The Sit List: 5 ways to learn about Berkeley’s culture

This week, learn about the Ohlone people; hear a string quartet or electronic music; join a Black history song and storytelling performance; discover the early Berkeley food scene.

OHLONE LAND We need to respect and raise up the voices of Indigenous communities in the East Bay and around the globe. This week, we can learn about Berkeley’s Ohlone history in a lecture by Corrina Gould, the Tribal Chair of the Confederated Villages of Lisjan and a Traditional Spokesperson. She will talk about the colonization of the Ohlone people in the East Bay and the effects it has had on the Indigenous community throughout history and now. She will also explain the spiritual value of the Lisjan territory and how its sacred sites have been violated by modern urbanization. Finally, she’ll describe how the creation of the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust has helped revitalize the culture of the Tribe. Learn more about these urgent and important issues affecting our Indigenous community. Thursday, Feb. 25. 7-8:15 p.m. RSVP here. 

The Takacs Quartet
The Takács Quartet. Photo: Cal Performances

STRING QUARTET Open your ears to deep, powerful, and resonating string music by the Takács Quartet, who are performing as part of the Cal Performances at Home series. Musicians Richard O’Neill (viola), András Fejér (cello), Harumi Rhodes, and Edward Dusinberre (violins) will give a grand performance to a digital audience. They’ll play classics like Haydn’s String Quartet in G major, Op. 77, No. 1; Britten’s String Quartet No. 3; and Brahms’ String Quartet No. 3 in B-flat major, Op. 67. If you’re in need of a sweet escape, let the rich sounds of violin, viola, and cello transport you to a different time and age. Their recorded broadcast will be available starting Thursday, Feb. 25 until April 28. Tickets are $5 for Cal Students and $15 for a single viewer.

Dax Pierson. Photo: Lance Yamamoto

BLACK LIFE Black History Month is drawing to a close, and while we’ve learned a lot over the last month, don’t let your education stop now. BAMPFA is continuing its Black Life programming that features Black artists and makers. This week, they will host a performance by Dax Pierson, an electronic musician and music producer who co-founded the bands Subtle and 13 & God, and plays as a live member of Themselves. Pierson was in a tour accident in 2005, which left him with quadriplegia. Overcoming limitations, Pierson has innovated his musical practice to produce experimental music using a laptop and iOS devices. Be inspired by this resilient artist. Friday, Feb. 25. 6 p.m. Register in advance.

BLACK RESILIENCE The Marsh Theatre will be celebrating the final days of Black History Month with “An Evening of Negro Spirituals: Crossing Rivers and Building Bridges through Song,” led by Dr. Candace Y. Johnson. The actress, soprano, and scholar will combine her historical knowledge with her vocal and theatrical training to dive into the history of African immigrants and their descendants. She will lead us through how they transcended the horrors of slavery through developing a musical culture. The Marsh writes of the event, “A captivating mélange of mystery, tenderness, resistance, and triumph, Johnson’s songbook and stories aim to entertain, enlighten, and build bridges across generations, races, and cultures.” Saturday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 28 at 5 p.m. No cover charge, but “pay what you can” donations welcome.


Narsai David at his eponymous restaurant in Kensington. Photo: Courtesy Madeline Metal

CALIFORNIA CUISINE The Berkeley food scene is just as abuzz now as it was decades ago. Food and wine entrepreneur Narsai David will reflect on his history in the Berkeley food scene starting from his arrival to the Bay Area in 1953. He’ll talk about the Pot Luck Restaurant, the start of his catering business that had clients like rock star Bill Graham, the Napa Valley Wine Auction, and the San Francisco Symphony, and his experience running his own Narsai’s Restaurant in Kensington. He will be in conversation with food writer, publisher and filmmaker L. John Harris. Join this conversation and expect to get hungry! Sunday, Feb. 28. 2-3:30 p.m. Suggested donation $5-20.