The Writing on the Wall How people remember activist/actor/poet John Trudell depends in part on their age. Baby boomers (particularly longtime locals) might recall his participation in the Indians of All Tribes Occupation of Alcatraz in the late '60s and early '70s, or his lengthy chairmanship of the American Indian Movement thereafter, a position he abandoned after threats from the FBI happened to coincide with a house fire that killed his wife and children. The younger set discovered Trudell when Bob Dylan called his musical spoken-word album AKA Graffiti Man (1992) the best of the year, and had it played over the PA during intermissions when he toured with the Grateful Dead. Trudell also appeared in the feature film Thunderheart and the documentary Incident at Oglala, and will share something of his remarkable experience at a poetry and spoken-word solo show benefiting Zapatista Indian Aguascalientes Centers of Resistance. The show begins at 7 p.m. at the Inter-Tribal Friendship House, 523 East 14th St., Oakland. Admission is $10-25; call (510) 594-4302.
Abbey's Road The title track from jazz diva Abbey Lincoln's most recent Verve album, Who Used to Dance, is an experiment that might be considered a misfire: Lincoln enlisted tap dancer Savion Glover to provide percussive illustration to the song, one of her own, about a man worn ragged by life's travails. It's a lengthy ballad, but without actually seeing Glover, it loses something in the execution. Still, it's a testament to Lincoln's professional stature that she attracts talented artists who are more than willing to take those risks in her company. Lincoln commands a loyal international following for her warm, mellifluous contralto and the depth of feeling with which she imbues her musical storytelling, but her decades-long career has also included groundbreaking roles in the critically acclaimed films For the Love of Ivy and Nothing But a Man, the 1964 portrait of prejudice directed at African-Americans in a small Southern town. Lincoln runs through a catalog of her own work and that of other jazz greats like Billie Holiday, and may even throw in a cover of "Mr. Tambourine Man," when she and her trio perform locally. The show begins at 8 and 10 p.m. (and continues through Sunday) at Yoshi's, Jack London Square, 510 Embarcadero, Oakland. Admission is $5-22; call (510) 238-9200.
Oh Henri! The phrase "big in Europe" is mostly employed as a music industry punch line, but in the case of singer/guitarist Henri Dikongue, it has serious applications. The Cameroon-born, Paris-based former law student has topped the European world charts and CMJ world music charts this year with C'est la Vie, a collection of pretty acoustic guitar ballads and Latin-flavored dance tracks. Like fellow West African musicians Cesaria Evora and former Zap Mama member Sally Nyolo, Dikongue has eschewed the driving Afro-pop nightclub staple makossa in favor of a more thoughtful, full-bodied jazz classicism with cosmopolitan polish and international influences like reggae, bossa nova, and Cuban son. Audiences who don't speak French or Duala will miss out on some of the lyrics, but Dikongue's honeyed delivery invites moody introspection nonetheless, as well as a shuffle or two around an open dance floor. He'll play three 45-minute sets with a stand-up bassist, percussionist, and backup singer beginning at 10 p.m. at Cafe Du Nord, 2170 Market (at Sanchez), S.F. Admission is $10; call 861-5016.
Outside In In Richard Kim's film Kungpao Chicken, a restaurateur embarks on a personal mission to educate his customers on the use of chopsticks, but David Fourier's film Majorettes in Space is about cosmonauts, majorettes, and homosexuals. What's the connection between the works? There isn't one, except that they're both playing at "One of These Things (Is Not Like the Others)," a program devoted to short films that explore various permutations of difference, whether that applies to characters, themes, or the cinematic technique itself. There's more: David Chartier and Avi Zev Weider's adaptation of Joe Brainard's book I Remember gets into the head of a very odd boy, using flashbacks and flash forwards to look at the associative mechanisms of memory, while the late Dean Snider's film Stink uses found footage to retell an autobiographical tale. The show begins at 8 p.m. at 111 Minna Street Gallery, 111 Minna (at Second Street), S.F. Admission is $6-7; call 552-3456.
Latin School The benefit show for the Latino Dance Consortium is sort of like a performance grab-bag, with hip hop from Culture Shock, Aztec dance by Teokhile, samba by Fogo Na Roupa, and a preview of the Latina Theater Lab's new play Last Stop Ranchera. The Consortium, founded just last year by dancer/choreographer Priscilla Regalado and nicknamed LaDaCo, is intended to support the work of local Latino artists; this show is a good one-shot opportunity to find out what many of those artists, dancers, musicians, and others have in their repertoire. A reception and raffle, with baseball tickets and gift certificates, follows Saturday's show. The event begins at 8 p.m. (also Saturday) at ODC Theater, 3153 17th St. (at Shotwell), S.F. Admission is $12-25; call 863-9834.
A Touch of Haight It hasn't been all rock 'n' roll art since the Soft Touch Artist Collective formed over 22 years ago, but the music and its makers have played recurring roles in the work that hung at the space. There was the time gallery members dressed like Janis Joplin for the opening of an exhibit featuring paintings and drawings of Joplin. There was Lee McHose's embroidered rock album, and later, Jason Mecier's bean-and-noodle portraits of rock stars. There was the John Flores show devoted exclusively to Beatles paintings. Flores' current exhibit of papier-máche figures and watercolor paintings of dragons and castles -- mythology is big in heavy metal, after all -- will be shown when the gallery throws in the towel at the Nineteen Ninety-Haight Finale Party. Gallery representative Robin Lewis attributes the venue's demise to rising costs, collective burnout, and a growing reluctance on the part of artists to volunteer their time. Party guests are encouraged to wear creative costumes or groovy '70s outfits (evoking, perhaps, a more sharing and caring time). The gallery will serve free refreshments and offer a slide show highlighting past exhibits. The party begins at 6:30 p.m. at Soft Touch, 1580 Haight (at Ashbury), S.F. Admission is free; call 863-3279.