Books appear to fly at the Lacuna installation in front of Old City Hall at the first Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley last June. Photo: Nancy Rubin

BAY AREA BOOK FESTIVAL The second annual Bay Area Book Festival will take over downtown Berkeley on Saturday and Sunday with hundreds of author talks, panel discussions, book signings and literary kids’ events. Everyone will have their favorites, but among the highlights: Jonathan Lethem, Jacqueline Winspear, Tanya Holland, Sherman Alexie and two-time Pulitzer winner (and Berkeley resident) T. J. Stiles. All sessions — even those shown as sold out on the festival site — will have free seats available for those willing to stand on line. Plus there’s the Lacuna installation with 50,000 free books. Saturday, June 4 and Sunday June 5, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., throughout downtown Berkeley. 

WAR REQUIEM The 50th anniversary of the Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra is being marked by three performances of Benjamin Britten’s titanic War Requiem. Written for the consecration of the rebuilt Coventry Cathedral in 1962, Britten’s work uses both the traditional Latin mass and Wilfred Owen’s war poetry to evoke the tragedy of war. One of the great works of 20th century music. All BCCO concerts are free; donations welcome. Performances on Friday, June 3, 8 p.m., Saturday, June 4, 4 p.m., and Sunday, June 5, 4 p.m., Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley.

PINTS FOR PAWS It’s hard to ignore this pitch: “Drink beer. Save animals.” Berkeley Humane holds its third annual Pints for Paws on Saturday afternoon. It’s one of the only beer festivals in the country from which 100% of dollars raised will be donated directly to Berkeley Humane. Meet small, local craft brewers, cider makers, and artisanal wine makers, and sample a great range of food from local food trucks and vendors. There’s live music and a welcome for “crowd-friendly dogs” (harnessed and leashed). Only for 21 and older. Admission $40. Saturday, June 4, 2-5 p.m., 2600 Tenth St.

BRAZZISSIMO Brazzissimo, a 10-piece brass ensemble, holds announces its 15th year anniversary concert at the First Congregational Church on Saturday. Program highlights include the premiere of “Suite Jubilation” a four-movement work, plus other music by artistic director, trumpeter and composer in residence, Dean Boysen. The ensemble consists of four trumpets, four trombones, a French horn and a tuba. Brazzissimo’s repertoire includes classical, modern, Latin and jazz styles either adapted from other media or composed specifically for this combination of instruments. Tickets $15; 18 and under free. Saturday, June 4, 7:30 p.m., First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way.

BSEP LAUNCH The campaign for the renewal of the Berkeley Schools Excellence Program (BSEP) kicks off on Sunday afternoon at San Pablo Park. Because of a legal ruling which prohibits separate rates for commercial and residential properties, proponents expect a tougher-than-usual fight to get the measure passed in November. Have your say at the kickoff. Sunday, June 5, 3 p.m., Frances Albrier Community Center, San Pablo Park, 2800 Park St.

Don’t miss these other events featured on Berkeleyside:

Fantastic Negrito celebrates East Bay, new album release
Big Screen Berkeley: ‘The Fallen Idol’
From Cuba with love: Berkeley High Jazz at the UC Theatre

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...