IL RITORNO Claudio Monteverdi, the great master of the early baroque, certainly did not anticipate acrobats performing his Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria. But the Australian troupe Circa brings six acrobats together with four chamber musicians and two singers in its production of the 1650 opera about Ulysses’ homecoming, which is being staged at Cal Performances on Saturday and Sunday. According to The Guardian, “The piece reverberates with real emotional pungency, as if the essence of homesickness has been bottled. I’ve seen grief many times on stage, but seldom have I seen it depicted so well.” Saturday, February 3, 8 p.m., and Sunday, February 4, 3 p.m., Zellerbach Hall.
FRAN LEBOWITZ There are a scattering of seats available (at time of writing) for two of the three “Fran Lebowitz in Conversation” events at Berkeley Rep this weekend. Lebowitz was one of the originators of what we now call snark in the 1970s. She’s weathered what she calls “writer’s blockade” for years. If you scramble, you could catch Friday night’s discussion on literature, hosted by Daniel Handler. Or, you might snag one of the few tickets left for Sunday afternoon’s conversation on nostalgia: Warhol, New York, art and culture, hosted by BAMPFA’s director Lawrence Rinder. (If you wanted to see Leibowitz with Mark Danner on politics and money, on Saturday night, it’s sold out.) Friday, February 2, 8 p.m., Sunday, February 4, 2 p.m., Berkeley Rep, 2025 Addison St.
IN FOCUS OK, the Richmond Art Center is a little bit outside our usual terrain. But Friend of the Site (and frequent photo credit on our Berkeley Wire) Ira Serkes has two photos in the juried exhibition currently showing at the RAC. Bay Area photographer Judy Dater – who’s about to have a solo show at the DeYoung Museum – chose 37 works by California-based photographers. Serkes’ two contributions (see one of them, left) were taken on a trip to Cuba. Reception, Saturday, February 3, 2-5 p.m., Richmond Art Center, 2540 Barrett Ave., Richmond. Show runs through March 8.
ROY ROGERS Rolling Stone calls Roy Rogers “one of the rare guitar heroes who values feeling over flash.” Fronting the Delta Rhythm Kings, he’s been playing distinctive blues for more than 30 years, and he’s playing at the Freight & Salvage on Saturday night. Not just a great singer and wicked slide guitar player, Rogers has collaborated with dozens of the greats, most notably producing John Lee Hooker’s Grammy-winning comeback album, The Healer. Saturday, February 3, 8 p.m., Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison St.
SPATS BLUEGRASS King Middle School is sending 250 eighth graders to Washington, DC in a Closeup Foundation program in April. As part of the fundraising, they’re holding a bluegrass and burgers event at Spats in downtown Berkeley on Saturday. The bluegrass band features Tessa Schwartz, a King eighth grader. Humanities teachers Mya Hotter, Victoria Edwards and Mikko Jokela will be behind the bar. Saturday, February 3, 4:30-7 p.m., Spats, 1974 Shattuck Ave.
Don’t miss these other events covered on Berkeleyside:
NatGeo Society photographer exhibition at the Brower Center
Big Screen Berkeley: This weekend, forget the multiplex. Check out the Pacific Film Archive instead
The beautiful sounds of blackness in Berkeley