Sun Songs 

Go a cappella in Berkeley

SUN 11/2

When a local ensemble ties with Sweet Honey in the Rock as runners-up in the Folk/World category of the 2001 A Cappella Community Awards, you know it has something good going. Such is the case with Solstice, an a cappella Bay Area women's sextet specializing in music written by women and for women's voices.Solstice was formally founded in 1996 after Sheryl Kaskowitz pulled together three friends, all recent college graduates united by their love of singing. Soon expanding to a sextet, they ditched holiday repertoire in favor of an eclectic mix that spans nine centuries and multiple genres, including world, pop, jazz, and classical. Imagine a group equally comfortable with music from the cloister of Hildegard von Bingen and the pen of Sinéad O'Connor. Add in music of Finland and Bulgaria; Kaskowitz' original "Ulster Lullaby"; Krista Enos' arrangement of the traditional "Wade in the Water"; and Cassandra Wilson's "Sankofa," and you have a quintessential Solstice mix.

Currently recording its second album, Solstice's self-titled 2000 debut release included "Blood and Gold," a Romanian-derived song that won a 2001 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) nomination. They return to the Berkeley Art Center (1275 Walnut St.) at 7:30 p.m. Sunday to serenade an expanding circle of fans. Info: BerkeleyArtCenter.org or 510-644-6893. -- Jason Serinus

FRI 10/31

See Air

The '40s swing into town

Close your eyes and remember a time when catching your favorite weekly show meant closing your eyes and firing up your fancy (as opposed to setting the TiVo and giving your imagination the hour off). Now peel open those peepers and watch the best of both worlds -- a live radio broadcast from December 1942, re-created with loving care as The 1940s Radio Hour. Masquers Playhouse (105 Park Pl., Pt. Richmond) presents Walton Jones' musical comedy, set all over the seedy offices and studio of New York radio station WOV. The show, which opens Friday and plays through December 13, features old-fashioned sound effects and such classics of the era as "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo." Betsy Bell Ringer directs, Pat King provides musical direction, and Kris Bell choreographs the dance numbers. Tickets cost $15: 510-232-4031. -- Stefanie Kalem

10/31-11/23

Raw Hyde

A certain stratum of American theatergoers has an unquenchable thirst for the dark side of the Victorian age. And now Altarena Playhouse in Alameda presents Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn's Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical. Expect the epic battle between good and evil in the soul of a mild-mannered London physician -- with songs and romance. The Altarena production opens Friday night and runs through November 23, at 1409 High St., Alameda. Tickets and info: Altarena.org or 510-523-1553. -- Kelly Vance

SAT 11/1

Hair Game

A world of whiskers in Nevada

Is Uncle Belvedere not what he used to be since retirement? Just sits around on the couch, nervously trimming the rounded bottom of his impressive Verdi-style beard? Well, give the ol' man a sense of purpose again at the World Beard and Moustache Championships in Carson City, Nevada. So bring your Dalí, your Wild West, your Musketeer yearning to break free to the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St., where you'll enjoy beer, bratwurst, oompah music, and more. Doors 2 p.m., preliminary competition at 3:00 p.m., and the final judging happens at 7 p.m. Contestants pay $25, spectators $10. Tickets and info: WorldBeardChampionships.com -- Stefanie Kalem

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