Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events



It's Plaid Friday! Here are the five best shopping and non-shopping related events to check out this weekend:

Plaid Friday
Shopping on the day after Thanksgiving usually means long lines and lots of grumpy shoppers, but this Friday, for the fifth year, small businesses in Oakland are offering a "mall-ternative" event to make holiday gift-buying fun again. In addition to the shopping itself, Latham Square, the new parklet at Broadway and Telegraph Avenue, will be transformed into a Santa's Village with live music from local bands like the Kev Choice Ensemble, The Dedications, The Riot Professor, Dynamic, and Say Bobby, as well as DJ Tanoa. There will also be gift-wrapping services, hot chocolate, and free photos with Santa. Artisans will set up pop-up shops around the square as well as in ten surrounding bars. Cyclists can try a self-guided five-mile bike and shop tour that begins in the Golden Gate District and ends in downtown. Those who wear plaid can score additional giveaways and discounts. Friday, Nov. 29. 10 a.m.-10 p.m., free. OaklandGrown.org/Plaid-FridayZaineb Mohammed

Small Business Saturday/Indies First
This holiday season, put your money where your heart is and shop locally. On Saturday, Mrs. Dalloway’s will participate in Small Business Saturday in solidarity with other independently owned bookstores across the country. Established by American Express in 2010, the annual event aims to support small businesses to order to boost local economies on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Inspired by the success of Small Business Saturday, the acclaimed author Sherman Alexie started the Indies First movement to encourage writers to volunteer at their neighborhood bookstores on the same day. Advocate for your community and shop at Mrs. Dalloway’s, where the East Bay’s own Annie Barrows, Mac Barnett, Patricia Polacco, and Anthony Marra will stop by throughout the day to chat with customers and sign copies of their books. Saturday, Nov. 30. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., free. MrsDalloways.comIvy Kim

Comet ISON
  • Chabot Space and Science Center
  • Comet ISON

Comet Celebration
Calling all astronomy geeks! Celebrate the “Comet of the Century” this Saturday at the Chabot Space and Science Center. The center’s scientists have been monitoring Comet ISON’s journey through the solar system since September and are anxiously waiting to see if it will be burned up during its trip around the sun or if it will survive the rotation and create a spectacularly bright sky show along the lines of Halley’s Comet. Ask the center’s resident experts all of your nerdy comet questions, make a comet out of dry ice, and launch a bottle comet with pressurized baking soda and spritzer. If Gravity didn’t scare you off from space for good, try out the comet-themed simulated space mission in the Challenger Learning Center. Saturday, Nov. 30. 11 a.m.-4 p.m., $13.45-$17.45. ChabotSpace.orgZ.M.

Kick-Tuchas Chanukah Party
Shake off your food coma this weekend at Afikomen Judaica, where a Chanukah Party will include homemade latkes and applesauce as well as jelly doughnuts from Grand Bakery. Learn about the significance of the fifth night by participating in the Menorah lighting at 4:30 p.m., when the candles will be lit while everyone says blessings and sings. Enjoy live music and religious storytelling while shopping for holiday gifts such as jewelry, beeswax candles, and work by local Jewish artists. Enter a raffle for your chance to walk away with a box of gelt. Proceeds benefit the Friendship Circle Berkeley. Sunday, Dec. 1. 12-5 p.m., free. Afikomen.comZ.M.

Big Things Have Small Beginnings by Santos Shelton.
  • Alfonso Cosio
  • "Big Things Have Small Beginnings" by Santos Shelton.

Big Things Have Small Beginnings
The work of Santos Shelton defies chronology: It merges the aesthetics of futurism and folk art in allusions to both science fiction and ancient civilizations. In doing so, the artist engages questions of beginning and end: Where did we come from and where are we going? He is fascinated by the enormity and force of concepts such as the Big Bang, and tries to capture them through dynamic compositions of painted, abstract forms. The concept behind the show, now on view at Betti Ono Gallery is aptly relayed by its title, Big Things Have Small Beginnings. Shelton’s new work includes acrylic paintings on paper, cardboard, and wood, as well as installation. It shines in its striking combination of geometric patterns and fluid, organic forms. His series “Watchers of the Cosmos” is the most memorable in the show, depicting ghostly nebulas in a style reminiscent of an updated and urbanized version of Alaska native iconography. They stir up the feeling that there is something out there so large and mysterious that we could never fathom it. Through December 6. BettiOno.comSarah Burke

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.