The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley, weekend May 26-29

Pennsylvanian folk-roots trio The Stray Birds are performing at the Freight & Salvage on Saturday night. Photo: Emilia Paré

THE STRAY BIRDS The Stray Birds are a folk-roots trio from rural Pennsylvania featuring Maya de Vitry on fiddle, banjo, and guitar, Oliver Craven on archtop guitar and fiddle, and Charles Muench on upright bass. They’ll be performing on Saturday at the Freight & SalvageFly Magazine calls them a “super-talented acoustic trio whose virtuosity doesn’t get in the way of their soul” and praises their “rich vocal harmonies, tight acoustic arrangements, and heart-wrenching songs.” Saturday, May 27, 8 p.m., Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison St.

STOMPY JONES Originally known as the Swing Session Bank, Stompy Jones (named after a Duke Ellington tune) was formed in 1998 to play East Coast Swing and Lindy Hop in the spirit of the hottest jump bands. Stompy Jones will be playing its infectious music on Saturday at Ashkenaz. The repertoire features rousing revivals of classics by Louis Jordan, Earl Hines, Fletcher Henderson, Louis Prima, Roy Milton, and John Kirby as well as several originals. Stompy Jones boasts musicians who have been playing this music all their lives, with sizzling horns, slapping bass, and irrepressible dance drum beats. Big band leader Les Brown said that the sextet has “the best small band sound that I’ve heard in years.” Saturday, May 27, 8 p.m., Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Ave.

FAMILY FUN FESTIVAL The Ecology Center’s annual Family Fun Festival will be held at the downtown Berkeley Farmers’ Market on Saturday. There’s storytime led by Berkeley Public Library, music with Asheba, free bike repair (for the first 20 signups), face painting, a cooking demo, a kids cooking contest, a strawberry walk (think cake walk, but with strawberries), puppet making, kinetic sculpture making, a skateboarding contest, a bounce house, petting zoo, and much, much more. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Civic Center Park.

SALSA PARTY Attention salsa dancers (including absolute beginners): the Josh Jones Orchestra brings salsa dura to La Peña’s stage every last Monday of the month. Among the artists the band plays are Eddie Palmieri, Beny Moré, the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, El Canario, Celia Cruz, and many more. If you’re in need of instruction, there’s a free dance class included in the $5 cover at 8 p.m. Sounds like the perfect way to end the Memorial Day weekend. Monday, May 29, 9 p.m. (dance class at 8 p.m.), La Peña, 3105 Shattuck Ave.


BE STEADWELL Singer-songwriter Be Steadwell has roots in jazz, a cappella and folk, and combines genres into what she calls queer pop. In her performances, she uses loop pedal vocal layering and beat boxing to compose her songs on stage. Steadwell will be performing on Monday at The Back Room. They say: “Be’s self-produced albums feature her earnest lyricism, proud LGBTQ content, unapologetic silliness, and the art of the simple love song.” Monday, May 29, 5 p.m., The Back Room, 1984 Bonita Ave.

Don’t miss these other events covered on Berkeleyside:

Big Screen Berkeley: ‘The Commune’
A gig 50 years in the making: Harry Taussig meets Max Ochs in Berkeley