When: Friday, July 29, 8 p.m.
Where: , 2133 University Ave, Berkeley, CA, $10
Why go: This septet fronted by poets Raymond Nat Turner and Zigi Lowenberg has added soul to nearly every struggle for the past 22 years, from the fall of apartheid to Barbara Lee's lone vote against the war in Afghanistan.
When: Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: , 2223 Fulton St, Berkeley, CA, FREE
Why go: Not many folks in prerevolutionary China could read, but they loved having prints on their walls. These inexpensively produced woodcuts, now collectors' items, reveal the people's dreams and values — for example, though the buyers were often uneducated, among their favorite images were those of scholars.
When: Saturday, July 30, 11 a.m.
Where: , 2700 9th St., Berkeley, CA, FREE
Why go: Tough times jeopardize animals' food security as well as people's. Hundreds of Alameda and Contra Costa residents who might otherwise have to surrender their pets can keep them with free food from the Humane Society's monthly pantry. Low-income dog or cat owners who bring completed applications (download the application here) can usually take home their first supply of free pet food that day. Donations of unopened pet food are more than welcome any time.
When: Saturday, July 30, 10 a.m.
Where: , 1 Seawall Dr, Berkeley, CA, free admission; $10 for parking
Why go: The 26th iteration of this Berkeley classic promises the world's largest octopus kite, kites bigger than a house and longer than a train, kites from as far away as New Zealand and a Japanese-style rokkaku kite battle for the skies. There'll be DIY booths, a candy drop and kites for for sale.
When: Saturday, July 30, 3 p.m.
Where: 41 Somerset Pl, Berkeley, CA, $10
Why go: The Ashby Stage denizens take it outside with noted clown Jeff Raz's adaptation of Aristophanes, the most satirical wartime playwright of all time. Mount Olympus is no match, especially when our hero is armed with a troupe of circus performers and a music-mad muse.
When: Saturday, July 30, 8 p.m.
Where: , $45
Why go: With personnel drawn from Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails and Tool, they creditably covered John Lennon, Marvin Gaye and Devo.
When: Sunday, July 31, noon-4 p.m.
Where: Golden Gate Fields, 1100 Eastshore Hwy, Berkeley, CA, $25
Why go: This fundraiser for the Berkeley East Bay Humane Society benefits the many projects of the no-kill shelter still recovering from last year's devastating fire. Festivities start with a noon dog walk and include a Doggie Olympiad, doggie spa time and a Lead Dog Contest.
When: Sunday, July 31, 1:30 p.m.
Where: , 2090 Kittredge St, Berkeley, CA, FREE
Why go: Read Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel at home, then gather in the third floor Community Meeting Room to view her extraordinary animated film and follow up with a discussion.
When: Sunday, July 31, 2 p.m.
Where: , 1301 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA, FREE
Why go: Intelligent and family-friendly free entertainment from this all-female Shakespeare repertory company. Starting this fall, Women’s Will will go into K-12 classrooms with free workshops based on this play.
When: Sunday, July 31, 2 p.m.
Where: , 2286 Cedar St, Berkeley, CA, $37
Why go: Professional singers of this Vallejo-based troupe perform Dr. Pippin's vibrant and witty original English translation of a classic opera, accompanied by the Pocket Philharmonic.
When: Sunday, July 31, 1 p.m.
Where: Tatami Multi Arts, 9951 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito, CA, $10
Why go: Jerry McCullough brings his 40-year study of Tarot, mytholooy and psychological archetypes to this three-hour introduction to the 22 cards of the major arcana.
When: Sunday, July 31, 4:30 p.m.
Where: , 2087 Addison St, Berkeley, CA, $15
Why go: This afternoon double bill will have you swinging well into the evening. Kathy Blackburn’s blues-based ballads include original lyrics, while Andrea Claburn brings a warm tone and witty phrasing to unique arrangements of eclectic gems ranging from Monk to Davis to Mingus.