Weekender: Top Things to Do Over the Next Three Days in the East Bay


Better late than never??? Here's what you're doing this weekend.

Chances are, unless you're a parent, a grade-school teacher or major science geek, you haven't spent much time at Chabot Space and Science Center (10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland) lately. Enter NightSchool, is a brand-new, eighteen-and-over series of nighttime events set to go down the third Friday of every month, including Friday, November 18. The idea, according to Chabot Space and Science Center spokesman Robert Ade, was to take advantage of all of the intellectual capital within both Chabot and the East Bay at large to facilitate something "a little more intellectually stimulating than any other event with drinks and music" — to give the public a chance to roam around the open museum without having to rush, to "see the place in a different light, almost as if you'd rented it for a party." It's an opportunity to explore a great local resource that they may not otherwise visit; to experience a novel, relatively cheap night out that doesn't necessarily revolve around alcohol; or, at the very least, to visit a museum without having to be surrounded by screaming kids. (They're also a brilliantly adorable place for a first date. YOU'RE WELCOME.) This month's iteration of NightSchool — entitled "Curiosity," after the soon-to-be-launched Mars rover of the same name — includes short classes on teloscopy and stargazing; discussions about the search for intelligent life with scientists from UC Berkeley and Chabot; a "fix-it" clinic, in which folks are invited to bring broken appliances for "tinkering experts" to inspect; a free planetarium show (probably pretty awesome about two beers in); a workshop that claims to simulate "physiological effects of space on the body and mind" (probably slightly less awesome, but still); and live music by DJ Miggy Stardust, plus drinks, food, and more sciencey fun. 7 p.m., $5-$15. 510-336-7373 or ChabotSpace.org — Ellen Cushing

The Chalk Boy
Despite a few gaps and loose threads in Joshua Conkel’s script, The Chalk Boy is an engaging play — part whodunit, part black comedy, part teen drama, part girl angst and geekiness, bolstered entirely by four fine actresses. Luisa Frasconi plays against type as Penelope, the sullen goth chick who subscribes to Wicca and seeks intimacy in all the wrong places. Maria Giere Marquis captures the mannerisms of a small-town, pious prep, while juggling several bit parts — including Penelope’s aerobics instructor mom and the play’s resident creepy guy. Caitlyn Tella plays the most sympathetic character, Penelope’s closeted lesbian sidekick. But the real standout is Chris Quintos, who fully commits to the character of high school queen bee Trisha. Laced with snappy sitcom dialogue and enriched by Anne Kendall’s well-conceived chalkboard set design, it’s a fine regional premiere, directed by Ben Randle and produced by Impact Theatre. Through December 10 at La Val’s Subterranean (1834 Euclid Ave., Berkeley). $12-$20. ImpactTheatre.com — Rachel Swan

Learn to Curl
Curling: It’s no longer just for Olympic athletes, people who live in cold climates, or professional hairdressers (just kidding on that last one). On Friday, Nov. 18, folks from the Bay Area Curling Society offer an introduction to the sport — which is sort of like bowling on ice, and said to be very fun — at the Oakland Ice Center (519 18th St., Oakland). The two-hour class will cover the history of the sport, the game’s basic rules, and a few fundamental techniques sure to be very impressive at your next social function. That’s followed by an hour or so of scrimmages and then an optional, post-lesson bar excursion. 9:15 p.m., $15. BayAreaCurling.com — E.C.

This could be you!!!! at Flacos taquito-eating contest
  • This could be you!!!! at Flacos' taquito-eating contest
Taquito-Eating Contest
Considering the amount of lard (not to mention meat, cheese, and sour cream) dumped into in most Mexican food, it’s pretty amazing that Flaco’s — which traffics in entirely vegan but otherwise totally traditional south-of-the-border fare — manages to make its food taste the way it does, which is gobsmackingly delicious. The South Berkeley restaurant (3031 Adeline St.) turns ten this year and will hold a Taquito-Eating Contest on Sunday, Nov. 20, to celebrate a decade of what it calls “feeding la revolución.” The ten available spots will be filled by lottery (enter by visiting the restaurant’s Facebook page; the winner receives gift certificates), but even if you’re not involved in the cruelty-free chow-down, it’s sure to be fun to watch. 2 p.m., free. 510-981-8081 or Flacos.com — E.C.

School Benefit Weekend
Mrs. Dalloway’s (2904 College Ave, Berkeley) pays respect to the vital role of educators in the East Bay by presenting its third-annual School Benefit Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 19-20. Employees of public and private partnership schools get reimbursed 20 percent of the total purchases they make on this day. Keep your receipts and turn them into your school administrators by November 30. Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun. noon-6 p.m. 510-704-8222 or Mrs. Dalloways.com — Stefanie Kalem

Unbound/Infinite Expansion Inward & Outdoors
Jo Ann Biagini continues layering imagery in Unbound, her title a reference to the books she disassembles and rearranges into grids on heavy BFK printing paper, overlaying their texts with drawn, painted, collaged, and solvent-transferred images of plants, animals, and other natural forms. (Smaller works are done on panel rather than paper, without the textual substrate.) The complex, intuitive process of addition and subtraction produces tapestry-like poetic fields like “Seedling,” “Gold Cage,” “Dinosaurs,” and “Undersea Life” that depict nature as process and cycle. Maya Kabat’s new untitled drawings use handwritten words and calligraphic gesture to “explore an alternate vision of space and time where the subconscious rules, and … structure and dimension are malleable.” They’re stories incorporating abstracted flowers, propellers, explosions, and planetary systems, “waiting to be decoded.” Unbound and Infinite Expansion Inward & Outdoors run through November 26 at Mercury 20 Gallery (475 25th St., Oakland). 510-701-4620 or MercuryTwenty.com — DeWitt Cheng


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