The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Read Write WRITERCOACH READ-AND-WRITE-A-THON  WriterCoach Connection, which provides invaluable support to students in our local schools, is holding its fifth annual Read-and-Write-a-thon fundraiser on Saturday, May 18, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Longfellow Middle School library. Non-stop poetry, prose, drama, and fiction will share the stage for 10 consecutive hours as an ever-changing cast of writing coaches and students read and listen to the stories and ideas that give life and light to our community. By sponsoring the Read-and-Write-a-thon, you’ll help WriterCoach Connection continue to survive and thrive in these unpredictable economic times. A $10 or $20 donation (just $1 or $2 per hour), can work wonders (and a larger donation can work even more wonders).

JazzJAZZ ON FOURTH STREET The 18th annual Jazz on Fourth Street Festival takes place on Sunday, May 19, from noon to 5 p.m. on Fourth Street in West Berkeley. The event is a benefit for Berkeley High School’s phenomenal jazz programs. The free day will feature the Dixieland sounds of famed radio host and trombonist Mal Sharpe’s Big Money in Jazz Band; the classic blues sounds from harmonica master Mark Hummel and the Blues Survivors; and the Latin jazz sounds of drummer and Berkeley High School alum Josh Jones and his Latin Jazz Group. The Berkeley High School Combo A, awarded DownBeat Magazine’s 2011 Best High School Combo Award, and the grand finale from the full 22-piece Berkeley High School Ensemble, directed by Sarah Cline. There’s always great food and drink too, and Berkeleyside, a proud sponsor, will be there with our booth. Come by and say hello!

Screen shot 2013-05-17 at 12.26.49 PMBERKELEY COMIC ARTS FESTIVAL  After forging a friendship through their love of comics at a small Oakland Art Night, cartoonists Derek Kirk Kim (“Tune”), Jason Shiga (“Meanwhile”), Lark Pien (“Long Tail Kitty”) and Thien Pham (“Sumo”) made the leap from hand-stapled zines to wide acclaim in the world of graphic novels. Hear them reminisce about their shared roots, see some of their early creations, and learn what the future holds for these exciting local stars at the Berkeley Public Library on Saturday at 2 p.m. Immediately afterwards, at 3:30 p.m., there will be a signing at Fantastic Comics at 2026 Shattuck Ave. (This event is intended for teens and adults.)

Himalayan fairHIMALAYAN FAIR A Berkeley tradition, the annual Himalayan Fair, returns to Live Oak Park for its 30th year on May 18, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and May 19, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. There will be crafts, food, activities and films. This year’s grand prize is the airfare to Delhi and Kathmandu. Proceeds support projects in the Himalayas like the small rural school in Nepal seen below.

PLAYBACK THEATER’S ACTS OF COURAGE Playback Theatre Ensemble presents Acts of Courage, directed by Armand Volkas, an improvisational performance inspired by personal stories of heroism in the face of injustice. Stories will be supplied by audience members, so come with a personal story about an act of courage in the face of injustice, a missed opportunity to stand up for the rights of others, or a vision of what you might have done in an ethical dilemma. Witness your story spontaneously played back by our ensemble of actors and musicians. This is a fundraising event for an educational film to be produced by Philip Zimbardo and Bill Roller. Sunday May 19, 2 p.m., Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck Ave. Admission: $20-$50 (sliding scale).

And don’t forget other happenings we have featured previously on Berkeleyside:

Tabitha Soren: A career that keeps moving
Bites: food happenings around the inner East Bay
Big Screen Berkeley: Something in the Air
Two to Tango: Maria Volonte and Mavi Diaz
Berkeley Art Center showcases sculpture in new show

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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.

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside. Email: tracey@citysidejournalism.org.