News

The Berkeley Wire: 10.31.14

Print Friendly
Tagged

Bites: Cat Town Café, Boss Burgers, Zella’s soul food

Cat Town Cafe
Print Friendly

Openings, closings…

CAT TOWN CAFE A new café where cats reign has opened in Oakland in in the heart of the city’s historic Auto Row. Co-founded by Ann Dunn and Adam Myatt, Cat Town Café gives cat lovers the chance to grab a coffee and a bite in the company of feline friends, and also acts as a cat adoption center. “The café part is going to be completely self-contained within the larger property. You’ll walk in, get your goodies, then go in to the Cat Zone,” said Dunn, also the founder of Cat Town, a non-profit that has been rescuing at-risk shelter cats in partnership with Oakland Animal Services since 2011. The menu includes bagels from the Authentic Bagel Co., sandwiches from S+M Vegan, and coffee from Bicycle Coffee Company, as well as catnip tea, for people and cats. There’s also Cat Macaroons from Shades of Sugar and other treats from Oakland’s Kitchener Collective. Once in the Cat Zone, patrons can purchase dehydrated treats from RAWR, an Oakland-based raw cat food purveyor. Guests are welcome to walk-in to the Cat Zone for a free visit limited to 60 minutes, or, for a small donation, be able to guarantee entry via an online reservation system. It’s believed Cat Town Café is America’s first permanent cat café. The Cat Town Café is at 2869 Broadway, at 29th St. Opening hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday; the Cat Zone is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. More information can be found at Cat Town Café’s website. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

A Dora Pie opens in former Slow spot in Berkeley

The type of offering we can expect at A Dora Pie, which has just opened in downtown Berkeley. Photo: A Dora Pie
Print Friendly

The row of cafés and storefronts on the 1900 block of Berkeley’s University Avenue has seen a few abrupt closures this year, including the much-loved Slow restaurant and Bittersweet Café. But these have also opened up room for a new vision from Christopher Blue and his wife Jess Steeve, owners of the Chocolatier Blue shop in that same block, and its sister stores. Their new pie and coffee shop, A Dora Pie, had its soft opening on Sunday, Oct. 26, in the space that, until last month, housed Slow, run by chef Kyle Anderson.

Chris Blue was an investor in Anderson’s restaurant and a friend. Both chefs, who met at Charlie Trotter’s and are fellow Nebraskans, share a vision of serving accessible, honest gourmet food. When Anderson and his family decided to head back to their home state after four successful years with Slow, Blue didn’t want to replicate someone else’s inspiration. It was Anderson’s kitchen, and Slow wouldn’t be the same without him. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

High-rise developer in Berkeley to use 100% union labor

2211 Harold Way. Image: MVEI Architecture and Planning
Print Friendly

The developer behind a 180-foot-tall, mixed-use project planned in downtown Berkeley at 2211 Harold Way announced a commitment this week to use 100% union labor to construct The Residences at Berkeley Plaza.

According to Mark Rhoades of Rhoades Planning Group, a project representative, it’s the first agreement of its kind in Berkeley — between a private developer and labor — in at least 17 years.

Project developer HSR Berkeley Investments signed the labor agreement several weeks ago, after more than a year of discussion and negotiation, with the Building & Construction Trades Council of Alameda County. The group represents all 28 labor unions in the county.

The agreement will mean a livable wage, along with benefits including health care and sick leave, for an estimated 300 skilled workers. They will make, on average, $65 an hour, according to project documents. Construction for Berkeley Plaza is expected to take 2-3 years, and many of the workers hired must live in Berkeley or nearby, within the East Bay Green Corridor.

Rhoades said the agreement will cover everything “from digging the hole to doing the concrete and the steel, and including the first round of retail tenant work. It will result in a much better building, a much nicer streetscape, and a building whose systems work because of the union labor that will be putting it together.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Katrina Krimsky: A piano legend in Berkeley

Screen shot 2014-10-31 at 9.52.16 AM
Print Friendly

For a pianist who’s been at the center of several musical revolutions, Katrina Krimsky keeps a pretty low profile. Since returning to San Francisco in 2001 after two decades in Zurich she’s performed at house concerts and benefits, often collaborating with her former Mills College student Barbara Higbie. But considering her near-legendary status as an interpreter and muse for disparate composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, Terry Riley, and Woody Shaw, Krimsky has mostly avoided the spotlight. This makes her rare public recital Sunday at R. Kassman Fine Pianos on Gilman Street a particularly welcome development.

The concert kicks off a new monthly piano recital series presented by Higbie, Sunday at the 88’s. Each hour-long performance is followed by an artist’s reception. Given Higbie’s vast stylistic reach, it’s not surprising that the schedule announced so far features a varied cast of piano masters, including a 75th birthday celebration for composer Mary Watkins (Dec. 7), ace accompanist/producer Frank Martin (Jan. 11), and Tammy Hall (Feb. 8), a powerfully compelling improviser usually heard accompanying top-notch vocalists like Kim Nalley, Denise Perrier, Linda Tillery, and Rhonda Benin. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , ,
News

The Berkeley Wire: 10.30.14

Gorgeous Fall. Photo taken by Carter Tomassi on Walnut St. on Oct. 25, 2014

Gorgeous Fall. Photo taken by Carter Tomassi on Walnut St. on Oct. 25, 2014

18 reasons Berkeley is the best college town in the US (Thrillist)
UC buildings use city services, pay nothing (Council of Neighborhood Assoc.)
Richmond Bay campus to be transformed into Berkeley Global College (Daily Cal)
80% of all Cal recruits must have a 3.0 GPA by 2017-18 (Mercury News)
4 candidates run for open District 8 seat (Daily Cal)
Young People’s Symphony to feature all-French program (CoCo Times)
Post office under contract for sale with unnamed buyer (Daily Cal)
Wineries in Berkeley? (Opinionated Wine Guide)
Talking with… a Berkeley archivist steeped in SF history (J-Weekly)

Get the latest Berkeley news in your inbox with Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing. And make sure to bookmark Berkeleyside’s pages on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t need an account on those sites to view important information.

Print Friendly
Tagged

Berkeley councilman says city mishandled legal fees in Measure S redistricting lawsuit; city disagrees

The BSDC map approved by Judge Grillo will be used in November, unless an appeal overturns the decision.
Print Friendly

Less than a week before Berkeley voters will decide whether to adopt new council district boundaries, a local official has criticized the city for how it handled legal fees for a lawsuit over the proposed council lines that are on the Nov. 4 ballot with Measure S.

It’s the latest rebuke in a prolonged public battle over district lines that began in earnest last year. City officials and staff have countered that proper procedure was, in fact, followed, and that nothing inappropriate occurred.

At Tuesday night’s Berkeley City Council meeting, local resident Stefan Elgstrand told officials he had been dismayed to learn about the payment by staff of $140,000 — which he said council did not approve — to lawyers who represented the city in a lawsuit related to redistricting earlier this year. Elgstrand, who was previously an intern for Councilman Kriss Worthington, authored a map last year that was rejected by council and has been among those leading the charge to have the adopted map thrown out. He’s also a lead organizer in the opposition campaign against Measure S. Since Elgstrand’s public comment Tuesday, Councilman Jesse Arreguín and his aide Anthony Sanchez have added their voices to the criticism, and publicly excoriated the city for how it handled the payment of the legal fees.

City officials have been working to adopt new district lines for several years, but the process has been contentious. Council adopted a new map in December, and said the boundaries had garnered widespread community approval and complied with all legal requirements. Critics of that map — including Elgstrand, Arreguín, Worthington, Phoebe Sorgen and Council 1 challenger Alejandro Soto-Vigil — then led a referendum drive to force council to rescind that map in favor of a compromise, or put the issue to the voters.

The referendum drive was successful, which suspended the use of the map council had adopted. The city then took to the courts to determine which lines should be used leading up to the November election. A judge ultimately ruled that the map council adopted should determine the districts up through Nov. 4.  … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An ideas festival in Berkeley unfolds over social media

Tanya Holland and Twilight Greenaway by Pete Rosos
Print Friendly

[View the story "Uncharted The Berkeley Festival of Ideas 2014: As it happened" on Storify]

Note: the Storify above does not necessarily reflect the chronological order of the festival program.

Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas, which launched in 2013, is organized by Berkeleyside as a community event to expand horizons, bring Berkeley to the fore, and help sustain Berkeleyside in the long run. If you were at Uncharted 2014, take a quick survey so we have your … Continue reading »

Tagged ,

Op-eds: Measures D, R, F, Berkeley High Rally Day, Prop O

Rally Day in 2012, the last one to happen after it was canceled due to what the district said was
Print Friendly

Opinion pieces keep on rolling in to Berkeleyside as we get closer to election day. All of them are published in our Opinionator section.

Measure D (the proposed Berkeley soda tax) and Measure R (the downtown initiative) continue to prompt the most debate. Since we last rounded-up our op-eds ten days ago, we have published three on the former and three on the latter.

Bryden Johnston, Holly Scheider, and the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, all write in favor of Measure D.

Anthony Bruzzone argues against Measure R, as does Matthew Taecker; while Lisa Stephens urges us to vote yes on the subject.

The League of Women Voters argues for a yes vote on Measure F, the proposed parks tax.

Meanwhile, Joshua Spivak says Prop. O, while not garnering as much attention as other measures, is a useful fix to the law. And Joseph Taecker-Wyss, a senior at Berkeley High School, addresses the mob scene and violence that erupted at the school last week on Rally Day. He argues that, while the student body shares responsibility for the events that happened, so should the administration. … Continue reading »

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

"The Magic Shoes," about an Iranian boy and his Air Jordans, is one of several USC student films showing this weekend at the Berkeley Video & Film Festival. Berkeley High students can see the student films for free. Photo courtesy of BVFF
Print Friendly

FILM FESTIVAL The Berkeley Video & Film Festival is a two-weekend feast of independent film, and it starts tonight, Oct. 30. Each year the East Bay Media Center narrows down(but not by much!) more than 100 submissions to a spectacular and international selection of shorts, animations, documentaries, and feature films. From a global dance documentary to animated sexual organs, there’s something for everyone. It all starts with a Student Film Marathon this weekend, and Berkeley High students get in free with ID. Otherwise, tickets for each film cost $10, or $5 for students and seniors, and they’re available at the door or by calling (510) 843-3699. A $25 pass gets you access to the whole festival. All films are screened at 1939 Addison Street. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

UC Berkeley Chancellor: Bill Maher must speak

More than 2,500 people have singed a petition protesting Bill Maher's appearance at Cal's December commencement. Photo: Bill Maher
Print Friendly

Hours after a student group uninvited Bill Maher to speak at UC Berkeley’s December commencement, Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks invited him back, citing his constitutionally protected right to free speech.

“The UC Berkeley administration cannot and will not accept this decision, which appears to have been based solely on Mr. Maher’s opinions and beliefs, which he conveyed through constitutionally protected speech,” the university said in a prepared statement. Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,
News

The Berkeley Wire: 10.29.14

Print Friendly
Tagged

Photo Gallery: Uncharted 2014 — a festival fit for Berkeley

Ken Goldberg with Quentin Hardy by Pete Rosos
Print Friendly

How do you sum up the essence of a two-day festival of ideas like Uncharted?

Festivalgoers were exposed to, and engaged in, such a wide range of conversations, covering the gamut from robotics to food movements, from aging to cloning, from technology to language, and from race to equality… that capturing the spirit of the event, which also included many inspiring musical performances, as well as dazzling bay views from the Uncharted party deck, is near-on impossible.

KQED Arts did a good job in a story published Wednesday, writing: “Uncharted gave … ideas … an ecumenical airing. In the parlance of [Uncharted speaker] Brian Christian, it was full duplex — open channel cross talk like in a bar — not the reductive half duplex talk of one-at-a-time messaging, which is what a robot can handle. In such as atmosphere, easy problems may still be hard … But hard problems are at least easy to talk about.”

One festivalgoer said simply that the experience of Uncharted reminded her why she loved to live in Berkeley, a city known for people who are curious, hungry for knowledge, and not afraid to challenge the status quo.

Here we present a visual record of the event, with stunning photographs by Pete Rosos and Nancy Rubin, two photographers whose work we are always honored to publish on Berkeleyside. … Continue reading »

Tagged

Dumpster-dive dinner: This book shows you how

Maximus Thaler, author of Curious Harvest
Print Friendly

Of all the things one learns while in college, dumpster diving isn’t usually one of them. But for Maximus Thaler, who is now living in Berkeley, “dumpstering” as he calls it, became a “weekend, recreational thing.”

Originally from New York’s Hudson Valley, Thaler is now taking a few courses at Cal in the hopes of getting into graduate school here. He is also the author of a new cookbook, A Curious Harvest: The Practical Art of Cooking Everything, which is illustrated by fellow Tufts alumna Dayna Safferstein.

Thaler, 24, lived in a communal house called the Crafts House at Tufts University, graduating in 2013. He majored in engineering, but hopes to study evolutionary biology, which, he says, is “directly relevant to all of this, as I see it as much more cosmic than just reducing food waste,” but that’s a topic for another article.

“The Crafts House appealed to me for a lot of reasons,” he said. “It was its own little world, where the morality, values and aesthetics were different, as was the relationship with private property. It was less of a thing than in the world outside.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , ,