Daily Archives: May 19, 2011


The Berkeley Wire: 05.19.11

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Pets of the homeless to get help at People’s Park clinic

HarleyQuin in a cast
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In February, some people were sitting on a wall in Berkeley when one of them jumped off and accidentally landed on the leg of a puppy, HarleyQuin.

Shadow, the street name for HarleyQuin’s owner, rushed the dog to a nearby vet but didn’t have the $60 it would take to have her examined. Shadow left the office and hoped for the best, but HarleyQuin’s leg continued to swell.  Shadow didn’t know how he would help his dog until he connected with a new Berkeley nonprofit Paw Fund, which helps homeless and low-income people provide medical care for their pets.

Paw Fund, which was started by Jill Posener, a photographer and former Animal Care Commissioner, arranged for a doctor to put HarleyQuin’s leg in a cast. It also paid the $700 doctor’s bill, although Shadow eventually contributed $210.

Berkeley has dozens of homeless youths like Shadow and many of them have dogs.

“It’s common for people without homes to have dogs for companionship, for warmth, and for protection,” said Posener. “For many people living on the street, their animal is their family, the one creature in their immediate circle who they can depend on to love them unconditionally.”

But since these youths often move from city to city and have to scrounge for food and a place to sleep, they often don’t prioritize their animal’s health, said Posener. As a result, many of their dogs and cats haven’t gotten their vaccines, are riddled with fleas, and produce litter after litter, exacerbating the number of unwanted pets in the region that eventually are euthanized. … Continue reading »

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Photographer captures drama of Berkeley after dark

Skyline in Blue
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John Vias prowls the streets of our city at night. He has been doing so for years, always waiting until darkness has fallen and the traffic is sparse before venturing out.

His passion? Night photography. His territory: Berkeley west of 6th Street, including the Marina and Cesar Chavez Park. The result? Stunning, moody images which can take up to twelve minutes under a full moon to emerge on his camera after he has released the shutter.

“There is more of a sense of mystery at night,” says Vias, explaining his motivation. “Things look different because of the quality of the light and the angles. There’s a theatricality and drama, compared to seeing the same thing with an even wash of sunlight on it.”

The impetus to explore his neighborhood after dark came to Vias when he was honing his craft on a UC Extension photography course in 2003. Assigned to shoot a roll of film for a darkroom class, he decided to do the assignment after sunset. “I’m a night owl, so one evening I thought, ‘why not go out now’?”

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Finding Berkeley at the Maker Faire

Go kart
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One of the most exciting outcomes of the discussion at Berkeleyside’s Local Business Forum in January was the notion that the city had a real chance to establish itself as a hotspot for the burgeoning maker movement. Wired Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson and Autodesk CEO Carl Bass waxed eloquent of the coming shift to viable, small-scale manufacturing, and about the potential of under-utilized space in West Berkeley.

Dozens of makers are already thriving in Berkeley, and many of them will be strutting their stuff at the annual Maker Faire in San Mateo this weekend. A list compiled by the organizers shows a couple of dozen Berkeley-based makers among the hundreds exhibiting, demonstrating and wowing the crowds.

The Maker Faire core audience is adult and child geeks, for sure, but even if you only classify yourself as mildly intrigued by technology and human ingenuity, you should try to go. There’s nothing like it.

Here’s a preview of some of the Berkeley makers on show.  … Continue reading »

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Out in Berkeley: reed expert Steven Lugerner

Steven Lugerner by John Rogers
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In a recent, much commented upon East Bay Express cover story, Rachel Swan detailed the various reasons why there’s a steady flow of jazz artists from the Bay Area’s relatively small pond to New York City’s teaming sea.

One fish that Swan missed in her list of the many Bay Area musicians who have traveled east is Burlingame-raised reed expert Steven Lugerner, a rising force on the Gotham scene who performs at Berkeley’s Jazzschool on Monday with trumpeter Itamar Borochov, pianist Glenn Zaleski and drummer Max Jaffe (the same band also plays San Francisco’s Red Poppy Art House on May 26).

The quartet is a distilled version of the New York septet featured on “Narratives,” one half of his ambitious debut CD, a double album that includes “These Are the Words,” a stellar quartet session featuring pianist/composer and UC Berkeley professor Myra Melford, trumpeter Darren Johnston, and drummer Matt Wilson. … Continue reading »

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