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Around Berkeley

silkroad ensemble
The Silkroad Ensemble with Rhiannon Giddens will perform at Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley on 17, 2023, at Zellerbach Hall. Credit: Adam Gurczak

🎤 California State Senator Aisha Wahab, who represents Hayward, Union City, Newark, Fremont, Milpitas, Sunnyvale, San Jose, and Santa Clara, will give a guest lecture to a UC Berkeley class on Asian American policy and political engagement. The lecture will be streamed on Zoom for the public. Thursday, Nov. 16, 7:15 p.m. Virtual. FREE (Registration required)

🪵 Take in the sunset, huddle around a fireplace, and listen to Vincent Medina and Louis Trevino, the founders of Cafe Ohlone, share Ohlone stories. Thursday, Nov. 16, 4 p.m. Lawrence Hall of Science. Included with museum admission

🎶 Oakland-based, Austin-bred accordion player Pete Okie Weiss leads the soul-steeped Zydeco Playboys, a band that combines players from the soul band Emily Day & the Knights and the honky-tonking The Country Business. Thursday, Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m. Ashkenaz. $15

👁️ Aurora Theatre’s production of 1984, adapted from George Orwell by Bay Area playwright Michael Gene Sullivan, opens Thursday, Nov. 16. Through Dec. 10

🇵🇸 Cinema Iran and Queer Surf are co-hosting a screening of the 2016 documentary Gaza Surf Club at 2727 California Street, a grocery store-turned-creative hub. The film tells the story of how Gazan youth sought freedom in the seas. All donations will go toward the humanitarian Palestine Red Crescent Society. Friday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m. 2727 California St. Pay what you will (Donation-based)

🎶 Guitarist/vocalist Hans Ragg and vocalist/harmonica player Justin Norton present a blues-steeped tribute to country great Merl Haggard. Friday, Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m. The Monkey House. $10-$40

🎻 A leading force in the Cajun cultural revival of the 1970s, the quartet BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet has honed a deliriously joyful repertoire encompassing centuries-old Acadian songs, New Orleans jazz, blues swamp pop, Zydeco, country and bluegrass. The dance floor will be open. Friday, Nov. 17, 8 p.m. Freight & Salvage. $26-$31

🚂 The Silkroad Ensemble is coming to Berkeley with its newest project, American Railroad, which aims to amplify the impact that the African American, Chinese, Indigenous, Irish and other communities had on the creation of the U.S. Transcontinental Railroad. The performance will be followed by a community conversation. Friday, Nov. 17, 8 p.m. Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley. $38+

🖼️ Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work as a museum curator? Longtime Bay Area museum curator Renny Pritikin’s photograph-filled memoir At Third and Mission chronicles his years working with artists at New Langton Arts, Yerba Buena Center, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum. BAMPFA is holding a book release party to celebrate. Copies of his book will be available for purchase and signing after the event, which is included with museum admission. Saturday, Nov. 18, 2:30 p.m.

🎨 Rosa ter Kuile, who works under the artist name RTiiiKA, is holding an open studio before she moves back to the UK. (You might remember her from the halloumi-themed housewarming party she put on when she arrived in North Berkeley.) She’ll be showing off her paintings, riso prints, ceramics, and more, many of which focus on queer pleasure and removing the gender binary. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 18 and 19, 2 p.m. 1625 Grant Street, Apt. A. FREE

🕺The final show of the year presented by the DIY dance collective Performance Primer features the work of emerging dance artists Hannah Westbrook and Kat Lin, followed by light refreshments and a moderated conversation with the artists. Sunday, Nov. 19, 6 p.m. The Finnish Hall (on Chestnut Street). $0-$50.

📖 Richard Leiter & Friends present another iteration of Jazz Stories, an ongoing spoken-word (and sometimes musical) event featuring anecdotes and tales about legendary jazz musicians. Monday, Nov. 20, 7 p.m. Pegasus on Solano, FREE (registration and masks required)

🎶 Berkeley-reared singer/songwriter Rachel Garlin celebrates Friendsgiving at the Freight with a killer cast of accomplices, including guitarists Lisa Zeiler and Shelley Doty, bassist-for-all-occasions Daniel Fabricant, drummer Kevin Weber, and guest vocalists Zoe Ellis, Andrea Prichett, Jennie Chabon, and Steve Seskin. Wednesday, Nov. 22, 8 p.m. Freight & Salvage. $20-$25

🥁 Berkeley drummer James “StickNasty” Small, who’s spent much of the past two years performing around the world with Fantastic Negrito, celebrates his 31st birthday at Starry Plough with a performance followed by a jam session featuring numerous invited guests, including vocalists Jackie Gage, Tracy Cruz, Yvette Plyant, Mikki Boyd, Aisea Taimani, and many others. Wednesday, Nov. 22, 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Starry Plough. Pay what you can

And here are a few more suggestions for weekend activities, drawn from our round-up of affordable things to do in Berkeley:

🐠 Volunteer to clean up the Berkeley coastline and compile data about trash and marine debris. Buckets, bags and gloves will be available. Meet at the Shorebird Park Nature Center at 160 University Ave. Third Saturdays, 9-11 a.m. FREE

🥭 Sunday brunch at Wat Mongkolratanaram, or “Thai Temple.” Food sold in the temple’s backyard food court include curries, pad thai, fried chicken, beef noodle soup, taro fritters, and, if you’re lucky, mango sticky rice (which usually runs out before noon). Here’s a Berkeley High Jacket article about this “hidden gem.” Every Sunday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. 1911 Russell St.

🍺 Triple Rock Brewery’s weekly “Geeks Who Drink Pub Quizzes” feature eight themed rounds played in teams of up to six people. Winners get a gift card. Every Wednesday, 8 p.m. 🎤 The Berkeley Poetry Slam, which claims to be the longest-running poetry slam in Northern California, is held weekly at the Starry Plough Pub. Every Wednesday, 8:30 p.m.

Beyond Berkeley

Seniors from the Piedmont Gardens host a yearly vintage jewelry sale. Credit: John Campbell

💎 Since 2017, the resident committee at Piedmont Gardens, a senior community, has organized a yearly jewelry sale. Residents donate, help to sort and price each item ahead of the event, and volunteer on the sale day. There are two rooms, one with jewelry under $25 and another with more expensive items. You can expect to find everything from necklaces to earrings, pins, pendants, rings, bracelets, watches, beads for jewelry makers, and items for men and children. Some residents are jewelry makers who donate their custom work, but most of the jewelry comes from the residents’ personal collections. Because the event occurs at a senior living facility, proof of vaccination and masks are required. Saturday, Nov. 18, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 33 Linda Avenue, Oakland. FREE

🔫 The Oakland Police Department, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of OaklandMt. Zion Baptist Church of Oakland, and other community organizations are teaming up to host “Guns to Gardens,” a gun buyback event this Saturday at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Community members can exchange their guns for garden tools and, depending on the type of firearm turned in, a gift card worth up to $300. This event is being held to promote a safer and greener community. In addition, for every gun turned in, $5 will be donated to Mt. Zion’s program to feed the unhoused. Saturday, Nov. 18, 12 p.m.-4 p.m.1203 Willow St., Oakland.

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.

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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....