ONLINE LEARNING, ANYONE? With rising tuition and oversubscribed classes, California’s colleges and universities are reaching a tipping point. Some believe that online education will provide an affordable and workable alternative. UC Berkeley’s Center for New Media will host a conference called Learning Mode: Critical Issues in Online Education on Friday March 15 and Saturday March 16 to explore “pressing questions about the opportunities and risks related to the changing educational landscape.” The keynote speaker is Peter Norvig, Google’s Director of Research. The conference is free and open to the public and takes place in the Banatao Auditorium at Sutardja Hall. There will also be a hackathon on March 17 to build tools to help students apply to UC. Visit their site for more info. 


CASTLE IN THE AIR In celebration of the publication of her fifth book, Commonplace Birthdays, Karima Cammell, who also owns Castle in the Air on Fourth Street, will be hosting a series of free, drop-in crafting workshops from Friday, March 15 through Sunday March 17, noon to 4 p.m. Cammell and her team will help children and adults make cards, garlands, and crepe paper flowers. The weekend is a benefit for Child Life Services at Oakland’s Children’s Hospital and some of decorations will be placed around the hospital. Cammell will kick off the Commonplace Birthday Weekend with a champagne and birthday cake reception at the store on Thursday March 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. She will be selling copies of her book.


MAKING WAVES The Berkeley Barb, one of America’s foremost underground newspapers (1965-1980), combined in-depth reporting on issues like People’s Park and the National Guard in Berkeley with pictures of scantily clad women and sex ads. Historian Diana Stephens will talk about “The Berkeley Barb and the the Gender Revolution,” at the Central Branch of the Berkeley Public Library on Saturday, March 16 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.  She will explain “how the sexual revolution became an impetus for the radical women’s movement in 1960s Berkeley, as seen through depictions and images of women in the Berkeley Barb.”

CLUCK, CLUCK Ever thought of raising chickens? It’s a very Berkeley thing to do. Papa John Keifer will lead a workshop Saturday March 16 from 10 a.m. to noon at Washington Elementary School and offer tips on everything from how to breed and care for hens, and how to build a coop. The class is part of Washington Elementary School’s Homesteading and Gardening class series. All proceeds will go toward keeping the school’s gardening and cooking programs going next year, when federal funds may dry up.


A TOUCH OF THE IRISH Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day and bars, breweries, and performance spaces all around Berkeley will be hosting special events to celebrate the day. To get in the mood, consider attending the St. Patrick’s Eve Sing-Along Championship at the Shattuck Hotel on Saturday March 16 at 7 p.m. What is the event? Organizers offer up this description: “Designed like the extremely popular TV show Dancing with the Stars, the contestants don’t dance but rather they lead “sing-alongs” with the audience and are judged by the level of participation of the audience.” It’s a benefit for Leadership East Bay. Also on that evening, harpists Diana Stork and Portia Diwa, will perform a St. Patty’s California Celtic Harp concert at 7:30 p.m. at the Garden Gate Center at 2911 Claremont Avenue.

On St. Paddy’s Day itself, The Starry Plough, which is celebrating 40 years as an “Irish Revolutionary Watering Hole,” will host its annual St Patrick’s Day celebration by serving up 12 hours of “fiery Irish music and dance.” The pub and kitchen open at 11 a.m. and will feature a traditional Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage. Music starts at 4 p.m. with  Driving with Fergus, The McBride Irish Dancers, and others. Pyramid Alehouse will serve up green beer and Irish red ale and the Albatross will present the Celtic quartet Blind Duck on March 17th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Be sure to check out these other listings previously featured on Berkeleyside:

The Weiner Kids go to church and other recommended gigs
Pulitzer Prize winner confronts his hero through “Fallaci”

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Still searching for things to do this weekend in Berkeley? Berkeleyside’s Events Calendar is chock full of music, theater, dance, talks and community happenings. We also encourage you to submit your own events.

Berkeleyside is Berkeley, California’s independently-owned local news site. Learn more about the Berkeleyside team. Questions? Email editors@berkeleyside.org.