The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley, weekend of April 12-14

Alvin Ailey dancers Samantha Figgins and Jacquelin Harris, part of the season at Cal Performances. Photo: Andrew Eccles

ALVIN AILEY The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is in the middle of its annual residency at Cal Performances (visits started in 1968). The five weekend performances span four different programs, from Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s Shelter, which explores the plight of the homeless, to artistic director Robert Battle’s jazz tribute, Ella. The residency also includes three Bay Area premieres—the Cal Performances co-commission Lazarus, a new ballet by hip hop pioneer Rennie Harris, inspired by Ailey’s life and legacy; Ronald K. Brown’s The Call, which blends Bach, jazz, and Malian music; and Jessica Lang’s celebratory work, EN. Two matinees feature Timeless Ailey, a retrospective piece spanning 30 years of Ailey’s choreography, and culminate in his best-loved work, Revelations. Friday, April 12, 8 p.m., Saturday, April 13, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sunday, April 14, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Zellerbach Hall.

WALK TO WHAT’S NEXT If you’ve wandered around downtown Berkeley in the last few days, you might have noticed banners celebrating the range of activities available in the area. “Walk to What’s Next” is the Downtown Berkeley Association’s new marketing campaign, to encourage people throughout the Bay Area to come to downtown to, well, walk to things. On Friday, the campaign launches at the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza with live music, a trivia game run by A Couple of N3rds (apparently there is a trivia night available downtown every night of the week), and live comedy. Friday, April 12, 4-8 p.m., Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza.

LOOK AT ME HUNGRY The Berkeley Art Center’s new exhibition, Look At Me Hungry, opens with a reception on Saturday. Featuring works by artists Kim Bennett, Arthur Huang, Xi Nan, Joyce Nojima, Sandra Ono and James Sansing, the works “evolve from an obsessiveness and immersion in the process of making — something like hunger — while evoking the tension between being fully realized abstract ‘things’ and pieces disintegrating into their many components.” The exhibition runs until May 25. Opening reception, Saturday, April 13, 6-8 p.m., Berkeley Art Center, 1275 Walnut St.

CHELY WRIGHT The conservatism within much of the country music establishment has been on view this month with the flap over the classification of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road.” Chely Wright rose to country music fame in the ’90s, and then became the first star in the genre to come out as gay in her 2010 memoir, Like Me. The same year, she founded the LIKEME Organization, a nonprofit to provide assistance, resources and education to LGBT individuals and their family and friends. She’s performing at the Freight on Sunday night. Sunday, April 14, 7 p.m., Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St.


JAZZSCHOOL STUDIO BAND On Sunday night, you can hear great jazz and support a good cause. The Jazzschool Studio Band, led by Dave Eshelman, is performing a benefit concert to raise money for their summer European tour. Sunday, April 14, 5:30 p.m., Rendon Hall/Fiddler Annex, California Jazz Conservatory, 2040 Addison St.

Don’t miss these other events covered on Berkeleyside:

The welcoming musical world of Briana Di Mara
Big Screen Berkeley: 62nd San Francisco International Film Festival