Yearly Archives: 2011

Out in Berkeley: Claudia Gómez at La Peňa

Screen shot 2011-07-21 at 9.49.22 AM
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By Andrew Gilbert

For Bay Area lovers of Latin American music who’ve been in the region for a while, the name Claudia Gómez should set hearts a flutter.

From the mid-1980s through the mid-90s, the Medellin-born vocalist was an essential part of the Bay Area jazz scene, collaborating with adventurous artists like saxophonist Hafez Modirzadeh and body percussionist Keith Terry in Crosspulse.

With her fine-grained translucent voice and supple phrasing she contributed to a wide array of Latin music ensembles, while also developing into an accomplished bandleader with an exquisite book of Brazilian jazz charts. … Continue reading »

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Book details secret staircases of Berkeley and Oakland

A staircase in Berkeley. Photo: Charles Fleming
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Staircases saved Charles Fleming’s back.

In 2006, as he faced his third invasive spinal surgery, Fleming decided to walk. A longtime Los Angeles resident with a slew of best-selling books to his name, Fleming had his wife drive him down from their hilltop home in the Silver Lake district to the flats. He got out and took a few steps, which led to a few more, which led him to start walking up and down the public staircases that meander through that city’s hills. Soon the pain was gone and Fleming was a walking convert.

The excursions led to Fleming’s next bestseller, a book on the secret stairs of Los Angeles. It proved so popular that he decided to write a sequel, this time about the secret stairs of the East Bay. … Continue reading »

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Police blotter: Recent crime in Berkeley

Police HQ
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This is a partial list of recent crimes in Berkeley prepared by the Berkeley Police Department. For other sources of information on crime in Berkeley see Community CrimeView and

Sunday, July 17

Pedestrian Armed Robbery — 2600 block of Telegraph Avenue     

Two women, 29 and 33 years old  were in the 2600 block of Telegraph Avenue when they were victims of an armed robbery. It was Sunday between about 10:30 p.m. and 10:40 p.m. They returned to where they were staying, then called BPD at approximately 11:08 p.m. They told the BPD officer that a male suspect walked up to them, pointed a handgun at them and demanded cash. Both women complied and handed the suspect what money they had. Neither woman was physically injured during the robbery. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 07.21.11

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Berkeley High harassment case heading to settlement

Berkeley High School. Photo: Lance Knobel
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The long-running case concerning alleged sexual harassment by Berkeley High counselor Anthony Smith came to Federal Court today in San Francisco and now looks likely to be settled by the school district.

Judge Maria-Elena James considered the Berkeley Unified School District’s motion to dismiss the federal suit against Smith, the district and Superintendent Bill Huyett (the full text of the suit is here). The judge denied the motion to dismiss three state law claims in the suit and dismissed a claim of negligence without prejudice, providing an opening for the plaintiff to refile with a more specific complaint of negligence.

Berkeleyside broke the news that Smith had been accused of sexually harassing a junior at BHS in April 2010. In September 2010, at the beginning of the student’s senior year, a temporary restraining order was granted ordering Smith to stay at least 100 yards away from the student. An out-of-court settlement was reached on the restraining order in October, when Smith agreed to stay at least 50 yards from the student. The federal case considered today seeking unspecified damages was filed in April this year. … Continue reading »

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Ashkenaz provides music, ‘living room’ for activists

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Berkeley newbies may have trouble finding a cold beer and clog-dancing lesson on a Friday night. Bay Area long-timers, however, know the old brown building on San Pablo Avenue is a good place to start.

Since 1973, Ashkenaz has bridged cultural divides, supplying Berkeley residents with world music performances and a variety of dance lessons on an almost-daily basis.

“Ashkenaz has been around for 40 years, and it’s definitely a unique institution,” said Aaron Simon, board president of Ashkenaz. “We’re a world music venue with roots in the Berkeley counterculture and protest movement. We’re a favorite venue with many national touring acts and an important stage in the local music scene.”

Music enthusiasts are hard-pressed to find a more diverse show calendar. Ashkenaz’s upcoming week boasts western swing, Cajun/Creole, alternative rock, east-coast reggae and conscious hip-hop.

Most concerts at Ashkenaz follow a dance lesson that fits the mood. … Continue reading »

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Where’s the best ice cream in Berkeley? You tell us

Ici certainly attracts the crowds. What do you think? Photo: Kukkurovaca on Flickr
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When we asked our readers to weigh in on the best pizza in Berkeley last month, we were floored by the reaction. Over 200 comments, 81 Facebook Likes and dozens of tweets showed you were passionate about pizza in Berkeley. Now that the weather is heating up (at last), we wonder what you think about ice cream.

There’s certainly plenty of choice in our city. You might like braving the lines at Ici or Cream, be attracted … Continue reading »

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On Berkeley trails: After poop scoop why no poop pick-up?

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Berkeleysider Alan Saldich has a question for certain Berkeley dog owners: why don’t they dispose of the poop after they’ve gone to the trouble of scooping it?

“It really amazes me that dog owners go to all the admittedly gross effort (which I exert several times a day) to pick up feces in a little plastic bag, and then just leave it there, rather than carrying it and depositing it … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 07.20.11

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Students submit first 2011 city redistricting proposal

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Nine students met on the steps of Old City Hall Tuesday to submit their redistricting proposal to Berkeley City Council. Their pitch came early in the game – with the deadline for initial submissions agreed at last night’s council meeting as September 30.

The students are summer interns at City Council and will return to different schools in the fall. Audrey Gutierrez and César Perez attend Berkeley Community College. Ché Sanders and Jacquell Simpson hail from Berkeley High School. John Nguyen and Gianna Albaum attend UC Berkeley. Beatriz Andrade comes form Sequoia High School in Redwood City, and Saori Matsuoka and Stephanie Phonvongsa attend UC San Diego.

City managers announced a call for redistricting on July 11, and the group arrived with their plan eight days later. They are the first to submit a proposal this year. … Continue reading »

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Does new cannabis body provide more accountability?

Marijuana plants for sale at the old location of Berkeley Patients Group
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After months of delay, Berkeley’s new Medical Cannabis Commission will meet for the first time on Thursday, ushering in, city officials hope, a new era of oversight and accountability.

For the past 15 years the medical marijuana business has operated in a gray zone, legal in the city and the state but at risk from crackdowns by the federal government, which does not recognize cannabis as medicine. Despite this uncertainty, the medical cannabis industry has flourished in Berkeley, spawning three … Continue reading »

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The Fifth Quarter Charcuterie to debut at farmers’ market

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Scott Brennan, former head butcher at Berkeley’s Café Rouge, is to debut his new charcuterie shop, The Fifth Quarter, at Kensington Farmers’ Market on July 24.

“I am very excited, as you can imagine, and am hoping for a nice, warm day!” said Brennan who will be applying to Berkeley’s Saturday Farmers’ Market next.

Brennan signed a lease on a kitchen in Emeryville in June and has been working there ever since perfecting his offerings, curing some … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?

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

Update For the first time in this feature, it looks like today’s image seems to be stumping our readers. We’ll provide the answer at 4 p.m. if no one figures it out.

Update 4:10pm: Ira Serkes guessed this week’s super difficult “Where in Berkeley”. Are we surprised? No, it’s Ira! These are the mailboxes/lockers at Berkeley Surplus at 1640 San Pablo Avenue.

Photo: Sandy Friedland.

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