Picks of the Week: Start your October with popcorn, Pacman and pelagic birds

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Happy Monday, Berkeley. 

September went by fast, didn’t it? So end the month with a bang, whatever that might mean to you. You could game all night long at the 21+ old-school arcade Coin-Op Game Room, where all the games, including Pacman and pinball, are free until the end of September. Or you could catch a show — try dream pop singer Shura at The Independent, featuring NPR Tiny Desk Contest winner Quinn Christopherson as the opener. And if you’re feeling ready to get onstage yourself, head to the Freight and Salvage for its open mic night — the show starts at 7:30 p.m., but you should be there early to enter the lottery to perform.

Then Tuesday marks the start of October, aka Halloween season. Less known, maybe, is that it’s also National Popcorn Poppin’ Month, according to the good folks over at the Popcorn Board. So hit up your favorite Berkeley movie theater, and let the feasting begin. 

You could go to Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas for “Downton Abbey” or “Hustlers,” or try Regal UA Berkeley for “Ad Astra” or “Abominable” — while I don’t know which spot has the best snacks, these movies all seem to be a real treat. Or if you’re feeling up for a documentary, head over to Rialto Cinemas Elmwood to see “Honeyland,” a story of life and beekeeping in North Macedonia. 

Or you could watch a movie on Wednesday instead, and enjoy everything else the Berkeley Public Library has to offer. It’s movie night at the Claremont Branch, where they’ll be showing “Ixcanul,” the award-winning story of a young Mayan woman in Guatemala, at 5:30 p.m. as part of the library’s celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Or go to the North Branch at 5:30 p.m. for a screening of Jordan Peele’s “Us.” And if you’ve had enough movies for the time being, try the West Branch instead, where classical guitarist Lyle Sheffler will play a concert at 6:30 p.m.

On Thursday, head into San Francisco for the Castro Art Walk, a free monthly event featuring local businesses. This month, you can make crafts at Flore on Market, try on sheet masks at Skin on Market and much, much more

If you didn’t get enough cinematic fun earlier in the week, head out again on Friday to The New Parkway Theater for the first night of Drunken Film Fest. The weeklong event melds independent films and local bars, with nearly 100 screenings in total. Friday’s lineup includes “Goodnight, Mr. Sandman” by Academy of Art University student Nathania Zaini and “Mad God” by Oscar-winning special effects supervisor Phil Tippett

Now, the history of anthropology at UC Berkeley includes a dark past, but the field of study has modernized over the past century. Take a look for yourself at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, housed in Kroeber Hall, on Saturday. It’s opening night for the exhibit “Sacred Deities of Ancient Egypt,” a collection of photographs taken in ancient Egyptian tombs. The reception from 3-5 p.m. will feature a talk from the photographer, Jacqueline Thurston as well as light refreshments.

And while you’re there, check out the other exhibits on display, such as “Pleasure, Poison, Prescription, Prayer: The Worlds of Mind-Altering Substances.” This exhibit discusses the social and economic dynamics of substance use, from caffeine and kava to alcohol and opium. Entrance into the museum is $6 for the general public and free for UC Berkeley students, staff and faculty.

Then on Sunday, I’ll be at sea all day, searching for puffins and other pelagic birds around the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary. You can get into the seabird spirit too at The Albatross for trivia night. Come around 8:15 p.m. with your best and smartest friends to enjoy six rounds of mind-boggling questions. Winners get tokens for free drinks, but be sure to bring cash just in case. 

And while you’re waiting between rounds, keep the marine mood going with my fellow Picks of the Week writer Ryan Tuozzolo’s review of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” at Z Space. The show brings Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s classic poem to life with a bounty of special effects. In Ryan’s words, though, the overdone delivery destroys the “exigency of the current climate catastrophe that the show might have set out to achieve.” 

If you have any Halloween costume ideas or any other comments, email us at [email protected]. We’ll be as excited as an Arctic wolf pup outside the den. 

Until next time.

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