The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley, weekend of Jan. 12-15

Nell & Jim Band perform at the Jazz Conservatory on Saturday. Photo: Jay Blakesberg

NELL & JIM BAND On Saturday night, Nell & Jim Band bring masterful two- and three-part harmonies, banjo, guitar, flute, bass fiddle, percussion and accordion/keyboards to the California Jazz Conservatory. Nell Robinson has been described as a “modern day Patsy Cline” and “one of the freshest voices in roots music.” Jim Nunally is a San Francisco Bay Area-native, a musician, composer, record producer, and teacher. He is also a recipient of two Grammy and IBMA Awards and is a two-time Western Open Flatpicking Guitar champion. The all-star band includes bass fiddle player Jim Kerwin (David Grisman, Red Allen), percussionist Jon Arkin (Lee Konitz, Gene Perla) and special guest Rob Reich (Tin Hat, Gaucho). Saturday’s concert also includes a launch party for Banjo Boy Coffee, with a tasting starting at 7:15 p.m. and free coffee all night. Saturday, Jan. 13, 8 p.m., California Jazz Conservatory, 2087 Addison St.

CHEAP SUIT SERENADERS Doesn’t this description get your heart beating a bit faster? “Wearing period threads and playing vintage instruments, the Cheap Suit Serenaders serve up a giddy blend of up-tempo Hawaiian stomps, ragtime, Italian polkas, and more, as they recreate the music of the golden age of jazz.” If it does, hurry over to the Freight & Salvage on Friday night.  The Cheap Suit Serenaders are Robert Armstrong, Allan Dodge, Rick Elmore, Tony Marcus, Terry Zwigoff, and Casey MacGill performing on ukuleles, Hawaiian steel guitars, fiddles, cellos, banjos, mandolins, accordions, and musical saws. Friday, Jan. 12, 8 p.m., Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison St.

SPIZZWINKS IN CONCERT: The world’s oldest underclassman a cappella group is in Berkeley on Sunday for a joint concert with Continuum, the professional alumni ensemble of Oakland’s Pacific Boychoir Academy. Yale University’s Spizzwinks have traveled all over the world as part of their Spizzwinks Promise, says singer Paul Gross, which guarantees that every member will visit all six inhabited continents and their hometown. (The group is coming to San Francisco to honor the “hometown” portion of this promise for Gross who’s a San Francisco native). The student-run Spizzwinks is self-funded and earns all the money for its travels through the nearly 100 concerts they perform each year. “We also use a significant portion of the money we earn to support our outreach efforts, both domestically and internationally,” says Gross. Tickets available online or at the door. Sunday, Jan. 14, 5-6:30 p.m., Hertz Hall.

DOCUMENTARY VOICES BAMPFA’s annual series of documentary films opens with a visit from director Luis Ospina, who will travel from Colombia to show a selection of his radical short works on Sunday. Among the works to be shown will be Vampires of Poverty, a satire of what Ospina described as pornomiseria – poverty porn. Ospina was a founding member of Grupo de Cali, the collective that Samuel T. Adams of Brooklyn Magazine says “re-evaluated cinema’s role in society, and changed the face of Latin America filmmaking.” The Documentary Voices series continues intro April. Sunday, Jan. 14, 7 p.m., BAMPFA, 2155 Center St.


MLK DAY BREAKFAST The seventh annual Martin Luther King Jr. community breakfast will be on Monday at HS Lordships. Started in 2012 by a diverse group of East Bay citizens to both celebrate and continue the work of King, the event has grown into a exuberant gathering that captures the spirit of the joyful society that King championed. Each year, hundreds of community members gather to start the day celebrating King with conversation, breakfast, speeches, songs and tributes. Monday, Jan. 15, 8 a.m., HS Lordships, Berkeley Marina.

Don’t miss this other event featured on Berkeleyside:

Big Screen Berkeley: ‘In the Fade’