Billy Collins and Aimee Mann. Photo: Alyssa Morris
Poet Billy Collins and singer-songwriter Aimee Mann, who will be performing at Zellerbach Hall on Sunday. Photo: Alyssa Morris

BILLY COLLINS AND AIMEE MANN Poet Billy Collins and singer-songwriter Aimee Mann collaborate for an evening of poetry, acoustic music and conversation about the creative process, in a Cal Performances concert at Zellerbach Hall Sunday. Collins is a former Poet Laureate and the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for Humor in Poetry. Grammy-nominated Mann had a first brush with stardom in the ’80s in the band ‘Til Tuesday. Her songs featured in Paul Thomas Anderson’s film Magnolia. 7 p.m., Sunday, April 24, Zellerbach Hall. 

IS CLIMATE CHANGE PROTEST BROKEN? On Earth Day, join Micah White, co-founder of Occupy Wall Street, and Bay Area organizers for a conversation on the past and future of environmental protest. White’s new book, The End of Protest: A New Playbook for Revolution, posits that a reliance on materialism, empiricism and scientism and limited the potential of environmental protest. He looks towards a social revolution for individuals, communities and the planet. Tickets $5-15 available through Eventbrite. 7 p.m., Friday, April 22, David Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way.

ROBOTICS COMPETITION The eighth annual Pioneers in Engineering robotics competition will be held at the Lawrence Hall of Science on Saturday. The contest pits high-school teams and their own custom, remote-controlled robots. Over 300 high schoolers are expected to compete, with guidance from 100 college mentors. Cheer on the future masters of the universe (the young engineers, not the robots!). Free with admission to the Lawrence Hall of Science. 10 a.m., Saturday, April 23, Lawrence Hall of Science.

BATTLE OF THE BADGES Berkeley fire and police departments might have chosen a particularly challenging time for their Battle of the Badges charity basketball game. The friendly grudge match has happened before, but according to firefighter Levon Thaxton, it’s been years since the last “battle.” The 2 p.m. tipoff at Berkeley High School’s Jacket Gymnasium will be when the Warriors are in the middle of the second half of game four of their playoff series. But live basketball, particularly with all proceeds going to the Berkeley Baby Book Project, should be a draw. The Baby Book Project promotes literacy for children 0-5 years old. No word yet on whether notably tall Police Chief Michael Meehan will feature in the game. Tickets are $10. 2 p.m., Sunday, April 24, Berkeley High School, 1980 Milvia St.

NELLIE MCKAY Nellie McKay will be performing at the Freight on Saturday. In her new album, My Weekly Reader, she covers songs from the ’60s by Frank Zappa, The Beatles, Ray Davies, Steve Miller, Berkeley’s own Country Joe McDonald and others. The New Yorker described the singer, comedian, actress and musician as “funny and touching, ceaselessly clever and scarily talented.” Rock critic Ken Tucker noted that McKay approaches these old songs “without campiness, nostalgia or preciousness.” 8 p.m., Saturday, April 23, Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St.

Don’t miss these other events featured on Berkeleyside:

Big Screen Berkeley: ‘The Winding Stream’
Strings on steroids… This ain’t no chamber music

To find out what 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. 

Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...