Berkeley Arts Festival Calendar


Freddie Hughes and the House of Hughes

Soul legend Freddie Hughes and his band.

Oct 9, 4:45pm to 7:45pm, The Cheeseboard Pizza, 1512 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley

The Browning of American Literature

Armando Rendón, Publisher, Somos en Escrito Literary Magazine\
Roberto Haro (aka Roberto de Haro)\
Maria Nieto

Three award-winning authors will speak on the theme of Latino literature and read from their works. An open mic session will be held from 7:30 to 8:15 p.m. Invited authors are: Armando Rendón, Maria Nieto, and Roberto Haro (aka Roberto de Haro). Event is open and free to all.

Oct 9, 6pm to 8:15pm, 30 Stephens Hall

Jeffrey Meyers - Resurrections: Authors, Heroes--And a Spy

American Academy of Arts and Letters Award-Winner Jeffrey Meyers discusses his vivid new work, Resurrections: Authors, Heroes--And a Spy.

Jeffrey Meyers' Resurrections: Authors, Heroes--and a Spy brings to life a set of extraordinary writers, painters, and literary adventurers who turned their lives into art. Meyers knew nine of these figures, in some cases intimately, while five others he admires and regrets never meeting. As he writes in the preface, "The chapters in this book represent in miniature my career as a life-writer. My biographies have always been driven by fascination with the source of artistic creativity, with people who wrote or painted and with the worlds they inhabited."

Ian Watt, who taught Meyers at Berkeley, struggled with the legacy of his ordeal as a Japanese prisoner of war, and with its depiction in the film, The Bridge on the River Kwai. The story of Paul Theroux's feud with Sir Vidia Naipaul is well known, but Meyers finds greater meaning in their quarrel through the lens of his own long friendship with Theroux. While James Salter, fighter pilot and brilliant stylist, epitomizes Meyers' heroic ideal, the fiction writer also responds with an epistolary friendship, punctuated by visits, and Meyers is delighted by Salter's great reputation late in life. Anthony Blunt, art historian and communist spy, fascinates the biographer for a darker reason: the depth of his capacity for intellectual and personal deceit. The feckless, lesser-known Hugh Gordon Porteus, told Meyers many revealing and amusing stories about his friends Wyndham Lewis, T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound.

In the process of writing these profiles, Meyers discovers a common thread relating to himself: not only do these subjects provoke a kind of personal testing, they also represent his search for the ideal father in his vivid intellectual and imaginative inquiry.

Oct 9, 7pm to 8pm, Books Inc., 1491 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley

Classical Revolution

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

Way Out West Series - Adam Shulman Sextet

Drawing inspiration from Sonny Rollins' groundbreaking 1957 trio album of the same name, the Way Out West concert series provides composer-performers with a weekly Tuesday evening forum to present forward-looking original work within jazz and related genres. Located in the California Jazz Conservatory's intimate Rendon Hall, Way Out West proudly highlights the work of Bay Area musicians, while also welcoming occasional visiting artists.

Swinging hard bop sextet featuring all original tunes. Using the model of some of the great hard bop ensembles of the 60s such as The Jazz Messengers and Horace Silver, Shulman writes tunes that evoke that sensibility while sounding fresh and current.

Mike Olmos - trumpet
Lyle Link - alto saxophone
Patrick Wolff - tenor saxophone
Evan Hughes - drums
John Wiitala - bass
Adam Shulman - piano

Adam Shulman has been a staple of the San Francisco Jazz scene since he moved to the city in 2002. Before the move, Adam was a student at UC Santa Cruz where he received a degree in classical performance. While at UCSC he studied jazz piano with Smith Dobson.

Adam can also be seen as a sideman with countless bay area musicians and vocalists such as, Marcus Shelby, Anton Schwartz, Andrew Speight, Erik Jekabson, Ed Reed, Mike Olmos, Gary Brown, Patrick Wolff, John Wiitala, Vince Lateano, Faye Carol, Kellye Gray, Ian Carey, and Mike Zilber among many others.

Adam has played as a sideman with internationally renowned artists Stefon Harris, Willie Jones III, Dayna Stephens, Miguel Zenon, Mark Murphy, Alan Harris, Luciana Souza, Paula West, Larry Coryell, Sean Jones, Grant Stewart, John Clayton, Bobby Hutcherson, Bria Skonberg and with the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

In addition to his sideman work, Adam is a composer and arranger. He has released 4 albums of original music under his name. He has also done much of the arranging work for the jazz and cabaret singer Paula West.

Oct 9, 7:30pm to 9:30pm, California Jazz Conservatory, 2087 Addison St, Berkeley

Fan Shigang discusses Striking to Survive: Workers' Resistance to Factory Relocations in China

Fan Shigang discusses Striking to Survive: Workers' Resistance to Factory Relocations in China. In conversation with Li Wen.

What is the meaning of the thousands of strikes in China? Do these strikes add up to a "labor movement"? How can solidarity between Chinese and American workers be built?

Countering the popular myth that Chinese workers are "stealing American jobs," Striking to Survive documents a recent wave of factory closures in China's Pearl River Delta and struggles by workers there to hold onto their jobs, their pensions, and their livelihoods.

The struggles of these workers in China's industrial centers are shaping the future of labor and democracy not only in China but throughout the world. These vivid stories of workers at factories that supply multinational corporations Walmart and Uniqlo, compiled by worker-activists and circulated underground, provide a unique, on-the-ground perspective on the most recent wave of militancy among China's enormous working class.

Striking to Survive includes a uniquely fine-grained account of the strike organized by "Delegate Wu" - a worker activist who served more than a year in prison after the strike ended. The New York Times produced a video about Delegate Wu, which gives a sense of his work.
Fan Shigang was born into a family of workers for state-owned enterprises in a northern Chinese city. He has worked as a basic-level employee in several machining factories. He is a contributor to the underground labor periodical, Factory Stories, conducting interviews with factory workers in southern China, documenting their lives, work, and struggles.

Li Wen has worked in electronics and jewelry factories in southern China. She interviews and documents the experience of factory workers who've joined collective struggles, and pays particular attention to issues of occupational injury and disease.

Oct 9, 7:30pm to 8:30pm, Pegasus Books Downtown, 2349 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley

Mitch Polzak & the Royal Deuces plus Dance Lesson with Cheryl McBride

Mitch Polzak and The Royal Deuces were founded in California in 1999, and have been entertaining audiences worldwide with their highly original sound and show ever since. The three-piece band, fronted by Polzak on Guitar and vocals, play a wide representation of American Roots Music from Rockabilly to Honky Tonk. Polzak's showmanship, as well as his diverse background in multiple genres (including Cajun, Bluegrass and Surf), contributes to what sets his sound and show apart from other bands.

Mitch is known for his ability to engage, connect with and entertain an audience. He is currently the Mayor of his small town, Port Costa, California; so in addition to commanding respect as a musician and performer, he's also a revered elected public official in his current hometown!

Mitch Polzak plays about 200 shows a year, and is completely committed to his career path as a working musician, with the goal of taking his show to larger audiences around the world this year. He's known for his energetic shows, which he creates without a set list, basing them on audience reactions and building energy in the room. He gives each show 100 percent, and is also known to perform for several hours straight without breaks.

Mitch Polzak and the Royal Deuces is made up of a variety of experienced veteran musicians. His core players are Hank Maninger (bass) and Les James (drums). Mitch says, "The idea of a three piece band excites me, as every member has to pull their weight..." He plays so many gigs that in addition to his core players, he also has back up players: Joe Kyle Jr., Ken Owen, Jimmy Touzel and Timothy Orr-- for the occasions that he needs them.

Mitch Polzak & The Royal Deuces have played so far in the U.S., Spain, Holland, Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic; and he looks forward to taking his music to more parts of the world. He just finished his new release, Two Sides to Every Story, which he's ready to share with audiences. The release is unique, being a dual CD, one disc has vocals and the other all instrumentals.

Doors open 7:30pm / Dance Lesson with Cheryl McBride at 8pm / Show at 8:30pm
Tickets are $12 Advance / $15 Day of Show
Buy Tickets Here

Oct 9, 8pm to 11pm, Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, 1317 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley

The Jacob Jolliff Band, The Brother Brothers

The Jacob Jolliff Band

Jacob started his own band in the Fall of 2015. While instrumentation-wise it's a traditional bluegrass ensemble, they call on a huge number of outside influences to create a unique take on roots music.

The group features Jacob's long-time partner-in-crime, Alex Hargreaves, on fiddle. The two of them have been playing together since middle school, both growing up in the Oregon bluegrass scene. Alex is widely considered one of best improvising violinists in the world and has won several national fiddle competitions, including The Grand Masters Fiddle Championship and The National Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest. Hargreaves is also a member of the Turtle Island String Quartet.

For the guitar slot, Jacob called one of his all-time favorite picking buddies, Stash Wyslouch. Stash cut his teeth touring with The Deadly Gentleman, a contemporary of Joy Kills Sorrow in the Boston bluegrass scene. In addition to being an incredibly distinctive and shredding guitar player, Stash is also a powerful and versatile singer. He tours with his own project, The Stash! Band, in addition to playing with Molsky's Mountain Drifters.

Ironically, bassist Jeff Picker grew up right down the street from Alex and Jacob in Oregon, but they didn't meet until they were all living in NYC--ten years after leaving the northwest. Jeff created a name for himself tearing up the Portland jazz scene and won multiple national jazz competitions. Though he's quite capable of slaying bebop in thumb position, he also has a true appreciation for the nuances of bluegrass, and is an accomplished guitarist and singer as well. He currently tours with Sarah Jarosz.

The Brother Brothers
"The Brother Brothers' 2017 EP Tugboats might be one of the best releases of the year." -Saving Country Music


THE BROTHER BROTHERS sound is striking and undeniably captivating. Often leaning towards the darker, moody elements of Appalachian folk, klezmer, and bluegrass traditions, their songs are. They tour as an acoustic duo: David on cello and guitar, and Adam on the 5-string fiddle. With individual storied careers in the americana scene under their belts, the brothers are finally teaming up to bring their experiences together.

Oct 9, 8pm to 10pm, Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley

Grieves, Greater Than

Since his birth in Chicago, IL, Benjamin Laub (aka Grieves) enjoyed a diverse musical upbringing, exposed at an early age to the city's local jazz and blues clubs by his father. After relocating to Fort Collins, CO and eventually Seattle at age 19, Grieves had broadened his array of musical influences to include punk rock and eventually became completely immersed in Hip Hop as an art form.

Following his debut album Irreversible in 2007, Grieves began collaborating with local Seattle-based producer Budo, a talented multi-instrumentalist that helped complete the organic-yet-intense sound of 15 melodic, sample-free tracks that became 88 Keys & Counting. Following rave reviews of the album's mainly digital release, Grieves and Budo hit the road once again to set up shop in New York City, where they are currently at work on the follow-up to 88 Keys, due for a Fall release this year on Rhymesayers. Untethered to common restraints of the hip-hop genre, the combination of Grieves' singing and rapping with the refreshing horn, guitar, and keyboard driven production by Budo presents Grieves strongest work to date.
Greater Than
Greater ThanAn epic trifecta of talent was born when three separate stars collided at the speed of light and formed GREATER THAN. If you're a hip-hop fan, you've likely heard of one or all of these three artists who have mind-melded into one.
Having joined forces to rap circles around diverse and unexplored landscapes, the list of credentials is long for this well-versed trio:

GRYNCH, hailed as The King of Ballard, has been an icon of the Pacific Northwest hip-hop scene since 2004 and adds a highly sought after layer of nostalgia; while, FEARCE VILL, previously of Dyme Def, brings his distinctive brand of heartfelt hip-hop, paired with fearless rhymes; and finishing off the trio is Rhymesayers's own GRIEVES, who's been on the scene for a decade, building a name for himself with his five solo projects and rigorous touring schedule. This time around, he takes the producer's seat and creatively elevates the experience to a level that will slap the ever-living shit out of your speakers. No beat is safe, no earhole is secure. So buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Oct 9, 8:30pm to 10:30pm, Cornerstone, 2367 Shattuck Ave (Enter On Durant), Berkeley