Hooray for three-day weekends. Yes, it could be warmer, but hey, at least it's not raining. Spark up the 'que, bust out a game of Scrabble, and get your butt over to one of these fine events.
Jamaican Jerk Cook-Off
Do the Memorial Day barbecue one better with Linden Street Brewery’s (95 Linden St., Oakland) Jamaican Jerk Cook-Off, which places local chefs (and a crapload of spices) in front of a panel of high-profile judges — including Sarah Kirnon, executive chef of Hibiscus; Christopher Grant, sous chef at Ana Mandara; Pamela Ong, formerly of Bay Wolf; and special guest Horatio Sparkes — for an all-out jerk showdown. The $10 entry fee covers either wine or beer and a jerk tasting, and all proceeds go to the My Yute Soccer Camp, which provides free soccer instruction to local kids. Monday, May 30. Noon-5 p.m. MyYuteSoccer.com — Ellen Cushing
Jug band roots and hand-made instruments — including a “tub bass” assembled from a bucket and broom handle — made the California Honeydrops stand out, from the moment they played their first BART station. Yet, the current quartet, led by songwriter, guitarist, and trumpeter Lech Wierzynski, is a far cry from these humble beginnings. The new Honeydrops include Ben Malament on drums, John Cocuzzi on piano, and Johnny Bones on saxophone, for a sound that mixes the woodenness of washboard music with the richer texture of a horn section — albeit a one-man horn section. Malament and Wierzynski met at Oberlin and have collaborated ever since; the other band members have strong blues pedigrees (Cocuzzi played with Jimmy McCracklin, while Bones backed Eddie Palmiere). Their current repertoire mixes delta blues, old-timey bluegrass, and old soul. And, as always, Wierzynski slathers all his lyrics in thinly veiled innuendo (That “Pumpkin Pie” song is no joke.) At The New Parish (579 18th St., Oakland) on Friday, May 27. 9:30 p.m., $12, $15. TheNewParish.com — Rachel Swan
FIVE, the Shattuck Plaza Hotel’s Michelin Guide Bib Award-winning bistro and bar, has a new chef. Banks White and his team will demonstrate how to prepare delicious seasonal dishes at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market (Center Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley) on Saturday, May 28. Learn how to pickle ramps, clean and cook artichokes, create simple vinaigrettes, and cook johnnycakes with vegetable slaw and spicy Creole dressing. 11 a.m., free. 510-548-2220 or EcologyCenter.org — Anneli Rufus
The Images of America series covers the United States from coast to coast, telling the tales of regional history through hundreds of black-and-white photos. Victoria Christian’s entry in the series, The Alameda County Fair, charts the fairgrounds and events from the Bernal family’s racetrack to the fair we know today, which is about to celebrate its centennial. Christian reads from the book on Saturday, May 28, at Books Inc. (1344 Park St., Alameda). 7 p.m., free. 510-522-2226 or BooksInc.net — Stefanie Kalem
The Royal Danish Ballet
Cal Performances’ dance season wraps up with a thrilling finale by the Royal Danish Ballet, in its first Bay Area performances in fifty years. Founded in 1748, Royal Danish is the world’s third-oldest ballet company and a source of both marvelous classical ballets and edgy contemporary works. On Tuesday and Wednesday, May 31-June 1, the company performs its most famous creation, August Bournonville’s Romantic-era tragedy La Sylphide, along with The Lesson, Fleming Flindt’s ballet adaptation of Ionesco’s absurdist play of the same name. The mood gets modern on Friday and Saturday, June 3-4, with four new and repertory pieces by several of dance’s northern lights: Thomas Lund, Nikolaj Hübbe, Jorma Elo, Johan Kobborg, and Jorma Uotinen, whose raw, primal Earth is danced by fourteen male dancers to music by Metallica and Apocalyptica. 8 p.m., $34-$62. 510-642-9988 or CalPerformances.org — Claudia Bauer
Catch a Movie: Our movies writer recommends Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, opening this weekend in the east Bay.
Eat Up: Our critic approves the foodie-level burgers at Trueburger near Lake Merritt.
Waste Some Time: Check out the top ten Rapture bomb pics!
Feed Us: Got any East Bay news, events, video, or miscellany we should know about? Holler at us at Editor@EastBayExpress.com.