The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend, Nov. 16-17

Runners at the start of the 2017 Berkeley Half Marathon. Photo: Courtesy Berkeley Half Marathon

BERKELEY HALF MARATHON The Biofreeze Berkeley Half Marathon is back on Sunday, Nov. 17, and more than 9,000 runners are expected to fill the streets of the city, according to the organizers, for what is actually four runs: a 13.5-mile half marathon; a 10K “moderate” race for runners of all experience levels; a “fast, fun and family-friendly” 5K; and an all-ages 1K fun run (which you may also walk, if that’s your preference). “Whether a runner comes in just for race day or makes a trip out of it with their loved ones, all are invited to partake in a weekend of festivities,” say the organizers on the marathon website, where you can find details of the courses, FAQs and how to register.

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN BERKELEY EXHIBIT “African Americans in Berkeley: Four Families,” an exhibit at the Berkeley Historical Society, continues through April 4, 2020, and is open to the public Thursday through Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. Curated by Dr. Stephanie Anne Johnson and Harvey Smith, the exhibit focuses on four families with deep roots and connections to Berkeley history, and includes a rich photographic record and personal memorabilia from each extended family: the Reids, the Howards, the Rumfords and the Griffins. In addition, there is a chronological outline of the role of African Americans in Berkeley from the 1850s through the explosion in population during World War II, the civil-rights era, and up to the present, as the size of the black population in Berkeley steadily declines. On Sunday, Nov. 17, at 2 p.m. catch a screening of Welcome to the Neighborhood, a documentary featuring Berkeleyans Mable “Mama” Howard and Mildred Howard, that explores how the forces of inequality and skyrocketing housing costs are dismantling black communities. No admission charge (donations welcome). Wheelchair accessible. Visit Berkeley Historical Society for details.

THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE This weekend, Theater, Dance  and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley presents The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht, directed by Christine Nicholson of the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival. It is 75 years since Brecht completed this play within a play which tells the corresponding stories of a post-war land dispute in the Caucasus Mountains and a young servant who risks her life to raise an abandoned child. Brecht “masterfully employs historification and distancing to reveal the hidden (and not so hidden) oppression of the powerless by the powerful,” according to the production’s marketing materials. The production is at The Playhouse at Zellerbach Hall, Nov. 15–24, tickets $13–$20. Details at UC Berkeley Events.

NEXT TO NORMAL Another chance to see a UC Berkeley theater production: BareStage Productions, a student-run theater company, is putting on Next to Normal by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorke, a Tony Award-winning rock-pop musical about family trauma and mental illness. Next to Normal is the story of Diana Goodman and her family. Traumatized by the death of her infant son from an undiagnosed intestinal obstruction, Diana has lived with bipolar depressive disorder and delusional episodes for the past 17 years. “A small group of actors showcase powerhouse vocals while exploring pressing contemporary issues of trauma, loss, mental health, modern psychiatric practices and the meaning of family,” according to production marketing materials. Nov. 15 (preview) to Nov. 24, 72 Cesar Chavez Center, Berkeley 94720, Choral Rehearsal Hall. Details and tickets at UC Berkeley Events.

A MASS-UP A MASH-UP On Sunday, the UC Alumni Chorus, conducted by Dr. Mark Sumner, presents A Mass-Up, a Mash-Up of Movements from the Great Masses — “the finest examples of choral writing ever amassed from a thousand years of Eucharist and Requiem Mass settings,” according to the organizers, who add it will be “a seamless presentation of glorious excerpts preformed by a massive chorus and orchestra.” The concert features soprano Michele Kennedy and guest singers from the Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco, UC Berkeley’s Perfect Fifth, and the UC Men’s and Women’s Chorales — all under the direction of Sumner. Sunday, Nov 17, 3 p.m. Hertz Hall (near Bancroft Ave. and College Ave.), 101 Cross-Sproul Path (between School of Optometry and Hargrove Music Library), Berkeley 94704. Tickets $10-20, from UC Alumni Chorus.

Don’t miss these other events featured on Berkeleyside:

Kai Eckhardt’s all-star Resilience plays Berkeley
Big Screen Berkeley: ‘Scandacous,’ ‘Synonymes’ and ‘Crime 1978’
In ‘Living the Shuffle’ Robert Townsend delivers dramatic autobiography punctuated with punchlines


[Featured photo: Robert Smith.]