Berkeley Arts Festival Calendar


Psoy Korolenko: concert by the Russian avant-garde pianist and singer *Note: actual end time may vary.*

Psoy performs his own and others' songs, accompanying himself to keyboard instruments, mainly a Casio synthesizer in accordion timbre. Experimenting with quite various song traditions he sings in about six or seven languages, most frequently in Russian, Yiddish, English and French.

Free and open to the public

Oct 8, 5:30pm to 6:30pm, Morrison Hall

Orion's Joy of Jazz and the Latin All Stars

Oct 8, 7pm to 9pm, Caffè Chiave, 2500 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley

Classical at the Freight: Happy Birthday, Robin Sharp!

Robin Sharp, Wendy Sharp, Jenny Douglass, Ben Simon, Eric Gaenslen, Margaret Edmondson

Happy 50th Birthday, Robin Sharp!
With Ben Simon and the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra All-Stars

A musical celebration of our very own concetmaster, Bay Area treasure Robin Sharp. Robin will join forces with top chamber musicians from around the country for an evening of seldom-heard chamber music masterpieces. The centerpiece of the evening will be Tchaikovsky's brilliant sextet, Souvenir de Florence, composed - by a happy coincidence - when he was 50 years old!

Oct 8, 7:30pm to 8:30pm, Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley

Ann Shulgin, Jon Hanna and David Presti: Psychedelic Stories, Art and Cookbooks

Ann Shulgin co-authored PiHKAL and TiHKAL with her late husband, the chemist and psychopharmacologist Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin. She also worked as a therapist using psychedelic drugs such as MDMA and 2C-B while they were still legal. The books-part memoirs and part psychedelic chemistry cookbooks-became instant cult classics upon their publication in 1991 and 1997 respectively. Now reissued as a special four-volume commemorative edition, this beautiful boxed set, available in both hardcover and paperback, features bonus material including nearly 200 pictures, poetry and tributes to the Shulgins contributed by a who's who of psychedelic luminaries.

Jon Hanna is a psychedelic consumer advocate and contributing author of the commemorative edition of PiHKAL/TiHKAL. In the late 1990s, he co-founded the Mind States conference series. He has worked as a writer, editor, and archivist for Erowid Center, MAPS, and the Alexander Shulgin Research Institute, among others. Following the release of his book Psychedelic Resource List, he was a regular contributor to The Entheogen Review. He has spoken internationally on the topics of visionary art, applied psychonautics, and harm reduction. He was Art & Photography Editor for The Manual of Psychedelic Support, and his photos have been published by National Geographic, Scientific American, The New York Times, Reason, Vice and other news/media outlets.

David Presti, also a contributing author of the commemorative edition, has taught neurobiology, psychology, and cognitive science at UC Berkeley since 1991. His classes on "Brain, Mind, and Behavior: An Introduction to Neuroscience," "Drugs and the Brain," "Neurochemistry," "Matter, Mind, Consciousness," and "Consciousness: Buddhist and Scientific Perspectives" reach more than 1,400 UC Berkeley students every year. For more than a decade he worked in the treatment of addiction and of post-traumatic-stress disorder (PTSD) at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco. And for the past 15 years, he has been teaching neuroscience and conversing about science with Tibetan Buddhist monastics in India, Bhutan, and Nepal. Presti is author of Foundational Concepts in Neuroscience: A Brain-Mind Odyssey (2016, W. W. Norton) and Mind Beyond Brain: Buddhism, Science, and the Paranormal (October 2018, Columbia University Press).

Oct 8, 7:30pm to 8:30pm, Moe's Books, 2476 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley

Nate Najar Trio "Under Paris Skies" CD Release

In an industry that likes to conveniently pigeonhole even its most innovative and adventurous artists, Nate Najar stands out with his all-encompassing embrace of the transcendent possibilities of jazz.

Inspiring growing numbers of fans with his distinctive approach of playing acoustic classical guitar with right hand classical technique, the multi-faceted composer and performer scored a Top Ten Billboard Jazz single, recorded tribute projects to his idol Charlie Byrd and the music of Brazil; and has performed hundreds of trio dates throughout the US, Europe and Australia. 2010 saw Najar release Groove Me on Woodward Avenue Records. A collaboration with Tony Award-winning vocalist Melba Moore, Groove Me reached the top 10 of the Billboard Jazz chart.

A St. Petersburg, FL native who began playing guitar at age eight and considers Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery and Charlie Byrd his primary influences, Najar's full-length recordings on Candid Records - including 2012's Blues For Night People: The Nate Najar Trio Remembers Charlie Byrd - earned him accolades from critics and influential jazz voices alike. Other recent recordings include 2014's Aquarela Do Brasil and the swinging This is Nate Najar (2016). 2017 saw Nate's return to Woodward Avenue Records with Christmas In December. Under Paris Skies (2018), Nate's most recent recording for Woodward Avenue Records, explores many of the great French melodies in jazz, classical, pop and film music.

Featuring the music of Serge Gainsbourg, France Gall, Django Reinhardt, Gabriel Fauré and more, Under Paris Skies brings together an empathetic trio of Nate, Tommy Cecil on bass and Matt Home on drums. Vibraphonist Chuck Redd guests on two tracks. Rick Anderson of All Music Guide called Najar "one of the most consistently interesting and stylish young guitarists on the jazz scene." JazzTimes Magazine referred to his playing as "intimate and soulful." Edward Blanco of All About Jazz wrote "This is Nate Najar will provide one with an exciting introduction to one of the finest classical guitarists in the business today on a set of music that swings lightly with a touch of class," and Becky Byrd, wife of the late guitarist Charlie Byrd, said, "There is no doubt that there is a piece of Charlie's soul in Nate's mind, heart and fingers. Get ready, world, here comes Nate Najar!"

For more information, contact Ron Moss, Musician's Services: +1 213 760 9781.

Tickets are $18 and are available in advance at the link below, or you may purchase your tickets at the door the night of the show. Doors open one half hour before show time. We accept cash only at the door (ATMs are nearby).

The Back Room is an all-ages, BYOB (for those 21+) space, dedicated to (mostly) acoustic music of all kinds. You are welcome to bring your own adult beverage with no additional corkage fee. If you need more information or have any questions, please call us: #510-654-3808. Thank you for your support!

Oct 8, 8pm to 10pm, The Back Room, 1984 Bonita Ave, Berkeley

Subtle Degrees saxophone/percussion duo

SUBTLE DEGREES is a two-musician ensemble consisting of Travis Laplante (tenor saxophone) and Gerald Cleaver (drums).

A Dance That Empties is the culmination of a very long musical relationship. In 2001, when he was only 18 years old, Travis Laplante played a concert at New York's Knitting Factory, then a pre-eminent mecca for adventurous music of all kinds. Gerald Cleaver was in the audience, and came up to Laplante afterwards, handed him his phone number and said they should play together sometime. They soon did, "and I felt a very intimate and spiritual connection with Gerald that feels more alive than ever today," Laplante says. "I've learned a tremendous amount from Gerald and have long considered him one of my favorite living improvisers."

Oct 8, 8pm to 10pm, CNMAT (1750 Arch St.)