What’s the Right Thing?
Root for Mookie at the New Parkway. Plus, check out our monthly arts and culture event picks.
Pizza delivery guy Mookie (Spike Lee) is hot and bothered in "Do the Right Thing."
It’s the hottest day of the year in Bedford-Stuyvesant, N.Y., and tensions are reaching a boiling point between an Italian-American pizzeria owner and the mostly black residents of the surrounding neighborhood.
Director Spike Lee plays Mookie, an ambitionless pizza delivery boy caught in the middle as he desperately tries to figure how to react in Do the Right Thing, a screenplay Lee wrote in two quick weeks. Catch the classic more than a quarter century later at the New Parkway to see how it stands up.
In the movie, pizzeria owner Sal and his Wall of Fame of famous Italian-Americans prompts Buggin Out to demand war when Sal refuses to add black celebrities to the shrine. Pino, Vito, Radio Raheem, Smiley, Sal, and Mookie clash as the racial tensions escalate into a fistfight that turns into a riot. Meanwhile, Da Mayor, Mother Sister, Tina, Jade, and others are in the shadows while Mookie searches for common ground and reconciliation.
Remember the gushing fire hydrant scene? Mookie’s trash-can window smash? Radio Raheem blasting Public Enemy on his boombox?
The film also stars Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn, John Turturro, and Samuel L. Jackson and was the feature film debut for Martin Lewis and Rosie Perez. Nominated for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor, the movie is a classic for its multiracial and intergenerational ensemble and its courage for its portrayal of racism, police brutality, gentrification, and immigration.
Feb. 3, 9:30 p.m. $8, The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th St., Oakland. TheNewParkway.com
"Available Light" holds up well, even if it did premier in the '80s.
Lucinda Childs’ Available Light was hailed as a career-defining dance piece when it premiered in the ’80s, and it has aged a lot better than most dances of that era (even if it’s no Safety Dance). Composer John Adams, choreographer Lucinda Childs, and stage designer Frank O. Gehry come together for a spectacular evening of movement.
Feb. 3, 8 p.m., Feb. 4, 8 p.m., $18-$123, Zellerbach Hall, 101 Zellerbach Hall #4800, UC Berkeley, Berkeley. CalPerformances.org.
In Cuisine and Confessions, the 7 Fingers satirical cooking show turns the stage into a functional kitchen, preparing real food combining performing circus feats, avant-garde dance numbers, and spoken-word theater into a pungent mélange more compelling than Guy Fieri’s hair and more passionate than Paula Deen’s love for butter.
Feb. 9, 8 p.m.; Feb. 10, 8 p.m.; Feb. 11, 8 p.m.; $30-$68, Zellerbach Hall, 101 Zellerbach Hall #4800, UC Berkeley, Berkeley. CalPerformances.org.
Established by Luna, makers of the nutrition bar for women, Lunafest is a traveling film festival that spotlights talented women filmmakers with unique perspectives from around the world with intelligent, funny and thought-provoking themes. In nine films, women filmmakers find their voice to tell stories that matter.
Feb. 3, 6:30 p.m., $30-$40, Kala Art Gallery, 2990 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley. LunaFest.org.
Meanwhile, at the Banff Mountain Film Festival, chill to thrilling feats of daredevil mountain climbing, death-defying rappelling, and cliff-face hiking by the least acrophobic filmmakers, photographers, and gentleman adventurers this side of the Hudson’s Bay Company arctic trading post.
Feb. 25-26, 7 p.m., $20, Wheeler Hall, University of California, 2200 University Drive, Berkeley. BerkeleyBanff.bpt.me.
Food & Drink
A Valentine’s Wine Walk in the Gourmet Ghetto is the perfect romantic date with that special someone in your life. Experience quality cuisine in favored Berkeley hotspots like Chez Panisse, the Cheeseboard Collective, and even the original Peet’s Coffee & Tea in historic Walnut Square.
Feb. 11, 4-8 p.m., $30-$40, North Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto, 1500 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. GourmetGhetto.org.
It’s the annual rumble where wine connoisseurs and fans alike gather to put an end to the great debate: What’s better, red zinfandel or white? Either way, it’s the perfect excuse to get zapped on Zinfandel at the ZAP Annual Zinfandel Festival.
Feb. 23, 6 p.m., Feb. 25, 4:30 p.m., $70-$295, Four Seasons Hotel, 757 Market St., San Francisco. Zinfandel.org.
Author Ottessa Moshfegh talks about her latest work, the short story collection Homesick for Another World, which is about human alienation and vulnerability and not about alien abduction. That title could confuse you. Signing to follow.
Feb. 1, 7:30 p.m., free. The Booksmith, 1644 Haight St., San Francisco. Booksmith.com.
The sixth biennial CODEX Book Fair & Symposium celebrates the art of the book in China when artists, presses, and exhibitors from 26 countries convene at the Craneway Pavilion this month. Fairgoers get to meet representatives from private presses, artist books, and limited and fine art editions in this meet-up of book enthusiasts and paper conservators who promote books as works of art. The CODEX International Symposium element brings together Xu Bing and Lu Jingren of Beijing, Sue Anderson and Gwen Harrison of Sydney, Betty Bright and Gaylord Schanilec of Minneapolis, and Johannes Strugalla of Mainz.
Feb. 5-8, The Craneway Pavilion, Richmond. CODEXFoundation.org.
Are you a dirty old woman who likes sex? Erotica author Lynx Canon, editor of an new anthology, Dirty Old Women: Erotica by Women of Experience, thinks of herself that way and has been leading older, hot women in a long-running monthly erotica reading series at Octopus Literary Salon in Oakland. Some of that work has been collected in the new book, which will be launched this month with readings and performances by the authors.
Feb. 8, 7:30-9:30 p.m., The Makeout Room, 3225 22nd St., San Francisco; Feb. 28, 7-9 p.m., Octopus Literary Salon, 2101 Webster St., Oakland. For more info, contact Susan Kuchinskas, 510-644-2612.
The California International Antiquarian Book Fair ushers in its 50th anniversary and brings nearly 200 antiquarian booksellers from around the world together in Oakland. The fair showcases rare books, manuscripts, maps, and more, plus features special events, panels, and interactive experiences. Check out a special exhibition from the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley with an emphasis on mystery, crime, fantasy, western, and science fiction from the past.
Feb. 10-12, $10-$23, Oakland Marriott City Center, 1001 Broadway, Oakland, 800-454-6401. CABookFair.com.
Catch Tov Lo at the Fox.
Dutch Renaissance man Armin van Buuren, trance pioneer, helped popularize the thick electronic beats of trance music in his native Europe. Now he’s doing the same for America in a solo performance spectacular at the Oracle Arena that includes live performances, dance acts, special effects, and music in the Armin Only Embrace Tour. Feb. 3, 7 p.m. $35-$99, Oracle Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland. Coliseum.com.
From Abba to Ace of Base to (sort of) Deathklok, Sweden has long been famous as the Scandinavian incubator for worldwide pop music sensations. Stockholm’s electro-pop diva Tov Lo induces the same breathless excitement in audiences with her hard-driving lyrics and infectious beats.
Feb. 8, 8 p.m., $35, Fox Theater, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. TheFoxOakland.com.
Composed of the continent’s foremost Aboriginal musicians, the Black Arm Band explores the despair of Australia’s history of colonial exploitation and bloody racial violence. The band’s name is taken from a comment by an Australian historian who saw the country’s modern history as a series of shameful colonial massacres and land grabs. These compelling and heartrending songs bridge 13-plus native languages and incorporate traditional and modern Aboriginal musical styles, from the throaty warble of the didgeridoo to the freshest of 21st century hip-hop beats.
Feb. 12, 7 p.m., $13-$54, Zellerbach Hall, 101 Zellerbach Hall, #4800, UC Berkeley, Berkeley. CalPerformances.org.
Dark Star Orchestra keeps the psychedelic spirit of the Grateful Dead alive better than a VW bus covered in rainbow marching bear stickers, drawing on a 30-plus year catalog of Grateful Dead songs blended with the band’s unique twisted interpretations.
Feb. 16, 8 p.m., $32, UC Theatre, 2036 University Ave., Berkeley. TheUCTheatre.org.
An 11-day festival of independent music, film, and art, Noise Pop features art shows, films, lectures, and over 160 different bands. This year’s lineup includes eclectic jazz, electronic, and rock ’n’ roll acts like Tennis, Tacocat, the Molochs, and This Will Destroy You. Hopefully, it won’t.
Feb. 17-27, noon, $145-$375, various locations, San Francisco. NoisePop.com.
Country folk star Shawn Colvin’s raw throaty voice and introspective gut-plucking reveal a songwriter with a heart like a wounded bird—vulnerable but still alive and always still fluttering. Her new album, Uncovered, includes covers of songs by Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, and Tom Waits among others, each reimagined with Colvin’s uniquely aching sensitivity.
Feb. 24, 8 p.m. $53 advance, $55 door, Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley. TheFreight.org.
Let’s get ready to raaaaaaamble! The Rattlesnake Ramble 5K/10K/Half Marathon. All participants will receive a Rattle Snake Ramble technical shirt, a fancy medal, and a massage courtesy of PSOAS Massage/Bodywork. If you feel yourself losing steam, remind yourself that there will be post-race beers from Cleophus Quealy Beer Company. Feb. 12, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., $35-$75, Lake Chabot Regional Park, 17600 Lake Chabot Road, Castro Valley. SasquatchRacing.com/rattlesnake-ramble
The Victory Half Marathon, 10K or 5K traces the San Francisco Bay Trail, starting within sight of the Richmond Marina where over 100 Victory warships were built in World War II, ergo the name of the race. Enjoy panoramic views of San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate and Bay bridges, and Mount Tamalpais as you run.
Feb. 25, hiker start 7:30 a.m., half marathon 8 a.m., 10K 8:15 a.m., 5K 8:30 a.m., $44-$67, Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour Way South, Richmond. BrazenRacing.com/r/victory.html.
Charley wants to romance his girl Amy, but she’s not allowed to visit without a chaperone. Luckily, Charley’s classmate makes the perfect chaperone when he’s disguised as Charley’s elderly aunt from Brazil in Charley’s Aunt ’66. This updated take on the classic British farce transports Charley’s story from 1800s Oxford to Stanford University in the swinging ’60s.
Opens Feb. 9, 8 p.m., $10, Douglas Morrison Theater, 22311 N. Third St., Hayward. DMTonline.org
In Billy Elliot, 11-year-old Billy Elliot dreams of becoming a professional ballet dancer when he grows up, but his rough-hewn coal miner father doesn’t approve of Billy’s unusual aspirations. But when he sees Billy on stage, that might change.
Opens Feb. 16, 7 p.m., $22-$40. Berkeley Playhouse, 2640 College Ave, Berkeley. Tickets.BerkeleyPlayhouse.org.
The Bay Area’s Youth Musical Theater Company, which allows performing arts students in grades 7-12 to work with professional directors, choreographers, musicians, and theater technicians, stages Spring Awakening.
Feb. 24-March 5, Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, 1428 Alice St., Oakland, 510-238-7526. YMTCBayArea.org.
The annual gathering of the geeks at East Bay Comic Con commences with this one-day convention of comics, cartoons, cosplayers, and lots of guys with gears glued to top hats. Special guests include Eisner nominee Dan Brereton, superhero artist Mark Badger, and human-sized man-rodent hybrid/lab experiment gone wrong/monstrosity Webberley.
Feb. 12, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., $8, Concord Hilton, 1970 Diamond Blvd., Concord. EastBayComicCon.com.
Break out the slide rules and pocket protectors; the nerds are back in town for DeveloperWeek Hackathon. Over 1,000 hackers, coders, and aspiring script kiddies gather for San Francisco’s biggest hackathon, competing for $10,000 in cash prizes to speed-create the best new apps.
Feb. 11, 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Feb. 12, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., free, Pier 27, The Embarcadero, San Francisco. DeveloperWeek.com/hackathon.
This report appears in the February edition of our sister publication, The East Bay Monthly.
Published online on Jan. 26, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.