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

Inferno Theatre Company rehearsing King Lear in John Hinkel Park. Photo: Inferno Theatre Company
Inferno Theatre Company rehearsing “King Lear” in John Hinkel Park. A blasted heath in Berkeley? Photo: Inferno Theatre Company

KING LEAR You might think summer theater in the park is a time for light-hearted romps. Think again. Inferno Theatre, together with the Actors Ensemble of Berkeley, will be performing Shakespeare’s “King Lear” for free in John Hinkel Park, opening on Saturday, Aug. 22. The production is adapted and directed by Guilio Cesare Perrone. Inferno Theatre says the production “condenses and intensifies this seminal family tragedy with striking visuals, physicality and live music. Gender is fluid with many male roles presented as female.” The amphitheater opens at 3 p.m. for picnicking and the performance begins at 4 p.m. Runs Saturdays and Sundays, with a special Labor Day performance on Sept. 7 to close the run. John Hinkel Park, 41 Somerset Place. 

Russian chorusRACHMANINOV’S VIGIL Here’s a piece you don’t come across very often. The Slavyanka Russian Chorus performs Sergei Rachmaninov’s All Night Vigil on Sunday, Aug. 23 at the First Congregational Church in celebration of the work’s 100th anniversary, with an augmented chorus of almost 100 men’s and women’s voices, special soloists and Russian bells. Rachmaninov borrowed from three Orthodox services for the work, and mixes among the earliest Christian chants with his more modern harmonies and rhythms. Six- and seven-part harmonies frequently occur, and the the finale of the fifth movement is known for notes that challenge even the lowest-ranging bassi profondi. Tickets in advance $20 from Brown Paper Tickets, $25 at the door, under 18 free. 4 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 23, First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way.

StymieSTYMIE & THE PJLO The Starry Plough promises “funky, soulful extravagance all night long” with Stymie & the PJLO and various guest musicians on Friday, Aug. 21. PJLO, by the way, stands for Pimp Jones Luv Orchestra. Here’s what they say: “It ain’t easy being stankalicious. This is especially true if you are an independent entity. But the funk is proving to be more relevant in the 21st century than ever before.” Led by singer/songwriter Sean “Stymie” Sharp. Tickets $8-12, 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 21, Starry Plough Pub, 3101 Shattuck Ave. 

Le Jazz HotLE JAZZ HOT For 25 years, the Hot Club of San Francisco has continued the tradition of French Gypsy jazz played on string instruments. Le Jazz Hot is the quartet of solo guitarist Paul Mehling, rhythm guitarist Isabelle Fontane, violinist Evan Price and bassist Sam Rocha. Hark back to Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli in the 1930s with the infectious swing music. Le Jazz Hot plays both original tunes and plenty of classics. Tickets $17 ($14 students) from Eventbrite. Ashkenaz, Saturday, Aug. 22, 8 p.m., 1317 San Pablo Ave.

KTOKTO PROJECT The KTO Project & Jose Roberto and Friends have formed a large big band of Bay Area musicians from around the globe, and they’ll be filling the Freight & Salvage stage on Sunday night, Aug. 23. They perform original music whose roots are from Africa to the Americas. The Freight promises “lots of singers, plenty of percussion, a huge string section and solid bass and keys.” That will be a crowded stage. The KTO in the title is vocalist, percussionist, songwriter and dancer Kelly Takunda Orphan, who recorded and toured with Babatunde Olatunji and African Rain, studied music and dance in Zimbabwe, and performed for Nelson Mandela. Jose Roberto Hernandez is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer, arranger, producer, musical educator and ethnomusicologist. He’s known for his innovative use of traditional forms and instruments in combination with contemporary music. Tickets $23 in advance, $25 on the door. 7 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 23, Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison St.

Don’t miss these other events previously mentioned on Berkeleyside:

In ‘Best of Enemies’ Buckley and Vidal go head to head
Discovering a Brazilian master: Guinga plays Berkeley

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