Picks of the Week: Check out Indigenous art and Isabel Allende this week


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Happy Monday, Berkeley.

I’ll be honest: I rather enjoyed my five-day weekend, thanks to UC Berkeley classes being canceled because of the PG&E power shut-offs. But for many others across the state, the outages led to extreme hardships, especially considering the lack of information from PG&E. So, try this week to make plans so you can be prepared for anything — you can check out The Daily Californian’s whole issue on disaster preparedness too. And, as always, be kind to one another, and consider donating or volunteering to help those in need if you have the means.

On that note, check out “Sonoma Fires: Comeback Makes Us Stronger” today at Ruth’s Table in San Francisco’s Mission District. The exhibit incorporates photography, poetry and paintings into a discussion of the 2017 North Bay wildfires, including the lessons we learned from the fires and their implications for the future. If you can’t make it today, Ruth’s Table is open Monday through Friday and will be displaying the show until Oct. 31.

And since it’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day today, make sure to stop by the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive for its “Contemporary Indigenous Arts Showcase,” presented by campus’s Native American Studies program and American Indian Graduate Program. The events of the night will be themed in honor of the United Nation’s International Year of Indigenous Languages and will feature discussions and performances by artists such as Alutiiq choreographer Tanya Lukin Linklater and Nez Perce writer and campus associate professor of ethnic studies Beth Piatote. Entrance is free, and the event starts at 6:30 p.m.

Then Tuesday, head back to the city for some more poetry readings — this time, the venue is Yerba Buena Gardens, and the reason is Litquake, San Francisco’s annual festival of the written word. Poetic Tuesday is a free way to get involved in the many events transpiring over the next several days — just kick back on the lawn and watch performances from drag artist SNJV, Oakland-based performance artist Lisa Evans and many more.

Or save the trip to the city for Wednesday, when Devendra Banhart will play at The Fillmore. The singer-songwriter’s style of indie rock exudes calmness — I’d personally recommend anything off Mala, though his newest album Ma is highly acclaimed as well. Tickets to the show cost $36, and doors open at 7 p.m.

And Thursday’s for the birds — literally. If you’re a birder like me, you might want to check out “Conservation of Waterbirds of the North Bay” at 6:30 p.m. at the Sports Basement on Bryant Street in San Francisco. The talk by Nils Warnock, the director of conservation science at Audubon Canyon Ranch, will focus on the organization’s approximately 30-year studies of migratory shorebirds, including research into the movement of great egrets along the West Coast.

Otherwise, hit up the David Brower Center in Downtown Berkeley for a photography exhibition by Joel Sartore, recipient of the center’s annual Art/Act: Award. The National Geographic photographer has spent about 25 years working on the Photo Ark, a project to take portrait photographs of every species of animal found in human care.

Now, the next one might be a little pricey, but it promises to be worth it: On Friday, drop $75 on tickets to see esteemed Chilean author Isabel Allende at Freight & Salvage for “Best in Show: Stories from Beyond the Shelter,” a benefit event for Berkeley Humane. The night also includes readings from finalists in the shelter’s rescue-animal-themed storytelling contest.

And then play it cheaper Saturday with the University Library $1 Book Sale at UC Berkeley’s Doe Library. Thousands of books will be on sale, and you can get any or all of them for just $1 each. If you’re looking for a good novel, try “Swamplandia!” by Karen Russell or “The Sport of Kings” by C. E. Morgan — I read and adored both this summer.

Then finally, it’s Sunday, so take some time to relax before Monday hits. Maybe you’ll take one of your new reads to the park; maybe you’ll fire up the grill for one last barbecue before fall takes over. And put some music on too, no matter what you’re doing. Did you hear Charli XCX’s new album Charli? What about “Hey, I’m Just Like You” from Tegan and Sara, or “Sound & Fury” by Sturgill Simpson? Hit play, and enjoy. 

And while you’re queuing up some tunes, check out Francesca Hodges’ piece on the latest iteration of Cal Performances’ speaker series. Maggie Haberman, a White House correspondent for the New York Times, spoke on her beginnings in journalism as well as the intricacies of covering a president as controversial as Donald Trump — in Haberman’s words, “the Twitter persona the president has is just that. A persona.”

Now, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, feel free to write to Ryan and me at [email protected]. We’ll be as thrilled as this swimming kitten.

Until next time.

At a glance

Oct. 14: “Sonoma Fires: Comeback Makes Us Stronger,” Free, Ruth’s Table, San Francisco; Contemporary Indigenous Arts Showcase,” Free, 6:30 p.m., BAMPFA, Berkeley

Oct. 15: “Poetic Tuesday,” Free, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

Oct. 16: Devendra Banhart concert, $36, 7 p.m., The Fillmore, San Francisco

Oct. 17: “Conservation of Waterbirds of the North Bay,” Free, 6:30 p.m., Sports Basement, San Francisco; Art/Act: Award – Joel Sartore, National Geographic Photo Ark,” Free, David Brower Center, Berkeley

Oct. 18: “Best in Show: Stories from Beyond the Shelter,” $75, 8 p.m., Freight & Salvage, Berkeley

Oct. 19: University Library $1 Book Sale, $1 per book, 9 a.m., Doe Library, UC Berkeley

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