This Week’s Day-by-Day Picks


Are you ready for “Wednesday Night Fever”? That’s right, folks, it’s time to break out the polyester disco suits and/or legwarmers, throw on the crazy cool medallions, shampoo your chest hair (or perm your bouffant), and gas up the Camaro, because Main Street in downtown Pleasanton will be stayin’ alive. While the Night Fever Band turns this fun little block party into a raging disco inferno, you can strut your stuff, sample the products of Livermore Valley vintners, sip microbrews, snack on tasty food (including a wide selection of just-picked produce), or peruse more than a hundred booths of Tri-Valley vendors. The party starts at 6 p.m. (following the annual Pooch Parade), goes until 9 or so, and takes place on Main Street, between St. John St. and Old Bernal Ave. PleasantonDowntown.netEric K. Arnold


My mother wore/a bag of gold coins/around her neck/Stars multiplied/on the street, astonished/There was nervousness about god/Jewels were buried in the garden. So opens Elizabeth Rosner‘s “In the Tunnel of Falling Birds,” a poem brushed with fear and apprehension. The Berkeley-based poet and novelist has dedicated much of her body of work to the experiences of her Jewish Holocaust-survivor parents in an attempt to come to terms with them and with the horror of the times they lived through. Rosner, who was raised in Schenectady, New York, also teaches creative writing. Her appearance this evening at the Albany Library is part of the library’s First Thursday series of featured poets and open mics. It happens from 7 to 9 p.m. at the library, 1247 Marin Ave., Albany, and is free and open to all ages. Info: 510-526-3720 ex. 17. — Kelly Vance


Known as the “Strong Performer,” Spragga Benz has long been synonymous with lyrically potent dancehall reggae. His first name derives from a patois-ization of “spaghetti,” while he earned his last name after emerging with Jamaica’s LA Benz sound system in the early ’90s. Despite a short-lived affiliation with Capitol (which tried to mold him into a crossover artist à la Shabba Ranks), Spragga has been a consistent notcher of hits, from 1993’s “Things a Gwaan” to 2002’s “Warrior’s Cause.” He has worked with everyone from Buju Banton to Ben E. King to Foxy Brown to Todd Terry to Elephant Man, and even appeared in the films Brooklyn Babylon and Shottas. His rapid, rugged microphone delivery has endeared him to hardcore dancehall aficionados, and he’ll be making a rare West Coast appearance tonight (with support from the Red Square crew) at the Shattuck Down Low. 510-548-1159 or ShattuckDownLow.comEric K. Arnold


Naughty, haughty, gaudy, bawdy 42nd Street has to be pretty difficult to stage as a live theatrical musical, what with all the Busby Berkeley overhead camera shots of geometrical arrangements of arms, legs, and torsos from the vintage Hollywood movie uppermost in the audience’s minds. But that didn’t stop the Alameda Civic Light Opera from trying the legendary Depression-era backstage tale of a Broadway show. 42nd Street, starring Jessica Raum and Jess Martinez and directed by Darren Hochstedtler as part of the company’s 25th anniversary celebration, opens tonight (8 p.m.) and plays eight performances through August 21, at Kofman Auditorium, 2200 Central Ave., Alameda. Tickets: $30 advance at 510-864-2256, , or at the ACLO box office, 1415 Park St. — Kelly Vance


Art, in Crockett? Better believe it, Davy. Now in its eighth year, the Crockett Art and Wine Festival began as a block party, and has become the largest annual showcase of arts, crafts, and culture on the Carquinez Strait, as well as a fund-raiser benefiting more than fifty nonprofit organizations. The event features live demonstrations by glass and ceramic artists, various open artisan studios, a separate Youth Arts Activities Area, and plenty of food, beverages and wine. In addition to all that, there’s live music all day, including blues, jazz, old-time, and world, from Jim O’Malley and the Rug Dogs, Kenny Shanka, SF Taiko Dojo, Saaidi Bellydancers, the Spirit of ’29, and the Beverly Stovall Blues Band. Did we mention admission is free? The fun starts at 10 a.m. in downtown Crockett, on Pomona St. between Crockett Blvd. and Third Ave. Info: CrockettArtsAlliance.comEric K. Arnold


The casual observer might think that Berkeley’s world-famous cultural center, La Peña, is a place for music, theater, dance, and the performing arts only. But that observer would be wrong, por supuesto. There are no less than three visual-arts exhibitions currently going on at the center — all of them, as it happens, connected with Latin America. In the cafe, original paintings by ten Peruvian artists, including Enrique Bustamante. In the lobby, take a trip to Havana (alas, no cigars) with photographs of the Cuban Revolution by Roberto Salas, and the acrylic paintings of Francisco Rivero. Meanwhile in the theater, prints, paintings, and wood sculptures by master André Cisneros Galindo, who explores Native American signs and symbols. As if you needed an excuse to visit one of the Bay Area’s cultural treasures. La Peña is at 3105 Shattuck Ave. in South Berkeley. Info: 510-849-2568 or www.lapena.orgKelly Vance


There’s only one way to find out if little Brett or Amanda has any artistic talent — let ’em get their hands dirty with it. The Pleasanton Art League’s Children’s Summer Art Workshops does just that, with an ongoing series of workshops taught by local award-winning artist Madelynn Ellis — with the emphasis on “hands-on” — for kids ages eight and older at the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Building, 4455 Black Ave. Today’s workshops are: monoprints, 9-11 a.m.; and painting, 1-3 p.m. Classes cost $30 per child per workshop, and all art materials are provided. All Pleasanton Art League activities are open to the public. Info and registration: PAL-Art.comKelly Vance


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