Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

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Ahoy. Here's what you're doing this weekend.

Art in Nature Festival
Site-specific art can both pull from and give back to its surroundings. So when those surroundings are nature itself — as in the multidisciplinary Art and Nature Festival at Redwood Regional Park (7867 Redwood Rd., Oakland) — it follows that the works would take on an organic quality. More than two hundred artists and performers, from dancers and musicians to poets and painters, are scheduled to span a mile of the park's Steam Trail, turning the wooded regional park into a venue and gallery. Parking is limited, but a free shuttle runs from the Merritt College parking lot (12500 Campus Dr., Oakland) throughout the day. On Sunday, Sept. 23.11 a.m.-5-p.m.; free, $2-$5 donations accepted. — Cassie McFadden

PARK(ing) Day Dances
There will, indeed, be dancing in the streets when more than one hundred artists join Oakland contemporary dance troupe Nina Haft & Company for PARK(ing) Day Dances on Friday, Sept. 21. A worldwide public event, PARK(ing) Day was created in 2005 by San Francisco design group Rebar to inspire new ways of thinking about public streets. To create this year's road show, environmental artist Lauren Elder and students from California College of Art designed mobile scenery from recycled materials, Berkeley High School students created freestyle dances, and Haft recruited Dandelion Dance Theater, Dark Faith Dance Company, Aura Fischbeck, and Krystal Bates as guest performers. Co-sponsored by the Downtown Berkeley Association and the city's Arts Commission and Department of Public Works, it's not exactly guerilla — and it's decidedly not middle-of-the-road. Berkeley High students perform at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.; Nina Haft & Company performs at 4:40 p.m.; free. NinaHaftandCompany.WordPress.com — Claudia Bauer

'Staches & Steins Oktoberfest Celebration
It's time, once again, for Oktoberfest, the annual festival born in Munich, Germany but celebrated around the world — and throughout the East Bay. And while there may be nothing quite so sating as sipping suds and stuffing your face with sausage until you've gorged your way into a coma, there's no reason you shouldn't also participate in some competitive sports along the way. In addition to traditional food and drink offerings throughout the day, the 'Staches & Steins celebration at Pyramid Alehouse (901 Gilman St., Berkeley) on Saturday, Sept. 22, features a "best moustache" competition until 8 p.m. and a bratwurst eating contest at 5 p.m. There's also live music by accordion player Gary Brietbard. Huzzah! 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., free. 510-528-9880 or PyramidBrew.com — Cassie McFadden

Somewhere Between
More than 80,000 unwanted girls from China, mostly infants, have been adopted by American families since the Chinese government instituted its “one child” policy in 1979. This personal yet undeniably universal documentary by Linda Goldstein Knowlton (herself an adoptive mother) profiles four China-born teenagers from different parts of the US, and learns how Fang, Jenna, Ann, and Haley individually reconcile their feelings on the issues of identity and belonging. It finally boils down to people who care about other people, and it’s enough to restore your faith in humanity. Note: One of the film’s subjects, Berkeley resident Fang “Jenni” Lee, appears with filmmaker Knowlton at select opening-weekend shows; see here for full schedule of showtimes. — Kelly Vance

2 x 2 Solos: Amy M. Ho and Lordy Rodriguez
Pro Arts’ 2 x 2 series divvies up the gallery space between two artists, giving each the room for a fleshed-out solo exhibition. This month, curators Zachary Royer Scholz and Eric Murphy bring in Amy M. Ho and Lordy Rodriguez, respectfully — two accomplished and intriguing artists whose work, happily, is entirely unalike. Ho sets up a black box for an immersive video installation that confuses light, color, and space. She also coats Pro Arts’ tall corner windows in striking primary reds and blues, commanding the viewer to look at the goings on in Frank Ogawa Plaza differently. For his show, Rodriguez presents an array of consumer goods referencing the so-called trash islands of the Pacific, which have grown substantially with the detritus unmoored by last year’s tsunamis. Accompanying this is a series of hand-drawn postcards that ambiguously conflate the languages of cartography and advertising. 2 x 2 Solos: Amy M. Ho and Lordy Rodriguez run through October 6 at Pro Arts Gallery (150 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland). 510-763-4361 or ProArtsGallery.org — Alex Bigman

Get your cheapskate on:
This is how much we love you guys: Here are our searchable listings of every single free event happening in the East Bay this weekend.

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