Sometimes, especially lately, the world seems to be a miserable abyss of despair. When oppressive forces make us agoraphobic and Facebook newsfeed rumination makes us claustrophobic, it feels like there’s no good in the world and no way to spread it. But there is: You can dance. Dance all over this whole goddamn radical mecca of strangeness. Sing until it hurts. Share your pain and heal in the company of others. Lose yourself in the choir’s chromatic blend and find yourself again in uncontrollable foot-tapping. Go forth and vibrate!
Unless you have something against beautiful strangers sharing sounds and words in a beautiful space, you will be glad to be at this Uptown Oakland gem at 7 p.m. The place is as multifaceted and literary as the name indicates. Walk into this cozy joint and go straight to the counter for a jug of wine or beer. Get sidetracked by the wooden crates on the left and peruse their vinyl contents. Take a few steps and squint at the bookshelves. Sit down, relax, read some Joyce. Or don’t. Enjoy the open mic and those sharing their hearts and souls. You just might join them.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday: Phish at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
Count ‘em: three nights! Phish, the now-legendary psychedelic powerhouse of jams is doing three nights in San Francisco. If you’re feeling freaky enough to synchronize wavelengths with a room full of psychonauts, this is your outlet. It’s a proper free-for-all and safe space for DayGlo space cadets. You won’t be forced to do anything you don’t want to, but good luck not wanting to. Just be careful — this scene is not for the faint of feet.
When you wake up from your Gourmet Ghetto food coma, wondering how your pants are still buttoned and whether you sent your ex food pics, you will be happy to find yourself at the Farmers’ Market, where sweet smells and sounds will make you stay at least from 4 p.m.to 8 p.m. Until September, every third Thursday will be poppin’ with a beer garden, demos and tastings by local businesses, and most importantly, music. This Thursday, quench your thirst with acoustical elixir: Dance off your worries to old-time Americana outfit the Cropswappers and Balkan brass band Inspector Gadje.
Thursday: Free Funk Night at the Starry Plough
If you’ve still got energy left to spare after your farmers’ market experience, the only thing left to do is get funked up. And you can do that at the Starry Plough, a place where the beer flows like wine and the funk abounds. House band Bear Country Funk steers the soul ship from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., welcoming featured and impromptu guests throughout. During those blurry hours, one thing is clear: Derelicts, frat boys and co-opers get so indistinguishably down that the resulting raw cathartic energy is enough to power the whole of this nuclear-free zone. All they ask is that you be at least 21 years old. The rest is on the house. (Except the alcohol.)
Contact Jacob Dickerman at [email protected].