Picks of the Week: Take a pre-Thanksgiving break with holiday fairs and orchestra concerts


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Happy Monday, Berkeley.

It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? I hope you enjoyed your Veterans Day weekend, and maybe you’re looking forward to some time off for Thanksgiving. But we’re not quite there yet, so here are some exciting artistic events to get you closer to Turkey Day.

Today, head to the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, or BAMPFA, for Arts + Design Monday at 6:30 p.m. The weekly lecture series has featured discussions on social justice and democracy all fall, and that continues this week with Los Angeles-based visual artist Sherin Guirguis. Her talk tonight, called “Sherin Guirguis: My Place is the Placeless,” will center around her work on marginalized and erased narratives — in the past, she’s worked on themes such as Egyptian feminism and political revolutions.

Then Tuesday, explore a new part of Downtown Berkeley — have you ever been to the California Jazz Conservatory? Located at the corner of Addison Street and Shattuck Avenue, it’s the only independent, accredited, jazz-focused conservatory in the United States. Check out the space when you get there at 7:30 p.m. for the weekly Way Out West concert series, featuring Karl Evangelista. The guitarist and composer, along with accompanying instrumentalists, will be performing “Labas,” a jazz interpretation of immigration and the Pilipinx experience. Tickets cost $10-20.

And Wednesday comes with another weekly event, and this one’s even on campus, so if you’re a UC Berkeley student, consider making it part of your weekly routine. It’s the campus music department’s Noon Concert series, in which students, faculty, ensembles or guests perform from 12:15-1 p.m. in Hertz Hall every week. This week’s performance features the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, a highly trained ensemble that focuses on music from the 1900s to today. If you can’t make it this week, you can also see the orchestra in concert on Nov. 25 or Dec. 13-14.

Try your hand at making your own art on Thursday with “Crafter Dark” at the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union Campus Living Room. Starting at 8 p.m., the Berkeley Art Studio is hosting a free, drop-in arts and crafts workshop with the theme of “simple embroidery designs.” And even if you can’t make it, try out embroidery anyway — you can find resources online, or you could drop by a local sewing spot like Hello Stitch.

On Friday, get yourself in the holiday spirit with the tree lighting ceremony at Oakland’s Jack London Square. Get there at 6:30 p.m. to see the decorations, but stick around the area for an artisan market and plenty of opportunities for shopping. For dinner, try Yoshi’s for a night of sushi and music, or The Forge for seasonal pizzas.  

Then Saturday, trade UC Berkeley for a different type of college vibe — it’s Homecoming at the California College of the Arts. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Oakland campus will host a holiday fair, open studios and a food truck, as well as a lawn bowling tournament for the athletically inclined. The event is free and the location is accessible by bus or BART from Berkeley.

And keep supporting students on Sunday at the UC Berkeley Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies’ closing night performance of “The Caucasian Chalk Circle.” The play, which focuses on themes of power, oppression and justice, features an all-student cast, as well as puppetry and live music. Tickets for the 2 p.m. performance at Zellerbach Playhouse cost $13 for UC Berkeley students, staff and faculty, and $18 for the general public.

And while you’re waiting for the curtains to go up, check out Jake Lilian’s review of “Honey Boy.” The Shia LaBeouf-written story follows child star Otis Lort through success and squalor, featuring LaBeouf himself as Otis’ father. While the premise seems interesting, the movie ultimately proves to be “endearing but, all in all, not imaginative or daring enough.”

And if you have any questions, comments or concerns, email Ryan and I at [email protected]. We love emails like UFO hunters love baby owls.

Until next time.

At a glance:

Nov. 18: “Sherin Guirguis: My Place is the Placeless,” Free, 6:30 p.m., BAMPFA, Berkeley

Nov. 19: Karl Evangelista concert, $10-20, 7:30 p.m., California Jazz Conservatory, Berkeley

Nov. 20: UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra concert, Free, 12:15 p.m., Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley, Berkeley

Nov. 21: “Crafter Dark,” Free, 8 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, UC Berkeley, Berkeley

Nov. 22: Tree lighting ceremony, Free, 6:30 p.m., Jack London Square, Oakland

Nov. 23: Homecoming, Free, 11 a.m., California College of the Arts, Oakland

Nov. 24: “The Caucasian Chalk Circle,” $13-18, 2 p.m., Zellerbach Playhouse, UC Berkeley, Berkeley

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