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

    BCCO 50TH The Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra celebrates its golden anniversary this weekend with three concerts at UC Berkeley’s Hertz Hall. The program from the non-auditioned community chorus includes the first performances of “I Think I Shall Praise It,” composed by Napa-based Kurt Erickson for the BCCO 50th celebration, two movements from Brahms’ German Requiem, selections from Handel’s Messiah, Sibelius’ Finlandia and Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. In addition to the concerts, the BCCO has built a special website for the 50th birthday, filled with stories about the group’s first half century. Performances are free, but donations are welcome. Friday, Jan. 8, 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 9 and Sunday, Jan. 10, 3 p.m., Hertz Hall.  (more…)

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

    KING LEAR You might think summer theater in the park is a time for light-hearted romps. Think again. Inferno Theatre, together with the Actors Ensemble of Berkeley, will be performing Shakespeare’s “King Lear” for free in John Hinkel Park, opening on Saturday, Aug. 22. The production is adapted and directed by Guilio Cesare Perrone. Inferno Theatre says the production “condenses and intensifies this seminal family tragedy with striking visuals, physicality and live music. Gender is fluid with many male roles presented as female.” The amphitheater opens at 3 p.m. for picnicking and the performance begins at 4 p.m. Runs Saturdays and Sundays, with a special Labor Day performance on Sept. 7 to close the run. John Hinkel Park, 41 Somerset Place.  (more…)

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

    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 (more…)

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

    WATCH THE MOVIE ‘SOLD’ The movie Sold, directed by Jeffrey D. Brown, has been lauded at film festivals around the globe as a searing look into the widespread practice of sexual slavery of young girls. Based on Patricia McCormick’s 2006 novel, “Sold,” the film traces the story of Lakshmi, a 13-year-old girl from Nepal. After a monsoon devastates her house, she decides she will help her family by going to work as a maid for a wealthy woman in the city. Lakshmi instead finds herself sold to a brothel, named the“Happiness House. The Berkeley Anti-Trafficking Coalition and the Institute for South Asian Studies at UC Berkeley will be showing the film Friday at 6 p.m. in Room 2040 of the Valley Life Sciences building. It stars Niyar, Gillian Anderson, and David Arquette. Brown, who plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign to distribute the film in theaters, will do a Q&A session after the screening. Suggested donation is $5. (more…)

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

    FILM FESTIVAL The Berkeley Video & Film Festival is a two-weekend feast of independent film, and it starts tonight, Oct. 30. Each year the East Bay Media Center narrows down(but not by much!) more than 100 submissions to a spectacular and international selection of shorts, animations, documentaries, and feature films. From a global dance documentary to animated sexual organs, there’s something for everyone. It all starts with a Student Film Marathon this weekend, and Berkeley High students get in free with ID. Otherwise, tickets for each film cost $10, or $5 for students and seniors, and they’re available at the door or by calling (510) 843-3699. A $25 pass gets you access to the whole festival. All films are screened at 1939 Addison Street. (more…)

  • Heard at the movies: Orchestra Nostalgico plays Berkeley

    A great film score doesn’t just highlight the action on screen. It can set the scene, amplify the mood, juice the rhythmic flow, and add psychological depth to characters. At its best, movie music can stand apart from the images for which it was conceived, and for almost two decades Orchestra Nostalgico has dedicated itself to celebrating the work of masters such as Nino Rota, Ennio Morricone, and Bernard Herrmann.

  • Evie Ladin: Stompin’ In the East Bay

    Evie Ladin was practically born dancing, and she’s made it her life’s work to get everyone around her moving and grooving. Best known as a founding member of the all-female East Bay old-time combo The Stairwell Sisters, she’s also a bandleader in her own right who has released two albums featuring her inventive arrangements of old-time tunes and consistently captivating original songs.

  • Born to be Blue: Dina Maccabee plays Berkeley

    Violinist/vocalist Dina Maccabee came to Joni Mitchell relatively late, but once she discovered “Blue” the nakedly confessional 1971 album lodged deep in her musical consciousness. She had the rare opportunity to reimagine the album last year as guest curator for UnderCover Presents at Brava Theatre, an event reprised Monday and Tuesday at Freight & Salvage with the same dazzling cast of some 50 artists.

  • Klezmer dance party: Veretski Pass plays Berkeley

    The Veretski Pass, a rugged route through the eastern Carpathian mountains, served as the transit point for Jews returning to Hungary after an expulsion in the early 16th century. Once part of Czechoslovakia and now in Ukraine, the pass also brought Gypsies, Ruthenians and Czechs to the region where Berkeley violinist Cookie Segelstein’s father was born. In exploring the music of this lost community, she created Veretski Pass, a chamber klezmer trio that performs Thursday Oct. 18 at the Starry Plough on a triple bill with La Pêche and Balkalicious Fire Drive as part of the pub’s monthly Berkeley Balkan Bachanal series.

  • Foxtails Brigade: Roots on Berkeley’s Fourth Street

    On a sunny day, Berkeley offers few better venues than the corner of Fourth Street in front of Peet’s Coffee. Prime real estate for buskers, the unregulated spot seems to attract an unusually accomplished array of performers, from Berkeley High jazz combos and string bands to soul outfits and lone fingerstyle guitarists.