Daily Archives: January 12, 2012


The Berkeley Wire: 01.12.12

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Berkeley school district settles sexual harassment case

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The Berkeley School Board last night voted to approve a settlement in a federal sexual harassment lawsuit against the Berkeley Unified School District, which includes compensation of $57,500 and conditions imposed on Anthony Smith, the Berkeley High counselor at the center of the case. BUSD has also committed to revising its training and policies on sexual harassment as part of the settlement. BUSD denies any liability in this case.

Lilah R. (the fictitious name under which she sued) was a 16-year-old junior at Berkeley High in the 2009-2010 school year when she, she said, she was subjected to persistent and pervasive conduct of a sexual nature by Smith, her academic counselor.

Lilah R. reported that Smith caressed her inner thigh and made unwelcome comments, such as he wanted to “share feelings” with her, asked her if she slept naked, and asked to work out together. Although Smith denied the charges in Lilah R.’s complaint, an initial BUSD investigation found that Lilah R. was the more credible witness and that Smith’s conduct was “inappropriate and unprofessional.” Lilah R. sued after BUSD rejected the family’s suggestion to remove Smith from the high school campus. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Rep’s ‘Ghost Light’ resurrects pain of the past

Ted Deasy (l) and Christopher Liam Moore (r) in a scene from Ghost Light. Photo: Jenny Graham/Berkeley Rep
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The San Francisco political establishment came to Berkeley Wednesday night for the opening night of Ghost Light, Berkeley Rep’s play about the life and legacy of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, whose life was cut short when Dan White assassinated him and Supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978.

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, flanked by earpiece-wearing bodyguards, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, and Moscone’s widow, Gina, were all in the audience. Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, who once worked for Moscone, was there, too.

If those politicos came to see a play that recounted Moscone’s life and legacy, they were out of luck.  Ghost Light, which was written by the Rep’s Artistic Director Tony Taccone, and directed by Moscone’s youngest son, Jonathan, now the artistic director of the California Shakespeare Theater, is the story of an imagined Jon Moscone and his struggles to come to terms with the loss of his father 34 years after his death. It is a play within a play, for the narrative centers on the fictional Jonathan trying to direct a production of Hamlet. He can’t seem to decide what the ghost in that play should look or act like, in part because his dreams are haunted by the ghosts of the past who just won’t leave him alone. … Continue reading »

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Mountain lion possibly spotted at UC apartments Tuesday

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The UC Police this morning reported an unverified sighting of a mountain lion on Tuesday night at the Smythe-Fernwald apartment complex off Dwight Way. According to the police, there was an  unverified sighting of two mountain lions running north on Lawrence Road toward Glaser Road at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab in December.

In August, 2010, a mountain lion wandered into the Gourmet Ghetto late at night. It was eventually shot by police, who were concerned about the safety of … Continue reading »

Melanie O’Reilly: Celtic cadences with a jazz sensibility

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Berkeley’s Melanie O’Reilly was born into a family of storytellers, and now she’s spinning her own tales, combining her passion for jazz with her birthright Irish culture. Since moving from Dublin to the Bay Area in 2003, O’Reilly and her partner, guitarist and neuroscience researcher Sean O Nuallain, have introduced a new vocabulary to jazz’s increasingly global lexicon.

O’Reilly performs Saturday at the The Starry Plough on Shattuck Avenue and her band Aisling featuring O Nuallain, fiddler Darcy Noonan, flutist Rebecca Kleinmann and Ami Molinelli on percussion and mandolin, an evening focusing on music from her 2007 album “Dust & Blood.” (She also performs at Freight & Salvage on March 10).

A gorgeous session recorded in California and Dublin, the album features O Nuallain’s delicate but rhythmically deft instrumental arrangements and O’Reilly’s lilting vocals. Together they have developed a singular body of music that weaves together several disparate currents, including the American Songbook, original tunes combining bossa nova or Celtic cadences with a jazz sensibility, traditional Irish material, and a generous helping of Brazilian standards by Jobim and Luiz Bonfa. She sings several pieces in Gaelic, including a piece she wrote with the celebrated Irish poet Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill. … Continue reading »

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