The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

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My Mind is Like an Open Meadow, by Portland’s Hand2Mouth, performing Feb. 12-13 as part of Shotgun Players’ month-long BLAST festival

SHOTGUN’S BLAST FESTIVAL Berkeley’s Shotgun Players have launched a new festival, BLAST, with the goal of “exploding the limits of possibility in theater.” The intention is for BLAST to be an annual celebration of difference — a month-long festival of new ideas and visions. “BLAST aims to explode the boundaries of the stage with performances by local and national theater artists. We think life is dynamic, changing, ephemeral, strange, and beautiful. Theater should be too,” says the theater. On Saturday and Sunday you can see My Mind is Like an Open Meadow, by Portland’s Hand2Mouth ensemble. A mixture of lighting, pre-recorded voice, music, dance and scenery, the piece is based on one year’s worth of recordings Erin Leddy made of her fascinating grandmother, actress Sarah Braveman (watch the trailer). BLAST runs through March 6 at the Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave. Free parking in the Ashby BART parking. Tickets: $15 advance/$20 door. Blast Pack tickets available for multiple performances. See full program at Shotgun Players’ website. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Antoinette, Temescal Brewing, Belotti, more

Antoinette_Dining Area-9747
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Openings, closings…

ANTOINETTE BRASSERIE AT CLAREMONT NOW OPEN Last week, we gave you an update on Antoinette, the new brasserie at the Claremont Hotel. The French restaurant, overseen by Michelin-starred Dominique Crenn, with Justin Mauz as executive chef, opened Tuesday. Eater SF has a photo gallery of the revamped former Paragon restaurant and bar. And Inside Scoop has the opening-night menu which leans traditional French — with foie gras and wine-based sauces much in evidence — and pricey. Among the starters: Warm Broccoli Velouté with Sea Urchin and Blood Orange ($18); Sweetbreads with Foie Gras, Dates, Baby Chicory, and Banyuls ($23); and Basil-fed Escargot with Champagne and Hazelnut Chartreuse ($18). Entrées include Coq au Vin with Pinot Noir Braise and Maitake ($29); Schmitz Ranch Prime Strip Steak with Celeriac Dauphinoise and Sauce Bordelaise ($60); Whole Roasted Monkfish Tail with Bouillabaisse, Cous Cous and Vadouven (serves 2-3, $95); and a whole Liberty Farms Rotisserie Duck with Abalone Mushroom, Foie Gras, Chou Rouge and Châteauneuf-du-Pape (serves 3-4, $200). A spokeswoman for the Fairmont Group, owners of the Claremont, said Thursday the team was reworking the menu, so what you see here might change. (The hotel’s other restaurant, the Meritage, offers a more down-to-earth dinner menu.) … Continue reading »

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Ryan Keberle & Catharsis: Is Berkeley Brooklyn west?

Ryan Keberle & Catharsis make their Bay Area debut Tuesday at the Berkeley Arts Festival space. L to r, Camila Meza, Jorge Roeder, Keberle, Eric Doob, Michael Rodriguez
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Scanning the February music listings it seems like Berkeley has become the western-most neighborhood of Brooklyn, with a steady stream of exceptional improvisational ensembles performing in intimate settings.

Last week, the Rez Abbasi Acoustic Quartet played a breathtaking set at the California Jazz Conservatory. On Sunday percussionist Ches Smith returns to the Bay Area with his trio featuring pianist Craig Taborn and violist Mat Maneri for a concert at the Berkeley Arts Festival space, where trombonist Ryan Keberle makes his Bay Area debut as a bandleader with Catharsis on Tuesday (as part of a double bill with Berkeley clarinetist/composer Ben Goldberg‘s group featuring alto saxophonist Kasey Knudsen and drummer Hamir Atwal).

What these three groups have in common, aside from residing in New York City, is that they’ve all forged intensely distinctive group sounds employing unorthodox instrumentation. Smith, who lived in Albany for a decade, earned a graduate degree from Mills and describes formative experiences catching concerts at the lamented downtown Berkeley venue Beanbenders, moves unpredictably between trap set, percussion and vibraphone, giving his compositions a different inflection with each performance. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 02.11.16

Man and his friend, taken Feb. 8, 2016 from the Berkeley Marina. Photo: Mohan Ajmani

Man and his friend, taken Feb. 8, 2016 from the Berkeley Marina. Photo: Mohan Ajmani

The urgent protest art of the Berkeley political poster workshop (Hyperallergic)
A Look Back: Plane crash in the hills in 1941 (CoCo Times)
UC Berkeley students feel the Bern (Mercury News)
Berkeley enacts stricter mini-dorm regulations (Daily Democrat)
Man withdraws insanity plea in attempted murder case (CoCo Times)
Berkeley considers asking taxpayers for funds to upgrade facilities (CoCo Times)
Soda tax revenue allocation to be discussed in coming months (Daily Cal)
An intentional homeless community (Express)

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Advocates: Berkeley must extend bike lane on Fulton

The existing bike lane on Fulton Street ends at Bancroft Way. Image: Google Maps
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Cycling advocates are pleading with the city to extend a southbound bike lane on Fulton Street, near the Cal campus, following the crash last week that nearly killed a Berkeley mother and doctor.

Bike East Bay has asked the city to paint new bike lanes on two blocks of Fulton, south of Bancroft Way, by May 12, which is Bike to Work Day. Advocates say planning documents approved by officials, as well as recent changes in state law, allow for the extension of the bike lane without much further ado, as long as the political will exists to make the change.

They’ve been trying to get the new lanes painted since last year, when the street was repaved, and say Berkeley’s own bike policies support the concept of painting, or “striping,” bike lanes at the time of repaving.

City spokesman Matthai Chakko said the city is looking into what might be possible on Fulton, but said changing rules at the state level have made the requirements for traffic studies and public review somewhat unclear. He said the city takes the concerns of the advocates seriously, and is working on various efforts to improve cycling safety and infrastructure in Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley

Chancellor Dirks: Expect ‘painful changes’ at UC Berkeley

A helicopter over campus. Photo: Greg Merritt
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The comprehensive strategic review announced Wednesday by UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks promises to bring significant change to the campus, including staff cuts, academic reorganization, and a more intensive effort to sweat the university’s assets, including real estate.

“Change is difficult for everyone. In universities, change is especially difficult,” Dirks said during a press conference yesterday. “There will be some changes that are painful.”

Read Chancellor Dirks’ statement on the strategic review.

The changes may also, he said, forge a path for other universities.

“We may do some things that are unprecedented,” Dirks said. “We can show the way not just for flagship public universities but many private universities on how to adjust to very different times. Berkeley has led in the past and Berkeley will lead in the future.” … Continue reading »

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Troubles mount for Premier Cru as FBI steps in

In December 2011, John Fox was all smiles as he held large scissors to cut the ribbon for the grand opening of Premier Cru's new retail store at 1011 University Ave. Photo: Premier Cru
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The troubles of John E. Fox, the co-owner of the high-end wine company, Premier Cru, are mounting.

The FBI confirmed Wednesday that it is looking into the company, which filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 8 listing assets of $7 million and liabilities of $70 million.

Read more on the Premier Cru story.

“The FBI is investigating claims of a Ponzi scheme involving the Berkeley wine company Premier Cru,” said spokeswoman Michele Ernst. “It appears there is enough evidence that the FBI has determined an investigation is warranted.”

Ernst is asking anyone with complaints, concerns, or tips to email them at a specially created email address, premiercru.complaints@ic.fbi.gov. … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: ‘Where to Invade Next’

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We all know what to expect from a Michael Moore film: snark. Though politically pointed and frequently hilarious, Moore’s bad attitude has been offending viewers ever since his groundbreaking boob tube series ‘TV Nation’ aired for a single season in 1994 (who can ever forget the Serbo-Croatian peace process pizza party?).

Now comes Moore’s latest feature, Where to Invade Next (opening at Landmark’s California Theatre on Friday, Feb. 12). Has the enfant terrible of documentary filmmaking toned things down since his last polemic, 2009’s Wall Street takedown Capitalism: A Love Story — or is his passive-aggressive sarcasm still in full flower?

The first five minutes of Where to Invade Next suggest that little to nothing has changed in Moore-land. Beginning with patriotic imagery, martial drumbeats, and a fictional visit to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the film seems intent on repeating themes previously examined in Fahrenheit 9/11. … Continue reading »

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402 Berkeley buildings found to need fixes after launch of inspection program spurred by balcony collapse

What appears to be rotting wood can be seen on the remains of the balcony that collapsed at the Library Gardens Apartments, in Berkeley, on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Photo: David Yee
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Inspections performed in Berkeley since last year’s deadly balcony collapse at Library Gardens found more than 400 buildings that needed work out of nearly 2,200 with weather-exposed elements, such as balconies, stairways, decks and landings, according to a city report released Wednesday afternoon.

The inspections were part of the city’s response to the Library Gardens tragedy last June, which killed six young people and seriously injured seven others when a fifth-floor balcony broke off a downtown Berkeley apartment building during a birthday celebration.

Council voted in July to require the inspection by Jan. 15, and every following three years, of all weather-exposed exterior elements in properties with at least three units. The city also stiffened requirements about building materials, venting and access to make inspections easier to do and allow for better airflow to elements that could be impacted by water damage and other problems.

Read complete Berkeleyside coverage about the balcony collapse.

The Berkeley City Council is slated to receive an update Feb. 23 about the “Exterior Elevated Elements” (E3) program, which mandates the inspections. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 02.10.16

Skyline by Alan Mah, taken Feb. 7, 2016

City of Berkeley by Alan Mah, taken Feb. 7, 2016

Is Niki Peters UC’s smartest student? (The Daily Clog)
Forked: Rating eateries on how they treat workers (UCB News)
Sweets shop opens on Shattuck Avenue (Daily Cal)
Inkworks Press 1974-2016 (Express)
Council refers Affordable Housing Action plan for analysis (Daily Cal)
Famed California records store hopes to sell weed as well (SF Gate)
Council discusses potential ballot measures (Daily Cal)
‘Vanishing Ice’ at Brower Center makes bid for action on climate change (KQED Arts)

Berkeleyside published its 11,000th article on Feb. 5th. Do you think we have made a difference in alerting the community to what is happening? If so, please support our site by making an automated monthly donation. 

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Winemakers pick Valentine’s sips and food pairings

Wine and food. Photo Jing:Creative Commons
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With Valentine’s Day coming up, we thought we’d ask some East Bay winemakers for suggestions on what to sip on what many would like us to believe is the most romantic day of the year. We also asked them what food they would pair with their wine selection — and, in a spirt of magnanimity, whether they could suggest a wine from another winery as well as one of their own. At NOSH, we believe every day is a good local wine day, and whether you’re paired up or flying solo Sunday, we hope you’ll take advantage of these recommendations.

Jeff Morgan, proprietor, Covenant Wines, Berkeley

What’s your choice of wine to drink on Valentine’s Day?

Bubbly is de rigueur, of course. And what would you pair it with to eat? It’s no accident that the great 18th-century Italian lover, Casanova, was partial to oysters. He ate his oysters washed down with copious amounts of l’oeil de perdrix — a salmon-hued sparkling wine.

Which one of your wines would you pick, and one from another winery? 

I would drink our Mensch White, which is a light, bright, fresh-tasting Roussane — ideally suited for culinary foreplay (aka appetizers!). If you can’t find any l’oeil de perdrix, a chilled glass of Mensch Roussane would do nicely. … Continue reading »

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Man pointed gun, struck vehicles before arrest in Berkeley after car chase

Berkeley and Oakland police arrest an armed suspect near Ohlone Park, in Berkeley, on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, after a car chase through Oakland and Berkeley. He allegedly hit numerous vehicles in both cities. Photo: David Yee ©2016
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UPDATE, FEB. 12: Berkeley Police have confirmed that the man arrested Wednesday after a car chase was Darryl Clarence Blackman, 37, of Berkeley.

ORIGINAL STORY: After a car chase through Oakland and Berkeley on Wednesday morning, authorities arrested an armed man near Ohlone Park, according to authorities.

The Oakland Police Department said on Twitter at 9:31 a.m. that the man was “responsible for multiple assaults with a vehicle on officer and citizens.” A Berkeley police officer on scene told Berkeleyside contributing photographer Bill Newton that the suspect was “a very dangerous guy.”

Also on Twitter, Lt. Chris Bolton of OPD said BPD took the man into custody in the city of Berkeley. “Vehicle is recovered, driver safely detained,” he posted at 9:22 a.m.

On Feb. 11, OPD confirmed with Berkeleyside that no gun had been found during the chase or arrest. “At this time in the investigation the gun is still outstanding. We’ve advised the community that if they locate the gun to notify local authorities,” said OPD spokesman Officer Marco Marquez.

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Chancellor Dirks warns of UC Berkeley’s unsustainable structural deficit

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks at Uncharted 2015. Photo: Kelly Sullivan
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In a message to the UC Berkeley community at 8 a.m. today, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks warned about the consequences of “a substantial and growing structural deficit,” which he termed unsustainable.

The strong statement on the deficit announced a comprehensive strategic planning process, with a detailed reexamination of all discretionary expenditures, including athletics and capital costs. Formerly sacrosanct areas, including the number of academic departments, will be included in the review.

“We are fighting to maintain our excellence against those who might equate ‘public’ with mediocrity,” Dirks said in the statement. “What we are engaged in here is a fundamental defense of the concept of the public university, a concept that we must reinvent in order to preserve.”

According to Berkeley campus sources, the deficit this fiscal year is projected to be around 6% of the operating budget, around $150 million. The sources point to Berkeley being heavily tuition-dependent, compared to some UC campuses that have medical centers with high revenues.

Student tuition and fees make up about 30% of total campus revenues — compared to state support of 13% of revenues. In the 1980s, about half of Berkeley’s funding came from the state. Undergraduate tuition rates, the focus of vehement student protests in recent years, have not risen for the past five years and under Governor Jerry Brown’s plan, will not increase until 2017-18.

“Because this deficit does not reflect a short-term dip in funding,” Dirks’ message said, “but a ‘new normal’ era of reduced state support, responding to this deficit requires that we take a long-term view. We must focus not only on the immediate challenge, but also on the deeper task of enhancing our institution’s long-term sustainability and self-reliance.”  … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?

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Know where this is? Take a guess and let us know in the Comments, below.

Photo: Michael Fox.

Send your submissions for “Where in Berkeley?” to tips@berkeleyside.com. The more obscure the better —  just as long as the photos are taken in Berkeley. Thanks in advance.

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