Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

Sept. 12, 13 & 14


Have no fear! The weekend is here! Swooping in to untie you from the railway tracks of monotony! Look at that cape shimmer in the sunshine. Then, look at all the delightful events hidden beneath it: 

  • Marianne LaRochelle
  • Sarah Cahill
Downtown Berkeley MusicFest: Sarah Cahill, Arjun Verma and Ren the Vinyl Archaeologist Most lineups that promise to reflect the rich, diverse musical ecosystem of a given region actually don’t, but the Downtown Berkeley MusicFest warrants the claim. Unraveling at Berkeley various venues from Thursday to Sunday, the event’s seventh iteration features a host of genres, skewed somewhat toward traditional music, but with a few notable exceptions. In conjunction with the Berkeley Arts Festival, local, world-class pianist Sarah Cahill will perform works by the contemporary Japanese composer Mamoru Fujieda, whose principal interest is deducing and notating the musical expressions of plant life. Other offerings include a performance by the Indian sitarist Arjun Verma, a tribute to bluegrass originator Bill Monroe, a collaborative performance of Beck’s Song Reader, which he “released” only as sheet music, and Ren the Vinyl Archaeologist, a storied DJ and local chronicler of hip-hop culture. It could use some punk — but we’ll take it. — Sam Lefebvre
Sunday, Sept. 14, 10:30 p.m. free-$27 DowntownBerkeleyMusicFest.org

The Home [Away From] Home Art Festival
The concept of “home” is commonly attached to an image of a sturdy, long-term residence. But in both personal and cultural terms, the notion of home is often fluid and constantly evolving. This can be especially true for diasporic communities, as traditions from various geographic and historical points collide to form new ethnic identities. This evolutionary collision is, in part, what the Home [away from] Home project and festival aims to explore in regard to Ethiopian and Eritrean communities living in the Bay Area. The weeklong event, which is sponsored by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ new In Community initiative, is both an experimental art installation and a celebration of the Ethiopian and Eritrean New Year. On Sunday, September 7, a group of artists began the installation by building a circular structure modeled after a traditional Ethiopian gojo or Eritrean adjo at Eastshore Park on Lake Merritt. They then filled the home with their art, and instituted open gallery hours. Other events include Artist Talks on Wednesday, Happy Hour at Studio Grand on Thursday, a Habesha New Year’s Party on Friday, and an Enkutatash New Year’s day celebration on Saturday at Mosswood Park. The residence will culminate on Sunday with an all-day festival at Eastshore Park featuring live music, traditional coffee ceremonies, a hair-braiding sculpture competition (the winner receives a 3D print of his or her work!), arts and crafts for kids, and local vendors. — Sarah Burke
Sunday, Sept. 14, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Free. TheHomeAwayFromHome.org

Fall Open House: Tools to Table  
  • Lawrence Lansing

The Crucible, everyone’s favorite nonprofit provider of industrial arts classes — including blacksmithery and fire-eating — is hosting its fall open house this Saturday. The theme, “Tools to Table,” will focus on the tools and techniques used to make the various vessels and utensils that make our modern, civilized ways of eating possible. Come to The Crucible’s West Oakland studio to check out free demonstrations, which include cup-making, spoon-carving, chopstick-making, and pork butchery. A wide array of local food and drink purveyors — including Linden Street Brewery, Blue Bottle Coffee, Go Streatery, Fivetenburger, and Curbside Creamery — will be on hand, and all attendees will have the opportunity to sign up for any of The Crucible’s fall classes with a $25 discount. Also on the menu: fire — literally (though all flame-eating will be done only by trained professionals, naturally). — Luke Tsai
Saturday, Sept. 13, 12-5 p.m. Free. TheCrucible.org

Yonatan Gat
The Israeli rock band Monotonix performed more than 1,000 shows in five years before disbanding in 2011. By all accounts, most of them were pandemonium. In a video from one SXSW performance, the band is already in the audience when an opening riff elicits frenzied abandon. At one point, the vocalist stands on top of an elevated bass drum that’s moved around by the crowd. Monotonix was also renowned for its technical chops, thanks in no small part to its lead guitarist Yonatan Gat, who has since struck out on his own with a formidable string of releases. As equally indebted to 1960s psychedelia as to the era’s international pop, Gat’s recent releases feature pyrotechnic improvisation, virtuosic prowess, and skilled songcraft. Still committed to physically intense performance, Gat continues to rack up concert stats with two shows in one day on Saturday at The Knockout and Awaken Cafe. — S.L.
Saturday, Sept. 13, 3:30 p.m. $8. TheKnockoutSF.com
  • Juliana Leandra
  • Yonatan Gat

Sixth Annual RPS Vegan Cupcake Bake-off

Vegan baking is challenging, but, if properly executed, it can offer a level of fluffy moistness you never knew existed. Every year, the art gallery and maker-space Rock Paper Scissors Collective sets out to find and reward that golden cupcake with its Vegan Cupcake Bake-off. Recipes are submitted from across the land (of Oakland), and a large handful are chosen to compete. On the day of the event, the bakers show up in aprons with dozens of little, wacky-flavored cakes in hand. That’s where you come in. For $5-$10, tasters get to sample one of each cupcake, and vote for their favorite. (Last year’s winning flavor was tres leches.) Beyond that, Solidaritea will be serving up refreshing beverages, recipe zines will be for sale, and crafty activities and guest judges will be there to entertain. Most RPS events are quirky, but this is potentially the cutest — and definitely the most delicious. For vegans and aficionados of baked goods, it’s pretty much an ideal way to spend your afternoon. — S.B.
Saturday, Sept. 13, 1-4 p.m. $5-$10. 510-238-9171 or RPSCollective.org

And for the bonus: Never Press is hosting a release party for their new art zine Golden Source Power Three on Friday night at Lequivive Gallery. Gray Loft Gallery is holding a reception for their new show Inhabiting Space on Friday as well.

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 Sarah.Burke@EastBayExpress.com.