Go buckwild every single night this weekend, thanks to our critics. Without further ado, the five awesomest events going down over the next 72 hours:
Poet Emily Dickinson revealed few details of her life, and the mysteries she left behind inspire curiosity and creativity nearly 125 years after her death. Among the enchanted is Berkeley choreographer Kathryn Roszak, whose dance-drama Pensive Spring: A Portrait of Emily Dickinson poignantly embodies the cryptic, compelling emotions Dickinson expressed in her poetry. On Sunday, May 1, Roszak joins her company, Danse Lumiere, to perform the piece, which also features soprano Kristin Clayton in a song-cycle of Dickinson’s poems by composer Gordon Getty, dancer Hally Bellah-Guther, and pianist Kristin Pankonin. The Berkeley City Club (2315 Durant Ave., Berkeley) provides a suitably atmospheric space for Dickinson’s elusive spirit and marvelous artistry. After the performance, join the artists at a reception. 2 p.m., $15-$25. 510-848-7800 or BerkeleyCityClub.com — Claudia Bauer
Free Cookies Variety Show
Facts of life: 1) Cookies are awesome; 2) Free is awesome; 3) Free cookies are, by virtue of the rules of mathematics, exponentially more awesome than both of the above. Based on this alone, the Free Cookies Variety Show — which, indeed, promises gratis baked goods — should be pretty great. Also on hand: music, poetry, comedy, hula-hooping, and yo-yoing, with yet more acts to be announced — all hosted by the inimitable, absurdly hilarious Scott Alexander, a Jack-of-all-trades comic-musician-chef whose pumpkin-pecan cheesecake is said to be transcendent. Saturday, Apr. 30, at the Oakland Public Conservatory (1616 Franklin St., Oakland). 8 p.m., $10, with canned good $8. ScottAlexanderMusic.com — Ellen Cushing
There are three types of people in the world: those baffled by the sport of windsurfing, those intrigued by it, and those hooked for life. The first two types are welcome to the relatively calm waters of the Berkeley Marina (124 University Ave., Berkeley) every Saturday and Sunday, including Apr. 30 and May 1, to see if they’re bound for bigger waves and stiffer winds. Windsurfing isn’t quite as easy to learn as, say, bocce ball, but don’t fret; most new members come to the Cal Sailing Club, which hosts the lessons, with no experience to speak of. A will to learn is all that’s required. All lessons (including sailing, for those less inclined to stand) are free to members ($75 for three months). Beginning windsurfing lessons Saturdays 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Cal-Sailing.org — Nate Seltenrich
Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam
If you or that special MC in your life is between the ages of thirteen and nineteen (and will remain so until July 23), the Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam East Bay Preliminaries could be the first step on the road to making it on the national slam stage. The Oakland Main Library West Auditorium (125 14th St., Oakland) is the place to be on Friday, Apr. 29, at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Apr. 30, at 1 and 4:30 p.m. Free. 415.255.9035 or YouthSpeaks.org — Stefanie Kalem
Part of our enduring fascination with Goapele is the obvious: her sinewy vocal style and equally sinewy physique. But she also has a compelling history, as an East Bay native who really did build her career entirely from scratch. Goapele is beautiful enough, and talented enough, to resemble one of those R&B starlets who gets "discovered" and manufactured by a producer. But she actually has her roots in the local hip-hop scene - as a teen she sang at La Peña Cultural Center with her brother's DJ crew, Local 1200 - and in a family-run cottage industry. Back in 2002, Goapele muscled her way onto KMEL and KBLX playlists, and eventually went national. Now she's an indie artist again, tapping back into her hip-hop roots. Goapele's 2010 single, "Milk and Honey," featured Auto-Tuned vocals over a murky, bass-heavy beat produced by Bedrock. It wasn't so much an attempt to placate fans as an experiment with new technology. She'll appear in a more stripped-down form at Yoshi's (1330 Fillmore St., San Francisco), Friday through Sunday, Apr. 29-May 1. Fri.-Sat. 8 & 10 p.m.; Sun. 7 & 9 p.m. $28. Yoshis.com.— Rachel Swan
Catch a Movie: Our critic recommends The Princess of Montpensier, opening this weekend at the Elmwood.
Eat Up: Out of the ashes of Beckett's has risen the mysteriously acronymized phoenix that is BEC's, a Cal-French bistro with solid entrees — and, apparently, something of an identity crisis. Read all about it in this week's dining review.
Get Buzzed: The Germans are coming! And they're here to get you pleasantly buzzed on high-quality beer at Alameda's Speisekammer. Read all about it in this week's installment of our drinking column, Last Call.
Waste Some Time: There's no such thing as too many adorable baby animals. Behold, Nest Cam, a live, 24-feed of baby falcon adorableness set up by the benevolent souls at UC Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group. (h/t SFist!)
Feed Us: Got any East Bay news, events, video, or miscellany we should know about? Holler at us at Ellen.Cushing@EastBayExpress.com.