Berkeley High School's Jazz Ensemble gets most of the acclaim, but a much larger group of Berkeley High students is equally dedicated to music. This Thursday at 7:30 p.m., the Berkeley High Orchestra and Concert Band perform their free spring concert in the Berkeley Community Theater (Allston Way between Milvia and Martin Luther King Jr. Way). The orchestra is directed by classical clarinetist Karen Wells, who built it from an after-school class not even sponsored by the high school ten years ago into its current full membership, seventy players strong. The BHS Orchestra concert is both an affordable classical experience and a rare public display of Wells' and her students' dedication to musical excellence. Thursday's program features the Bacchanal from Saint-Saëns' Samson and Delilah, Dvorák's Slavonic Dance No. 15, two suites by Gustav Holst -- one for strings and one for band -- and 20th-century composer Kent Kennan's "Night Soliloquy" for flute, strings, and piano. The last piece is a solo showcase for flutist Erika Oba, who also plays piano in the Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble (other orchestra players also do double duty in the jazz band). Wells notes: "Some of the students I started with in fourth and fifth grade are now in the orchestra, and to watch them develop is so rewarding." Info: 510-644-6120. -- Larry Kelp
Dine for a difference in Berkeley
Situated as it is in the shadow of the Aurora and Berkeley Repertory theaters, Le Théâtre regularly plays host to its share of actors, theaterphiles, and show folk in general. But to celebrate Earth Day, the showmanship moves inside for A Feast of Fishtales.
Wednesday at 7:30, enjoy music, storytelling, and poetry performances by Luisah Teish, Michael Stocker, Mary Gomes and Allen Kanner, Suellen Primost, and Evelyn Roth, and a prix-fixe menu including soup, salad, Moroccan "Feuilles de Brick" rolls stuffed with leek and butternut squash, coffee, and dessert. It's $50 a pop, and it's for not one, but two worthy causes: Seaflow (a grassroots environmental organization dedicated to stopping low-frequency active sonar, which threatens sea life) and Altars of Extinction (an artistic and ritual memorial for plants and animals made extinct by human action). 1919 Addison St., Berkeley. Seating is limited and early reservations are encouraged, so call 510-644-1707. -- Stefanie Kalem
Footloose and Hella Free
National Dance Week starts Friday, and that means that any and all interested parties can take in more than 240 free classes, performances, rehearsals, lectures, demonstrations, and studio open houses throughout the Bay Area. In the East Bay, the annual fest officially kicks off at noon Saturday with performances by area troupes and choreographers as part of Berkeley's Earth Day celebration (Civic Center Park, Allston Way at MLK). Visit BACNDW.org for a complete schedule. -- Stefanie Kalem
How Many Strokes?
George Lopez plays through
How many golfing comedians can you name? Bill Murray, maybe Adam Sandler. But George Lopez? Go to GeorgeLopez.com, and there he is on the fairway posing for gag shots ("How do I look as a golfer? El más chingón or what?"). As the star of his own ABC-TV Friday-night sitcom -- he plays a working stiff turned plant manager at a Los Angeles-area aircraft factory, with a wife and two kids -- Lopez can afford the greens fee at any course he wants, but the onetime standup comic from the San Fernando Valley still holds tight to his roots. That means Chicano humor, mon. Lopez plays two shows at Oakland's Paramount Theatre Saturday night (7:30 and 10:30). $42.50-55.50 from CC.com -- Kelly Vance
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What the Fork - November 11, 11:00 AM