At the Berkeley Playhouse, performances often begin before audiences even make it to their seats. The innovative theater company erects installation pieces in the lobby that encourage playgoers to engage and interact with upcoming performances through movement, writing, and music, deepening their understanding of the worlds they’re about to enter. Once in their seats, they revel in productions featuring multicultural and multigenerational casts, whether they’re watching a performance from the mainstage season or a production from the youth program.
The Pacific Film Archive is the Berkeley Art Museum’s venue for all things filmic, cinematic, and animatic, offering screenings, collections, and events and seminars that explore the rich world of motion pictures. An individual membership to the archive comes with a reel's worth of celluloidal benefits, including free admission to the PFA gallery, discounts on tickets to film screenings, and free artist discussions and lectures. With reciprocal membership privileges at more than 30 university art museums, you can become a fixture in the film world, which, unlike the spontaneous-rock-hurling world, is a vibrant, supportive community.
Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian art form that combines elements of song, dance, and ritualized fighting that is centered on a physical game called jogo de capoeira. Like Spock and Kirk forced to fight by a threatening tribunal of bearded men, two players dance around each other in the center of a circle, exchanging movements of attack and defense in a constant, heart-pumping flow. Both players attempt to control the space by confusing their opponent, although no intentional contact is made or harm done—unlike sticks and stones with hurtful words carved into them. The observers in the circle play a variety of traditional Brazilian instruments and sing, setting the pace and beat of the dance-fight. Explore the schedule to find times during the week that work for you; additional classes are held at 7 a.m. by appointment only. Each session will immerse you in the flips, feints, kicks, and songs of capoeira.
A critically acclaimed show, Mortified brings average adults onstage to relive past pits of awkwardness and embarrassment through the reading of youthful journals, letters, and other writings. Performances are carefully curated by Mortified's crack team of humiliation experts, digging through volunteers' juvenilia to search out the pieces that offer the most entertaining and cathartic evenings as well as the most effective blackmail. Today's deal allows viewers to cringe with commiserating delight at Shattuck Down Low, an intimate bar, lounge, and music venue with cozy booths and couches that give viewers a comfortable perch from which to watch the readings. A guest band and large dance floor provide a post-show opportunity to shimmy and shake mortification away or bring it raining down with ceremonial awkwardness-summoning moves.
Born in Melbourne in 1978, Circus Oz is an animal-free circus troupe that performs all the death-defying stunts and astounding feats of Cirque de Soleil while undercutting its spectacle with a refreshing dose of irreverent Australian humor. The motley band of tumblers, tightrope-walkers, foot-jugglers, magicians, and acrobats favor leather pants, Viking helmets, and wild facial hair over spangly Lycra unitards—giving the circus a wondrously raw feel, like a steampunk Victorian circus comprised of Mad Max extras. Over the course of two hours, voluptuous ringleader Sarah Ward will unfold a cheeky phantasmagoria of star-crossed trapeze artists, roller discos, bicycles overflowing with 11 riders, two men balanced atop the shoulders of a single woman, and a mysterious event known only as “the senior citizens’ hour of power.” An off-kilter brass band (complete with a tiny tricycle organ) replaces the typical cirque’s New Age mood music with joyous rock and roll.
The Shawl-Anderson Dance Center offers a slew of adult classes each week in a non-competitive environment that welcomes dancers of all skill levels. Instructors have years of performing, choreographing, and teaching experience to bestow high-caliber training upon their eager pupils. Tutued beginners tulle up for ballet or prepare for overdressed conditioning during Pilates. The Horton Modern Technique focuses on flexibility and strength, lengthening spines and hamstrings like ropes of sentient saltwater taffy. Unleash inner b-boys and girls through a series of intricate pops and locks during a 75-minute hip-hop class (clean sneakers required). More experienced toe tappers can try to grab hold of contemporary jazz after firmly grasping modern, jazz, or ballet. Founded by Frank Shawl and Victor Anderson in 1958, Shawl-Anderson Dance Center’s classes were first taught above a liquor and tobacco store on College Avenue and have since been moved to a beautiful Craftsman across the street, which houses four sunny studios for twirling, jumping, and gooey spinal articulation. Use today’s deal to shower new dance moves on unsuspecting party guests and supermarket checkout lines.