Daily Archives: February 9, 2011


The Berkeley Wire: 02.09.11

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Dance in Berkeley: a première and the end of an era

Merce Cunningham Dance Company's production of Antic Meet. Photo: Anna Finke.
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As one prestigious theater company holds a star-studded première in Berkeley, another will be holding its last performance ever in our fair city.

The US première of Eonnagata, produced by Robert Lepage and his Quebec based Ex Machina theatre company, legendary French dancer Sylvie Guillem and British choreographer Russell Maliphant, will be at on stage at Zellerbach Hall tonight and tomorrow night, and there are still some tickets left at time of writing.

Eonnagata explores the life of Charles de Beaumont, an 18th-century French diplomat, soldier and spy, whose career exploits and fluid gender identity — he lived half of his life as a man and half as a woman — made him an audacious yet enigmatic figure.

Meanwhile, the renowned Merce Cunningham Dance Company celebrates its founder on March 3-5, also being presented by Cal Performances at Zellerbach Hall, as part of the company’s Legacy Tour — and will be the last time the troupe will dance in Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley cannabis collective struggles with back taxes

Two employees help patients select medical cannabis
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It’s been four months since the Berkeley Patients’ Care Collective on Telegraph Avenue received formal notice that it owes the state $639,000 in back taxes, yet the group still doesn’t know how it is going to pay its bill.

The medical cannabis group, which has deliberately kept itself small to retain its customer-friendly atmosphere, sells about $1.8 million of medical marijuana each year, according to its manager Erik Miller. While that might sound like a lot, by law the group cannot make any profits. Those funds just pay for the cannabis, the rent, and the salaries of 11 employees. There are no hidden or stashed funds with which to pay back the government, he said.

“That’s the perception, that we are rolling in money here,” said Miller earlier this week. “It’s not true. I drive an 18-year old car.”

Complicating factors are the new taxes that Berkeley is imposing on its three dispensaries. The Patients Care Collective must pay a 2.5% tax on the cannabis it buys and a 2.5% tax on the cannabis it sells – on top of the state’s sales tax.

So far, the group has not passed on its increased costs to customers, said Miller. He is not sure what will happen when the collective has to start paying back the tax.

“I just couldn’t see raising the price higher. We’ve absorbed the (tax). We’ve cut expenses. We’ve all taken a pay cut in order not to raise the price for the patients.”

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Virus infects Berkeleyside, now rooted out and cleaned

Another kind of virus: influenza/Photo: CDC
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On Saturday, February 5, something malicious crept into Berkeleyside. As some of our readers reported to us, there was a virus on our site which triggered anti-virus alerts and may have caused some malware problems.

When we found out about the possible virus on Monday, we engaged in what turned out to be a 24-hour hunt for the culprit. While there are readily available tools for virus hunting on your computer, combing through possible problems on a web server … Continue reading »

Gilman Village: A Berkeley shopping area in transition

Slice of Delight soap
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Garden outlet store Smith & Hawken closed up shop in 2009. Then, several other businesses, including Turkish towel importer Forza & Home and Paulson Bott Press, defected from the Gilman Village shopping area on 10th Street to the more vibrant Fourth Street. Other shops, such as TravelSmith, closed down permanently.

The moves have left the place looking a little desultory. In the run-up to the holidays, at least one pop-up shop made a fleeting appearance but, since then, the vacant spaces have lent the mall an air of abandonment.

Since November, however, there has been a regular hive of activity in the space formerly occupied by Paulson Bott Press. Music events, art shows, private fundraisers — even a wine society singles night: Show Place Art is an evolving-use space curated by former interior designer Karen Hart.

Hart, who is based in Redwood City, had been looking for a place to open a gallery on the Peninsula but found the rents there too prohibitive. Encouraged by Diane Haydon, owner of home design outlet store Trove, to consider the Gilman Village complex, she decided to leap when landlord Larry Haydon offered her a competitive rent there. … 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: At 9.15am, Sarah Klise identified this unusual tree as being on Grayson Street. She writes: “This is known by my son and I as the “umbrella tree” near the corner of Grayson and San Pablo – northside. We wait for the Berkeley Unified school bus across the street every day and if perchance it is sprinkling, we stand under this tree. Not a single drop of rain can penetrate that passion-vined tree!” Congratulations, Sarah, on being this week’s winner.

Photo: Robert Shepherd.

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Is Cal’s Title IX arithmetic wrong?

Could Cal rugby be reinstated, along with four other sports?
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A report in the New York Times suggests that Cal’s athletic programs may fall foul of the federal law requiring gender equity, known as Title IX. According to the Times, 40% of Cal’s 965 athletes in varsity programs are women, while 53% of the student body is female.

Foti Mellis, senior associate athletic director, told the Times that by next fall the department planned to expand female rosters to 393 and limit male rosters to 377, which would be … Continue reading »

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