Daily Archives: January 19, 2012


The Berkeley Wire: 01.19.12

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Botanical illustrators straddle line between art, science

9900 entrada natural paper and pro
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Before photography, scientists relied on the work of botanical illustrators to document and record plants. Today botanical art is prized for plant portraits that are both elegant and technically accurate.

An exhibition at UC Botanical Gardens that runs through February 3rd showcases the intricate skills of botanical artists.

The Third Annual Plants Illustrated exhibition, held in conjunction with the Northern California Society of Botanical Artists, includes a talk and a two-day class by artist Catherine Watters. Notecards featuring some of the illustrations … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s new Magnes building to be unveiled on Sunday

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On Sunday, the doors will open to a new cultural institution in Berkeley. The many thousands of books, paintings, prints, textiles, and photographs that make up The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art & Life — which was formerly located in an early 20th-century family home on Russell Street in the Elmwood neighborhood — will now be readily accessible to the public in a beautifully renovated, centrally located 25,000 sq ft space at 2121 Allston Way.

The building, which was designed in the 1920s as a printing plant for UC Berkeley, was most recently used by UC’s Bancroft Library, with whom the Magnes now partners. Before that, the Berkeley Public Library occupied the space. Marks left by book stacks on the stained, maple-colored concrete floors bear the stamp of the building’s history.

The building has been transformed by San Francisco architects Pfau Long in collaboration with local design and fabrication company Picassa Studios. The goal, said the museum’s Director Alla Efimova, was to create a warm, inviting place with an emphasis on transparency.

“We wanted an open space with a good flow where the community could spend time discovering the collection,” she said. … Continue reading »

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Commission aims for more transparency in elections

The Fair Campaign Practices Commission will meet at the North Berkeley Senior Center
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Berkeley’s Fair Campaign Practices Commission will consider changes to local campaign laws on Thursday that members hope will bring greater transparency to election finances.

The commission will consider adding new restrictions on independent committees, which are defined as groups spending money independently rather than in coordination with a candidate or measure. While the 1974 Berkeley Election Reform Act prohibits businesses from contributing to a candidate, and limits individuals to a $250 donation, businesses and other interested parties can set up separate independent committees that accept unlimited donations. The independent committees can then use those funds in support of ballot measures and candidates.

The proposed law would require any independent committee spending $1,000 or more on a ballot measure to notify the City Clerk’s office of that expenditure within 24 hours. The City Clerk would then be required to post that expenditure online within two business days, and to alert those affected by the expenditure. The law would apply 40 days prior to an election. … Continue reading »

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Pianist Dick Whittington back in Berkeley, his kinda’ town

Dick Whittington. Photo courtesy of Berkeley Jazzschool
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If Berkeley had a hall of fame for musicians, pianist Dick Whittington would be inducted as part of the inaugural class. As an educator, presenter, and ebulliently swinging player, he left an indelible mark on the city’s jazz before decamping for the Monterey Peninsula in the mid-1990s.

In an all-too-rare return to Berkeley, he performs Saturday at the Jazzschool with his trio featuring bassist Robb Fisher, drummer Vince Lateano and special guest Andrew Speight on alto saxophone.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Whittington made his first major contribution to the Bay Area scene in the late 1960s when he and trumpeter Phil Hardymon helped found the Berkeley public school system’s innovative music program. By the time he retired in 1991, he had helped initiate several generations of musical visionaries into the art of improvisation, including Peter Apfelbaum, Rodney Franklin, Steven Bernstein, Jessica Jones, Joshua Redman and Benny Green. … Continue reading »

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