The Sit List: 5 artistic and activist events for the spring

This week, learn about police reform; buy plants from a garden club; read a novel about the 1906 quake; get to know flowers and their pollinator friends; or watch ‘The Waste Land.’

UC Botanical Garden. Photo, taken on March 31, 2017 by Kate Mountain
UC Botanical Garden. Photo, taken on March 31, 2017 by Kate Mountain

FLOWERS & FRIENDS Since you’ve been spending more time outdoors, you may be curious about the lifeforms you see buzzing and flying around flowers. In this after-school event for the UC Botanical Garden, you’ll learn about the beautiful life of flowers, which are a part of the plant specifically designed for pollinator friends. Throughout this Zoom session, you’ll learn about flowers around the globe, the anatomy of a flower, and the many different pollinating animals that enjoy flowers like bees, butterflies, honey possums, and bats. The UC Botanical Garden is hosting this free nature appreciation event in honor of Earth Day week, which starts next Tuesday. Learn about the wonderful world of flowers and their pollinator friends. The program is geared towards a youth audience. Tuesday, April 20. 3-3:45 p.m. Free. 

DEFUND THE POLICE In the midst of police violence across the country, many are calling to defund and abolish the police. In this event for Ashby Village, Jonathan Simon, a professor of criminal justice at UC Berkeley, will help us understand the issues and challenges to police reform. He will inform us about the history of policing in America and propose possible solutions to the crisis. He writes, “Current calls to defund the police should be seen against decades of expansion and are a much overdue opportunity to rethink how we want to protect people’s safety and dignity in our urban and suburban communities in the 21st century.” Don’t miss this timely conversation. Sunday, April 18. 2-4 p.m. Free and open to all.

Orinda Garden Club
Credit: Orinda Garden Club

PLANT SALE Looking to spice up your yard with colorful vegetation? Come out to the Orinda Garden Club plant sale, taking place at the Orinda Library Plaza. Come grab some perennials, pollinator plants, succulents, and drought resistant beauties. If you’re looking to eat from your own garden, check out their selection of more than 30 varieties of hard-to-find tomatoes, 13 kinds of hot and sweet peppers, squash, beans, and herbs. Be sure to stop by their garden marketplace, where you’ll find gardening products and books. You can also find inspiration in their live worm composting demo, landscaping exhibit, and conservation tips. Revel in the seasonal change and bring home the plants, rain or shine. Saturday, April 17. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Orinda Library Plaza. 

Ron Nyren, author of The Book of Lost Light.
Ron Nyren, author of The Book of Lost Light. Credit: Berkeley Historical Society

LOST LIGHT When fact meets fiction, incredible stories emerge. For Berkeley Historical Society, novelist Ron Nyren will talk about his book, The Book of Lost Light, in honor of the 115th anniversary of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. Nyren’s book tells the story of an artistic family who take refuge in the Berkeley Hills when their lives are disrupted by the earthquake. Nyren will read from his book and describe his research methods, which include a look into pictorialist photographers and artists of Berkeley and the influence of Bernard Maybeck, Charles Keeler, and the Berkeley Hillside Club on local architecture. Berkeley historian Charles Wollenberg will moderate the program. Dive into historical fiction with the Berkeley Historical Society. Sunday, April 18. 3-4:30 p.m. Suggested donation is $1-20. 


Poster for The Waste Land play by Oakland Theater Project
Credit: Oakland Theater Project

WASTE LAND If you’ve been looking for an artistic escape, check out this drive-in theater experience of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land by the Oakland Theater Project. Lisa Ramirez reveals her range in this one-person play of Eliot’s phenomenological poem. Adapted for the stage by John Wilkins and directed by Michael Socrates Moran, “The Waste Land explores the way in which life itself has been hollowed out by human hands, while…art stands as a testament to the capacity for human hands to enliven our void and create a path toward renewal.” Bring your car to see a live performance or watch it on demand. As Eliot writes, “Hurry up please its time” [sic]. You don’t want to miss this show. April 9-May 16. Video on demand is $15. General admission for drive-in performance starts at $25. The Oakland Theater at  FLAX art & design (1501 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Oakland 94612).