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Visit a Not-So-Chaotic Craft Fair Free-For-All

After a successful inaugural event in 2015, the KPFA Summer Crafts Fair is coming back to the Craneway Pavillion, except this time it's totally free. The massive event, which benefits KPFA 94.1 FM Public radio, will feature more than 180 local artists selling handmade goods. That means everything from glasswork to basket weaving. And each participant is selected by a jury, so it's not just some chaotic free for all. There will also be a curated exhibition called Quilts & Quilters, which will feature local quilted works. Free parking is available, as well as a complimentary shuttle from Richmond BART. Saturday June 18, and Sunday, June 19; 1414 Harbour Way South, Richmond, free, KPFA.org. (SB)

Enjoy a Shakespeare Sandwich

Since 1973, the California Shakespeare Theater company has been performing the works of the Bard of Avon as well as a select number of other literary giants — such as Anton Chekhov, Zora Neal Hurston, and Loraine Hansberry — for East Bay audiences. This year's lineup is no different. Cal Shakes is sandwiching the genius American playwright August aWilson's Fences and George Bernard Shaw's romantic farce You Can Never Tell between two of Shakespeare's greatest, and most dissimilar masterpieces — the comedy Much Ado About Nothing, and the dark commentary on empire, race, and betrayal Othello. All should be great productions, but if you can only make one, get tickets for Wilson's Fences, a complex exploration of Black life in 1950s Pittsburgh for which Wilson won the Pulitzer Prize. May 25 through October 9, at Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way in Orinda; $15-$87; CalShakes.org. (DB)

Check Out a Hyphy-as-Hell Art Show

At the inaugural Mac Dre Art Show last year, someone got a portrait of the Bay Area hip-hop legend buzzed into the back of their head. The sizable pop-up gallery overflowed with people from every walk of life, there to pay respects — and party. By the end of the night, a mattress had been set on fire. Yeah, it was hyphy as hell. And this summer, the art show homage will return. Now, it will be take place at Venue in downtown Oakland and will once again be curated by local artist Street Bleach, who does his own incredible tributes to the rapper in the form of digital collage. Often, they depict Mac Dre as an idol from on high. Rightly so. June 11, 4–10 p.m., 420 14th St.,Oakland, VenueOakland.com. (SB)

Unite with East Bay African Communities

Umoja is the Swahili word for "unity." And it's in the name of West Oakland's Umoja African Festival, with the goal of promoting cultural exchange by bringing various prominent African communities together for a cultural celebration. As in the past, this year it will feature local African food vendors and artisans, as well as local DJs and musicians from the community. Umoja is also partnering with the local fashion designer SuRu Clothing to put together yet another massive soccer tournament, which will feature MVPs from various African soccer leagues from around the Bay Area. And while the adult tournament is going on, the local soccer nonprofit My Yute will be doing a day-long soccer tournament for young ones. August 20, 1180 14th St.,Oakland, TheUmojaFestival.com. (SB)

Take on a Literary Beast

Only in its second year, the annual Bay Area Book Festival has already become a beast. A literary, thought-provoking, and eclectic beast. Similar to San Francisco's LitQuake, the festival is made up of many events at various locations around the neighborhood — including Freight and Salvage, BAMPFA, and the David Brower Center among many others. This year's festival is teeming with both local and flown-in intellectuals talking about today's most relevant topics. That includes Peggy Ornstein in conversation on her new book Girls and Sex, Sherman Alexie discussing storytelling with Daniel Handler (that's Lemony Snicket), and Rebecca Solnit, Aya de Leon, and Chinaka Hodge on a panel about writing for social change. Sessions are free the day of, but most will sell out for $5 (or a free RSVP) online beforehand. Saturday, June 4, and Sunday, June 5; DowntownBerkeleyBayBookFest.org. (SB)

Experience a Unique Oakland Holiday

Art and Soul weekend is more like an official Oakland holiday than an event. This year, the elaborate outdoor party will take place the weekend of August 20–21 in a familiar set of blocks in downtown Oakland: between Broadway and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, from 16th to 11th streets. Although the schedule has yet to be released, the usual suspects are sure to be there. Last year featured BANDALOOP, Oakland's internationally famous aerial dance company, as well as a Turf and all styles dance battle, and a stage featuring world dance all day. And the incredible Sheila E, a frequent musical collaborator with Prince, headlined the many musical performances. Aside from that, slam poetry, participatory art, and tons of food can also be expected. Save the date. Saturday, August 20, and Sunday, August. 21; noon–6 p.m.; ArtandSoulOakland.com. (SB)

Have a Damn Picnic

The best thing about summer is the wealth of opportunities it affords you to get out of your damn house. May I humbly suggest, then, that you take advantage of one of the Bay Area's great treasures — your local farmers' market — and put together a picnic? If it's a Saturday, head to the Downtown Berkeley market, where my go-to stalls during the summertime include Fifth Quarter Charcuterie (for awesome rillettes and pâtés), Guru Ram Das Orchards (for Blenheim apricots), Triple Delight Blueberries (for some of the sweetest and fattest berries you'll ever see), and Morell's Bread (for a loaf of bread, naturally). On Sundays, the Temescal market is where it's at — don't miss the cheese curd guy and Tomatero Farms' many varieties of outrageously juicy strawberries. The downtown Berkley market is at Center Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way; the Temescal market is at 5300 Claremont Ave., in the DMV parking lot. (LT)


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