a preview of Scott Munson’s WWJD? Some Good Old Medieval Morality Play Motor Oil, a morality play gone 21st century, with our “hero,” the chairman of the Federal Reserve, learning a lesson or ten while taking a taxi ride on the wrong side of the tracks. Preview tickets cost $10; A Knight’s Escape plays through May 14, WWJD? through May 15., 510-568-4118. — Stefanie Kalem

FRI 22 Close your eyes and you can almost see the movies when the Oakland East Bay Symphony presents its Symphonic Cinema concert tonight at the Paramount Theatre. Symphony music director Michael Morgan has always shown a fondness for orchestral film scores in his selection of repertoire, and this time he’s taking the high road: Bernard Herrmann’s screechy suite from Psycho; Richard Strauss’ grandiose Also Sprach Zarathustra from 2001: A Space Odyssey; Igor Stravinsky’s monumental Firebird Suite from Walt Disney’s Fantasia/2000; and the world premiere of an orchestral suite by Oakland-based film composer Laurence Rosenthal, based on his original score for the 1964 historical drama Becket. What better place to listen to movies than the Paramount? The concert begins at 8 p.m. in the triumphal Art Deco movie palace at 2025 Broadway, Oakland. And there’s a preconcert lecture by John Kendall Bailey. Tickets: $15-$60 from 510-625-8497. Info: OEBS.orgKelly Vance

SAT 23 Moh Alileche learned to play music the way many kids in the mountainous Kabylia region of Algeria did in the 1960s — by making his own instrument out of a piece of wood, an oil can, and a single string, using a screw as a tuner. He eventually moved on to a Spanish guitar, and then to the ten silk strings of the North African mondol, becoming one of the best-known players of the music of the Berber peoples. Alileche has been living in the United States since 1990, but you usually have to wade through dozens of other acts at music festivals to hear him play. Today at 2 p.m. you can hear him play for free at Down Home Music, 10341 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito. Call 510-525-2129 for more information. — Stefanie Kalem

SUN 24 Two blue-ribbon literary events in Berkeley today, both sponsored by Cody’s Books. At 2 p.m. at Cody’s 2454 Telegraph Ave. flagship store, British writer Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day) stops by to read from his new novel, Never Let Me Go. It’s the first-person story of a woman’s troubling legacy left over from her schooldays — and the painful memories she shares with two former classmates; a $2 donation is requested. Political writer Tariq Ali‘s appearance later today (7:30 p.m.) at the First Congregational Church (2345 Channing Way) is entirely free and unticketed. The Pakistani-born English leftist has two books on the griddle: an autobiographical look back at the ’60s, Street-Fighting Years; and Speaking of Empire, a collection of his interviews of such subjects as Malcolm X, Marlon Brando, et al. He’ll undoubtedly have a few choice words about the war in Iraq. CodysBooks.comKelly Vance

MON 25 21 Grand is calling its latest art show Paintings Breaking Tradition instead of “Dirty Pictures by Naughty Artists.” But they’re still deliciously smutty. Adam Connelly takes pornographic images he found while surfing the Internet (you can just hear him say, “But it’s for my paintings!”), then paints them blurry, as if they were being sent at 4 dpi, an act of mock-digitization. The effect is filthy but restrained. Heidi Neff, who works in oils like Connelly, obviously has a thing about religious ceiling frescoes, only her “Ceiling Paintings” are of retro pinup models and sex acts. Besides being prurient and irreverent and wacky, the two-artist exhibition — which runs through May 8 — is the first event at 21 Grand’s new location, 416 25th St., at Broadway, in the fashionable North-by-Northwest-of-Downtown art ghetto. Drop by and leer. or 510-444-7263. — Kelly Vance

TUE 26 Gotham Diaries airs the dirty laundry of Manhattan’s wealthy African-American community, and its authors speak from experience — Crystal McCrary Anthony is a former entertainment lawyer, the coauthor of the best-selling Homecourt Advantage, and the wife of Greg Anthony of the Seattle Supersonics; Tonya Lewis Lee is a children’s television producer, former corporate attorney, and the wife of filmmaker Spike Lee (with whom she wrote the kids’ book Please Baby Please). Find out just how badly these two ladies sold out their friends when the authors appear at Marcus Books, 3900 MLK Jr. Way, Oakland, tonight at 6:30 p.m. for a meet-and-greet-and-sign. 510-652-2344. — Stefanie Kalem


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