Curtis Mayfield Superfly Birthday Tribute
After writing some of the most popular songs of the 1960s and 1970s, Curtis Mayfield continues to influence musicians. Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley are among those who have imitated the legendary soul, funk, and R&B artist’s breezy guitar style and distinctive tenor voice; in 2012, members of TV on the Radio and Sinead O’Conner performed at a concert celebrating what would have been his 70th birthday. Mayfield was a master at melding socially conscious lyrics and messages of love with catchy songwriting. On Friday at The New Parish, local musicians who have been profoundly influenced by his work — including percussionist René Escovedo, vocalist Codany Holiday, and producer James Earley’s Superfly Band — will perform songs from the hit soundtrack Mayfield created for the 1972 film Superfly, as well as other classics. Friday, May 30. 9 p.m., $15, 420. TheNewParish.com — Madeleine Key
Rita Jaroslow & Dancers and Peiling Kao
Many contemporary choreographers make dances about big ideas; the best ones create works that are visual and visceral as well as conceptual. Shawl-Anderson Dance Center will host two such artists this weekend, when Peiling Kao and Risa Jaroslow and Dancers join forces for a salon showing of new works set to premiere later in the year. Jaroslow, who recently relocated to the Bay Area after forty highly acclaimed years in New York, presents What’s the Upshot?, which asks “how we make decisions that bring us to a point of change.” Melding mathematical rigor and lush musicality, San Francisco-based Kao performs Ludic Numerologies, an exploration of numbers, systems, and manipulation that is greater than the sum of its parts. Kao performs Friday and Sunday only; following its Saturday performance, Jaroslow’s company will present a breakdown of Upshot. Seating is limited, so advance ticket purchase is highly recommended. Friday-Sunday, May 30-June 1. Fri. & Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 4 p.m.; $15-$18. Shawl-Anderson.org — Claudia Bauer
Oakland Listening Sessions
In the face of Oakland’s serious, devastating, and sometimes seemingly intractable violence problem, it’s easy to feel like there’s no end in sight. But listening — to ourselves, to each other, to history — is a damn good start. That’s the idea behind the Oakland Listening Sessions, a series of seven workshops being put on this summer and fall by a coalition of local nonprofits with the goal of “[catalyzing] action and [holding] politicians accountable to low-income constituents of color who are directly affected and in need of solutions that reflect their experiences and priorities.” The full series will include sessions focused on performance and storytelling, but this week’s — the series’ second, held at the Oakland Library’s West Oakland Branch — will center around coming up with grassroots policy recommendations. Saturday, May 31. 2-5 p.m., free. BayPeace.org/Listening — Ellen Cushing
Eats, Beats & Brews
Nothing says it’s (unofficially) summer like a block party. To that end, the Downtown Berkeley Association will host Eats, Beats & Brews every Sunday in June on Center Street between Shattuck Avenue and Oxford Street. Organizers piloted the block party at the outdoor street fair Sunday Streets last fall, and the enthusiastic response prompted them to bring it back for the summer. The festivities will include an outdoor beer garden hosted by Drake’s Brewing, international cuisine from nearby restaurants, and live music from local bands such as Mad Noise, Muir Valley Settlers, and Into the Pacific. About 2,000 people attended the inaugural block party last October, so prepare for a crowd. Every Sunday in June. Noon-6 p.m., free. Facebook.com/eatsbeatsandbrews— Zaineb Mohammed
Few subjects are more prevalent in today’s cultural cognition than the dichotomy between the natural and the technological — especially in the Bay Area, where a landscape that was once the natural frontier is becoming the frontier of technological innovation and integration into daily life. So, it’s only inevitable that artists across the region should be tapping into this tension as inspiration for their work. The latest example can be found in Degeneration/Regeneration, a split show at Loakal Gallery featuring painter Scott Greenwalt and artistic duo Smith|Allen, made up of sculptor and installation artist Stephanie Smith and architect and designer Bryan Allen. Greenwalt’s large-scale, acrylic paintings use intricate line work to build abstract tangles of color that seem to buzz with electricity while also evoking the organic forms of biological cells or fine, interwoven roots. His color palette is made up of earth tones and neon hues that disregard the distinctions between the traditional and the futuristic, the down-to-earth and the extra-terrestrial. Alongside, Smith|Allen creates 3D-printed sculptures that mimic organic forms like coral reef, yet in the delicately layered and quintessentially manufactured texture of a plastic print. Working with biodegradable plastic, the duo’s work challenges viewers to rethink the opposition between organic forms and pioneering modes of production. Through June 2. EBXLoakal.com — Sarah Burke
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.
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