CAL BASKETBALL Both Cal basketball teams open their season on Friday night at the Haas Pavilion. The women’s team, with a preseason ranking of 20th in the nation according to the AP, tips off at 5 p.m. against St. Mary’s. The Bears are led by junior center Kristine Anigwe, a unanimous selection for the preseason All-Pac-12 team. The women reached the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2016-17. The men’s team, facing a rebuilding year under new coach Wyking Jones, tip off at 9 p.m. against UC Riverside. Here’s what rebuilding means: the Bears are seventh in the country for the fewest returning starts (only 45 games among the squad), first for fewest returning letterwinners (only two), and third for fewest minutes played by returnees. Friday, Nov. 10, women’s game at 5 p.m., men’s at 9 p.m., Haas Pavilion.
NINA SIMONE As part of its 54th season, the Black Repertory Group has four performances this weekend of “Feeling Good: A Nina Simone Story.” The Dynamic Mss Faye Carol performs live as the great Simone, “the high priestess of soul.” The one-woman show will span Simone’s eclectic musical catalog: ranging across classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel and pop music. VIP tickets for Sunday’s final performance include a pre-show champagne reception and a “From Sea to Soul” buffet. Friday, Nov. 10, 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 11, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 12, 5 p.m., Black Repertory Group, 3201 Adeline St.
MACY BLACKMAN According to The Back Room, Macy Blackman and The Might Fines “are universally regarded as the Bay Area’s premier New Orleans R&B/boogie band.” The group’s current work is a tribute to the songs of Irman Thomas and Allen Toussaint, the Soul Queen and King of New Orleans. Blackman has accompanied Dr. John and backed up groups like The Coasters and The Drifters. In addition to Blackman (left), The Might Fines feature saxophonists Nancy Wright (John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Elvin Bishop) and Ken “Snakebite” Jacobs (Neville Brothers, The Band, Temptations, Gatemouth Brown), bassist Bing Nathan (Lavay Smith’s Red Hot Skillet Lickers) and drummer Larry Vann (Martha Reeves, Elvin Bishop, Charles Brown, Buffy Saint-Marie). Saturday, Nov. 11, 8 p.m., The Back Room, 1984 Bonita Ave.
LUISA MILLER Berkeley Chamber Opera is tackling Verdi for the first time in their production of Luisa Miller on Sunday. Here’s the pitch: “Love. Intrigue. Poison.” (They don’t make them like they used to.) Verdi’s opera is based on Friedrich Schiller’s (think Ode to Joy) play Love and Intrigue and “makes a case for true love while questioning the legitimacy of societal hierarchy.” Conducted by Jonathan Khuner and directed by Ellen St. Thomas. Sunday, Nov. 12, 2 p.m., Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar St.
BANJOS! The Freight & Salvage promises a banjo extravaganza on Saturday. Local banjo player Bill Evans annually brings some of the world’s best banjo players and combines them with a great backup band. This year’s celebration features 2015 International Bluegrass Music Association Banjo Player of the Year Charlie Cushman, North Caroline master Bob Carlin, and Evans himself. It promises an evening focused on the many different ways music can be made on the five-string banjo. Saturday, Nov. 11, 8 p.m., Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St.
Don’t miss these other events covered on Berkeleyside:
Big Screen Berkeley: ‘Gods Own Country,’ ‘Wait For Your Laugh’
Eddie Palmieri, the ‘Sun of Latin music,’ still burning bright