SUMMER ARTS Even though we can’t attend those summer arts festivals with candy and crowds this year, we can still enjoy true talent from our homes. The Summer 2020 Online Arts Fest, put on by the Downtown Berkeley Association, runs from mid-August to the end of September. Episodes will be released every Thursday online. Local arts organizations like the East Bay Media Center, Berkeley Symphony, The Back Room, Freight and Salvage, the UC Theatre, The Berkeley Rep, and Cornerstone will entertain us with film, music and dance clips. Sit down, get comfortable, and take in the culture.  

BEST IN SHOW Berkeley Humane is putting on a summer extravaganza, their 4th Annual Best in Show. The event features an all-star lineup, including author of Joy Luck Club Amy Tan, KQED Forum host Michael Krasny, and Emmy award winner Diane Dwyer. Add in a bunch of cute pets and you have the best party in town. The live storytelling event will focus on tales of pets that have warmed families and hearts. Last year’s storytelling finalists included cat Misha, pup Ruby, and 50-pound “beast” Wyatt, whose pet parents and story authors told the tales of their trials, lives, and deaths. One of this year’s submissions will be crowned Best in Show and parent and pet will both proudly wear the title. Cuddle up with your loved animal and watch a show that honors both of you. Friday, August 14, 2020. 6-7 pm. $25.

RED DIAPER BABY Have you ever watched your kids while reading Marx? (We have.) Red Diaper Baby, acclaimed storyteller Josh Kornbluth’s filmed live performance, is being screened as a fundraiser for Chochmat HaLev. The performance had an off-Broadway run and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award before it was recorded for the Sundance Channel. Growing up in a family that encouraged communist beliefs, Kornbluth traveled to Russia as a young adult to learn more. The performance navigates Kornbluth’s upbringing and his sexual awakening all in the context of Marxist theory. The event organizers write, “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Josh, and you don’t have to be a member of Chochmat to sign up for this live screening.” Saturday, August 15, 7 pm on Zoom. Tickets start at $9.

QUACK DOC If you’re in need of a piece of dark comedy, check out Shotgun Players’ new play, Quack. The protagonist Dr. Irving Baer is a television personality who peddles advice to women across America, from diet tips to life advice. But then a piece of investigative journalism surfaces and things get ugly. Dr. Baer may not be such a great role model after all. After the show, you can engage in a “talk back” discussion session, where you’ll break off into affinity groups tailored for men, women, and non-binary folks. Then you’ll come back to the whole group for some more discussion. The play also provides a recipe for its signature cocktail, the “Skinny” Peach Mojito. Sounds like a lovely, full evening with the Shotgun Players. Quack will stream live through Saturday, Aug. 15, on Zoom and is also on-demand may also be viewed as a digital download Wednesday, Aug. 19 through Wednesday, Aug. 26. Those tickets are pay-what-you-can, with a recommended price of $20. Read our critic Emily Mendel’s review of Quack.

ALLEY ALLY If you miss the vibe of trivia night in the Oakland nightlife scene, you can recreate it here at home. The Alley, a historic piano bar and restaurant near Lake Merritt, is hosting a weekly digital Monday Trivia Night on Zoom. Stir your own cocktails and supply your own snacks while you team up with friends to answer some questions and get those noggins working. You can even sign on half an hour early to socialize before the game begins. The Alley also hosts virtual piano bar sessions every Friday and Saturday, where musicians “duel” on Facebook Live. Support a local business and have fun doing it. Trivia nights are every Monday. The next one is Monday, Aug. 17 at 7:15-10:15 p.m.

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