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

MUSIC EVERYWHERE  The Downtown Berkeley MusicFest kicks off tonight and runs for four days, involving over 35 performances at ten downtown venues, including Bec’s, Bobby G’s, Jupiter, the Jazzschool, Shattuck Down Low, and Subterranean Arthouse. It’s the fifth MusicFest, which is organized jointly by the Downtown Berkeley Association and the Freight & Salvage Cofeehouse. There’s music for all tastes, from salsa to skronk, world to blues, jazz, rock, R&B and reggae. The free kick-off concert tonight features fiddler/dancer Laura Cortese and a funky-jazz set from the Mike Sweetland quartet outside the Downtown Berkeley BART station from 5-7pm. More information on the MusicFest’s website.

MOVIE HOMETOWN TALENT  “Robot & Frank” opens on general release on Friday, and reader Dr Moovyman writes in to let us know that its director, Jake Schreier, is a BHS alum (’99). The music is composed by another BHS alum, Francis Starlite, also class of ’99.  Starring Peter Sarsgaard, Frank Langella and Susan Sarandon, the movie tells the story of an ex-jewel thief who lives sometime in the near future who receives a gift from his son: a robot butler programmed to look after him. The two companions are soon trying their their luck as a heist team. “Robot & Frank” is playing at many movie theaters locally, including Albany Twin and Piedmont Theatre.

EGYPTIAN PERSPECTIVE  On Friday, Occupy Knit-in Berkeley is hosting a discussion with Gihan Abou Zeid, the Egyptian revolutionary activist and journalist, titled “The Egyptian Revolution through female eyes: eyewitness from Tahir Square”. Abou Zeid was part of the 2011 revolution which brought millions of people to Tahrir Square to demand, among many things, that President Mubarek step down. Abou Zeid distributed a box of knitted items sent to Tahrir Square activists last December by the Occupy Berkeley Solidarity Knit-in. Abou Zeid will present a slideshow as part of her talk which is on Friday 24 at 7:00 pm at Historic Fellowship Hall, 924 Cedar Street (near Bonita). Suggested donation: $5-$10. No one turned away for lack of funds. More information on the Occupy Berkeley Knit-in website.

FREE STREET FEST  The fourth season of Berkeley’s LastSundaysFest showcases the hottest indie bands, street food, artisan crafts, and handmade jewelry. It runs Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Telegraph is closed to traffic from Dwight to Durant for shopping, strolling, and festivities. Music starts at noon. Oakland’s Dark Beach features original material by songwriter Faith Gardner on lead vocals and guitar, and Melissa Dale on drums. The world’s youngest rock band, Haunted by Heroes, Miss Lonely Hearts, The Fashion Slaves, and The Dandelion War all play the LastSundaysFest stage. There will be a surprise guest band announced on LastSundaysFest’s Facebook and Twitter on Saturday. Visit LastSundaysFest website for more details.

MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR  Historian Richard Schwartz will lead his third walking tour of West Berkeley on Saturday morning. Schwartz promises to tell the story of an early West Berkeley eccentric and how he attempted to make part of West Berkeley into a sanatorium and beach destination, utilizing indoor baths and spas rivaling the Sutro Baths of San Francisco. The tour will also include the site of Berkeley’s first town hall, the first school, more images and details about the terrific French Quarter and the giant French brewery. The tour starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday from Builders Booksource on Fourth Street and costs $10. Details are available on the bookstore’s website.

Don’t forget these other weekend events, previously on Berkeleyside:

“Pretty Poison”: Free outdoor screening at BAM-PFA
Birds of a feather: Freight Fiddle Summit and Skronkathon

Also, check out the newly launched Berkeleyside Radio, which presents music from many bands that will be playing around town in the next two weeks. You can stream it, too. Produced by Deli Radio.


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To find out about more events in Berkeley and nearby, visit Berkeleyside’s Events Calendar. We also encourage you to submit your own events.