Special Events

SAUL WILLIAMS: Performance poet, musician, actor, activist

Feature presenter Saul Williams has shared his music and spoken word performances in over 30 countries, with invitations from world-class venues such as the White House, the Sydney Opera House, Lincoln Center, The Louvre, The Getty Center, and Queen Elizabeth Hall. At Berkeley's own Freight & Salvage, hack into Williams' mind as he navigates "poetry as design," performing selections from two dynamic new works "US(a.)" and "Martyr Loser King." Also featured in performance are avant-garde explorative jazz musicians, Black Spirituals, and Oakland based poet, screenwriter, curator and educator, Chinaka Hodge.

Thursday, June 2, 7:30pm, Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley

Tickets: $18

“Saul Williams poignantly articulates the world around us as few people can.”

—Los Angeles Times Magazine

Written and recorded between Senegal, Reunion Island, Paris, Haiti, New Orleans, and New York, Williams’s “Martyr Loser King” is a multimedia project that engages the digital dialogue between the First and Third Worlds and the global street sounds that yoke the two. He cites Beyoncé, Fredo Santana, and Haitian field recordings as the musical inspirations for this self-produced 6th album, which strains trap hi-hats and mbira strokes together for a nuanced, entirely original sound. “I’m just letting you know what I’m reading and seeing while I’m writing,” says Williams. “When I’m writing, the music leads.”

Williams will also share work from his most recent book of poetry, titled “US(a.),” which presents his ideas about the current state of America, its psyche, and what being “American” means to him. Though we claim that our devices have “connected” us more than ever, Williams points to the distances (and dissonances) that still exist between us. His performances are calls to action, works of art that provoke us to stop and frisk the moment, make it empty its pockets, and chronicle what’s inside.

Shipwreck Presents: Literary Erotic Fanfiction Based on “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” (NOT FOR CHILDREN)

Saturday, June 4, 7:00pm, The Marsh Theater, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley

Tickets: $12

Good theatre for bad literature? Marital aid for book nerds? Literary erotic fan-fiction at its finest? Shipwreck is all of these things, an event that thumbs its nose at the pretension of salons, readings, the sanctimony of traditional book clubs, and (dare we say it?) book festivals.

Six great writers will destroy “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” one great character at a time, in service of the transcendent, the profane, and humor. Marvel as beloved characters are plucked from Conan Doyle’s London and made to do things they were never meant to do in places they were never meant to see.

Born at The Booksmith in San Francisco, this rowdy show pits six Great Writers against one Great Work of fiction. Fics are blind-read by Thespian-in-Residence Baruch Porras-Hernandez, and the audience chooses the best ship before the writers are unmasked.

Cocktails available, of course.

As part of our collaboration with the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Festival is pleased to share two plays currently showing at the theatre. Get your tickets before they’re gone!

Berkeley Repertory Theatre
2025 Addison Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
Berkeleyrep.org (LINK)

Treasure Island

Adapted and directed by Mary Zimmerman
From the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson
Co-production with Lookingglass Theatre Company
West Coast premiere
April 22 – June 5, 2016

Director Mary Zimmerman has mesmerized audiences with her exquisite adaptations of classic tales from the spellbinding Arabian Nights to the hypnotic White Snake. Now the Tony Award-winning director takes us aboard the Hispaniola for a heart-pounding voyage filled with swashbuckling gentlemen o’ fortune, a malicious mutiny led by infamous Long John Silver, and a deadly quest for fabled buried booty. Caught in the middle is cabin boy Jim Hawkins, who must find uncommon courage as he faces a murderous plot and navigates the ambiguous tides of morality.

For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday

By Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Les Waters
West Coast premiere
May 20 – July 3, 2016
Adored by Bay Area audiences for Eurydice, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), Three Sisters, and Dear Elizabeth, the Tony Award-nominated playwright Sarah Ruhl brings us a tender new tale, For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday—a fanciful and moving look at growing up versus growing old within a family. In the wake of their father’s death, five siblings reconnect with childhood dreams and confront the inevitability of the passage of time.
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