The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley, weekend of June 27-30

Chico Suave, who will perform in the first drag show at the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza
Chico Suave, one of the performers in the Pride drag show at Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza on Thursday evening. Photo: courtesy Chico Suave

PRIDE ON THE PLAZA Eagle-eyed readers will note that we’re starting the weekend early, with a Thursday event at the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza. But the first Berkeley Pride Drag Show – and more – demanded a quick heads up. “This is a historic Pride weekend, marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City,” said John Caner, CEO, Downtown Berkeley Association. “While we recognize most of the action will be in SF and NYC, we thought we would start the weekend early in Berkeley, and bring some fabulous queer joy and creativity to our new BART Plaza.” The drag show kicks off at 5 p.m., with performers including Chico Suave, Kel Dae, Sgt Die Wies, Randy Puck, Vera Hannush, and Holden & Tanya with Caleb Arring. Following the drag performances, Oakland-based Circle Left gender neutral contra dance organizers will take over the Plaza. All ages, orientations, gender identities and experience levels are welcome. Finally, starting at 7:30 p.m., New York-based Mya Byrne and the Something Extra close the Pride celebration with their mix of folk, blues and country music. Thursday, June 27, 5-8 p.m., Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza.

AFTER MINDFULNESS The 11th Global Conference on Buddhism, After Mindfulness urban retreat, will be held on the UC Berkeley campus this weekend (left). For two days, there are a host of talks, guided meditations, demonstrations, and random acts of kindness. Talks will be in Zellerbach Hall, festival activities on Lower Sproul Plaza, and practice activities in the MLK Student Union. The event is hosted by the university’s Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership. Berkeley community members can get a 10% discount by using the code FUNG. Full schedule is available on the retreat’s website. Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30.

COMIC CON OK, not that Comic Con with vast hordes in San Diego next month. This is Berkeley Comic Show, a self-confessed “old-school comic book show,” on Sunday at the Berkeley Adult School. One of the promised highlights: local comics legend Erik Larsen, artist for Savage Dragon, Spider-Man, and almost every other major DC and Marvel character. A couple of dozen vendors will be at the show, eager to satisfy comic collector urges. Sunday, June 30, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Berkeley Adult School, 1701 San Pablo Ave.

BETTY REID SOSKIN Local political activist Betty Reid Soskin is best known for her key role in the establishment of the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond. She worked in a segregated union hall, Boilermaker’s A-36, during the war. In 1945 she and her husband, Mel Reid, opened Reid’s Records in Berkeley (the record store, California’s oldest, is closing after 75 years this fall). At 97-years-old, Soskin remains an active park ranger. Last year, she published her memoir, Sign My Name to Freedom. on Sunday, Soskin will be interviewed by journalist Brenda Payton at the Epworth United Methodist Church in North Berkeley. Sunday, June 30, 2 p.m., Epworth United Methodist Church, 1953 Hopkins St.


HOW-TO FESTIVAL On Saturday, the Tarea Hall Pittman South Branch Library hosts an afternoon of community-based skill sharing at the How-To Festival. Among the presentations will be plant propagation from Gold Finch Designs, home coffee roasting (using a popcorn popper!) from Sweet Maria’s, fermenting veggies from Preserved and water-wise gardening from EBMUD. Staff from the Tool Lending Library will give presentations on both home composting and building a Little Library. Saturday, June 29, 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., South Branch Library, 1901 Russell St.

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