Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events


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Hey East Bay, it's Friday! Time to throw a mini dance party at your desk and check out these five weekend-worthy events:

I Hate the Holidays Cabaret
The holidays are such a circus. Escape the three-ring madness this weekend at Kinetic Arts Center’s I Hate the Holidays Cabaret, its second annual juried festival of circus arts and a send-up of “everything excessive, tacky and overdone” about the season (which, let’s face it, is pretty much everything). A coterie of disgruntled elves will host the high-flying shenanigans, with the Bay Area’s finest aerialists and acrobats mocking holiday tropes and travails while competing for audience votes. This year’s acts include an enslaved elf in a shock collar, and a pole artist under the influence of poisoned sugarplums — we all know the feeling. Friday and Saturday winners will perform in the Sunday-night finals for the ultimate prize of $350 or a year’s worth of fruitcake. The under-21 crowd can watch the show up close from mats on the floor, and there’s plenty of street parking for all the clown cars. Friday through Sunday, Nov. 24. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 7 p.m., $15-$35. KineticArtsCenter.comClaudia Bauer

Steve Gadd
  • Steve Gadd

Steve Gadd
Few drummers are as versatile and consistently creative as Steve Gadd. “Every drummer wants to play like Gadd because he plays perfect,” Chick Corea once stated. The Irondequoit, New York-born musician’s signature grooves have anchored the music of Corea, Paul Simon, Al Di Meola, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Steely Dan, the band called Stuff, the disco productions of Van McCoy, and countless others over the past four decades. Touring in support of a new jazz CD titled Gadditude, the 68-year-old drummer will make a rare local appearance as a leader for two nights at Yoshi’s in the company of trumpeter Walt Fowler, organist Larry Goldings, guitarist Michael Landau, and bassist Jimmy Johnson, all of whom also work with him in James Taylor’s current band. Friday, Nov. 22 (8 & 10 p.m.) and Saturday, Nov. 23 (7:30 & 9:30 p.m.). $22-$29. Yoshis.comLee Hildebrand

M. Lockwood Porter
M. Lockwood Porter’s willingness to be vulnerable makes him a compelling singer-songwriter. Judah’s Gone, the Oklahoma native’s debut album, is awash in bittersweet melodies. He sings sweetly, plainly, and earnestly, straddling the line between folk and country. With twang aplenty, his music explores topics like growing up, nostalgia, regret, loneliness, and the difficulty of creating genuine connections with other people. Direct and uncomplicated songs like “Down at the Lake” and “Tonight” are relatable and comforting: They sound familiar even if you’ve never heard them before. The Berkeley resident will perform at Awaken Cafe with Idea the Artist, a theatrical folk-rock singer who incorporates her own visual art into her performances, and bluesy folk artist Doncat. Saturday, Nov. 23. 8 p.m., $7. AwakenCafe.comMadeleine Key


Meet the Winemakers
You’ve heard of the Napa Valley. You’ve heard of Healdsburg, St. Helena, and Calistoga. But Dry Creek Valley is wine country’s dark horse: a cool and rural stretch of Sonoma County, lined with vineyards that have produced world-famous Zinfandel grapes for more than a century. At Duende on Sunday, husband-and-wife winemakers Michael and Anne Dashe of Oakland-based Dashe Cellars will share several of their single-vineyard Zinfandels along with an Alsatian-style Riesling, a Grenache, and a dessert wine, sourced from the Dry Creek Valley and Mendocino, paired with cured meats, cheese, and other snacks offered by Duende’s owner-chef Paul Canales. Sunday, Nov. 24. 3-5 p.m., $15. DuendeOakland.comAnneli Rufus

Berkeley Half Marathon
Runners, rejoice — Berkeley will host its first half marathon this weekend. Beginning in Civic Center Park, the 13.1-mile course winds through the UC Berkeley campus, downtown, and the marina, so the route is sure to be scenic and, more important, downhill. (There are also ten-mile and ten-kilometer routes.) At different checkpoints along the way, runners will be treated to performances by the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra’s Celli ensemble and Christopher Youmans and his five-piece band. When you make it to the end, enjoy well-deserved food, drinks, and a massage at the finish line. For the athletically disinclined, wildly cheering spectators are always appreciated. Sun., Nov. 24. 7:15 a.m.-1:30 p.m., $50-$85. BerkeleyHalf.comZaineb Mohammed

Plus...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.

Feed Us: Got any East Bay news, events, video, or miscellany we should know about? Holler at us at Zaineb.Mohammed@EastBayExpress.com.