Whether you saw it in theaters or snagged the DVD rerelease, it’s a safe bet that the final scene of Apocalypse Now is burned into your brain. Disillusioned, young Captain Willard finally throws down his machete and walks out of the jungle, the culmination of director Francis Ford Coppola’s searing statement on the futility of war. Now, almost 25 years later, that Army kid is the president of the United States. Well, sort of. Actor Martin Sheen, who played Willard in the gritty 1979 Vietnam War epic, calls the shots as commander in chief on TV’s political drama The West Wing. Sheen definitely has a thing for politically themed projects, though his forty-year film bio is probably a case of art imitating real life. A longtime activist, Sheen has been linked to a host of causes from antinuke arms to pro-United Farm Workers Union. When asked whether political activism has hurt his acting career, he reportedly replied, “I hope so.” Join Sheen as he welcomes his good pal and fellow activist Father Bill O’Donnell home after six months in federal prison. O’Donnell was arrested, along with 42 others last April, while protesting at the controversial School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, Georgia, which opponents say teaches torture methods to Latin American military officers. O’Donnell’s recent stint may be his longest jail time, but the 72-year-old is no stranger to the fingerprinting procedure; he’s been arrested some 225 times.
Doing time is just one of the topics up for discussion this Saturday evening at the First Congregational Church of Oakland (2501 Harrison St.). Beginning at 7:30 p.m., the pair will talk about “politics, ethics, recovery, each other, and anything else you ask them,” which should make for an interesting tête-à-tête. A reception and silent auction follow the talk. Proceeds go to the San Carlos Foundation — a co-op of professionals providing medical, legal, and educational assistance to disenfranchised people in Central America and the Caribbean — and to Option Recovery Services, a free drug treatment program. (Sheen and O’Donnell are founding board members of both Berkeley-based nonprofits.) Be sure to buy tickets in advance; there will be limited numbers available at the door. Tickets ($25 for the talk and another $25 for the reception) are available at Black Oak Books and St. Joseph the Worker Church, or by calling the San Carlos Foundation at 510-525-3787. — Joy White
St. Patrick’s Day on a Monday? Make the best of it, boyo. The City of Dublin — the East Bay’s Dublin, that is — rolls out the musical entertainment, Irish dance, corned beef and cabbage, pancake breakfast, Shamrock Fun Run, and kids’ games the weekend before, Saturday and Sunday, with Culann’s Hounds and Wake the Dead headlining on the main stage amid two solid days of merriment centered on the Dublin Library parking lot on Amador Valley Blvd. Hotline: 925-833-6629. — Kelly Vance
Live from Bulgaria
Even in the diverse East Bay, there are a few ethnic enclaves that don’t get much attention. Bulgarian, for instance. When’s the last time you went to a Bulgarian nightspot for dinner and live music direct from Sofia? You can do just that this weekend at Bulgaria at Night, a new restaurant in Oakland City Center (see food review, page 49) that prides itself on its native Eastern European culture. This Friday night, Bulgaria at Night features veteran boy-girl pop vocalists Duet Riton and their dance music. Then on Saturday, pop/folk singer Poly Paskova does songs from Macedonia and Rodopi, a mountainous area known for its haunting melodies. www.bulgariaatnight.com — Kelly Vance
Mary B. Morrison says that writing, publishing, and selling your book should be easy, and she should know — her self-published novel Soul Mates Dissipate earned her a six-figure, three-book deal. So when she speaks at her second annual RaW Advantage Readers and Writers Conference, we should probably all put down our pens and listen. The conference takes place at 8105 Capwell Drive in Oakland. Visit www.therawadvantage.com for complete details. — Stefanie Kalem