The Sit List: 5 ways to kick off the new year

Happy New Year, Berkeleyside readers! This week we’ve found ways to elevate your mind and body: dance, make music, watch and discuss films, discover the wonderful world of science.

In this week’s rendition of the California Academy of Science’s NightLife livestream series, which is tonight at 7 p.m., you’ll learn about the 213 new species that were added to the tree of life by Academy researchers this year. Photo: California Academy of Science

Happy New Year, Berkeleyside readers! We’re only a few days in and while there have been some bumps in the road — to say the least! — but we have a lot to look forward to. This week, we’ve found some ways to elevate your mind and body. You can dance and make music, watch and discuss films, and discover the wonderful world of science.

NEW YEAR, NEW SPECIES It’s a weird, wondrous, and wild world out there, and scientists are helping us learn more about it every day. In this week’s rendition of the California Academy of Science’s NightLife livestream series, you’ll learn about the 213 new species that were added to the tree of life by Academy researchers this year. The talk will explain why it’s important to discover and learn about new species of plants and animals, how to describe a new species, and the discovery of Africa’s first pygmy seahorse species. Learn, discover, expand your horizons, and welcome in the new year. 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7.

FREIGHT & SALVAGE What was your resolution for the new year? If you want to learn something new that’s fun and satisfying, consider taking a music class at Freight & Salvage, where you’ll hone the special craft of traditional music. If you’re already an instrumentalist, consider taking Funk Bass-ics with Ted Gould, Slide Guitar of George Harrison with Sam Smetana, or Intro to Mountain Dulcimer with Deborah Hamouris. If you want to cultivate the instrument that is your voice, check out the Women’s Singing Circle with Tamsen Fynn or Spirit Songs: Vocal Improvisation for All with Lisa Forkish. Even kids can take lessons like Intro to the Irish Fiddle with Leah Wollenberg. It’s a new year, so welcome to a new musical you. Classes vary in start date, length, and cost. First sessions begin on January 10.

Gif: All you can dance for just $10

DANCE IT OUT Start 2021 off right with a treat for your body and your soul. In the All You Can Dance Expo from Alonzo King Lines Ballet, you can enjoy a full day of online sample dance classes. If you’re a dancer,  former dancer, or aspiring dancer, this event is for you. You can taste every genre including ballet, belly dance, contemporary jazz, Horton, hip hop, modern, and Pilates. You’ll get the chance to foray into a new style or hone your favorite one. Each class will be 30 minutes and the schedule runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Get out of your comfort zone, and move it! Saturday, Jan. 9. $10.


MOVIES & POPCORN If you’re a movie buff, you’ll recall the warm community that emerges from a screening followed by a discussion. Even though we can’t gather inside, film organizers have made new ways to do what we love to do most: watch and talk about movies. In the CinemaLit Film Series, you’ll watch a movie on Kanopy, which you can access with a Berkeley Library Card, and then gather online for a Popcorn Pop-Up Salon. January’s theme is the Golden Silents, and this week’s screening will be Fritz Lang’s Dr. Mabuse the Gambler from 1922, which the organizers describe as “a textbook study of German Expressionism on film.” Come together while apart and appreciate the beauty of the moving image. Series convenes every Friday. This week’s discussion is on Friday, Jan. 8 at 6 p.m.

Curly Fries: A Working Title is a 6-part web series created by the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley. Image: Courtesy

CURLY FRIES What is it like for young people who are coming of age during the pandemic? Curly Fries: A Working Title — a 6-part web series created by the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley — gives a glimpse into how 12 young adults are carving out their own space during these strange and stressful times. You’ll watch how these characters figure out how to balance staying alive, paying rent, attending a racial justice protest, and finding love. Where do curly fries fit into this equation? You’ll just have to watch this free series to find out. On-demand now until May.