When Arthur Lee visited Bimbo's last year for his first local performance following his release from prison in late 2001, there was speculation about the mental and physical condition of the '60s icon. Ever since leading seminal L.A. psychedelic-folk-pop band Love through a brilliant trio of albums for Elektra, the enigmatic Lee had been shadowed by tales of drug problems, erratic behavior, and confrontations with the law. To the delight of the crowd gathered that night, the fiftysomething singer was in fine form. Taking the stage with the energy of a man half his age, Lee delivered Love gems alongside some fiercely pointed comments on the state of the union and a couple of his songwriting contemporaries (Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney both caught legitimate flak).
To celebrate the 35th anniversary of his group, Lee and the current edition of Love are joined by the Forever Changes String and Horn Ensemble to re-create the lush orchestrations of Love's most enduring album as well as other classics from the band's catalog. Love with Arthur Lee performs at 9 p.m. at the Fillmore, 1805 Geary (at Fillmore), S.F. Admission is $30; call 346-6000 or visit www.thefillmore.com.
-- Dave Pehling
Violinist Regina Carter strings us along, and we love it
Award-winning jazz violinist Regina Carter stirs up controversy with her latest album, Paganini: After a Dream, but not as expected. Contrary to the title's implications, the technically brilliant Carter doesn't interpret the legendary composer's virtuosic scores on the disc, but jazzily vamps on the romantic canon of popular classical and soundtrack composers, such as Debussy, Ravel, and Morricone.
After playing the gorgeous melodic themes of these works, the violinist and members of her piano-based quintet take turns politely soloing over chord changes like a supper-club combo, but the stylized orchestral arrangements on the menu are a blasphemous concoction, a schmaltzy hybrid, neither jazz nor classical. Deepening the sacrilege, Carter uses Paganini's hallowed 250-year-old "Cannon" violin on the recording. Would the Genoese maestro have approved? Decide for yourself tonight at 8 and 10 (or on Wednesday, June 4) at Yoshi's, 510 Embarcadero West, Jack London Square, Oakland. Tickets are $9-18; call (510) 238-9200 or visit www.yoshis.com.
-- Sam Prestianni
This food writer goes to great lengths to satisfy his cravings
Calvin Trillin started writing for The New Yorker in 1963, traveling the nation to produce a series of articles that captured the flavor of many off-the-beaten-path destinations. It was during this 15-year project that Trillin also acquired a taste for regional cuisine.
Though the prolific author has written novels, short stories, and memoirs, it's his reputation as a food scribe that has kept readers hungry for more. Feeding a Yen compiles 14 of Trillin's pieces and details his pursuit of the local dishes -- Kansas City barbecue, Louisiana boudin (blood sausage) -- that comprise his "register of frustration and depravation." He reads at 7 p.m. at Cody's Books, 1730 Fourth St., Berkeley. Admission is free; call (510) 559-9500.
-- Lisa Hom
The name alone should get your attention: "East as Center" is an evening of dance that challenges established ideas about movement and location. Renowned performers Guru Govindan Kutty from South India, Chitresh Das from North India, and Ni Ketut Arini from Bali premiere this collaboration at 8 tonight (the show continues through June 7) at ODC Theater, 3153 17th St. (at Shotwell), S.F. Admission is $14-35; call 499-1601 or visit www.odctheater.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser