Plan the next 72 hours of your life with help from our critics. Herewith, the five unmissable events going down this weekend in the East Bay.
When Elizabeth Bernstein and Carrie Hott opened the Royal NoneSuch Gallery (4321 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) two and a half years ago, they knew they wanted to create the kind of space where people could really interact with the art. And, indeed, in its short two years, the gallery has presented a slew of multisensory, multidisciplinary, interactive, and occasionally risky shows, workshops, and community events that often have little in common with the prototypical passive white-walled gallery experience. In that sense, the gallery's current undertaking, 21 Projects x 21 Days x 21 Hours, is the natural extension of that impulse. The concept is simple: take 21 artists, broadly defined, and give each of them exactly an hour to do whatever they want with the gallery. "It was kind of like a dare: If you had one hour and a blank space, what would you do?" Bernstein said. Thus far, the answer to that question has been, well, just about everything. The first project in this year's series, Dan Graham's "2011 Zevon Awards," was a borderline absurdist performance piece that placed elaborately characterized genre authors at a fake science-fiction awards ceremony; two nights after that, Aaron Terry invited guests to wear hand-sewn "Urban Yetti" outfits while he documented their actions as part of a meta-social experiment. The remaining half of the series, which ends Sunday, April 17, promises to be equally manifold, with projects including drawing sessions, a citrus tasting, and workshops both utilitarian (how to make your own paint) and less so (how to speak with a convincing fake accent). Check website for full schedule; free. RoyalNoneSuchGallery.com — Ellen Cushing
Run for the Parks
State, regional, and city parks throughout the East Bay are a runner’s paradise. Not only do we have the country’s largest regional park district and its hundreds of miles of trails, but also state landmarks like Mount Diablo and renowned destinations like Lake Merritt — all preserved (in perpetuity, we hope) as parkland for the greater good. Honor that legacy by participating in Livermore’s inaugural Run for the Parks, which benefits the Livermore Area Recreation and Parks Department, on Sunday, April 17. The event in idyllic 750-acre Sycamore Grove Park (1051 Wetmore Rd., Livermore) features three courses: a flat 5K walk/run, a 10K run tackling rolling wine-country hills, and a one-mile kids’ run. Arroyo Del Valle is flowing, the wildflowers are blooming, and the trails are waiting. Check-in begins at 7 a.m., first race at 8:30 a.m. $10-$35. OnYourMarkEvents.com — Nate Seltenrich
Well-publicized budget woes be damned, there’s still something to celebrate at UC Berkeley — or, rather, lots of things: Cal Day, the university’s massive annual open house, invites prospective and current students and staff, as well as community members, to explore campus museums for free; learn more about academic and extracurricular programs; sit in on lectures; and see the Cal band perform and various sports teams play. Particularly not-to-be-missed is the Edith Coliver Festival of Cultures, during which International House (2229 Piedmont Ave., Berkeley) more than makes good on its name with a celebration of the nearly one hundred cultures that fill its halls. The food is a big draw, but there’s also arts and crafts, cultural performances, and more. Saturday, April 16, at various locations on the UC Berkeley campus (see web site for full schedule). All day, free. CalDay.Berkeley.edu. — E.C.
Tax Time Specials at Spenger's
All paid up for another year? Spenger’s Fish Grotto (1919 Fourth St., Berkeley) hosts an Early Filers Happy Hour in its bar on Friday, April 15, with happy-hour edibles and a selection of specially low-priced Bottom Line drinks. Happy-hour customers will also receive discount coupons for future Spenger’s meals. And on Monday, April 18, the restaurant has a Tax Relief Procrastinators Celebration all day at its bar, offering more low-priced dishes and drinks. 3 p.m. (Early Filers Happy Hour), $5.40 per drink. 510-845-7771 or Spengers.com — Anneli Rufus
Catch a Movie: Our critic suggests The Conspirator, opening this weekend in the East Bay, though he's slightly less stoked on Your Highness: "It's impossible to smoke enough weed to make this movie seem funny." A damning indictment indeed!
Get Buzzed: In this week's installment of our drinking column, Last Call: hits and misses from the wild world of gluten-free beers.
Feed Us: Got any East Bay news, events, video, or miscellany we should know about? Holler at us at Ellen.Cushing@EastBayExpress.com.