The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley, weekend of Aug. 17-19

Some of the delightful weirdness of Bell Plastics in Hayward. You can visit at the open house on Sunday. Photo: Quirky Berkeley

BELL PLASTICS OK. It’s not in Berkeley. I get it. But Tom Dalzell, master of all things Quirky Berkeley, has our hearts beating faster for this rare open house at Hayward’s Bell Plastics (and we get to run a cool photo). Bell Plastics held its first-ever open house last year, to celebrate the 50th birthday of Big Mike, the giant muffler man sculpture created by Bell. This new tradition is continuing this Sunday. If you’re a fan of what Greil Marcus calls “old weird America,” you’ll be there. Sunday, Aug. 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Bell Plastics, 2020 National Ave., Hayward.

SHAKESPEARE ABRIDGED Since we’re in a world where laughs are in short supply, you’ll find it good for your health to see the Actors Ensemble of Berkeley’s production of The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), which opens at the John Hinkel Park Amphitheater on Saturday. Originated by the Reduced Shakespeare Company in the early ’80s, The Complete Works presents all 37 plays (yes, even King John and Timon of Athens) in extremely abbreviated form. And just when you’re breathless from that whirlwind, stand ready for even more abbreviation. No spoilers. Performances on Saturdays and Sundays, plus Labor Day. Opens Saturday, Aug. 18, 4 p.m., John Hinkel Park Amphitheater, 41 Somerset Pl.

HIGH COUNTRY The folks at The Back Room are very good about keeping The It List informed about their gigs. But they’re genuinely giddy with excitement about the Golden Anniversary performance by High Country (left), the West Coast’s longest-lived bluegrass band, on Saturday. The current line-up will all be there (although they’ll have to squeeze to fit into the intimate space), and a good number of former band members will be joining the celebration. Saturday, Aug. 18, 8 p.m., The Back Room, 1984 Bonita Ave.

HANDRAIL CORRIDOR If you’re occasionally deterred from enjoying Berkeley’s extensive network of paths through the hills because you need something to grab hold of, your moment will arrive on Saturday. The Berkeley Path Wanderers Association will be celebrating the opening of the “handrail corridor,” a mile of nearly continuous paths stretching between Euclid Avenue and Grizzly Peak Boulevard, all with handrails. The celebration will have an inaugural walk and ribbon cutting. If you want to join you can meet at Spruce and Los Angeles at 3 p.m. to walk 0.7 miles to the base of the corridor on Euclid. Or, you can just show up to Lower El Mirador Path on Euclid at 3:30 p.m. [Note: this item originally said the event was on Sunday as the organizers had it listed as such. It’s Saturday not Sunday!]


SKIP THE NEEDLE Four bandleaders – Shelley Doty, Kofy Brown, Katie Colpitts and Vicki Randle – make up Skip the Needle. “Their mission: to annihilate with love!” Their style is described as “reckless, eclectic, fearless.” “If Sly Stone, Jimi Hendrix, Chrissie Hynde and Chaka cloned a baby, this would be the result.” If that’s your jam, the Freight & Salvage has you covered on Saturday night. Saturday, Aug. 18, 8 p.m., Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St.

Don’t miss these other events covered on Berkeleyside:

Playing Berkeley: Ed Reed and Sam Priven, veteran cat and young lion
Big Screen Berkeley: ‘The Captain’