A ROCK OPERA THRILLER This weekend, First Look Sonoma and ROCKIT Opera is presenting three performances of the world premiere of composer/librettist (and Berkeley local) Sheli Nan’s SAGA of the 21st Century Girl: A Rock Opera Thriller. The new opera stars Crystal Philippi as a disturbed young girl struggling to cope with her self-absorbed mother (Valentina Osinski) and gutless father (Jo Vincent Parks) and their dysfunctional home. Portraying various aspects of the predatory impulse are the Shadows, both hilarious and genuinely frightening, portrayed by Alexis Lane Jensen and John Duykers. The company says the show, with its “completely original narrative with haunting musical themes is dynamic, captivating, and humorous at times.” SAGA is recommended for mature audiences. SAGA opens tonight and there are performances Saturday and Sunday. The show is at the Osher Studio, 2055 Center St. in downtown Berkeley. Visit First Look Sonoma online for details. (more…)
On Saturday and Sunday a beautiful, landmarked UC Berkeley-owned building will move across town, inching its way slowly from campus on a flat-bed rig up Centennial Drive to its new home at the UC Botanical Garden in Strawberry Canyon.
PARKS MAKE LIFE BETTER The City of Berkeley is hosting Parks Make Life Better month, and this weekend a celebration at San Pablo Park will cap off the festivities. Volunteers will be able to plant trees across Berkeley from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., with transportation from San Pablo Park provided, followed by a community barbecue from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. The barbecue will be followed by a carnival and landscaping and tree-climbing demonstrations until 3 p.m. The event will begin at 2800 Park St. on Saturday July 20. Free admission. View the full Parks Make Life Better flier.
A beautiful Berkeley redwood grove that is one of the city’s lesser known gems is the setting for a series of concerts organized by the UC Botanical Garden.
BE PREPARED A 6.9-magnitude earthquake will hit the Hayward Fault on Saturday, Apr. 27 — simulated in a citywide emergency preparedness drill. Sign up on the city page to participate in local neighborhood drills from 9 to 11 a.m. No matter what your level of community emergency response team (CERT) training, you’re welcome to join in the drills, feedback from experts, and then a citywide debriefing. Earthquake prediction remains a field filled with more noise than signal, but seismologists have consistently warned that the Big One is likely to hit the Hayward Fault in the foreseeable future. Read the Berkeleyside article on the emergency drill.
AN ENDURING VOICE The singer Janis Ian definitely has staying power. She had her first hit in 1965 when she was 14 – “Society’s Child” (“I learned the truth at 17 / that love was meant for beauty queens), and this year won her third Emmy for Best Spoken Word Album. The London Times, in describing a recent concert, said, “The show was all about the songs, the lyrics, the person; but posterity also demands a quick mention of her acoustic guitar. She played it so beautifully, with an attention to touch and tone far exceeding that of the great majority of singers accompanying themselves in this way.” Ian will be performing Friday March 29 at 8 p.m. at Freight & Salvage. Vocalist Diana Jones will open the set.
YEAR OF THE SNAKE Thank your lucky stars that you don’t need to brave Beijing Railway Station, reportedly the busiest spot on Earth this weekend, to find Lunar New Year celebrations. Berkeleyans can instead stroll over to Solano Avenue for a Lunar New Year parade and performance celebrating the Year of the Snake on Sunday. The performances kick off at 1o a.m. in Landmark Theatre’s Albany Twin, and include acrobatics by members of the SF Circus, Chinese dance by Ah-Lan Dance and Lion Dance and a martial arts display by Golden Lion. After the performance, there will be a parade up the entire length of Solano (on the sidewalk), starting at noon. Performance at Albany Twin, 1115 Solano Avenue, Albany, at 10 a.m. on Sunday.
WATCH THE AUDITIONS The San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival auditions start in Berkeley this weekend (continuing in San Francisco on Jan. 19-20) and are open to the public. According to those who have attended in the past, it’s a great event to see with each performance of a few minutes offering an incredible variety of dancing. Kids go free, adults $10 and it’s in-and-out privileges, so you can watch for a while, go out to lunch, come back and watch some more. Auditions take place on Saturday and Sunday Jan. 12 and 13 at Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus from 11am – 7pm. For details visit the Festival’s website. (more…)
A cold front coming through the Bay Area over the next few days is forecast to bring temperatures in Berkeley to near-record lows, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures on Thursday, Friday and Saturday are expected to plumb the low 30s. The record low for January 10 at Oakland Airport was 26 degrees in 1949. The day’s average low is 42 degrees.
The UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, nestled in Strawberry Canyon, seems one of the few parts of Berkeley where political agendas can safely be set aside. But the politics-free zone of the garden was disturbed on Tuesday when right-wing bloggers, Fox News and the House Energy and Commerce Committee confected a story out of one of the artworks in the current Natural Discourse exhibition (which Berkeleyside will review later today).