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Monday, May 5, 2008

Night + Day: Calendar Picks for 5/5

Posted By on Mon, May 5, 2008 at 12:26 AM

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The Master's Tools (Decay Goes Both Ways)

Little Tree Gallery - 3412 22nd St. at Guerrero

Last year, artist Lacey Jane Roberts blocked Clarion Alley in the Mission with a chain-link, barbed-wire-topped fence, which was pink. It was pink because she covered every single hard, unyielding surface with "crank knit" yarn, resulting in just the most adorable industrial barrier you've ever seen in your life. She also knits her own colorful graffiti (using the name "Tink"), which she hangs on graffiti-strewn walls. Probably the cheekiest thing she's done, however, was her guerilla restoration of the California College of the Arts sign. Some of you recall the school used to be called California College of the Arts and Crafts, a name it had held since 1934. It was shortened in 2003, which caused a lot of people to think, My God, are you freaking kidding me with that? Of course you can imagine what Roberts did to her alma mater: "& Crafts," in bright red yarn, hung atop the building for a week in 2005.

For her solo exhibit "The Master"s Tools (Decay Goes Both Ways)," she raises another fence, nearly 10 feet tall and covered in silver yarn, which spills out from the installation like overgrown weeds. Also appearing is an unsteady antique spinning wheel, deformed nearly beyond recognition and use. --Michael Leaverton

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The Little Prince, $30-$60, 7:30pm

UC Berkeley, Zellerbach Hall - Bancroft & Telegraph

From Aesop's Fables to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland to the Dr. Seuss classic, Oh, The Places You'll Go! plenty of kids' books are packed with important life lessons for grown-ups. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's 1943 novella The Little Prince is no exception. Inspired by the author's career as an aviator, the book tells the story of an pilot who meets The Little Prince, an intense young man with a crown of golden hair, after his plane crashes in the Sahara Desert. The two become friends. From spending time with the Prince and hearing the boy's stories, the aviator realizes adults have a lot to learn from children. The book has made a profound impression on many adults in the 65 years since it was published: James Dean could recite entire passages from the book, and Morrissey is reading a copy in the "Suedehead" video. Saint-Exupéry's narrative has even been the subject of three operas – an artform that isn't exactly known for attracting minors. Having received its premiere at the Houston Grand Opera, composer Rachel Portman and librettist Nicholas Wright's playful, family-friendly adaptation of The Little Prince gets a visually stunning co-production from San Francisco Opera and Cal Performances, and it's bound to bring out the inner child in anyone who goes. --Chloe Veltman

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Buddha Behind Bars: The Dhamma Brothers, 7:15, $6.50

Red Vic Movie House - 1727 Haight at Cole

In 2002, the Vipassana Meditation Center of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, held a retreat in Alabama, consisting of an ancient, rigorous course of meditation that lasted 10 days. It was attended by criminals, down to the last man. Yes, it was the local population, but it was a very small part of the local population: the inmates of the Donaldson Correctional Facility, an end-of-the-road maximum-security prison in the Deep South. The story is revealed in The Dhamma Brothers, a film by Jenny Phillips, a cultural anthropologist and psychotherapist who first visited the prison in 1999, intrigued by tales of a group of prisoners, most of whom were serving life sentences for murder, who practiced meditation. She found them open and willing to talk about their struggles behind bars, and she brought in a film crew and interviewed everyone she could get her hands on – which isn't so easy in a prison. The ten-day retreat, which was arranged by Phillips, forms the heart of the film. It took place in the prison gym, an ad-hoc monastery that was adorned with carpets and curtains, with the hardened men left alone with their thoughts for the duration.--Michael Leaverton

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