South Branch Library preparing to open

The opening of the new South Branch Library, 1901 Russell St., will be officially marked with a ceremony and celebration from 12:30 to 5 p.m. May 11.

The event will include appearances by local leaders, the Berkeley Public Library board, City Librarian Donna Corbeil, special guests and branch neighbors and there will be refreshments and entertainment.

The branch was rebuilt as part of the Branch Library Improvement Program funded by Measure FF, approved by voters in 2008.

Details: 510-981-6100 or www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org

Programs highlight California Modernism

A series of events will celebrate California Mid-Century Modernism from May 5 to 12 at the Central Library, 2090 Kittredge St. The series kicks off with a screening, talk and Q&A with filmmaker Jason Cohn on his 2011 documentary "Eames: The Architect and The Painter."

"Architecture at Mid-Century in East Bay Land: Standards and Surprises From the Post-War Repertoire" will be the topic of architect and author Pierluigi Serraino at 6:30 p.m. May 6.

On May 11, screenings of the short films made by Charles and Ray Eames from 1950-'82 will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by a mobile-building workshop for ages 6 and older at 3 p.m.


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The series concludes with "Berkeley: A Modern Mecca," a talk by historian, author and preservationist David Weinstein at 2 p.m. May 12.

Details: 510-981-6241.

McKellan, Stewart in Berkeley Rep premiere

In a surprising bit of news that will delight sci-fi geeks and theater snobs in equal measure, Berkeley Rep has announced it will present the pre-Broadway premiere of "No Man's Land" starring Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart.

One of Harold Pinter's treasures, "No Man's Land" spins a dark yarn about two writers, Spooner and Hirst, one a success, the other a bomb. Ambiguity reigns in this shadowy game of cat and mouse, which starred John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson in its landmark 1975 debut.

Directed by Sean Mathias, this buzzed-about out-of-town tryout is scheduled to run Aug. 3-31 at Berkeley Rep before heading to Broadway. Tickets, ranging $35-$135 (subject to change), are on sale to Rep subscribers. Seats will go on sale to the general public on May 19, 510-647-2949. www.berkeleyrep.org

McKellen, Gandalf in "The Lord of the Rings" as well as Magneto in the "X-Men" franchise, is also a consummate classical actor who has dazzled in everything from Shakespeare to Strindberg.

Stewart, revered by nerds as Captain Jean-Luc Picard from "Star Trek" as well as Professor Charles Xavier from "X-Men," is also a Tony winner with voluminous theater credits from "Macbeth" to Arthur Miller's "The Ride Down Mount Morgan.''

Comic books focus of library series

The annual Free Comic Books Day on May 4 is the basis for a free series of events from May through August at the Berkeley Public Library's Central Branch, 2090 Kittredge St., "to celebrate comic books and graphic novels, and their creators."

The series opens when Eisner Award-winning illustrator and cartoonist Hope Larson discusses "working in the comic industry, her favorite books, and what projects she has on the horizon" from 1 to 4 p.m. May 4.

Details and a schedule of events are available at 510-981-6287 or www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org.

Edible Schoolyard sale and celebration

The annual Plant Sale at the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley will have a full day of festivities from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 11 at 1781 Rose St.

Activities will include tours of the garden and kitchen, free workshops, children's activities, live music and food, gardening advice and plants for sale, including tomatoes, vegetables, fruit trees and berries, herbs, perennials and annual flowers. Details: http://edibleschoolyard.org/plant-sale.

-- Karen D'Souza, Doug Oakley and Chris Treadway