Dance, theater, music and film — the arts are alive on the Berkeley campus with hundreds of performances each semester. Below are 10 highlights of the spring semester.
At the Berkeley Art Museum this spring, Hippie Modernism: The struggle for Utopia celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. The exhibit explores radical art, architecture and design of the 1960s and 1970s counterculture, highlighting the key role the Bay Area played in the social movement. In conjunction with the exhibit, the Pacific Film Archive will present a four-month film series focused on the radical cinema of the 1960s and early 1970s, Cinema and the Counterculture. Included in the series will be archival films, news footage and documentaries around Vietnam war protests, the Black Panther Party and the Monterey Pop Festival. The exhibit and film series will run Feb. 8 through May 21, 2017.
Cal Performances, working with student curators who conceived and helped produce the event, will present Front Row with Daniel Handler and Friends, an evening of performance and discussion with renowned artists and activists. Participants include Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), performer Yosh Han, singer/songwriter Thao Nguyen, Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards, musician and songwriter John Vanderslice and poet Matthew Zapruder. Tickets are only available for UC Berkeley students and a limited number of faculty and staff. (Wednesday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m., Zellerbach Hall).
The choreography of Lucinda Childs, music by renowned Berkeley composer John Adams and stage design by Frank Gehry come together in Available Light. This dance piece is a celebration of the work of three visionary artists, and will include a post-performance talk with the artists. The February 4th performance and discussion will be livestreamed on Cal Performances’ website and Facebook page (Friday-Saturday, Feb. 3-4, 8 p.m., Zellerbach Hall).
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to campus for its annual residency. Performances will include not only the iconic Revelations, Exodus, Ella and Night Creatures, but also the Bay Area premiere of Deep, choreographed by Mauro Bigonzetti. Look out for a dance flash mob on Lower Sproul Plaza and a community dance class at the Bancroft Studio (Tuesday-Sunday, March 14-19, Zellerbach Hall).
The Berkeley Dance Project explores the theme of “digging deep” this spring, with choreography by Krista DeNio and James Graham. The performances will explore the interactions of our natural world and our human networks (April 20-29, 8 p.m., Zellerbach Playhouse).
Kidd Pivot and Electric Company Theater make an emotional exploration of psychological trauma in a dance-theater hybrid performance, Betroffenheit. The story addresses the failure of language in the face of emotional suffering (Friday-Saturday, March 10-11, 8 p.m., Zellerbach Hall).
Polaroid Stories draws from both real-life stories of street kids and Ovid’s Metamorphoses to create a performance of poetry and profanity. Naomi Iizuka’s play explores how young people on the fringe address violence, love, homelessness and addiction (Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m., March 3-12, Zellerbach Playhouse).
Filter Theater, originally commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, will come to campus to present a radical retelling of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. With music, audience participation and a breakneck speed, the beloved tale of romance, satire and mistaken identity gets a modern spin. Artists will also participate in a post-performance talk and a Page & Stage Book Club event (Wednesday-Sunday, March 22-26, Zellerbach Playhouse).
The University Symphony Orchestra performs two world premieres this season. The premiere of Amadeus Regucera’s Skin, stretched upon a frame will be accompanied by a performance of Debussy’s Iberia and Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique (March 17-18, 8 p.m., Hertz Hall). The premiere of Scott Rubin’s Kerosene Palace will be accompanied by the U.S. premiere of Cindy Cox’s A Year and work by UC Berkeley’s Ed Campion (Wednesday, April 5, noon, Hertz Hall).
Allan deSouza, multimedia artist and chair of UC Berkeley’s Department of Art Practice, will present an exhibition that reenacts and upends the traditional colonial relationship. The exhibit includes the maps, journal entries, photographs and sketches of Hafeed Sidi Mubarak Mumbai, the fictional explorer who journeyed through contemporary England searching for the source of the River Thames (Jan. 23 – May 19, 220 Stephens Hall).