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PowerPointer David Byrne, Brazil's Gilberto Gil, the Burkina Faso film "Kounandi," raconteur Garrison Keillor, and jazzman Herbie Hancock are among those coming to Berkeley this semester.

Spring 2005 events at Berkeley that you won't want to miss

– Last semester's roster of speakers and performers at Berkeley represented an unprecedented wattage of star power on campus. Every night, it seemed as if you could choose from the likes of Al Gore, David Sedaris, Seymour Hersh, Sebastião Salgado, Molly Ivins, or Yo-Yo Ma. Alas, things quieted down considerably following the presidential election.

Now that the holidays are past, the campus is starting to hum again. A sneak peek at Spring 2005's coming attractions reveals that although this semester's lineup may boast fewer household names, it promises to be every bit as entertaining and educational as last fall's. Whether you're a student, professor, staff member, or Bay Area resident, Berkeley's got something for you to do.

Details may change, and additional events will be scheduled, so bookmark the Critic's Choice website to stay up to date. And if you think we've omitted an event that would appeal to the campus community or public, send us an e-mail.

TOP TICKETS


NPR's Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell.

Perhaps the biggest draw on campus this spring is a live taping of the National Public Radio show "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!" Audience members will get to test their knowledge of the week's news and prove their pop-culture savvy to NPR newsman (and scorekeeper) Carl Kasell and host Peter Sagal. Alas, Cal Performances subscribers have already snapped up all the tickets: disappointed diehard NPR fans can call the ticket office (510-642-9988) the day of the show as a few tickets may be returned. Feb. 17, 8 p.m., Zellerbach Hall

Another NPR mainstay, Garrison Keillor, will be holding court at Zellerbach Hall the previous Thursday, brought to Berkeley by independent presenter Roy Furshpan. The author most recently of "Homegrown Democrat," Keillor will not be taping "Prairie Home Companion" but will instead be sharing the latest news from Lake Wobegon. Feb. 10, 8 p.m. | Tickets

 The Pacific Film Archive has invited film critic and Bay Area resident David Thomson to put together and host an eclectic film series inspired by his latest book, "The Whole Equation," a new history of Hollywood. The acclaimed author of "The New Biographical Dictionary of Film" has chosen films ranging from the 1932 masterpiece "Shanghai Express" to the 2000 dream-epic "Magnolia" (left) that are "are all at least interesting," he says. Thomson will personally introduce the films on three of the nights. Jan. 13-30, times vary, PFA | Schedule

Cal Performances will be keeping jazz aficionados extremely busy this spring thanks to a killer lineup of seasoned and upcoming stars. If you can only afford one show a month, here's your shortlist.

On Feb. 8, jazz veterans Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker and Roy Hargrove lead a powerful quintet in an all-new program called "Our Times," exploring contemporary influences from Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, and Stevie Wonder to the late Ray Charles. 8 p.m., Zellerbach Hall | Tickets The following month, fearlessly innovative jazz pianist Keith Jarrett — he's played electric jazz-fusion as a member of Miles Davis's early-'70s group as well as classical and Baroque works — will join his longtime collaborators, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette, in a show that's sure to make your spine tingle. March 9, 8 p.m., Zellerbach Hall | Tickets

In March, come hear jazz legend Wayne Shorter, whose four decades in the jazz world include stints with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and the second Miles Davis Quintet, and forming the pioneering jazz-rock fusion band Weather Report. Shorter will play with the musicians who joined him on his well-received last two CDs — Danilo Perez on piano, John Patitucci on bass, and Brian Blade on drums — the same group whose performance blew the roof off the Masonic a few years ago. April 10, 7 p.m. | Tickets June brings a knockout double bill of the John Scofield Trio and Brad Mehldau Trio, featuring jazz guitarist John Scofield playing with longtime musical partners bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bill Stewart, and Brad Mehldau (voted "Jazz Pianist of the Year" in 1999, 2000, and 2002 by the Down Beat reader's poll) playing with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy. Although he is classically trained, Mehldau — one of jazz's "young players" who is trying to make the music accessible to a younger audience — also does jazz interpretations of pop artists such as Radiohead, Nick Drake, Bjork, and that little-known band, The Beatles. June 19, 7 p.m. | Tickets


ON AN ARROW TO NOWHERE: One of musician David Byrne's PowerPoint creations.
 

Musician David Byrne has already proven that he can dance fluidly between musical genres, whether the art-house rock of Talking Heads or Candomblé music from Brazil; write films, operas, symphonies, and soundtracks; and dazzle as both a video artist and designer. Not satisfied, he decided a few years ago to master Microsoft's PowerPoint. Yes, PowerPoint. In a presentation titled "I ♥ PowerPoint" for the Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium series, Byrne will take the Berkeley audience on a slide show it will never forget. March 7, 7:30 p.m., Venue change: 155 Dwinelle Hall | Series website

MORE SPRING 2005 EVENTS OF NOTE

CINEMA

Skip down the page to:

Music
Other performing arts
Lectures & panels
Conferences
 

The African Film Festival will showcase films from the established traditions of Senegal and Burkina Faso as well as the newly vital cinema of South Africa and Nigeria's booming video industry. Feb. 3-13, Pacific Film Archive | Schedule

As part of the International Buddhist Film Festival, Berkeley will host more than a dozen screenings and lectures, including a showing of Martin Scorsese's "Kundun" followed by a panel discussion with Georges Dreyfus, author of "Two Hands Clapping"; Tibetan Buddhism expert Donald Lopez; and Orville Schell, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism and author of "Virtual Tibet." Feb. 3, 7:30 p.m., Wheeler Auditorium. See the full schedule of festival screenings at Berkeley, Feb. 3-13, and the "Speaking for the Buddha? Buddhism and the Media" conference below.

"Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey," the prizewinning 1999 film narrated by Sidney Poitier, celebrates the first African American to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Bunche was a tireless fighter for peace and the foremost international mediator and peacekeeper of his time. Berkeley African American Studies professor Charles Henry will introduce the film and moderate questions. Feb. 10, 7 p.m. (8 p.m. screening), 155 Dwinelle Hall

"Every Little Thing: The Films of Nicolas Philibert": This French documentary filmmaker has spent years thoughtfully exploring microcosms such as deaf society and the one-room rural schoolhouse of his recent surprise hit, "To Be and To Have." As a PFA artist in residence, Philibert will screen his films and host a workshop and lecture. Feb. 24-27, PFA | Schedule

MusicBack to top

If jazz is not your thing, there are plenty of other special musical guests coming to campus this semester.

The International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Groups will be holding a competition at Berkeley, in which the California Golden Overtones, Artists in Resonance, and Noteworthy vocal groups will take on singers from Stanford and other area universities. Jan. 29, 8 p.m., Wheeler Auditorium | Tickets

Ladysmith Black Mambazo, South Africa's most popular vocal group for more than 30 years —made famous via Paul Simon's groundbreaking album "Graceland" — will join fellow South African Vusi Mahlasela in this evening for Cal Performances titled "Long Walk To Freedom." Feb. 3, 8 p.m., Zellerbach Hall | Tickets

The extraordinary Takács Quartet, one of the world's foremost chamber groups, comes to the Bay Area every year for a sold-out performance. This time, your chances of seeing them are doubled, with two all-Beethoven concerts featuring the early and middle quartets, spaced two months apart. Feb. 6 and April 3, 3 p.m., Hertz Hall | Tickets

Indie folk/bluegrass musicians Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum will play at a benefit for Engineers for a Sustainable World-Berkeley, a student-run organization that implements useful technology for underserved communities. Feb. 15, 8 p.m., Pauley Ballroom, Martin Luther King Student Union | Tickets

Other performing artsBack to top

 Stunned by the aerial stunts in "House of Flying Daggers"? Watch the Peking Acrobats (right) top them live, minus the safety ropes (and knives). Unicyclists balance atop umbrellas, jugglers use eggs, cannon and soccer balls, accompanied by a live orchestra performing on traditional Chinese instruments. Jan. 21-22, Zellerbach Hall | Tickets

 Cirque Eloize
Photo: Cirque Eloize/Andrea: Lopez
 
It's not the circus, but don't mistake it for Cirque du Soleil, either —Cirque Eloize's meta-take on the lore of the rings is set in a theater where a circus show is in rehearsal, where theater and reality blend into one another as a handful of performers do everything from juggling to bicycle routines to backflips. Jan. 29-30, Zellerbach Hall | Tickets

The Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies will transport audiences back to 19th-century Russia for a restaging of the bleak Chekhov masterpiece "Three Sisters," directed by Christopher Herold. March 4-13, Zellerbach Playhouse | Tickets

It wouldn't be spring at Cal Performances without a busy week of performances and public discussions by the legendary Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. This year, get ready for three different programs, including the Bay Area premieres of "Love Stories," with music by Stevie Wonder, composed and produced by Darrin Ross, and choreographed by Judith Jamison with Robert Battle and Rennie Harris; and "Shining Star," music by Earth, Wind & Fire and choreography by David Parsons. March 11-20, Zellerbach Hall | Tickets

*Matthew Bourne's "Play Without Words" at Cal Performances has been canceled.

Lectures & panel discussionsBack to top

Reporter Adam Hochschild, founding editor of Mother Jones and author most recently of "Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves," will lecture on history as journalism. Jan. 31, 4 p.m., North Gate Hall Library

Boalt Hall Dean Christopher Edley will talk to civil rights attorney William L. Taylor about his remarkable career and his most recent book "The Passion of My Times: An Advocate's Fifty Year Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement." Taylor is a civil-rights lawyer, teacher, and writer who landed his first job at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the 1950s and, among his many achievements, wrote the Supreme Court brief that led to desegregation in Little Rock, Arkansas schools. Feb. 2, 5 p.m., Booth Auditorium, Boalt Hall School of Law.

*In conjunction with the opening of its new Alien Earths exhibit, the Lawrence Hall of Science will host two lectures that seek to answer the question of whether we are alone in the universe. Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, will discuss the chances of finding a sophisticated civilization within a few decades (12:30 p.m.), while Dana Backman of the NASA Ames Research Center will discuss the search for an Earth-like planet (1:30 p.m.). Feb. 6, LHS | More info

hello Kitty NativityVisual artist and provocateur Tom Sachs has often courted controversy in the art world — including over his Barney's window display of a nativity (right) comprising Madonna, Hello Kitty, and characters from the animated sitcom "The Simpsons" — and for the bowl of bullets he offered to attendees at his one-man exhibition. By making reverse use of popular brands or characters, Sachs attempts to send ironic — some have suggested searing and bitter — messages toward modern consumer society. He will lecture at the Department of Art Practice as part of its Interventions series. Feb. 7, 7:30 pm, 160 Kroeber Hall

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Berkeley's Institute of International Studies, several top scholars will discuss "Foreign Policy in a New Global Era." The participants in what's sure to be a lively exchange are Leon Fuerth, research professor at GWU's Elliot School of International Affairs; Joel H. Rosenthal, president of the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs; Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland; and Steven Weber, director of the Institute of International Studies. Feb. 3, 7 p.m., Chevron Auditorium, International House, 2299 Piedmont Ave.

The looting of thousands of priceless treasures from Iraq's museums at the start of the U.S. invasion made headlines two years ago, but few are aware that the country's historically precious archaeological sites and antiquities continue to be plundered. Joanne Farchakh, a Lebanese archaeologist and journalist who has has made frequent reporting trips to Iraq since 2002, will detail the ongoing destruction in her lecture "Mesopotamia Endangered - Witnessing the Loss of History." Feb. 7, 5:30 p.m., 370 Dwinelle Hall

Gilberto Gil, one of the most important singers and composers in modern Brazilian pop music, helped launch the Tropicália movement of the 1960s that combined Brazil's regional folk culture with international influences to create a new style of cinema, literature and music. Currently the Brazilian Minister of Culture, Gil will lecture for the Center of Latin American Studies. Feb. 17, 7 p.m., Wheeler Auditorium

Mumbai-based reporter P. Sainath, known in some circles as the "Sy Hersh of India," writes about tough issues such as poverty and the effects of industrialization on India. He will speak at the Journalism School in a lecture cosponsored by the South Asian Studies Department. Feb. 22, 4 p.m., North Gate Hall Library

Joel SalatinWith the city of Berkeley the epicenter of the movement promoting organic, sustainable agriculture, many people should want to hear "Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Story of Polyface Farm," a talk by Joel Salatin (left). Most of America was introduced to Polyface Farm in a November 2002 New York Times Magazine article by Michael Pollan, in which the noted science writer (and UC Berkeley journalism professor) described how the Salatin family raised animals for food in "in an intricate dance of symbiosis designed to allow each species, in Salatin's words, 'to fully express its physiological distinctiveness.'" A feedlot, this is not. Feb. 24, 6 p.m., Library, North Gate Hall

Amartya Sen, the winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Economics, has been called the "Mother Teresa of Economics" for his research into fundamental problems in welfare and economics. Currently a professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard University, Sen will speak on identity and violence for the Graduate School's Hitchcock Lectures series. March 2 & 3, 4:10 p.m., Chevron Auditorium, International House, 2299 Piedmont Ave. | More info

Philip Short will discuss his new book, "Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare," and the genocide conducted by the Khmer Rouge. March 2, 4 p.m., IEAS Conference Room, 6th floor, 2223 Fulton St.

 Robert Kennedy*Robert Kennedy Jr., senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council and president of the Waterkeeper Alliance grassroots organization, will give this year's Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Lecture in Health Policy for the Goldman School of Public Policy, discussing the environment, health and democracy. March 3, 7 p.m., Wheeler Auditorium (for tickets, check with the Zellerbach Hall box office closer to the event date.)

Three writers will discuss how their heritage influences their work in "Navigating Place: Philippine-American Writers & the Diaspora," including Luis Francia, NYU professor and author of "Eye of the Fish: A Personal Archipelago" (2001); Patrick Rosal, poet, author of "Uprock Headspin Scramble & Dive" (2003); and Nick Carbo, poet, author of "Secret Asian Man" (2000). March 18, 4:30 p.m., location to be announced

ConferencesBack to top

"Resolving Disputes in Housing Development"; keynote speaker: Chester Hartman, director of Research of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council. Jan. 28, UC Berkeley Alumni House | More info

"Speaking for the Buddha? Buddhism and the Media." Feb. 8-9, Lipman Room, Barrows Hall | More info

Asia Business Conference 2005; keynote speaker: Michael Marks, CEO and director of Flextronics International. Feb. 26, Haas School of Business | More info

Women in Leadership 2005; keynote speakers Sheryl O'Loughlin, CEO of Clif Bar Inc., and Barbara Desoer, Bank of America chief technology, service and fulfillment executive. March 5, Haas School of Business | More info

"Measuring and Reporting Social, Environmental and Financial Performance"; keynote speakers: John Elkington, cofounder of SustainAbility, and Gavin Power, senior advisor at the United Nations Global Compact. April 8-9, Haas School of Business | More info

"Bridging the Divide," focused on the role of technology in the world's developing economies. April 21, Haas School of Business | More info

"Living Longer, Living Better?" focusing on what it means to be and grow old in today's America. Speakers include William Thomas, author of "What Are Old People For? How Elders will Save the World," and Richard D. Della Penna, director of Kaiser Permanente's Aging Network. The conference website is not yet available; check the Center for Health Research for updates. April 20, Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave.

*Added or updated after initial publication.

Berkeleyan writer Wendy Edelstein contributed additional reporting. The events listed here were chosen in consultation with Public Affairs staff and campus department administrators.