.Calendar Picks: Week of Feb. 22-28




Back in the before times of 1995, two female-fronted bands got a whole generation of weirdo, awkward, super-cool-because-they-were-super-uncool kids into ska: No Doubt and Save Ferris. The latter was fronted by Monique Powell, a fixture in the Orange County music scene. Save Ferris’ first single was a cover of “Come On Eileen” by English rockers Dexys Midnight Runners—just one of the many things that made them cooler than your average ska band. The band split up in the early aughts, but in 2013, Powell regrouped with new musicians and has since brought the third-wave ska group into the modern era. – MAT WEIR

INFO: 8pm, Cornerstone, 2367 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. $26/adv, $31/door. 510.214.8600. 




More than an all-star aggregation, the Cookers is a bona fide band touring and recording for two decades. Bristling with outsized talent, the septet showcases some of the defining post-bop players of the ’60s and ’70s, starting with a rhythm section featuring pianist George Cables, bassist Cecil McBee (who anchored Charles Lloyd’s epochal Forest Flower quartet), and NEA Jazz Master Billy Hart on drums. The frontline is equally formidable, with tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, trumpeters Eddie Henderson and David Weiss, and NEA Jazz Master Donald Harrison Jr. on alto and soprano saxophone. With everyone contributing tunes, the Cookers boasts a repertoire as deep as any band on the scene. – ANDREW GILBERT

INFO: 8pm, Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland. $36 – $75. 510.238.9200.




Writer, composer and lyricist Jonathan Larson’s sizzling musical has gained iconic status, not only because the 1996 rock music phenomenon won a Tony Award for Best Musical and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Rent is a timeless story of love, death, AIDS, interracial marriage and more. During rehearsals for the premiere, 36-year-old Larson died suddenly, and the cast did a script-in-hand seated Act I and a fully staged Act II for the preview show. The play that began as a musical defining a specific generation resonated with audiences, and after nearly 30 years, the momentum has not stopped. – LOU FANCHER

INFO: 7pm, Berkeley Playhouse, 2640 College Ave., Berkeley. $30. 510.845.8542.




For Cory Wong, the guitar is more than an instrument; it’s a conduit for joy. Hailing from Minneapolis, the composer and rhythm guitar wizard aims to bring audiences infectious positivity and primal motivation—while getting immersively pumped up—through instrumental music. His enthusiasm, dad jokes, and unpretentious virtuosity have won him devoted fans and appreciative colleagues, including a fateful encounter with funk band Vulfpeck and inspiring the eponymous track “Cory Wong.” Now, he’s ending his winter tour in California. – SONYA BENNETT-BRANDT

INFO: 8pm, Fox Theater, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. $35/adv, $39/door. 510.302.2250.




It’s not every day that we get to discuss politics and religion at the bar. Chef Seth MacKenzie, writer and founder of Culinary Anarchy, delivers a unique, irreverent approach to humor, food, politics and kink cultivated by running kitchens nationwide for over 30 years. He’ll be joined by Nathan Monk, a social-justice advocate, former Orthodox priest, and bestselling memoirist and novelist. These two versatile writers will talk about everything from fighting the fall of global democracy to Russian misinformation, book bans, abortion and vests. – SBB

INFO: 8pm, Ivy Room, 860 San Pablo Ave., Albany. $20. 510.526.5888.




It seems there’s a day for everything. For instance, this Sunday is the 10th annual National Muffin Day. However, this particular holiday has a unique Bay Area connection, as it was invented right here by Jacob Kaufman, a.k.a. the Muffin Man. Kaufman used to hand out free muffins locally when he and his friends had an idea: Why not challenge people nationwide to bake free muffins for their community? For every person who took the muffin challenge, they donated money to the San Francisco nonprofit Project Homeless Connect and the national charity Family Promise. Over the years, they’ve raised over $70,000 for charity, cumulating roughly 3,000 bakers and a record-breaking 582 participants last year alone. – MW

INFO: nationalmuffinday.org




Gilman, Berkeley’s storied community-run space for all things punk, is hosting a genre-defying party this Sunday. It describes the QTBIPOC Extravaganza as “Mixed Genre Mixed Gender.” The packed lineup features Tanzanian Afropop singer Frankie Maston, known to their fans as a “vocal phoenix.” There’s also Suisun City indie-rock trio Angelboy + the Halos, whose popular song, “Tell Me,” from 2020, perfectly evokes a panic attack but also somehow inspires dancing. And what’s an extravaganza without a sequined crew of drag queens? Qozmo the Clown and Helixir will be there to get everyone singing, and DJ Ari B is poised to bring it home. – ADDIE MAHMASSANI

INFO: 5pm, Gilman, 924 Gilman St., Berkeley. $15. 510.524.8180.




The Grammy-winning string quartet Takács is on tour this month, playing an ambitious new program. The concert features Hugo Wolf’s “Italian Serenade,” Bela Bartok’s second quartet and Franz Schubert’s final string quartet, which they describe as “diabolically challenging.” If any group is up for navigating an absolute rollercoaster of tone, texture and tempo, it’s Takács. Since they formed in Hungary in 1975, the quartet has swept up award after award for their glorious performances, which are technically flawless and emotionally charged. They are also esteemed educators, having relocated to Boulder in the early ’80s to serve as Christoffersen Fellows and Artists in Residence at the University of Colorado. – AM

INFO: 3pm, UC Berkeley, Hertz Hall, 101 Cross-Sproul Path, Berkeley. $98+. 510.642.9988.




Parisian vocalist Mimi Pirard swings through a mid-20th century setlist of French songs made memorable by Edith Piaf, Yves Montand, Jacques Brel, Charles Trenet and others.

Transported across the Atlantic along with Robert Lunceford (accordion), Isaac Vandeveer (guitar), Jan Martinelli (bass) and Kendrick Freeman (drums), the intimate Lafayette theater’s walls will tumble and all the magic of Paris will appear in a sparkling, musical vessel. VIP ticket holders will enjoy preshow appetizers and drinks—surely, there will be wine? Satisfy the multiple sensory channels of sight, sound and taste, or skip the bonus perks and simply gift yourself and a loved one’s ears. Either way, romance, resonance and artistry will reign during the two-hour concert. – LF

INFO: 2pm, Town Hall Theatre, 3535 School St., Lafayette. $25-$40. 925.283.1557.


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