Picks of the Week: Jazz up your week with food trucks, photography and jazz

Ketki Samel/Staff

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Happy Monday, Berkeley.

And happy October! Halloween season is upon us, and so is your chance to celebrate National Pickled Peppers Month or American Cheese Month. On a more serious note, though, October is also a time to try to make the world a better place — it’s National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Bullying Prevention Month, among many other things.

So on Monday, be kind and lend a helping hand to those around you. If you need a reminder of just how interconnected we all are, go watch “Life Itself,” from “This Is Us” creator Dan Fogelman. It’s playing at UA Berkeley 7 at 1:45 p.m.

Then Tuesday, catch some jazz. Illy Bogart will be playing at Black Cat in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. Tickets are just $10 to see this four-piece, which blends classic jazz with more contemporary styles such as hip-hop and funk. But if you’re not up to trekking out on a weeknight, stay in and check out the band’s latest album, The Big Picture. Or learn about the history of the genre through the Ken Burns documentary “Jazz,” available through PBS. And if all this music inspires you, try it out yourself — Berklee Online, the Berklee College of Music’s online school, offers free tutorial videos in a variety of styles, including jazz.

Break up the monotony of the week with some laughs in San Francisco on Wednesday, if you’re 21 or older. Bar Fluxus will be hosting “World Class Comedy” starting at 8 p.m. The weekly event is free with an RSVP, and it features a variety of comedians, both local and from around the world.

Or go to the city Thursday to watch “Crimebuster: A Son’s Search for His Father” through a free screening at the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco. This documentary follows photojournalist Lou Dematteis as he traces the story of his father, former judge Louis Dematteis. Lou Dematteis will also hold a Q&A session after the screening, along with local journalist Mary Jo McConahay.

Then wake up Friday and make pancakes. Whether you’re a Bisquick and chocolate chips kind of person or you know how to make stunning creations out of batter, get your morning off to the right start. And don’t let classes or work get you down — you have dinner to look forward to.

I’ll probably head into Oakland to eat at Lake Merritt’s Off the Grid, which will have nearly 20 different food trucks. Get some crispy Vietnamese rolls from An the Go to tide you over while you stand in line at Señor Sisig. You might lose faith during the wait, but trust me: Its deceptively spicy pork sisig is worth it, whether you get it in a burrito, on a salad or simply with rice. And then when it’s time for dessert, head to Lamas Peruvian Food, which sells Rosi’s alfajores as well as its own arroz con leche.

And Saturday, spend the day catching up on new album releases. Did you hear alt-J’s new release, Reduxer? It’s packed full of remixes from last year’s Relaxer, including a particularly intriguing version of “In Cold Blood” featuring German rapper Kontra K. And what about Roosevelt’s pop-bop album Young Romance? The synth-heavy tracks seem like a perfect backdrop for a weekend of studying for midterms.

On that note, even though I had two midterms last week, I spent far too long tinkering away on a personal website to hold my photography portfolio, and it’s far from finished. But on Sunday, work on your own.

If all you have is a smartphone camera, it’s no matter. Go somewhere beautiful — the Berkeley Marina at sunset, the Clark Kerr fire trails, Tilden Regional Park — and see what you can get. Or maybe you’ve got a DSLR camera or two or three, in which case I say to you: Stretch yourself, and try something new. Maybe that means challenging yourself to explore life on the macro scale, or maybe it means taking a shot at astrophotography.

And while you’re waiting to get that perfect shot, read arts editor Olivia Jerram’s interview with Mitchy Collins of lovelytheband, the group behind the radio hit “Broken.” In Collins’ own words, the band’s music centers on “what I deal with every day — dealing with depression and anxiety, girls who won’t love me back, relationships I’ve fucked up, selfish behavior, you know, just my life.” While you’re at it, look out for Olivia’s review of lovelytheband’s show last week at the Rickshaw Stop – I was there too, and it was a rockin’ time.

If you happen to take a photograph that’s particularly fantastic this week, show me: [email protected]. I’ll be as excited about it as Poppy the opossum is about snacks.

Until next time.

Contact Ketki Samel at [email protected]. Tweet her at @ketkisamel.