MEET ME DOWNTOWN DAY Berkeley’s downtown will come alive on Sunday with the first Meet Me Downtown Day. Five major arts venues and the Downtown YMCA will be open with free events and numerous downtown restaurants have special offers. Among the free events are tours of the soon-to-open UC Theatre, film demonstrations on the new BAMPFA’s outdoor screen, bluegrass and country jam at the Freight & Salvage, free workshops at the Berkeley Rep’s School of Theatre, a jazz trio concert at the California Jazz Conservatory, and free use of the pool and gym (as well as some free yoga classes) at the Y. Among the restaurant specials are a free salad bar at Sandwich Spot, a free 4 oz taster with every full pint purchase at Jupiter, and 10% off at Phil’s Sliders.There’s also an Instagram contest for the best #MeetMeDowntownBerkeley photos (iPad Mini to the winner) and a draw for an “extravaganza weekend for two.” Full details of the day and the offers on the Meet Me Downtown Day site. Meet Me Downtown runs from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 20. Start at the Welcome Kiosk at the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza.
EPICURIOUS GARDEN The gourmet take-out food court and garden in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto is celebrating its tenth anniversary on Sunday with a party and benefit from 2-7 p.m. Each of the eight restaurants at Epicurious Garden have partnered with a Berkeley-based non-profit for the celebration: Guacamole 61 with Bay Area Women Against Rape; Alegio Chocolate with Berkeley Art Center; Kirala with Berkeley Food and Housing Project; Imperial Tea Court with Berkeley Humane Society; Kitchen on Fire with Berkeley Public Schools Fund; Soop with Berkeley Symphony Orchestra; Tigerlily with Jewish Community Center of the East Bay; and Lush Gelato with Youth Engagement Advocacy Housing (YEAH). The goal is to raise $10,000; Epicurious Garden has already committed the first $5,000. There will be (of course) food, demonstrations and live music throughout the anniversary celebration. Epicurious Garden Tenth Anniversary, 2-7 p.m., Sunday, March 20, 1511 Shattuck Ave.
BHS BOYS BASKETBALL While the powerhouse Berkeley High girls basketball team has featured regularly in regional and state finals in recent years, the boys team — with a great history of its own — has been slightly in the shadows. An amazing underdog run through the NorCal finals has changed that. After upsetting second-seed Jesuit last Saturday, 62-59, the seven-seed Yellow Jackets face five-seed Menlo-Atherton in the Division 1 championships at 4 p.m. at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento (okay, it’s not a weekend event in Berkeley, but c’mon: Go Jackets!). Berkeley go into the final with a 23-8 record, while Menlo-Atherton sport a heady 28-4. Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, 4 p.m., Saturday, March 19.
LMNOP JAZZ TRIO The eclectic LMNOP jazz trio presents a relaxed evening of blues, Brazilian, retrospectives and a special nod to New Orleans on Friday at Caffe Trieste. In a two-hour session, the trio puts a unique bass-trombone-piano spin on the night-after-St. Patrick’s proceedings. Special guest multi-instrumentalist Mwamba Blakwoymn holds forth on keyboard. Lynn Murdock holds down the bass and Pat Mullan declaims on trombone. Friday, March 18, 7 p.m., Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave.
LA VIDA VENCE A LA MUERTE La Peña Community Chorus will perform the original cantata “La Vida Vence a la Muerte” (Life Defeats Death), written by Fernando “Feña” Torres and Leonardo Cereceda. The cantata is a tribute to two young people, Rodrigo Rojas de Negri and Carmen Gloria Quintana, who were doused with gasoline and set on fire in Santiago, Chile, in 1986 by an army patrol. Rodrigo died four days later from his injuries, but Carmen survived. Quintana will speak at the event about her story and about her continuing work for human rights. After nearly 30 years, the perpetrators were finally arrested and charged in Chile last July. The chorus will also be singing other songs related to the times of the coup and the years of the dictatorship written by Chilean composers Victor Jara, Rafael Manriquez and many others. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 on the door. La Peña Cultural Center, Saturday, March 19, 8 p.m., 3105 Shattuck Ave.
Don’t miss these other events featured on Berkeleyside:
Big Screen Berkeley: ‘Our Man in Havana’
Buika takes Berkeley! Jessica Jones returns home! Pamela Z zaps BAMPFA!
To find out what else is going on in Berkeley and nearby, be sure to check out Berkeleyside’s Events Calendar. And submit your own events: it’s self-serve and free.