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

    SPIRITUALS AS SACRED MUSIC The Second Annual Black History Month Celebration on Sat. Feb. 28 will be a lively affair, with a program emphasizing the history of African-American spirituals as sacred music. The program at the Florence Schwimley Little Theater, 1936 Allston Way, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., will feature musical performances by some of the region’s most accomplished performers. Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Tour, a “Grammy-nominated, percussion-driven, vocal ensemble whose mission is to preserve and share the rich musical traditions of African-American roots music,” is the headliner. Othello Jefferson, Diamano Coura West African Dance Company, Berkeley High African American Dance Troupe, Sister’s Keeper, and James Daley will also be there. There will be a “Black Invention” display featuring 20 artifacts. There will be booths with food. (more…)

  • Neighbors petition to rename South Branch Library after civil-rights leader

    Update, April 23: The Board of Trustees of the Berkeley Public Library voted against renaming the South Branch after civil-rights leader Tarea Hall Pittman at its April 22 meeting. (See who is on the Board and listen to a recording of the meeting on the Library’s website.) The leader of the campaign in favor of the idea, Charles Austin, told Berkeleyside reporter Natalie Orenstein he was devastated, and that supporters would protest the decision at the next Berkeley City Council meeting. “Racism is alive in Berkeley,” he said. The South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library was remodeled two years ago, and soon it might be rechristened too.

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

    YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN Charlie Brown is coming to town with the opening on Saturday of Berkeley Playhouse’s production of the two-time Tony Award-winning musical You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown at the Julia Morgan Theater. The play, which is, of course, based on the famous comic strip “Peanuts,” by Charles M. Schulz, is directed and choreographed by Christina Lazo and music and lyrics are by Clark Gesner. In an innovative move, the theater group is partnering with Berkeley Humane with onsite pet adoptions during the production. “Snoopy was rescued from the puppy farm by Charlie Brown and we know that a number of puppies will be saved during the run of the show. We think Charlie Brown, Snoopy and all the Peanuts gang would be proud of that,” said Berkeley Playhouse Producing Artistic Director Daren A.C. Carollo. The show runs from Feb. 21 to March 15. Tickets are available through the by calling (510) 845-8542 Ext: 351, or visiting berkeleyplayhouse.org. Select “Pay What You Can” nights will be announced where tickets are sold on a sliding scale from $5-$20. (more…)

  • Op-ed: The Berkeley Public Library is central to our community

    The library is a critical component of our Berkeley community. As an organization, we must learn to listen and understand the trends that impact our patrons. The first step is an understanding of what those needs are. As part of our strategic planning process, I am following up with stakeholders and those who attended our Town Hall meetings. I am sending them the letter below that I am now turning into an open letter. I would invite all Berkeley residents to contact me about what the new Berkeley Public Library should be. Below is the letter:

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

    BEGINNER’S PARKOUR CLASS Most Berkeleyside readers know the ins and outs of our city. So why not take a weekend to explore familiar terrain from a new vantage point: upside-down, in the air, or rolling over it. SFParkour hosts monthly introductory classes, which occasionally — such as this Saturday, Jan. 10 — take place at UC Berkeley. Parkour is a sport that involves moving quickly and creatively through obstacles in an urban environment. Participants in the class will learn the philosophy of parkour, safety tips, and the basic moves. Everyone is welcome, but attendees under 16 need parental permission. Wear comfortable clothes and running shoes, and meet at Mulford Hall (north of University Drive) at 12 p.m. (more…)

  • Op-ed: The Berkeley Public Library — Shelter from the storm

    We’ve experienced quite the storm in Berkeley over this past week, both metaphorically and literally. Often, the media will focus on the negative aspects of a story such as the Berkeley protests, choosing to focus on that which turned violent, or the snarled traffic, and in the case of the recent weather storm, the flooded streets. I wanted to share with you some positive stories from these events, and the role your library has played in them.

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

    BERKELEY CITY COLLEGE 40TH ANNIVERSARY Berkeley may be best known for one of its higher-ed institutions, but this week a much-deserved spotlight will be trained on the other. Although it has gone by many different names over the years, Berkeley City College has been producing scholars for four decades. BCC’s 40th anniversary celebration will kick off Friday, Oct. 17, and will continue with various events and activities throughout the coming year. Starting at noon, the day will be packed with discussion panels, live music, campus tours, and presentations by a host of officials including Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. At 5:15 p.m. there will be a dedication of “From the Ground Up/Desde las raices,” a brand new mural created by local artists including BCC students. The college is located at 2050 Center St. RSVPs are encouraged. (more…)

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

    DATE NIGHT — WITH THE KIDS! On Saturday, Sept. 6, parents can bring their kids on a date night. Yes, you read that right. The fun evening of entertainment and cocktails being held at the Kala Art Institute will benefit CEID, an innovative local school for deaf and hard-of-hearing children. Parents get the cocktail date night where Lisa Rothman, a former producer and host for KPFA and KALW, will perform the one-woman show “Date Night at Pet Emergency,” while the kids attend the preschool’s pajama pizza party, learning sign language and meeting a service dog. Rothman says she’s doing the show as her way of saying thank you to the school which helped her son (who was born with a neurological disorder called apraxia) speak. Kala Art Institute, 2990 San Pablo Ave., 5:30-8:30 p.m. Show and cocktail reception, $60, pizza party for kids, $25. Advanced registration for childcare required. Tickets can be bought on Eventbrite. (more…)