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

    SANDZONE FOR KIDS This weekend is the last chance for your kids to enjoy the one-week popup Sand Zone that Habitot created by transforming a 3,600 square foot parking lot at Adeline and Alcatraz in Berkeley into a giant sandbox to promote active play for children of all ages.  Habitot received a $32,000 grant to create the play area from the 50 Fund — the legacy fund of the San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee NFL Foundation and KaBoom! SandZone is open 10am-6pm, and on Friday from 10am-8pm. The 48’ x 48’ pop-up play zone features 1,152 cubic feet of sand, 6” deep, with rain protection. Caribbean and Filipino food trucks will sell food throughout the week, and each day is themed with Friday being “Luau Party,” Saturday is “Treasure Island,” and Sunday  is”Sand Castles.” Once it’s over, Habitot will distribute the SandZone materials to low-income preschools in the East Bay. SandZone is free and open to the public. Families may register at: sandzone.eventbrite.com (more…)

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

    CHEKHOV ON CAMPUS Some of the best theater in town is put on by the students in UC Berkeley’s Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies. The department is presenting Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, a classic tale of 20th-century social upheaval. This production, which opens Friday at Zellerbach Playhouse on the UC Berkeley campus and runs through Sunday, Nov. 1, is directed by senior lecturer Lura Dolas and based on a new translation by Libby Appel. “It’s a play about love and hope, fear and denial,” Dolas says, “as well as giving up treasured beliefs and ways of life, and looking to the future–rushing headlong into it.” Tickets are $13-$20, and can be purchased online through the TDPS Box Office or at the door.

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

    EATS, BEATS & BREWS The food, drink and dancing street party returns to Berkeley this Sunday, June 21, from 12-6 p.m. on Center Street in downtown Berkeley. Eats, Beats & Brews is held the third Sunday of the month throughout the summer, with this first event featuring Fito Reinoso y su Ritmo y Armonia. Ruth Caspary of Latin Connection Dance will be teaching a basic salsa lesson. Food trucks with a variety of cuisines will line the streets, and a beer garden courtesy of Drake’s Brewing Company will spring up along the sidewalk. Center Street’s Restaurant Row will showcase over 15 different international cuisines and even more options from food trucks such as Kenny’s Heart & Soul food truck. The spacious outdoor beer garden will feature Bay Area favorite Drakes Brewing Company, transforming the street into a pedestrian promenade in the heart of downtown. (more…)

  • In Berkeley: It’s a woman’s woman’s woman’s world

    Sisterhood isn’t just powerful it sounds hella good. Venues around Berkeley hardly need International Women’s Day (March 8) for inspiration to feature great female musicians, but from Freight & Salvage to R. Kassman Fine Pianos and Berkeley High there are numerous women-centric concerts and events taking place in the coming days.

  • Eddie Marshall: More than a drummer

    Some three years after the death of the beloved San Francisco drum maestro Eddie Marshall the loss still stings. Whether serving as a sideman or leading his own inventive combo, Marshall made the trap set purr and roar, generating tremendous swing with a minimum of fuss. His presence in the Bay Area felt particularly felicitous as he moved west after establishing himself as a top-shelf New York player, known for his work with Toshiko Akiyoshi, Stan Getz, and Sam Rivers. As the house drummer at Keystone Korner in North Beach, he provided impeccable rhythmic support to steady rotation of masters, while generously mentoring several generations of young Bay Area musicians.

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

    CAL DAY This year, Cal Day‘s theme is “One day. A million stories,” but it should probably be “One day. A million things to do.” The annual UC Berkeley open house is filled with lectures, tours, family-friendly events and information sessions for prospective students. Highlights include an exhibit featuring “the most disgusting animal on earth,” a panel of Cal’s Nobel laureate professors, and a student fine-art sale. The campus will be abuzz with activity beginning 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 12. For full details, visit Cal Day 2014 online. (more…)

  • Iva Bittová: Deep tales from behind the Iron Curtain

    As a  young artist coming of age in Czechoslovakia during the dark years of communist rule, Iva Bittová faced an array of stark options. She could challenge the despotic state directly and face censure and prison, or flee to the west and make her way as an exile. Instead, she choose a different path, mapping her interior landscape and the vagaries of the human heart. With her haunting, darkly sensual vocals and plangently evocative violin, she’s honed a powerful body of work that combines folkloric sources, conservatory technique and avant garde practices.

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

    ALL THAT JAZZ The second annual JazzGirls Day will be at Berkeley High on Saturday, Mar. 9. JazzGirls Day is for girls only, aged 10 and older, who play jazz or are thinking about trying it out. Participants are invited to join professional female jazz musicians and educators for the afternoon. Among those leading master classes and jam sessions are singer Pamela Rose (see photo), pianist Susan Muscarella, trumpeter Ellen Seeling, sax player Jeanne Feinberg, and trombonist Sarah Cline. JazzGirls Day is held in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center, and is co-sponsored by BUSD, Berkeley Jazz Parents’ Association, The Jazzschool and SF Jazz. JazzGirls Day is a free event. Rm. A201, Berkeley High, from 1-4 p.m. for the performance part, and 4-5:30 p.m. in The Little Theater for a free film screening on women and jazz (families welcome, and free popcorn promised).

  • Benefit for Dayna Stephens, top saxophonist, BHS alumnus

    Dayna Stephens knows a thing or two about overcoming obstacles. As a standout tenor saxophonist at Alameda High in the mid-1990s, he and a friend took over the jazz ensemble when the school’s band director quit at the beginning of his junior year. Looking for more rigorous musical training, he transferred to Berkeley High his senior year, and quickly became one of the vaunted jazz program’s leading lights. These days he’s one of the most respected saxophonists on the New York scene, and he’s facing a far more daunting challenge than an AWOL teacher.