This Weekend's Top Five Events

May 15, 16 & 17


These are the best events the weekend has to offer. 

Oakland East Bay Symphony
Candide, the canonical Leonard Bernstein opera work and spin-off of Voltaire’s satirical novel, is full of old-world jet-setting, deceit, elemental calamity, gaiety, and jokes. Memorably, there are some vindictive abuses of power by the amoral aristocrats, a volcano that slays ten of thousands, torturous Inquisitors, and sexual innuendo. At the center of it is Candide, who’s cursed by illegitimate birth and subject to incrementally worse misfortunes yet manages to bumble into carnal pleasures nonetheless. For the Oakland East Bay Symphony’s final production of the season at the Paramount Theater (2025 Broadway, Oakland) on Friday, Grammy Award-winner Thomas Glenn is cast in the titular role, while the symphony, under the direction of Michael Morgan, is well-suited to what many consider Candide’s most vital element: the music, and especially the overture, which is a fixture of the modern orchestral repertoire.— Sam Lefebvre
Fri., May 15, 8 p.m. $20-$70.

Lyrics Born
Lyrics Born.
  • Lyrics Born.
Not to throw any shade on the practice of rapping over records, drum machines, digitally produced beats, and the like, but it’s telling that there are always a few emcees embracing the feel of a live band, which can’t exactly be replicated. It works for The Coup, it worked very well for Deltron 3030’s performance at Hiero Day last year, and it works quite nicely on the new Lyrics Born album, Real People, especially because the players are New Orleans royalty. There’s Trombone Shorty, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Ivan Neville, and production courtesy of Galactic’s Robert Mercurio and Ben Ellman. Lyrics Born, the Japanese-American, Berkeley-based rapper, calibrates his flow according to the band’s leaden funk while retaining the flourishes that fans will appreciate from his voluble output and projects related to the noted local collective, Quannum. If it’s difficult to synthesize the feel of a live band on a record, it’s especially hard to do in concert, which is why Lyrics Born’s appearance at The Independent (628 Divisadero St., San Francisco) on Friday, celebrating the release of Real People, features an eight-piece ensemble with secret guests.— S. L. 
Fri., May 15, 9 p.m. $20.

32nd Annual Himalayan Fair
The Himalayan Fair began in 1983 when Everest climber Arlene Blum and Tibetan Buddhist Monk Lama Kunga decided to host a picnic for Nepali and Tibetan friends living in the area. This year, the now extensive fair will take place at Live Oak Park (1300 Shattuck Ave.) on Saturday, May 16, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, May 17, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It will feature more than one hundred vendors — crafts, tarot card readings, massages, Ayurveda — and traditional Nepalese and Indian music and food. The performances will range from Chaksampa Tibetan Opera Company to Bhutanese youth traditional dance, each with its own set of vibrantly colored costumes. Although the fair is free, every year it raises money for charities in India and Nepal through admission donations and raffle ticket sales. This year, that fundraising is especially crucial, in the wake of the Ghorkha earthquake, which left hundreds of thousands of Nepalese citizens homeless in late April. All of the money raised this year will go toward relief in Nepal, prayers will be said throughout the day, and healing spaces will be set up for mourning those who were lost in the disaster. Raffle tickets only cost $5, but the lucky winner will get a round-trip ticket to New Delhi, India.— Sarah Burke
Sat., May 16, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sun., May 17, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Free.

  • Woods.
The Woods crew, meaning the Brooklyn-based band, Woods, the Woodsist record label, and the like-minded psychedelic pop company they keep, seems mightily nostalgic for the dippie Bay Area cult-jams of yore. Now in its sixth year, the Woodsist Festival has decamped from its usual site at the Henry Miller library in Big Sur to the nearby Loma Vista Gardens. A lot of the same bands perform every year, or at least the same players in difference arrangements, and there are usually reports of restrained performances from bands known for rocking vigorously, as if the pastoral setting takes the edge off. This year features Woods alongside Real Estate, frequent Bay Area visitors White Fence, Alex Bleeker & the Freaks, and Simon Joyner, most of which are also stopping to perform at The Chapel (777 Valencia St., San Francisco) on Friday. The chief appeal of the festival a few days later, though, might be the specially formed Woodsist Family Band, which is slated to perform music by The Grateful Dead, because everyone turns into their parents eventually.— S. L. 
Fri., May 15, 8 p.m. $16, $18.

Connecting the Pieces of Oakland and Ferguson
Adisa Banjoko has built an entire philosophy from the convergence of hip-hop, chess, and martial arts. Through his nonprofit, the Hip-Hop Chess Federation, he teaches strategies for success to underprivileged youth through playing chess and showing how the principles apply to hip-hop, martial arts, and life in general. Each practice is about achieving the highest self-performance possible. Banjoko argues that the “hip-hop style of chess” is to apply lessons learned on the chessboard to real life scenarios — as he claims has been exhibited by chess enthusiast rappers like Tupac, Public Enemy, and members of the Wu-Tang Clan. While working with the Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis, Banjoko witnessed the collective unrest that followed Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson. On May 15, at the Oakland Museum of California (1000 Oak St.), Banjoko will give a pop-up talk, “Connecting the Pieces of Oakland and Ferguson,” in which he’ll reflect on experiences in Ferguson, compare them to Oakland, and apply his strategic logic to propose social solutions.— Sarah Burke
Fri., May 15, 7-7:30 p.m. Included with museum admission.

If your pockets are feelin' light and you're still yearning for more suggestions, we've got a ton, and these ones are all FREE! We're Hungry: Got any East Bay news, events, video, or miscellany we should know about? Feed us at