Berkeley Arts Festival

The Berkeley Arts Festival Calendar is dedicated to the notion that in Berkeley every day is an arts festival. With the first month-long Arts Festival in 1997, we initiated this web site and realized that it could fill a need for information about the activities of all the Berkeley arts organizations year-round. So we expanded it and kept it going, as a guide for the arts-loving people of Berkeley and in appreciation of the City's continued support.

The Berkeley Arts Festival presents

We again have a home for the Berkeley Arts Festival this year, 2133 University Avenue right next to Ace Hardware. We have scheduled concerts with some of the most creative people in Berkeley--the musicians, composers and writers who bring vibrant talents for all to hear and see. So come along with us on an exciting journey into their domains.
Suggested donation $10-$20 unless otherwise noted. Check for changes on our website:

Sunday, August 30th 2015

A Night of Improvised Duets

This show will feature two sets of improvised duos. Josh Allen and Nick Obando will meet for the first time in the duo context. With their respective fastidious attention to individual language, tone, and proficiency expect a maelstrom of sound nuanced with extreme responsiveness to each other. Ross Hammond and Eli Wallace continue to cultivate playing in a duet format, which they began in 2015. With two harmonic instruments, they strive to navigate through pastoral musical terrain interspersed with spirited, effervescent outbursts

Nick Obando, alto sax
Josh Allen, tenor sax

Ross Hammond, guitar
Eli Wallace, piano

8pm to 10pm, 2133 University Ave.

Monday, August 31st 2015

Open Jam with Herb and Matt

9pm to 11pm, 2133 University Ave

Friday, September 4th 2015

Jerry Kuderna Lunch Concert

Pianist Jerry Kuderna plays from classics to the newest compositions.

12 noon to 1:30pm, 2133 University Ave

Logan Hone & Greg Uhlmann plus Sound Quartet

"Logan Hone is one of the most interesting, original, and creative musicians that I know. He always makes me smile, makes me think, and surprises me with his wide ranging talents (composition, woodwinds, guitar, singing, dancing...). Out of over thirty years of amazing people that we have worked with at CalArts, Logan is on the shortest list of the most outstanding!" -David Roitstein, Jazz Program Director, CalArts

"Greg Uhlmann is an outstanding young guitarist, who plays and composes with a maturity that far exceeds his modest years. He has a bright future in music ahead...I look forward to sitting back and watching the fireworks." -Jeff Parker, guitarist with Tortoise, Joshua Redman Elastic Band, Brian Blade Fellowship, AACM.

Sound Quartet
Aram Shelton, alto saxophone and bass clarinet
Mark Clifford, vibraphone
Safa Shokrai, bass
Britt Ciampa, drums and percussion

Sound Quartet is an Oakland based group focusing on creative jazz informed by their collective backgrounds and mutual interest in challenging traditional concepts of jazz through the use of adventurous harmonics and inventive forms. The unique improvisational approaches of the members are grounded in high level instrumental proficiency paired with a playful and open minded sensibility.

Aram Shelton is a saxophonist, clarinetist, improviser and composer based in Oakland, California. Since 2000 he has created original music that uses open ended improvisation as an integral component. In Oakland the projects Sound Quartet, Tonal Masher, Broken Trap Ensemble, and Ton Trio II represent his music. He is connected to Chicago (where he lived from 1999 to 2005) through his Quartet, the cooperative sextet Fast Citizens (Delmark), and Jason Adasiewicz' Rolldown (Cuneiform).

Mark Clifford is a vibraphonist, composer, and percussionist equally involved in free improvisation, new music, jazz, and indie music, and is a part of multiple projects in the Bay Area and around the country. His performance experience spans worldwide, and he has had the honor of playing alongside an array of wonderful musicians including Tatsuya Nakatani, Jeff Parker, Wu Fei, Moe! Staiano, Ron Miles, So Percussion, Scott Amendola, Greg Gizbert, Paul Riola, and Josh Berman.

Safa Shokrai is inspired by visual art, architecture, and movement. They inform the color and tone of his work. He has performed in a wide range of groups, ranging from punk-jazz (The Drift) to world music (Rupa & The April Fishes) to old-timey swing (Tin Cup Serenade). He has played bass since he was a preteen, and had the privilege to study with the great Ray Brown and San Francisco great Marcus Shelby.

Drummer and composer Britt Ciampa was born in Ohio, raised in the mountains of Colorado, and schooled in music under the tutelage of New York avant-garde jazz luminary Kevin Norton. Currently a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, Ciampa is active in a myriad of creative music projects ranging from free-jazz to art rock to noise metal, and performs as a bandleader, collaborator, and sideman in groups such as Britt Ciampa Hugs You, The Sound Quartet, Goddess Aphonic, and The Classical.

8pm to 9pm, 2133 University Ave

Monday, September 7th 2015

Open Jam with Herb and Matt

9pm to 11pm, 2133 University Ave

Friday, September 11th 2015

Jerry Kuderna Lunch Concert

Pianist Jerry Kuderna plays from classics to the newest compositions.

12 noon to 1:30pm, 2133 University Ave

Sunday, September 13th 2015

Dapplegray - Skeleton Wire

8 pm

adj. gray with an ill-defined mottling of a darker shade.
Dapplegray is Tara Sreekrishnan, Nava Dunkelman, and Jeanie Aprille Tang, an electroacoustic trio focused in structured/free improvisation and film scoring. They have collaborated with Pauchi Sasaki, Fred Frith, John Zorn, and William Winant among others. Dapplegray explores the conversion of polar opposite frequencies, unfolding stories, dreams, impressions, and delusions. Their stark array of textures reveals the urgency of silence and chaos overcoming one another to create a musical space that shifts between dreaming and waking life. Their debut album will be released in early 2016 on Tzadik Records.

9 pm
Skeleton Wire
Phillip Greenlief - reeds
GE Stinson - electric guitars, beats, effects
Steuart Liebig - electric bass, beats, effects

Skeleton Wire fuses funky beats, electro-acoustic textures and free improvisation. Here is a rare blend of accessible and abstract - engaging rhythm and futuristic sounds in the present tense.

8pm to 10pm, Berkeley Arts - 2133 University Avenue

Monday, September 14th 2015

Open Jam with Herb and Matt

9pm to 11pm, 2133 University Ave

Thursday, September 17th 2015

Free World ~ 3rd Thursdays

Curated by India Cooke, violin and Lewis Jordan, saxophone
June 18, July 16, August 20, September 17
A new forum for great black art and beyond: Innovative explorations from the roots to the branches of music, dance, visual art, and word. Bringing local, national and international performers, scholars, students and interested public together in a forum designed to enhance and broaden understanding and awareness of the dynamic
cultural impact of African American music and art, in all its diverse expressions. Performers TBA.
Suggested donation $20. No one turned away for lack of funds.

India Cooke, violinist, recorded and released, to critical acclaim, her Grammy nominated debut CD as a leader, IndiaCooke~Redhanded (Music and Arts 1996).
Her continuing jazz and improvisational experiences include performances and recordings with Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, George Lewis, Pharoah Sanders, Julius Hemphill, Reggie Workman, George Sams, Abdul Wadud,Charles "Bobo" Shaw, Peter Kowald, John Lindberg, James Emery, Eddie Marshall, E.W. Wainwright, John Tchicai, Michael White, Pauline Oliveros, Donald Robinson, Lewis Jordan, and Bill Crossman, among many others.

Lewis Jordan, alto and baritone saxophones
Born in San Francisco, he grew up in Chicago, with the blues, while learning to associate creative musicians with the advancement of society as we know it. He is an international touring and recording musician, poet, actor and playwright. He was a founding member of United Front, a seminal San Francisco Bay Area ensemble known for its originality, aggressive imagination and cultural synthesis. Presenting his music and words in performance, he continues to carry the torch.
He has focused on creative structures for improvisation, which has led to working with artists from a range of practice: dance, poetry, theater and music, presented in his Music At-Large series. He continues to seek out performers who strive for modes of expression that honor their traditions while speaking to the urgency of the present. If that's in B-flat, fine. If it's in time, that could work too. If it's outside, it must be honest.

7:30pm to 9:30pm, 2133 University Avenue

Friday, September 18th 2015

Jerry Kuderna Lunch Concert

Pianist Jerry Kuderna plays from classics to the newest compositions.

12 noon to 1:30pm, 2133 University Ave

Wednesday, September 23rd 2015

Michael Sommers: "HICK in the HOOD"

Michael Sommers true story one-man play

The true story of a rosy cheeked Vermonter who bumbles into a scary West Oakland neighborhood, buys a house... and comes to love it!

"Hilarious, dramatic!"*

Mike Sommers plays 30 characters in his acclaimed work that sold out and received standing ovations at The Marsh in San Francisco and on his Vermont tour!

"Deeply touching! An evening of delightful entertainment!"* Jim Lowe, Montpelier Times Argus (Vermont).

Donations gladly accepted! No swearing, no violence.

8pm to 9:30pm, 2133 University Avenue

Friday, September 25th 2015

Jerry Kuderna Lunch Concert

Pianist Jerry Kuderna plays from classics to the newest compositions.

12 noon to 1:30pm, 2133 University Ave

Saturday, September 26th 2015

Tribute to Ornette Coleman

Change of the Century - a musical tribute to Ornette Coleman
organized by Myles Boisen

7 outstanding local acts interpreting the music of Ornette Coleman!

Ornettology big band
led by Myles Boisen
featuring Steve Adams - saxes
Phillip Greenlief - saxes
Chris Grady - trumpet

Sheldon Brown Trio:
Sheldon Brown - saxes
Richard Saunders - acoustic bass
Vijay Anderson - drums

Steve Adams/ Scott Walton Duo:
Steve Adams - saxes/ flute
Scott Walton - acoustic bass

MiniWatt String Trio:
Myles Boisen - guitar
Jon Preuss - guitar
Joh Ettinger - violin

Steven Lugerner Quartet:
Steven Lugerner - Saxophone
Danny Lubin-Laden - Trombone
Matthew Wohl - Bass
Britt Ciampa - Drums

Rob Ewing/ Jason Levis Duo:
Rob Ewing - trombone
Jason Levis - drums

Jon Raskin - solo

4pm to 10pm, 2133 University

Wednesday, September 30th 2015

Michael Sommers: "HEART in the HOOD"

A performer, a harmonica and a stool.

This is the second True Story about Michael Sommers and the real denizens of Mike's adopted neighborhood. Mike moved from small town Vermont to West Oakland and plays all 16 characters who run the gamut from poignant to hilarious. This sequel to the acclaimed "HICK in the HOOD" delves deeper into the lives of his unlikely yet beloved neighbors. Through Mike and his harmonica, we hear their words, laugh with their optimism and begin to understand the misunderstood and beautiful people of 22nd Street!"

Michael Sommers has appeared in over 50 films (including a recurring role as Bug in Sense8 on Netflix presently). His favorite stage credit was replacing Jeremy Irons in the title role of "Chopin and George Sand..." by New York's Ensemble for the Romantic Century.

"A superb storyteller, Sommers characters are riveting!" -Heather, audience member, magician.
50 minutes.

Donations gladly accepted! No swearing, no violence.

8pm to 10pm, 2133 University Ave.

Today's Events - August 29

Duck’s Breath Mystery Theatre Grand Finale

Original members give farewell performance. $25 adv /$29 door. 644-2020.

9am to 10am, The Freight

Mark St. Mary Louisiana Blues and Zydeco Band

$15/$10 student. 8 pm Cajun/Zydeco dance lesson with Cheryl McBride, 525-5054.

9pm, Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, 1317 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA, United States

The Starry Plough Pub

Trippy psychadelic rock mixed with blues and funk
Cosmic Mercy 11:15pm
Ten Ton Chicken 10:00pm
Astral Kitchen 9:00pm
$8-$12 Sliding Scale
Music Starts at 9pm

Live music, events & great food 7 days a week since 1973

Pub line: 510-841-0188

9pm to 8/29 12 midnight, 3101 Shattuck Avenue

Ongoing Events

Mike's Out of Doors Sculpture Wall

Location: South side of Ashby Avenue between Pine Street and Elmwood Court.

Open: 10 am to 10 pm,  Monday through Saturday.