Never miss local events! Sign up for Berkeleyside’s arts and culture newsletter, The Scene. And check out our new roundup of affordable things to do anytime in Berkeley.

Around Berkeley

A cat at Westbrae Nursery’s pumpkin patch. Courtesy: Westbrae Nursery

📚 UC Berkeley’s noontime poetry readings, always held on first Thursdays of the month, are held in the elegant Morrison Library (inside Doe Library) and open to the public. The upcoming session features Iñupiaq-Inuit poet dg nanouk okpik, who in 2022 won the American Academy of Arts & Sciences’ May Sarton Award for Poetry. Thursday, Oct. 5, 12:10 p.m. FREE

🇵🇭 Both a broad-spectrum musical celebration of Filipino-American History Month and an album release party for The Sampaguitas: Folk Songs from the Philippines and Beyond (Little Village Foundation), this exceptional program includes the exquisite Sampaquitas vocal trio (Cristina Ibarra, Aireene Espiritu and Jenevieve Francisco), who sing mostly in Tagalog, and Kaisahan AfroCubalintang, a combo that combines Southern Philippines gong music with folkloric Afro-Cuban rhythms featuring veteran musicians such as John Calloway, Conrad Benedicto, Chris Trinidad, and Bo Razon. Thursday, Oct. 5, 8 p.m. Freight & Salvage. $24-$28

🍷 The Gilman District Wine Block’s First Friday Block Party features wine, various pop-up chefs, and live music. Friday, Oct. 6, 3-8 p.m., Donkey & Goat Winery, Hammerling Wines and Broc Cellars. FREE

🎤 A rootsy double bill at the Ivy Room brings together two stalwart Bay Area bands, pairing the honky-tonking alt-country twang of vocalist Jill Rogers and Crying Time, featuring expert guitar work by Myles Boisen and the barn-burning fiddling of Tony Marcus, and the gut-bucket blues of the aptly monikered HowellDevine. Friday, Oct. 6, 8 p.m. $15

🎶  Encompassing songs by Caetano Veloso, Soundgarden, Paolo Conte, Nelson Cavaquinho and others, Russian Telegraph combines funk, soul and jazz and features some of the most adventurous players in the Bay Area, including clarinetist/composer Beth Custer and guitarist David James, who premiered an epic song cycle about his father last month at Brava Theater, “Mission Rebel No. 1.” Friday, Oct. 6, 7-10 p.m. Jupiter. FREE

🪶 The 31st annual Indigenous Peoples Day Powwow and Indian Market returns to Civic Center park Saturday, kicking off at 10 a.m. with an exhibition dance. The event incldes Native foods, arts and crafts reflecting American Indian culture, a gourd dance, rounddance, women’s traditional buckskin and cloth contest, and the annual prettiest shawl contest honoring the memory of Millie Ketcheschawno, a longtime Native American civil rights activist and filmmaker who spearheaded the movement to create Berkeley’s Indigenous Peoples Day. The event organizers are looking for volunteers, especially from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.; if you’re able to help out, email or call 510-595-5520 and leave your name and number. Saturday, Oct. 7, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. MLK Civic Center Park. FREE

🎨 A multidisciplinary artist whose work encompasses painting, sculpture, and video, Duane Linklater investigates contradictions of contemporary Indigenous life within settler systems of knowledge, representation and value. BAMPFA opens “mymothersside,” the artist’s first major survey exhibition, with a free community day. Saturday, Oct. 7, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Exhibition on view through Feb. 25.

🎷 Bassist Caroline Chung, saxophonist Nora Free and drummer Alexey Berlind, who have performed as a trio at Zut!, play an afternoon set at the Berkeley Flea Market as part of Berkeley Jazz Days (KJ Focus and the Bay Area All Stars, led by saxophonist Kalin Joshua Freeman, play an opening set). Saturday, Oct. 7, 1-4 p.m. FREE

🐵 A formidable double bill pairing renowned Bay Area singer/songwriters, this Monkey House program features Maurice Tani, whose phrases turn more sharply and provide more entertainment than a unicycle, and Jim Bruno, a prolific and revered tunesmith recorded by the likes of Shawn Colvin, Chuck Prophet, Mary Lou Lord and one Maurice Tani. Saturday, Oct. 7, 7:30. $10-$40

🎼 Berklee comes to Berkeley when flutist/composer Christian Artmann, a recent East Coast transplant to San Francisco, celebrates the release of his gorgeous new album The Middle of Life with longtime Berklee College of Music professors Laszlo Gardony, a brilliant pianist, and consummate drummer Yoron Israel, who are joined by bassist Jeff Denson and special guest vocalist Elena McEntire. Saturday, Oct. 7, 8 p.m. California Jazz Conservatory. $25  

🎵 A capaciously resourceful vocalist and improviser, Cecilia Engelhardt grew up in an extraordinarily musical Berkeley household that served as a hub for a legendary generation of Berkeley High jazz musicians, circa 1977. Her 4tet features drum star Scott Amendola and wildman guitarist John Schott — both of Berkeley — and bass great Essiet Essiet, who gained renown in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. Saturday, Oct. 7, 8 p.m. The Back Room. $25

🎶 Crowden’s annual Community Music Day is a free family celebration of the school’s muse-unleashing power, complete with an instrument petting zoo, face painting, instrument making, prizes and performances by the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Harmony Project, and Berkeley Symphony. Sunday, Oct. 8, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. FREE

🌊 ACCI Gallery’s group photography exhibition, Water is Sacred, which explores the power of water in its various forms and how that power is manifested in the environment, closes Oct. 8. FREE

✂️ The city is holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of accessibility improvements to Aquatic Park’s parking area. Lunch is provided, and you can volunteer and help plant trees. Saturday, Oct. 7, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (tree planting) and 12:30 p.m. (ribbon cutting). 80 Bolivar Dr. FREE

🎸 San Francisco musician-playwright-artist Sonny Smith will play early rock and ’60s psych-pop inspired music as part of the UC Botanical Garden’s Concerts in the Redwood Grove series. Concert tix include admission to the Botanical Garden collections before they close at 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, 5:30 p.m. $28

🪴 Proceeds of the Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden’s Fall 2023 Plant Sale benefit the Botanic Garden in Tilden Regional Park. You’ll be able to browse through and buy from its massive collections of California native plants, including more than 60 special manzanitas and 10 different types of ferns. Saturday, Oct. 7, 10 a.m. 

🎞️ La Peña Cultural Center is holding the 14th annual Fist Up Film Festival, which aims to “amplify the voices of historically marginalized communities” through its curated film screenings and moderated Q&A sessions. Highlights include a Friday screening of De La Calle, a docu-series hosted by journalist Nick Barili that dives into Latino music, and an Indigenous Film Night on Sunday. Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 5-8. $10 suggested donation

🐺 Shotgun Players’ Wolf Play, based on actual incidents where adopted parents posted online about their desire to “re-home” their unwanted adopted children, has been extended through Oct. 7, meaning you have three more chances to witness this “gut punch” of a show. Ashby Stage. $26-$46

🎃 Pumpkin sales from Westbrae Nursery’s East Bay Pumpkin Patch at 1272 Gilman will benefit Cornell Elementary School. Pumpkin prices range from $2.50 to $27, and they don’t charge an entry fee. You’ll algo be able to take a picture with Oogie Boogie, the villainous bag of bugs from Nightmare Before Christmas (don’t worry, it’s just an inflatable) and a giant pumpkin from Larry’s Produce in Fairfield. (We wrote more about the pumpkin patch in The Scene.) Open daily through Oct. 31, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 

🏳️‍🌈 Kala Gallery will celebrate the opening of its latest exhibition, The Embodied Press: queer abstraction and the artists’ book. Curated by SF-based artist and writer Anthea Black, the books highlighted in the exhibit aim to “show that sexual, gender and racial difference cannot be easily understood or legitimized through public visibility alone.” Opening reception: Thursday, Oct. 12, 6-8 p.m. Exhibit open through Feb. 9, 2024. FREE

Beyond Berkeley

Malaquías Montoya posing with prints, 1984. Courtesy of the Montoya family

🎞️ Movie Night At The Lake offers some reserved seating in addition to headphones and snacks. But anyone can bring a blanket and chair and enjoy this cinema experience under the stars right by Lake Merritt. Throughout October, the group is hosting an entire Halloween-themed “movie month” with 31 nights of nothing but horror movies. You can catch One Hour Photo, Insidious, and Zodiac this weekend. Check out the event’s Instagram account Through Oct. 31, check Instagram for times and movie titles, 461 Bellevue Ave., Oakland. FREE

🎨 The ‘Por El Pueblo: The Legacy and Influence of Malaquías Montoya’ exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California opens Oct. 6 and will remain on display through June 30, 2024. Montoya’s posters, graphic prints, and murals highlighting political and social justice issues have helped define Chicano identity and culture for almost five decades and inspired a new wave of artists. The exhibit will include works by Montoya alongside millennial and Gen-Z artists, including Julio Salgado, Elyse Doyle-Martinez, Leslie Lopez, Israel Campos, and Arely Hernández. $25

🎻 See conductor San Francisco Symphony music director Esa-Pekka Salonen conduct Naïve and Sentimental Music, a piece that John Adams, the world-renowned Berkeley composer, dedicated to him in 1999. The other work on the program is the world premiere of composer-inventor Jesper Nordin’s Convergence, which promises to be a “radical reinvention of the violin concerto.” (Note: The Symphony has generously provided us with complimentary tickets to its 7:30 p.m. concert this Friday, and we’d like to offer them to you in appreciation for reading Berkeleyside. Email us at with your favorite musical instrument. We have two pairs of tickets remaining, and winners will be chosen randomly early Thursday afternoon and contacted via email.) Friday-Saturday, Oct. 5-6, 7:30 p.m. Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco. $25-$75

If there’s an event you’d like us to consider for this roundup, email us at If there’s an event that you’d like to promote on our calendar, you can use the self-submission form on our events page.

The Oaklandside’s Arts and Community reporter Azucena Rasilla contributed reporting to this story.

"*" indicates required fields

See an error that needs correcting? Have a tip, question or suggestion? Drop us a line.

Iris Kwok covers the environment for Berkeleyside through a partnership with Report for America. A former music journalist, her work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, KQED, San Francisco Examiner...

Freelancer Andrew Gilbert writes a weekly music column for Berkeleyside. Andy, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, covers a wide range of musical cultures, from Brazil and Mali to India and Ireland....