The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley, weekend of Feb. 16-19

Three generations of musicians in Mr Sun, performing at The Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse on Saturday. Photo: Courtesy Mr Sun

MR SUN The four musicians of Mr Sun – fiddler Darol Anger, Joe K. Walsh, mandolin, Grant Gordy, acoustic guitar, and bassist Aidan O’Donnell – represent three generations of “the sharpest minds to apply themselves to the American String Band.” The band will be playing at the Freight & Salvage on Saturday night. Fiddler Anger clearly has a way with words: “Mr Sun is an uber-band name, floating above the stampede of Skillet-Lickin’ Squirrel-head-Boilin’ Log Rollers Of Grassology. But it fits better every time we play together. We’ve also stepped outside the March Of Acoustic Progress or any other music trend, in favor of 4 intense personalities conversing… as we must. As we try to crack each other up, we find ourselves making the music we hoped we’d always hear… Mr Sun is relaxing in a way that makes my mind flip on and spark and spin. I think it’ll do the same for most people who like acoustic string music.” Saturday, Feb. 17, 8 p.m., Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St.

BETWEEN US This weekend TheatreFIRST opens a production it describes as “too large to fit into a single night.” Between Us is a collection of eight plays by different playwrights and directors, split into two separate programs. Each of the plays focuses on a person connected to significant moments in history – six are about real people from the famous to the obscure, while the other two “could easily be your neighbors.” Among the eight central characters are a leader of the Delano Grape Strike, a black woman contemplating the first MLK day, a US general who foils a coup on FDR, and one of the women who led the redress movement for the Japanese Americans incarcerated during the Second World War. Check TheatreFIRST’s site for details of the two programs, which alternate between this weekend and March 10. On Saturdays and Sundays, both programs will be presented, one at a matinee, the other in the evening. TheatreFIRST, Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck Ave.

RACHEL EFRON & ADRIAN WEST Two of the Bay Area’s most prolific singer/songwriters team up for the first time for a one-night event at The Back Room on Saturday. Rachel Efron is the songwriting teacher at the California Jazz Conservatory, and she’ll perform with Aaron Germain on upright bass and Jeremy Steinkoler on drums. Adrian West seems to be a bit of a card. “When asked what kind of music The Adrian West Trio plays, Adrian sometimes answers ‘Yes.’ Or if he’s feeling cocky, he’ll answer ‘Good.'” More helpfully, it’s described as a “quirky and infectious mix” that is in the space between acoustic rock and World music. He’ll be playing with Scott Keller on drums and vocals and Kevin Goldberg on bass. Saturday, Feb. 17, 8 p.m., The Back Room, 1984 Bonita Ave.

YEAR OF THE DOG Here’s an inside Berkeleyside secret: the staff is about evenly split between dog people and cat people. So be it. For canine lovers, Berkeley Animal Care Services is celebrating the Chinese calendar’s Year of the Dog this weekend by waiving adoption fees. There are some wonderful sounding pups: “They are dogs like Midnight (who would make the perfect hiking companion), Papa (who truly believes that he is a lap dog), or Victor, Vernon and Vance (who are determined to charm everyone they meet).” For those who aren’t adopting, there will be a barbecue fundraiser in the parking lot to help pay for a few benefits for all the animals (cats, too). Saturday, Feb. 17, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 18, 11 a.m., to 3 p.m., Berkeley Animal Shelter, 1 Bolivar Dr.

CAL BASKETBALL Truth to tell, there hasn’t been a lot to cheer about this season for the Cal men’s basketball team. It is, as they say, a rebuilding year. But there’s one glowing bright spot: the Bears topped arch-rival Stanford when the teams met at Maples Pavilion in December (the first away win against Stanford since 2014). On Sunday, Cal has a chance to complete its first regular season series sweep against the Cardinal. Both Cal (8-18) and Stanford (13-13) enter the game on two-game losing streaks. Fingers crossed! Sunday, Feb. 18, 5 p.m., Haas Pavilion.

Don’t miss these other events covered on Berkeleyside:

Steve Budd’s ‘What They Said About Love’ at The Marsh
Big Screen Berkeley: ‘Double Lover,’ New York Cat Film Festival