Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events


Hey party people it's Friday (the 13th)! Check out this amazing Tumblr that psychoanalyzes your favorite emojis and then read on for our list of the five best events that are happening this weekend:

Ambient Mafia
The Ambient Mafia, a collective of San Francisco DJs that formed in 1999, want you to know that they’re chill — real chill. In the collective’s barely 100-word bio, they use chill as a descriptor no less than five times. As a fellow over-user of the word and aficionado of all things “chill,” I find this both hilarious and sonically promising. This Friday, four members of the Ambient Mafia — DJs Speakeasy Ray, Skywise, Sneaky Hippie, and Unagi — will be spinning down-tempo, trip-hop, mid-tempo, old-school soul, dub, bossa nova, Northern soul, funk, and classic hip-hop at the Ivy Room. In the words of the Mafia, “Times may change, but [our] mission remains the same: To give people music that makes them think, dance, and of course above all … chill.” Friday, June 13. 8:30 p.m., free. IvyRoom.com — Madeleine Key

Live Oak Park Fair Edible Tastings
Now heading into its 44th year, Berkeley’s annual Live Oak Park Fair has long been a feel-good celebration of handmade jewelry, quilts, pottery, and other assorted arts and crafts. This year it’s also aiming to be a worthy destination for food lovers — especially those who are frugal. The art festival’s newest feature, introduced by producer Jan Etre last year, is an “Edible Tastings” section that will showcase ten up-and-coming food artisans — makers of kombucha, Southern-style barbecue sauce, high-end iced tea, the Belgian cookie known as speculoos, and more. While all of the artisanal food products will be available for sale, and a concessions booth will cater to those looking for a full meal, the emphasis will be on free samples. Come prepared to get your nibble on. Saturday and Sunday, June 14-15. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., free. LiveOakParkFair.com — Luke Tsai

The Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble - ANITA SAGÁSTEGU
  • Anita Sagástegu
  • The Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble

Immigrant Stories

These days, there's no shortage of pundits and politicians espousing their views on immigration. But drama therapist and director Armand Volkas sees something missing from the conversation — the stories of immigrants themselves. In order to humanize the often-polarizing topic, Volkas' company, The Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble, will stage improvisational plays based on the immigration-related stories of audience members at La Peña Cultural Center this Saturday. The ensemble uses an improvisational technique in which they "play back" narratives shared by audience members. As the "conductor," Volkas interviews the subjects, after which the actors perform their stories using words, sound, movement, and dance. Afterward, the storyteller is asked for his or her impression of the performances. The ultimate goal is to honor the immigrant experience, help people create meaning out of their memories, and also create a sense of community among the audience members. Saturday, June 14. 8-9:30 p.m., $20, $18 for students and seniors. LivingArtsPlayback.com — Zaineb Mohammed

Dancing Under the Stars
Whether you’re the first one out on the dance floor or the one standing in the corner awkwardly shuffling your feet, Dancing Under the Stars provides the perfect low-pressure, high-reward opportunity for dancers of all levels. The weekly series of outdoor dance lessons at Jack London Square began in 2009, and this year, professional dance instructors Vanessa Montoya and Bradley Montoya will teach participants in the styles of rumba, salsa, and swing. The instructors will first demonstrate that week’s dance (in the case of June 13, it’ll be the cha-cha), and then break it down into individual steps for the audience to learn. After 45 minutes, you can hit the dance floor and show off your moves. The event draws anywhere between three hundred and eight hundred people, but don’t let the crowd intimidate you — most people are focused on trying to make sure they don’t step on their partner’s toes. JackLondonSquare.com — Z.M.

Kathryn Kenworth's "Trade-O-Mat."
  • Kathryn Kenworth's "Trade-O-Mat."
Reimagining Progress
Exhibitions at the David Brower Center consistently situate artists as the mediators between citizens and economic and environmental issues. The gallery’s third annual juried exhibition, Reimagining Progress, features works that examine the current state of our system of consumption and the potential for more sustainable alternatives. While many of the works are visually gripping, those with applicable concepts underlying their form are the most thought-provoking. Kathryn Kenworth’s “Trade-O-Mat” is a reimagined vending machine that facilitates a bartering economy. A collection of local artworks is featured in five windows, each with a slot below that invites viewers to submit a card with their offer of a service in exchange for the piece. After the artist determines a fair exchange, the two will meet to make the trade. Aviva Knox’s “Authentic Apparel” features white T-shirts made by different companies, each with a tag that outlines the actual circumstances of labor that went into their production. Although Knox uses a shorthand that’s similar to that of normal tags, her tags hang twice as long as the shirts themselves. Collectively, these works impressively push the notions of production and offer an optimistic view of the potential for change. Runs through Sept. 4. BrowerCenter.org — Sarah 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.