This Week in Arts

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VISUAL ART:

If you are looking for something to do on Halloween night, look no further than “But the Earth is dark, the Coffin thick, and the Shroud opaque,” Old Crow’s group show opening on Oct 31 at 8 p.m. Promising to send chills down your spine and get you in the Halloween spirit, the exhibition will feature the works of David D’Andrea and Aminah Slor with a site-specific installation by Hunter De La Ghetto.
With October ending this week, November’s Art Murmur is right around the corner. This First Friday, expect the usual flurry of activity in Downtown Oakland with street vendors, special performances and gallery openings and events. Friday is the opening reception for Johansson Projects’ newest show “Decryptions,” featuring the works of Marie Bourget, Kenneth Lo and Daniel Small. From cultural artifacts to paintings to stone tablet sculptures, the artists convey the fluidity of our cultural timeline through various media.
— Anna Carey

LITERATURE:

For a post-Halloween wind-down, there are plenty of big literary names and events this weekend.
Tom Wolfe will be at Herbst Theater in San Francisco on Thursday as a part of the theater’s “Cultural Studies 2012” talks. He is also promoting his comeback book, “Back to Blood,” an analysis of the heights and depths of society in Miami.
On Friday at Diesel Bookstore in Oakland, journalist and author Steven Roby will celebrate the publication of his book, “Hendrix on Hendrix.” The book is a compilation of transcripts and interviews that develop an idea of Jimi Hendrix’s offstage persona through his own words.
To top off the weekend without breaking the bank, head over to the Free Book Exchange on San Pablo Avenue. With no catches, the Free Book Exchange is self-explanatory, with the only limit being 100 books per person per day. It is open every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
— A.J. Kiyoizumi

MUSIC:

Just when you thought Berkeley was all out of free shows, SUPERB is back with a special Rock the Vote concert this Saturday at 7 p.m. on Memorial Glade. The electronic lineup includes LA remixers Super Mash Bros., DJ duo Classixx and the electropop indie group Mystery Skulls.
If you’d rather catch something local, though, dirty blues group the Stone Foxes will be playing the Great American Music Hall this Friday, with openers Mahgeetah and the Silent Comedy. With their new single “Everybody Knows” coming out later in November, Foxes will most likely be debuting more new material from their upcoming album at the show.
But maybe you’d rather dance and rave to some beats instead of blues. This Friday, the EDM duo Knife Party will be headlining the HARD presents show at Oakland’s Fox Theater. Tommy Trash, Kill the Noise, Zane Lowe and Baauer will also be playing that night.
— Ian Birnam

FILM:

Ursula Meier’s “Sister” will close the San Francisco Film Society’s French Cinema Now showcase on Tuesday.  This story of two siblings growing up near a ski resort is Switzerland’s contender for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar next year. Meier’s first feature film, “Home,” won her international fame after it was selected for Critic’s Week at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. She will be doing a  Q&A after the screening.
Editor Sam Pollard will grace the PFA with his presence this Thursday for a master class on the intricacies of film editing. Pollard’s career began in the documentary medium in the late 1970s, but he is perhaps best known for his collaborations with Spike Lee which began in 1990 when Pollard edited Lee’s “Mo’ Better Blues.” Pollard will screen select clips from his oeuvre and then discuss his editing technique with the audience. A screening of “Mo’ Better Blues” will follow the Q&A at approximately 8:30 p.m.
— Thomas Coughlan

THEATER:

Imagine a llama, but smaller in stature and finer in fur quality. This is the vicuna, the national animal of Peru and the subject of Impact Theatre’s new show, “Toil and Trouble,” opening Nov. 1. The vicuna is so prized because, unlike the llama or the alpaca, it can only be shorn every three years, making it a highly valuable commodity. San Franciscan Adam wants to take advantage of this fact as he employs his roommate, Matt, and their friend/love interest, Beth, in a hare-brained scheme written by local, award-winning playwright Lauren Gunderson.
“Toil and Trouble” may sound like a wild time, but Aurora Theatre’s new production, or at least its title, may rival this zaniness. Beginning previews Nov. 2 and opening Nov. 8, “Wilder Times” offers a series of one-act plays by the famous author and playwright Thornton Wilder (“Our Town”) that will surely do the title justice.
— Jessica Pena