Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Tom Hunt and Bonnie Hughes
Saturday April 14, 2018 - 05:25:00 PM

To learn what's happening on Berkeley's arts scene, you can now reach the Berkeley Arts Festival Calendar directly from the Planet. You can then click on an individual date for a full description of every event on that day.

To reach the calendar, click here. -more-

Preview: Souad Massi to Sing at Fort Mason April 20

By James Roy MacBean
Saturday April 14, 2018 - 09:57:00 AM

From the Kabyle mountains of Algeria by way of Paris, female singer-songwriter Souad Massi will appear Friday, April 20, at Cowell Theatre, Fort Mason. This will be her first Bay Area appearance in more than ten years for the 46 year-old Algerian Berber who has become a genuine superstar in world music scene. Souad Massi began her career singing in the Kabyle political rock band Atakor, before leaving Algeria following a series of death threats. When I spoke to her by telephone, Souad indicated that she prefers to leave these events of long ago in a bygone past. She visits her family every year in Algeria and has given several concerts there in recent years. -more-

New: Armenian State Chamber Choir Performs in Berkeley

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday April 15, 2018 - 11:14:00 AM

On Saturday, April 14, Cal Performances presented the Armenian State Chamber Choir in a concert at Berkeley’s First Congregational Church. Founded in 2000, The Armenian State Chamber Choir has a primary mission of performing the great choral works of Armenian composers and sharing them with audiences in Armenia and worldwide. The Armenian State Chamber Choir is directed by Robert Mlkeyan. The choir is renowned for their brilliant renditions of works by Komitas (1869-1935), the father of Armenian classical music. On the program here were several works by Komitas: the choral song “Holy, Holy,” a lively suite of Rustic Wedding Songs, the song “Rise Up!,” the song “O Mountains, Bring Breeze,” the boisterous “Plowing Song of Lori,” and “Spring,” set to a poem by Hovhannes Hovanisyan. Whether steeped in the rich folklore of Armenia or inspired by the pious faith of Komitas, these songs amply demonstrated the musical genius of Komitas, who, when he performed some of his works in Paris, was saluted as a musical genius by Claude Debussy. Among the highlights of this evening was the “Plowing song of Lori,” robustly sung by tenor Razmik Baghdasaryan and basses Hovhannes Grogorian and Mavrik Mkrtchyan. -more-

Ana Moura at SF Jazz

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday April 14, 2018 - 10:01:00 AM

Where Fado is concerned, I’m very much a traditionalist. I first heard Fado in 1963 in Lorenço Marques (now Maputo), capital of the then-Portuguese colony of Mozambique. Inquiring of a Portuguese shopkeeper where I could hear good Portuguese music, he directed me to a Fado club called A Toca. My wife and I arrived early and were seated in a small, darkly lit room. Soon a middle-aged woman dressed in black with a long black shawl appeared, accompanied by a middle-aged man with a 12-string Portuguese guitar. Together, these two musicians poured out their hearts and souls for an hour and-a-half in songs steeped in saudade, the Portuguese word for longing and melancholy for what might have been. They used no microphone and were unamplified; yet in this small room their music rang out with a clarity of passionate intensity. I was instantly hooked on Fado. -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, April 15-22

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday April 14, 2018 - 09:46:00 AM

The charter for the Police Review Commission (PRC) is 40 years old and in need of significant updating which can only be done through ballot initiative. Berkeley Community United for Police Oversight is gathering signatures for their proposal. The Police Review Commission Reform Subcommittee is preparing an alternate proposal which also addresses the current Police Review Commission weaknesses. The PRC alternative is targeted to be completed this coming week by the reform subcommittee in time for a full PRC Commission vote on April 25.

The Transportation Commission on Thursday will be taking action on new signage at Berkeley City limits. Proposed language: “Welcome to Berkeley” “LOVE LIFE” “Sanctuary City” “Ohlone Territory”

The Landmarks Preservation Commission designated/landmarked the Campanile Way View as a significant element on April 5. On Thursday April 19 the Design Review Committee will be reviewing the preliminary design for the proposed 18-story 274 unit building at the Walgreen’s site corner of Shattuck and Allston which blocks about 50% of the view. As of Nov 28, 2017, Berkeley (construction completed or in progress) overbuilt market rate/luxury priced units by 405 and underbuilt all levels of affordable housing units by 1335.

City Council April 24 meeting agenda available for comment. 31. Allocation Federal Funds, 32. Block Grants, 33. Carbon Free energy, 34. Single use foodware, 36. GoBerkeley Transportation 37. Youth Spirit Artwork Tiny House project, 38 a.& b. Achieving Fair and Impartial Policing, 39. Information – Rapid Rehousing report

The meeting list is also posted on the Sustainable Berkeley Coalition website.