The It List: 5 things to do this weekend (mostly from home), March 13-15

Entertainment for your coronavirus-provoked weekend of social distancing.

Cal falcons
Falcon courting and mating behavior on the Campanile was captured this year by a new and third webcam installed on the Campanile’s southwest corner. Grinnell is on the right, Annie on the left. Photo: Cal Falcons

Our usual roundup of weekend activities has been derailed by the coronavirus. Most events and performances have been canceled, and that’s likely to be the case for at least several weeks to come. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. Here are five options that also meet sensible health advice.

FALCONS OK, we realize the Berkeleyside team became kind of falcon-obsessed last year. And with good reason! Annie and Grinnell are captivating. Well, they’re back, and the first two eggs appeared Tuesday and this morning. Apparently the webcams have followers in 45 countries. If you haven’t logged on for some raptor observing, isn’t a period of social distancing the perfect moment?

KANOPY Count Kanopy among the many wonders of being a Berkeley library cardholder. It’s a free video streaming service, with thousands of films, many of which are impossible to access on more popular (and costly) platforms. Your library card gets you seven free movies a month, but Kanopy Kids provides unlimited viewing (and includes Sesame Street, among many other classics). I might grab a moment this weekend to stream the original Italian Job on Kanopy, just to hear Michael Caine say, “You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off.”

CENSUS You may have noticed an envelope in your mailbox from the U.S. Census Bureau. It bears a bit of a foreboding message (“Your response is required by law”), but what you’ll find inside is critically important. The 2020 Census is happening now, and the mailer has your code for answering questions online. You don’t actually need the code to be counted, but it makes it easier for the feds to track response rates. We’ll have much more info on the Census coming soon, but for now it’s essential to remember that an accurate count means significant federal resources related to affordable housing and food programs in California, as well as seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.


WILDFLOWERS The best advice on being virus-safe is to maintain social distancing. You can do that at home, but there’s no harm in getting outside as well (but try to avoid crowds). According to experts, you’re safer in the open air than indoors. So perhaps wander up to Tilden Park this weekend where it’s a good time to see spring wildflowers.

THE FIFTH RISK We’ve tried to keep this It List light-hearted, but if you’re seeking some weekend reading, rustle up a copy of Berkeley author Michael Lewis’ The Fifth Risk. Published in the fall of 2018, it’s a vivid picture of why the federal government matters – and the many ways the Trump administration has torn apart the structures of vital institutions in our government. It’s not literally about pandemic response, but it prefigures so much of what is happening – and not happening – at the federal level in the current crisis. If you’d rather have your anger stoked in a different direction, Berkeley resident Susan Fowler’s Whistleblower: My Journey to Silicon Valley and Fight for Justice at Uber, was published last month to ecstatic reviews.