Rasha Mohamed, Elissa Beth Stebbins, Roneet Aliza Rahamim, Wiley Naman Strasser and Phil Wong in Kiss by Shotgun Players. Photo: Ben Krantz Studio

SHOTGUN DOES ‘KISS’ Shotgun Players’ new production, which opened Thursday and runs through Sept. 23, is the West Coast premiere of Kiss, written by Guillermo, directed by Evren Odciki Calderón and presented in association with Golden Thread Productions. In the play ,a group of actors discover a script set in Damascus and they eagerly begin performing what appears to be a romantic melodrama, believing they will learn something about what it’s like to live in Syria. Then everything explodes. Shotgun describes the play as “a mystery and political thriller dressed up as a love story.” Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission. Tickets: $7–$42. M.A.D. Night: Thursday, Sept. 9 (especially for folks 25 and under). Visit Shotgun Players for details.

SOVOSO With students back on the university campus, a cappella is breaking out in plenty of places. But you’ll hear a cappella of a different order at Ashkenaz on Saturday night when SoVoSó performs. The group  sings a mix of jazz, gospel, world and R&B music, including original compositions. According to the San Jose Mercury News, “The extraordinary richness and brilliance of this virtuoso vocalism lifts you into a special realm.” Saturday, Sept. 1, 8 p.m., Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Ave.

GO BEARS The Cal Golden Bears kick-off the football season on Saturday against the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Bears beat UNC last year in a 35-30 thriller and are favored to win again. It’s the start of head coach Justin Wilcox’s second season at the helm, with hopes (which spring eternal) of improvement on last year’s 5-7 record. In fact, take a look at the Pac-12 North standings now: Cal sits proudly on top (with no games played, standings are alphabetical). Home football games mean tailgating and sitting in the sun at Memorial Stadium for some in Berkeley, but traffic, increased parking fines and unaccustomed crowding for others. Saturday, Sept. 1, 1 p.m., California Memorial Stadium.

COMMUNITY MURAL The completion of a community mural in South Berkeley will be celebrated on Saturday afternoon. “The Invisible Becomes Visible,” designed by Edythe Boone and her team, and painted by artists, residents, children and seniors presents a timeline of south Berkeley from the days of the Ohlone to the present. The mural, 100 feet across and 9.5 feet high, is on boards attached to an apartment building fence across from the South Berkeley Senior Center. Boone and her team gathered oral histories from local residents, did further research, and collected images from library and historical society archives. From conception, the mural has taken three years to complete. They partnered with the Berkeley Drop-in Center. The ceremony will feature music, food and speeches, all designed to get all kinds of people to talk to each other, rather than walking by as strangers. Saturday, Sept. 1, 1-4 p.m., Ashby Avenue between Ellis and Harper streets.

THE EXPENDABLES Isn’t The Expendables a Sly Stallone movie franchise? Well, it’s that, but it’s also a reggae/rock band from Santa Cruz. That Expendables will be playing Cornerstone on Saturday night. Here’s their own pitch: “The Expendables enjoyed a laid-back lifestyle growing up in Santa Cruz, CA; surfing, skating, partying, and playing music were commonplace. Since 1997, The Expendables have staked their claim in the California surf/rock genre by headlining venues from coast to coast. Blending Reggae, Punk Rock, and 80s style dueling guitar solos, The Expendables have made heads turn and floors shake for years.” Saturday, Sept. 1, 8:30 p.m., Cornerstone, Durant Avenue and Shattuck Avenue.

Don’t miss these other events covered on Berkeleyside:

Rodrigo y Gabriela bring their ‘acoustic heavy metal’ to Berkeley on Sunday
Baiana blessings by the Bay with BrasArte’s Lavagem
Big Screen Berkeley: A weekend potpourri of recommended movies

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...