Honky-Tonk Tom Johnny Cash and Iris DeMent have sung his songs and his praises; so have Dave Alvin, Nanci Griffith, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Tom Russell is one of the most popular figures you've never heard in American roots music, a cowboy crooner who crafts a rugged landscape from folk blues and honky-tonk. DeMent, Griffith, Gilmore, and Alvin (Russell's HighTone labelmate) join him on The Long Way Around, a collection of his old and new tunes that typically involve societal misfits struggling with crises of conscience or circumstance. Russell goes it alone in support of the record at 9:30 p.m. at the Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck (at Prince), Berkeley. Admission is $7; call (510) 841-2082.
Homeward Bound California will see more of itself than ever before in the exhibit "Richard Diebenkorn." Included among the 150 paintings and drawings in this overview of the artist's career are abstract and figurative works from Diebenkorn's warmly hued Berkeley series and the pieces associated with Bay Area figurative art, as well as the large-scale paintings of his Ocean Park series, inspired by Santa Monica neighborhoods. Representational works capture sun-washed cityscapes and landscapes that ought to resonate locally, and some of the work, from the Diebenkorn family and private collections, has rarely been shown publicly, including the cigar-box lids he painted for friends and family as gifts. The exhibit opens at 11 a.m. (and runs through Jan. 19) at the SFMOMA, 151 Third St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is $4-10; call 357-4000.
Find Your Thrill Great physical and thematic stretches separate acts at the Potrero Hill Festival '98: Former Blake Babies frontwoman Juliana Hatfield headlines Bottom of the Hill (midnight, 1235 17th St.), while singing actress Mare Winningham -- the one who played the sensible folk-singing older sister to Jennifer Jason Leigh's bratty punk in Georgia -- serenades listeners in the, uh, cozy confines of the Connecticut Yankee sports bar (with Ed Haynes, 9:30 & 10:30 p.m., 100 Connecticut). Meanwhile, ubiquitous stand-up Supervisor Tom Ammiano cracks wise with Kurt Weitzmann at a Goat Hill Pizza comedy show (9 p.m., 300 Connecticut) and Sol Fire plays Latin funk at the Neighborhood House (10:30 p.m., 953 De Haro). Entertainment begins at 7:30 p.m. as Work That Skirt coaches would-be swingers at the Metronome Ballroom, 1830 17th St., S.F. Admission is varied per venue or $20 for a laminated all-access pass (proceeds benefit the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House, a nonprofit community center), and motorized cable cars will transport guests between clubs; call 621-4455 or (510) 601-TWEB.
Freak Show Just for fun, scan the crowd for Oakland rapper MC Hammer at the KISS 98.1 Soul Music Festival. Rick James & the New Stone City Band will be headlining the show, and though James has bounced back from his much-publicized drug addiction and a stint in jail with a brand-new album, the crowd isn't likely to let him go until he plays his signature hit "Super Freak." Of course, that's the song that made Hammer famous too, since he personalized James' funky ode to freaky groupie girls with his "Can't touch this" line and the baggy pants dance. Tony Toni Tone, the polished soul posse that picked up in the late '80s after James trailed off, take the festival's middle slot. Zapp opens the show at 4 p.m. at the Greek Theater, First Street & Bancroft, UC Berkeley campus. Admission is $27.50-35.50; call (510) 762-2277.
Pablo Cruise From Still Life With Blood Sausage, a dark intimation of wartime rationing and violence, through Still Life With Skull, Leeks, and Pitcher, painted after the liberation of Paris by Allied troops, the exhibit "Picasso and the War Years: 1937-1945" explores the artist's response to the tumultuous times in which he lived. This collection of nearly 80 paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures from private and museum collections traces a timeline from the historical rumblings that preceded the Spanish Civil War on through the aftermath of the Nazi era; an introductory gallery of posters, photos, and documents provides historical context for the work that follows. Among the highlights: studies for the famous graphic mural Guernica, the anti-Fascist print The Dream and Lie of Franco, and the bronze statue Man With a Lamb. The exhibit opens at 10 a.m. (and runs through Jan. 3) at the Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, The Presidio, 34th Avenue & Clement, S.F. Admission is $12; call 863-3330. On a related note, French photographer and Picasso contemporary Lucien Clergue offers an intimate glimpse of the artist with friends and family in the exhibit "Photographs of Picasso," which opens with Clergue's informal lecture on Picasso at 2 p.m. (and hangs through Nov. 14) at the Scott Nichols Gallery, 49 Geary, Fourth Floor, S.F. Admission is free; call 788-4641.
Find Your Tribe Just two weeks after People Eat'n Them Animals rocked the How Berkeley Can You Be? Parade, the city has returned to normal, and will host the Indigenous People's Day Powwow and Indian Market, a sort of anti-Columbus Day holiday that the city officially recognizes with intertribal and round dancing, a market of Native American food and arts, and a day of free parking. It begins at 10 a.m. at MLK Civic Center Park, Allston & MLK, Berkeley. Admission is free; call (510) 615-0603. The following day in San Francisco finds Immigrant Pride Day/Dia de la Raza/Indigenous Peoples' Day '98, evidently a celebration of those immigrants who settled into their new country quietly, rather than burning and/or pillaging. Highlights include a health fair, an international music stage, and speakers addressing political issues related to immigration. It begins at 10 a.m. Sunday along 24th Street between Mission and Bryant, and along Capp between 23rd and 26th streets, S.F. Admission is free; call 709-2783.
Have a Nosh Day Thanksgiving isn't the only harvest festival San Franciscans observe: The Jewish tradition includes Sukkot, Festival of the Booths, a celebration of food and arts held on the first Sunday of the weeklong Sukkot holiday (this year, coincidentally, it falls the day before Canada's Thanksgiving). Congregation Emanu-El is throwing its festival for the Jewish faithful as well as the community at large, and will be serving traditional treats like latkes and knishes, plus regional variations like gyros and falafel. Between feedings, festivalgoers are invited to peruse the Jewish book fair, the live music stage, and an exhibit of art inspired by biblical themes. It begins at 10 a.m. at Temple Emanu-El, on Arguello between Washington & Sacramento, S.F. Admission is free; call 346-4561. Meanwhile, the strains of Middle Eastern and klezmer music and the scent of Jewish dishes from every continent will be wafting through the air at the Jewish Food Festival, where food-themed films and demonstrations like "The Guiltless Kosher Cheesecake" vie for guests' attention. It begins at 11 a.m. at the Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut (at Rose), Berkeley. Admission is free-$15; call (510) 848-0237.
Anti-Violent Femmes Octogenarian Hilda Roberts lived through the Spanish Civil War, and will tell the tale at Women in Black, a dance-theater piece and event commemorating the international anti-war protest Women in Black Against War. This movement began in Argentina in 1988 when a woman who had lost her husband and children to war dressed herself in mourning clothes and stood vigil in a town plaza, where other bereaved women gradually joined her. What began as Mothers of the Disappeared became the Women in Black and spread to 25 countries, including the U.S. Local participants in the movement (who stand vigil outside our Federal Building) will form a procession with cast members from the piece, followed by Roberts' address. The Thais Mazur Dance Project will perform the piece itself in the gardens, accompanied by viola player Katrina Wreede -- later this month, the Kitka Women's Vocal Ensemble will provide accompaniment. The event ends with a viewer-participant vigil, and begins at noon in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Gardens, Mission & Third Street, S.F. Admission is free; call 978-ARTS. Later that evening, the center hosts a dance company from a region that knows war firsthand: Israel's Liat Dror & Nir Ben Gal Company, who stage the U.S. premiere of Anta Oumri, their dance-theater piece on variations in human relationships, set to the music of Egyptian singer Oum Kaltsoum. It begins at 7 p.m. in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater. Admission is $13-17; call 978-ARTS.
Uber Munch Once upon a time, nearly 200 years ago, Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen celebrated their wedding vows with a rousing party, where lederhosen- and dirndl-clad guests fortified themselves with sausages and beer while the band played a round of polkas. Thus began Oktoberfest, a romantic autumnal tradition that remains pretty much intact, despite American permutations like carnies and Clydesdales. The Beach Chalet kicks off a weeklong Oktoberfest celebration with traditional eats, $2 pints of Ocean Beach Oktoberfest, and free samples of head brewer Scott Turnnidge's handcrafted ales. They'll also be throwing a fund-raiser for KQED, taking pledges and raffling tickets for a free keg of Oktoberfest Ale (winners can throw their own wedding anniversary party). A German oompah duo plays live; the yodeling and such-like begins at 6 p.m. at the Beach Chalet, 1000 Great Highway, S.F. Admission is free with meal/beverage; call 386-8439.
Old Dogs, New Tricks Punk's first wave had to grow up sometime, and Bob Mould is one of many cult heroes making that uncomfortable transition from angry youth to an uncertain middle age. Mould's reputation as one of rock's most sonic forces began nearly two decades back when HYsker DY blasted into our consciousness with furious, gorgeous, brooding songs played at top volume. It continued unabated through Mould's solo album Black Sheets of Rain and the power trio Sugar, whose guitar feedback left ears buzzing for days after the band hit town. Since Sugar's dissolution three years ago, Mould has been learning to play the cello and has experimented with hip hop on The Last Dog and Pony Show, the album he recorded with what he's described as the last electric band of his career, the Bob Mould Dog and Pony Band. Varnaline opens for 'em at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore, 1805 Geary (at Fillmore), S.F. Admission is $19.50; call 346-6000.