Picks of the Week: Black history month, activism and culture

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For the first full week of Black History Month, The Daily Californian’s arts & entertainment staff has selected events central to learning more about Black history and becoming involved in activism today. We’ve also included an event at the Oakland Museum of California as well as the Russian Festival in San Francisco — both being chances to learn more about culture and traditions within the local area.

Thursday, Feb. 8 | Book talk with author Gordon Whitman at 109 Moses Hall

Is the world on fire? Yes. Does author and organizer Gordon Whitman have solutions to reckon with our current political and social turmoil? Absolutely. Whitman will be giving a talk at 109 Moses Hall — the Institute of Governmental Studies Library — about his latest book, “Stand Up! How to Get Involved, Speak Out, and Win in a World on Fire.” The book presents concrete pathways toward effecting social change, which promises a necessary discussion about the issues facing the country today.

Friday, Feb. 9 | ‘A Rap on Race’ at Oakland Metro Operahouse

Acclaimed choreographer Donald Byrd and esteemed playwright Anna Deavere Smith team up to present “A Rap on Race,” a dance production that brings to life a conversation about race between Black author James Baldwin and white anthropologist Margaret Mead. The production, presented by Cal Performances, will be performed by Byrd’s renowned team of dancers, Spectrum Dance Theater, using movement to illustrate a much-needed discourse on race in America.

Friday, Feb. 9 | Friday Nights at the Oakland Museum of California

Join the Oakland Museum of California and Off the Grid on 10th Street on Friday for family-friendly fun, great food and drinks. With half-priced admission to the museum and live music, it’s the cultural night market you’ve been looking for. Learn something new, discover your next favorite artist or try something from the best food trucks in the area.

Saturday, Feb. 10 | 30th Annual Russian Festival in San Francisco

This event promises to be akin to a Russian nesting doll — there’s so many layers to uncover! Sample classic Russian foods (and vodkas), watch an assortment of Russian classical dances and folk songs and visit the Museum of Russian Culture. Lasting Friday to Sunday, everyone will be rushing to catch the Konevets Quartet, who are coming straight from St. Petersburg, Russia.

Sunday, Feb. 11 | ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ screening at San Francisco Public Library Western Addition Branch

Black history is indelibly tied to the present and future of Black people’s rights in the United States. As part of its “More Than a Month” programming, the San Francisco Public Library’s will hold a screening of “I Am Not Your Negro” on Sunday at 2 p.m at the Western Addition Branch. Based on James Baldwin’s uncompleted manuscript “Remember This House,” the Oscar-nominated documentary masterfully follows Black history from the Civil Rights Movement to #BlackLivesMatter. The event is free and open to the public.

Contact The Daily Californian’s arts & entertainment staff at [email protected].