The revitalization of Fourth Street in Berkeley is a success story of community redevelopment. Landmark restaurants and taverns like Spenger's, Celia's, Brennan's, and the Takara sake factory all stand below the University Avenue freeway overpass, but head north and the trees, shops, and hustle and bustle of people transform the street. Once part of an unincorporated town called Ocean View, there's a Berkeley-style warmth around Cody's Books, Hear Music, and Bette's Oceanview Diner. But the Fourth Street merchants don't live in a vacuum. They know you have to give to receive. And so for the past six years they've been giving back to the community with the free Jazz on Fourth Street Festival, organized by Mickey Novello of the Abrams/Millikan architectural firm and benefiting the Berkeley High Performing Arts Program. The key components are music, dance, and theater, along with the Berkeley High School Jazz Band and combos. Thanks to founders Novello, Lori Ferguson, and BHS parents and teachers, the music cooks as merchants sell their wares on the sidewalk and give a portion of their sales to the Berkeley High cause.
This Sunday the acclaimed BHS Jazz Orchestra and combos will perform along with Alameda jazz siren Natasha Miller, East Bay salseros Quimbombó, and harmonica guru Mark Hummel and the Blues Survivors. "This Festival is one way we can help keep jazz going at Berkeley High," notes parent-coordinator Ferguson. "Without the wonderful help of the merchants on Fourth Street and Abrams/Millikan each year with this festival, people all over the world would not have the joy of hearing these accomplished musicians. We truly appreciate the help of the community in giving to the jazz program. This year is dire with budget cuts to the high school, and we need all the help we can get."
The festival takes place Sunday on Fourth Street between Hearst Avenue and Virginia Street, Berkeley. 12:30-4:30 p.m. Info: 510-526-6294. -- Jesse "Chuy" Varela
For instructors only: It's Teachers' Appreciation Night at A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland's Montclair Village. Entry is forbidden to all except teachers with valid ID cards; inside, refreshments will be served and 10 percent whacked off the price of any volume sold (Wed., 6 p.m.). ... From dog-doo in the mailbox to plastic fangs to utopia, Lois Lowry has plumbed the depth of preteen experience in her nearly thirty books for kids. The Newbery Medalist reads from her latest, Messenger, at St. Paul's Episcopal School (124 Montecito Ave., Oakland) (Wed., 7 p.m.). ... When your man says he's feeling perfectly fine and doesn't want to talk about it, don't let that liar off the hook. David Kundtz discusses his book, Nothing's Wrong: A Man's Guide to Managing His Feelings, at Altamont/Goodenough Books (Wed., 7:30 p.m.). ... Soup kitchens, not the stock market: At Easy Going, UC Berkeley urban-policy prof Arthur Blaustein discusses his new book Make a Difference, which details nearly 200 nonprofits nationwide under whose auspices do-gooders can save rivers, feed the hungry, and right other wrongs (Thu., 7:30 p.m.). ... Award-winning ex-Berkeleyite bard Gary Snyder appears at Diesel with Tony Hunt. Having spent more than twenty years studying a single Snyder poem, albeit an epic one, Hunt has written a new book: Genesis, Structure, and Meaning in Gary Snyder's Mountains and Rivers Without End (Thu., 7:30 p.m.). ... Don't panic -- and if that scares you, take tips at Elephant Pharmacy on coping with anxiety from Stacy Taylor, author of Living Well with a Hidden Disability (Sun., noon). ... One of American kids' most adored author-illustrators, Eric Carle, appears at Bookshop Benicia to promote his new book, Mister Seahorse. He'll sign but not speak: Be warned that because of time constraints, he can't read aloud (Sun., 4 p.m.). ... A posse of poets including Juliana Spahr, Etel Adnan, Taylor Brady, Norma Cole, Rodrigo Toscano, and Stephen Ratcliff read at Moe's from War and Peace, a new anthology to which they've contributed (Mon., 7:30 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus
Rip, Rig, and Sample
Project>soundwave is a group of avant-garde sound artists using everything from loops to found objects to electronic permutation, to push the frontiers of what we call "music" far beyond what we're accustomed to hearing -- as in its self-titled CD. Friday night (8 p.m.) at 21 Grand, a clutch of project>soundwave musicians takes part in Sonic Charge: The Boundaries of Sound Explored , a live showcase of sound art and music performances featuring Neal Morgan (a Berkeley artist specializing in quiet, meditative moods), Belgian musician Maria Blondeel (who uses light, external conditions to help shape her musical commentary on "the course of time"), New York music therapist Kappa, aka Brendan Ormsby (who samples everyday objects in his work in an adolescent psychiatry ward), and Night Night from Sacramento, plus videos. The evening is presented by ME'D1.ATE Network. $5. 449-B 23rd St., Oakland. Info: ProjectSoundwave.com -- Kelly Vance
Funnier than a heart attack
Funny -- it ain't just for laughing anymore. Karen Williams is the creator and facilitator of the Humor-at-Large Workshop Series, and founder of the International Institute of Humor and Healing Arts (HaHa). Friday night she'll lend her funny-but-helpful hand to the cause of "Under the Skin," a program of the Lyon-Martin Health Center to educate women over forty about cardiovascular disease. Lyon-Martin was founded in 1979 as a nonprofit lesbian health care group, but it now offers affordable, culturally sensitive health care to all women. Williams appears at Nile Hall in Preservation Park with Harlem Shake Burlesque, jazz singer Janice Steele with pianist Pat Gill, the SF Lesbian and Gay Chorus, and DJ LaNiche of Kaliente. Preservation Park is located at 1233 Preservation Park Way. Call 415-901-7133 or visit Lyon-Martin.org for tickets, 510-874-7580 for directions. -- Stefanie Kalem
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