The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Student volunteers serve low-income and homeless residents at the 2013 Holiday Meal. Photo courtesy of BUSD
Student volunteers serve low-income and homeless residents at the 2013 Holiday Meal. Photo courtesy of BUSD

HOLIDAY MEAL Each year, dozens — and sometimes hundreds — of student volunteers come to school on a Saturday to serve the community’s homeless and low-income families a hot meal. With Bay Area housing in crisis, plenty of people could use the extra plate of food and holiday cheer this year. The annual Berkeley High Holiday Meal is Saturday, Dec. 13, and there’s still time to help. The event depends on donations — of food, funds, clothes, books, and toys. In past years they’ve collected thousands of pounds of canned goods. Fresh food donations will also be happily accepted on Friday, 4 p.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at the main entrance to BHS on Milvia and Allston. Tax-deductible monetary donations are accepted in cash or as checks written to “BHS Student Activities” with “Holiday Meal” in the memo line. Email John Villavicencio johnvillavicencio@berkeley.net or (510) 644-8990 with questions.

James KenneyPARENTS DAY OFF BUSD students have an unexpected day off today, so it’s only fair that parents get one too. The James Kenney Community Center in West Berkeley is offering to watch the little ones on Saturday, Dec. 13 for far less than the going babysitting rate: $15 for Berkeley residents and $18 for others for the full five hours from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Staff will provide games, art projects, and holiday activities for kids ages 5-12. Today, Dec. 11, is the final day to register. Call (510) 981-6651 or email gbryant@cityofberkeley.info. The Center is located at 1720 8th St.

Far Leaves TeaCHOCOLATEA The storm may put a stop to various weekend plans, but it’ll only make this one more appropriate. Gather on Sunday, Dec. 14 to drink hot tea — and eat gourmet chocolates. Each tea is paired thoughtfully by event host Far Leaves Tea with a particular Claudio Corallo chocolate. Stick around after the tasting for a lecture on the history of chocolate by Alegio Chocolate. The 12 p.m.-2 p.m. event is pay-what-you-can, but a $20 donation is suggested. The shop is located at 2626 San Pablo Ave.

Ghost in the HouseGHOST IN THE HOUSE Ghost In The House has chilled the Bay Area for a decade, and it’s celebrating its 10th anniversary this Saturday, Dec. 13 in Berkeley. The band has had various iterations, but one thing remains constant: its ominous, eerie music. Billed as a “soundtrack for the subconscious,” the minimalistic, percussive work lends itself to hallucinations and visitations. The musicians double as dancers, visual artists, and all-around improvisers, so there’s no telling what a performance may hold. In its bio, Ghost In The House says its music could “suggest a cataclysmic storm.” This weekend it’s a lot more than a suggestion, but a good event to get cozy at nonetheless. The Berkeley Arts Festival show is 8 p.m.-10 p.m. at 2133 University Ave.

Madame GufayMADAME GUFAY’S LOVELUTIONARIES The 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement is coming to an end, but local thinkers and artists are still paying homage to the era. A new play that runs only two weekends honors the 1964 UC Berkeley movement, but takes place on the contemporary campus. Madame Gufay’s Lovelutionaries features a woman who grew up in France following news of the FSM and who returns to schools late in life at UC Berkeley. She may not find the bastion of activism she expected, but she does encounter students passionate about current causes (including lowering the tuition), and overcomes culture shock and language barriers in the meantime. The raucous comedy plays at 8 p.m. Dec. 12, 13, 19, and 20 at the Live Oak Theatre at 1301 Shattuck Ave. Performed by the Actors Ensemble of Berkeley, directed by Alan Barkan, and written by Norah Foster, a retired UC Berkeley library manager and new playwright. Tickets are $20 or $15 for students and seniors.

Check out Berkeleyside’s event calendar for many more events, and make sure to post your own community happenings.