The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley, weekend of Oct. 18-20

Music from singer songwriters, blues guitarist and world fusion, plus the first-ever city Open House and an original play perfectly timed for Hispanic Heritage Month.

Singer Monica Pasqual
Singer songwriter Monica Pasqual will be performing at The Freight on Saturday with her band, The Handsome Brunettes. Photo: courtesy Freight & Salvage

MONICA PASQUAL If you’ve encountered the “mostly women” band Blame Sally, you’ve heard Monica Pasqual. But she also has a thriving solo career which has garnered her five Independent Music Awards and six Emmy Awards. Here’s what critic Paul Freeman had to say about her: “Pasqual is very special artist, exploring love, loss and life in profoundly moving ways. To know her music is to love it. Far more people should get to know it.” On Saturday, she’ll be singing at The Freight, accompanied by her band, The Handsome Brunettes. Saturday, Oct. 19, 8 p.m., Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St.

CITY OPEN HOUSE The city of Berkeley is holding its first-ever Open House on Sunday at Civic Center Park. It’s a chance to meet staff and elected officials, and see some of the tools they use to get their work done. For kids (and adults who retain kid-like enthusiasm) there will be garbage, vector, backhoe, street sweeper and firefighting ladder trucks. Plus there’s a bouncy house, face painting and toddler activities. Animals from Berkeley Animal Care Services will be in the park. City staff will be on hand to talk about recreation programs and planned capital projects. Plus much more from staff involved in parks, police, economic development, public works, IT, sustainable development, Berkeley Marina and the Rent Board. If you’re interested in working for the city, human resources staff will also be on hand. Sunday, Oct. 20, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Civic Center Park.

WHO SHOT LA MIGUELITO? Local writer/director Sean San José’s Who Shot La Miguelito is at Zellerbach Playhouse for a short run this weekend (an appropriate conclusion to National Hispanic Heritage Month). The play parallels the murder of a young street artist in the Mission District with the death of immigrant, working class neighborhoods. “Mapping the Mission in murals, tags, stickers, stencils, and socio-political protest art, the piece invites the audience to see, hear, and move with refugees, immigrants, first gens – and ghosts.” Originally written for the San Francisco performance group Campo Santo, San José has created a new work with UC Berkeley’s Theater, Dance & Performance Studies students with an original score and student stories. Performances on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m., Zellerbach Playhouse.

ELI COOK Eli Cook, who plays The Back Room on Saturday, took up the guitar as a teenager in the Blue Ridge foothills of Virginia. According to The Back Room, he blends the influences of “John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Fred MacDowell, Bukka White and Lightning Hopkins with the likes of Clutch, Soundgarden, C.O.C. and Rage Against the Machine.” Whew. Why not see for yourself? Saturday, Oct. 19, 8 p.m., The Back Room, 1984 Bonita Ave.

BARAKA MOON Here’s a mix: mystical Sufi trance songs, Indian ragas, African grooves and the Australian Aboriginal didgeridoo. That’s what you’ll get with Baraka Moon at Ashkenaz on Saturday night. The group, based in the Bay Area, includes Sukhawat Ali Khan, Stephen Kent, Peter Warren and Anastasi Mavrides. Saturday, Oct. 19, 8:30 p.m., Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Ave.

Don’t miss these other events covered on Berkeleyside:

6 must-see Litquake literary events this week in the East Bay 
Hālao O Kakuhi, a dance of revolution, and Māhealani Uchiyama’s Pasifika