Category Archives: Events
It’s time for the 35th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, and this year the festival extends for a full two weeks in venues throughout the greater Bay Area, including Berkeley. Screenings at Landmark’s California Theatre run from Friday, July 31 through Thursday, Aug. 6 and offer a wide variety of viewing choices catering to all tastes — but particularly noteworthy are the festival’s documentary selections, which include two hugely enjoyable films and another that, though flawed, offers important perspectives on a critical issue.
First up is The Go Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films, screening at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug.2. For anyone who spent much time watching Showtime and Cinemax during the 1990s — or attending matinees at downmarket movie houses — the Cannon name will trigger happy memories of youth misspent. … Continue reading »
Alive! wasn’t the first top-flight all-women combo in jazz. Going back to at least the 1940s, when the International Sweethearts of Rhythm earned the respect of their male peers and discerning audiences, excellent female musicians have come together to swing and improvise. But the women in Alive!, who mark the 40th anniversary of the band’s founding with a reunion concert Friday at Freight & Salvage, boldly trod onto new territory when they came together in the mid-1970s.
Featuring vocalist Rhiannon, percussionist Carolyn Brandy, bassist/cellist Susanne DiVincenza, drummer Barbara Borden and the late pianist Janet Small (who passed away in 2010), Alive! captured jazz’s zeitgeist with a repertoire focusing on original compositions. Inspired by Brandy’s rapidly accelerating passion for Afro-Cuban rituals and rhythms, the band incorporated Cuban grooves at a time when more jazz musicians were exploring Caribbean cultural currents. The inimitable Tammy Hall, who can often be found accompanying the region’s best jazz singers, is the band’s new pianist. … Continue reading »
KITE FESTIVAL This family-friendly event will celebrate its 30th anniversary this Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in César Chavez Park. Every year, hundreds of people flock to the Berkeley Kite Festival to watch masters fly kites or to fly their own. The free festival will feature kite making and flying lessons, as well as food and craft activities. The festival begins at 10 a.m. each day and continues until 6 p.m. Parking in the Berkeley Marina and at Golden Gate Fields costs $15, although the shuttles to the festival are free. Parking space is limited and the Berkeley Police Department encourages you to take public transit to the event. There will be free valet bike parking. … Continue reading »
With two young daughters — Sammy, 4, and Juno, 7 months — W. Kamau Bell needs to be home early these days. Hence the name of his new stand-up show, “Home by 10,” running at The Marsh in Berkeley through Aug. 22.
The comedian, who is known for his unfettered jokes about race and racism — he hosted the FXX TV series “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell,” and his new CNN show, “United Shades of America” has just finished shooting — has supplemented his repertoire with funny stories about parenting and kids.
On the second night of the run, Bell riffed about the fine line between being a father and being a friend to one’s child, and related how he and his wife, Melissa Hudson Bell, picked a preschool for Sammy after they moved to Berkeley from New York about six months ago. (They are so happy with their choice that a portion of the proceeds of the show is going to Heart’s Leap Preschool on College Avenue.)
But race surfaces often: He also touched on how strangers wax lyrical about how beautiful his kids are — something he believes is likely an overcompensation through praise by white people to the fact the children are bi-racial (Hudson Bell is white).
“Why are we making such a great deal of it?” Bell asks rhetorically a few days after the show, as he sits drinking coffee at Au Coquelet in downtown Berkeley. He knows from the reaction of the audience, however, that this joke hits the spot. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley that Malcolm Margolin settled in in 1970 is different than the Berkeley that exists today. That was a time when people were going back to the land, discovering the power of nature and protesting the Vietnam War.
Berkeley in 2015 is a city on the move. You can barely drive down a street without being slowed by construction cranes. Start-ups, not communes, are the focus of most young people’s attention. A protest in People’s Park draws yawns.
Margolin, the executive director of Berkeley book publisher Heyday, has been thinking a lot about the values that brought him to Berkeley and the values that flourish today. To explore the question, “Why Berkeley?” he is hosting a discussion at Books, Inc. on Shattuck Avenue on Monday July 20. It is part of a series of events celebrating the bookstore’s recent move. … Continue reading »
BERKELEY SPARK FESTIVAL The Berkeley Spark 3.0 Arts and Innovation Festival will bring artisans, innovators and nonprofits to Civic Center Park on Saturday for a community-based, participant-driven event that aims to connect the great East Bay. The festival features local independent makers with a focus on sustainability and originality. It also serves as a place for fans of the Burning Man culture to gather, and for those who are heading to the desert to stock up on gear and accessories. Civic Center Park is at Martin Luther King, Jr. Way and Center Street. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Learn more at berkeleyspark.org. … Continue reading »
Cinema is knee deep in films about star-crossed lovers on the run from the law. From Bonnie and Clyde to Badlands to Natural Born Killers and beyond, ‘bad kids in love’ has been a reliable Hollywood trope for decades — and it all began with They Live by Night (1948), screening at Pacific Film Archive at 8:45 p.m. on Friday, July 17 as part of the series ‘The Cinema According to Victor Erice’.
Farley Granger and Cathy O’Donnell star as Bowie and Keechie, two youngsters brought together by fate after convicted killer Bowie breaks out of prison with Chickamaw (Howard DaSilva) and T-Dub (the magnificently monickered Jay C. Flippen). Keechie is the daughter of Mobley (Will Wright), T-Dub’s alcoholic brother, who’s arranged for the purchase of a getaway car for the three escaped felons. … Continue reading »
Shotgun Players has scored a bit hit with Caryl Churchill’s 1982 drama, Top Girls.
The Obie award-winning, superbly written Top Girls takes place in London and environs at the beginning of Margaret Thatcher’s reign as Prime Minister (1979-1990), when her Conservative Party emphasized individual success and achievement, as opposed to the protection of all segments of society through labor unions and government social programs. Although it’s a play about women, Top Girls is essentially asking all of us to think about the nature of the society we favor, for men and women. … Continue reading »
HENRY IV PART 1 AT JOHN HINKEL PARK Berkeley’s beautiful amphitheater at John Hinkel Park plays host to The Free Theater for four weekends, starting on Sat., July 11. The company is putting on a spartan, feisty production of Shakespeare’s play Henry IV Part 1. Just like when Shotgun mounted productions at the open-air amphitheater, it will be “pass the hat” after the show with sausages on the grill. Music will be played, swords will be clashed, and impassioned text will take hold of the space. The fledgling company is mentored by Shotgun Players as part of its Make a Difference program. Henry IV Part 1 runs through Sunday Aug. 2. Watch a video about the production, and get full details, on The Free Theater’s website. … Continue reading »
Berkeley oncologist Natalie Marshall plunged into jazz vocals to scratch her own creative itch. But as she’s gained confidence, technique and musical knowledge, Marshall has found that singing can also have therapeutic applications.
“Sometimes a patient will say ‘I’m feeling kind of bad today, can you sing me a song?’” says Marshall, who performs 8 p.m. Saturday as part of the California Jazz Conservatory’s Rising Stars Series. “One patient had been really sick and as she was getting better one day she said I need some music therapy. We ended up singing ‘So Far So Good’ in the hospital room together. It’s a healing moment that’s not about giving an injection.”
A longtime jazz fan, she started working with musicians about five years ago while living in Albuquerque. She was on the board of the respected non-profit Outpost Performance Space when her husband, guitarist and playwright David Weisberg, encouraged her to sign up for a 10-week course that essentially brought a group of professional and amateur musicians together for impromptu sessions.
“I had so much fun I got bitten by the bug,” she says. “From that course a few people came together and we spent nine months practicing before our first gig, which was in an Albuquerque bowling alley.” … Continue reading »
Berkeley celebrated Independence Day in a variety of ways — flying the flag, eating, drinking, spending time with friends and family, and enjoying a stunning fireworks display at the Marina. We’re delighted to publish some of the photographs shared by Berkeleyside readers.
Berkeleyside publishes many articles every day. To see all our stories in chronological order, and read ones you may have missed, check out All the News.
FOURTH OF JULY AT THE MARINA Celebrate the Fourth of July on Saturday at the Berkeley Marina, from noon to 10 p.m. Enjoy food trucks and booths, handmade crafts, free dragon boat rowing from 12 to 5 p.m., pony rides, a petting zoo, an inflatable bouncy area, water bubble balls (pictured above) and more. The Adventure Playground will be open until 8 p.m. for children to use hammers, nails, saws and paint with parent supervision. The event culminates in fireworks over the water south of the Berkeley Pier at 9:35 p.m., presented by the City of Berkeley. The Berkeley Marina is at 201 University Ave. Parking in the Marina is $15 for the day, or you can ride your bike over the Berkeley bicycle overpass and use the free valet parking near Adventure Playground. Admission is free. Details on transportation and events at www.anotherbullwinkelshow.com. … Continue reading »
Did you hear about Monday’s Berkeley High reunion at Freight & Salvage? It’s listed on the club’s calendar as a double bill pairing Peter Apfelbaum’s Sparkler and Natalie Cressman’s band, but the indefatigably creative Apfelbaum has essentially assembled a Yellow Jacket conclave with his new electronica-laced band, which features a multi-generational cast of Berkeley High grads and a couple of ringers from nearby. The group released an EP of shimmering dance music last year, I Colored It In For You (M.O.D. Technologies), which includes a remix by bassist and studio wizard Bill Laswell.
For the Freight show Will Bernard, class of 1977, is out from New York with Apfelbaum to provide relentlessly grooving rhythm guitar. East Bay-based Erika Oba, class of 2004, is filling in for the band’s regular keyboardist, while Brooklyn’s Charlie Ferguson, class of 2006, is covering the drum chair (he brings his stellar Afrobeat band Zongo Junction to The New Parish on Aug. 7 with bassist Noah Garabedian, another Berkeley-to-Brooklyn classmate).
“We have this whole reservoir of musicians,” says Apfelbaum, who belongs to the first generation that came through the groundbreaking jazz-steeped BUSD music education program that Herb Wong introduced in the late 1960s. “And not just in jazz. There are so many different style that these musicians play. Charlie had already studied with Josh Jones for three years while at Berkeley High before he studied with me at the New School. I’ll show him some rhythmic figure and he does his own thing with it. I don’t need explain a lot.” … Continue reading »