AWESÖME ORCHESTRA Awesöme Orchestra Collective holds its “open sessions” about once a month, but Berkeley does not always have the privilege of playing host. This Sunday, the self-described “most adventurous reading orchestra” in the Bay Area is setting up shop at BAMPFA, where the group has invited everyone to play along or come watch the “combination open rehearsal and musical adventure.” The deadline for musicians who want sign up to participate in the performance has passed, unfortunately, but audience members are still welcome. Taking a cue from the venue, the orchestra will play classic film music, from the likes of The Godfather and Gone With the Wind. The event is free and does not include admission to the BAMPFA galleries. Sunday, Oct. 8, 1-4 p.m., 2155 Center St.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ Juan González, co-host of Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman, has a new book out, and it’s about a man from New York who unexpectedly won an election after running on a populist message and presenting himself as an alternative to the establishment. But it’s not about the guy you’re thinking of. It’s about the election of Mayor Bill de Blasio and the related movement against corporate-friendly politicians. González will come to Pegasus to talk about Reclaiming Gotham: Bill de Blasio and the Movement to End America’s Tale of Two Cities. Friday, Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m., 2349 Shattuck Ave.
ENVIRONMENTAL POETRY FESTIVAL Back for a 22nd year is an outdoor environmental poetry extravaganza at MLK Civic Center Park. The Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival features about 30 poets including former US Poet Laureate Robert Hass, the Poet Laureate of San Francisco Kim Shuck and Maxine Hong Kingston, along with a number of youth poets and others. Anyone else can try on their writer’s hat at an open mic, or check out displays by environmental and literary organizations. Saturday, Oct. 7, 12-5 p.m., 2151 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.
ELECTION INTEGRITY CONFERENCE A non-partisan conference on election integrity is coming back to Berkeley. The speakers aim to illuminate exactly what happens to your ballot once you feed it through that machine, and how to make the whole process more secure and transparent. Around 30 researchers, activists and politicians will spend the weekend sharing some of their concerning findings and efforts to improve the system. Tickets for the two-day conference, hosted by the National Voting Rights Task Force and the California Election Integrity Coalition, cost a suggested $50 at the door, but nobody will be turned away. Saturday, Oct. 7 and Sunday, Oct. 8, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis St.
PATRICIA POLACCO AT MRS. DALLOWAY’S Patricia Polacco’s earliest readers are now in their 30s, but kids continue to enjoy the beloved author’s large body of work. Known for her intricately illustrated stories like The Keeping Quilt, Just Plain Fancy and My Rotten Red Headed Older Brother, Polacco has published a new book with a local connection. Remembering Vera tells the true tale of a stray dog who was adopted by the Coast Guard in San Francisco in 1962 and went on to perform a heroic act. Palacco will read the story at Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore. Saturday, Oct. 7, 4 p.m., 2904 College Ave.
Don’t miss these other events covered on Berkeleyside:
Shotgun Players’ ‘Blasted’ is haunting and unforgettable
Big Screen Berkeley: ‘Lucky,’ the last film with Harry Dean Stanton, is a winner
Gordon Parks and the argument of his life at BAMPFA
Raising voices and horns for Puerto Rico
After 16 years, Berkeley High tennis teams want their courts back