Whether or not you're celebrating Valentine's Day, everyone can rejoice about the three-day weekend. Here are the five best events for you to check out:
Downtown Berkeley Is for Lovers
This year’s Grammy Awards — during which Queen Latifah officiated the marriages of 34 gay and straight couples — made mass weddings trendy. Now the City of Berkeley is jumping on the bandwagon. To celebrate the first Valentine’s Day since the repeal of DOMA and Prop 8, the Downtown Berkeley Association is inviting couples who wish to wed to the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza, where their marriages will be officiated by Berkeley City Councilmember Darryl Moore, Berkeley School Board Member Judy Appel, and Berkeley Chamber CEO Polly Armstrong. After the chorus of “I dos,” the crowd will be able to vote for their favorite couples — in the categories of gay, lesbian, and straight — and the three winning newlywed pairs will receive a free mini-honeymoon, including a two-night stay at Hotel Shattuck Plaza, meals at Eureka! Burger and BUILD Pizzeria, and tickets to see Berkeley Rep’s The House that will not Stand. After the winners have been announced, all are invited to the Hotel Shattuck Plaza for a wedding reception with champagne and cake. Friday, Feb. 14. 5 p.m., free, $10 for post-wedding reception. Downtown Berkeley.com/is4lovers — Zaineb Mohammed
Thomas Mapfuno and the Blacks Unlimited
Thomas Mapfumo is an exiled Zimbabwean political activist who has been making music that details the struggle of his people to achieve self-rule for nearly forty years. In the 1970s, he created chimurenga music by transposing the Shona people’s use of the African thumb piano onto electric guitars and bass, drums, and horns, and by blending in elements of jazz and blues: It’s moving and emotional, in addition to being socially conscious and intellectually engaging. Mapfumo now lives in Eugene, Oregon and has been barred from returning to his homeland for the past five years, but he continues to make music that is passionate about the struggle of Zimbabweans. Over the years, his band, Blacks Unlimited, has undergone a variety of lineup changes, but at Ashkenaz this week, it will consist of a guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, drummer/percussionist, and two singers. Saturday, Feb. 15. 9:30 p.m., $20, $25. Ashkenaz.com — Madeleine Key
We do it all the time: Decide to (or to not to) jaywalk, eat raw fish, invest our money, smoke a cigarette, have sex, take a vacation. We’re so well practiced at taking risks, big and small, that the mechanics of pro and con, cost and benefit are basically second nature. Not for UC Berkeley philosophy professor Lara Buchak, whose book, Risk and Rationality, plumbs economic and philosophical research into the many reasons we take risks, ultimately concluding that none of us are as rational as we’d like to think. Hear her speak at the Marsh Berkeley as part of a live recording of the public radio program Philosophy Talk; we’ll leave it up to you to decide whether to go for sushi after. Sunday, Feb. 16 3 p.m., $15, $20. PhilosophyTalk.org — Ellen Cushing
Plus... Get your cheapskate on: This is how much we love you guys: Here are our searchable listings of every single free event happening in the East Bay this weekend.
Feed Us: Got any East Bay news, events, video, or miscellany we should know about? Holler at us at Zaineb.Mohammed@EastBayExpress.com.