Daily Archives: January 25, 2012


Fire at Berkeley’s Great China restaurant on Kittredge St.

Fire Razans
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Update,01.26.12, 5:50 pm: A Bay City News report puts the value of the fire damage to Great China restaurant at $700,000. The fire also destroyed the restaurant’s stock of wine, according to Berkeleyside reader Foster, a fan of the restaurant, who writes: “James Yu, the second generation owner, said it would be six months before they will be able to reopen. James’ wonderful wine collection was lost.” (Berkeley winemaker Chris Brockman of Broc Cellars recently selected Great China’s wine list as one of his favorites, for no other reason, he said, than it was “completely unexpected”.)

Update, 01.26.12, 10:45 am: The fire broke out at around 9:20 pm last night in the kitchen of Great China restaurant and spread through the hood and flue of the cooking range. According to Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong, the fire was upgraded to a 2-alarm when flames caught at the ceiling and roof joists. The fire was settled by 11:30 pm, but firefighters stayed on the scene to ensure it didn’t retake. Contrary to our earlier report, the fire did not affect Razan’s Organic Kitchen which is in the same building and next door to Great China, and that restaurant has been given the all-clear to open today. There were no injuries.

Original story: Tipster Lexy Green sent us an alert tonight at 9:43 pm saying there had been a fire this evening in the building that houses Razan’s Organic Kitchen Great China restaurant, at 2115 Kittredge Street in downtown Berkeley. The photo above, by Jorge Toledo, shows flames emerging from the top rear of the building.

On Twitter, @AChanceFind wrote the following at 9:47: pm: Looks like Chinese restaurant on Kittredge has a kitchen/roof fire. Fire dept has it under control.” This was followed at 10:03 pm by: “I live nearby and watched outside for a while. Crowd has mostly dispersed and it seems well under control. A+ to BFD!” … Continue reading »


The Berkeley Wire: 01.25.12

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Literature and language conundrums at Pegasus tonight

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You may think you know The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White, but it’s guaranteed you will have a different take on the writing handbook classic if you attend tonight’s First Person Singular gathering at Pegasus Books on Solano Avenue.

Like all the events in this monthly series, this one promises to shake up your view of traditional book readings.

Orchestrated by Joe Christiano, who has worked at Pegasus since 1991, the performance will include a dramatization of The Elements of Style as well as songs from Schoolhouse Rock performed by Karla Kane and The Definitive Articles.

First Person Singular, which made its debut in August 2010, is “a performance series that means to redefine not only the literary event but the literary as such” (or so said Greil Marcus in The Believer). Last year, Christiano told the East Bay Express that he aimed to “bring something to the bookstore that was as compelling and cathartic as a night in the club or a night at the theater”.

The series, which this year is entitled  “2012: Apocalypse Not Now Season”, places special emphasis on the richness, variety, and vitality of the American voice — from August Wilson to Warren Zevon, from a 60’s girl-group song recital to an all-female reading of Glengarry Glen Ross. The beautiful poster artwork that accompanies the series is also worthy of note. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Sketchbook: Birds doing their thing

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Berkeley graphic designer and artist Diana Howard pulled out her sketchbook to capture some birds taking a snack break. “It’s that time of year again… rowdy flocks of mixed-species birds, gorging on berries even as the hawks glide above,” she writes.

See more of Howard’s Berkeley sketches.

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The ‘before’ pictures: Berkeley Art Museum/PFA

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Call it “beautiful decay”: these stunning photographs, taken by David Stark Wilson, show the interiors of the future home of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA).

Just as with the new Magnes, which unveiled its new space on Sunday, BAM/PFA is to be housed in a 1920s-era 1939 building originally designed as a printing plant for UC Berkeley. It is located at 2120 Oxford Street at Center Street, in the heart of downtown.

Is it not fitting that, as the demand for printed thesis, documents, books and monographs has waned, the engine rooms that produced these volumes are now being put to good use while remaining in the cultural realm?

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Will Berkeley pass a plastic bag ban soon?

Plastic bag caught in bush. Photo: Creative Commons
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Kriss Worthington is tired of waiting.

More than six years ago, the Berkeley councilmember suggested that the city ban the use of plastic grocery bags.

At the time, the idea was new and Worthington liked the notion of Berkeley leading the nation by passing an environmentally friendly law.

Since then, more than 100 cities, counties and countries have banned the use of plastic grocery bags. In 2007, San Francisco was the first city in the country to pass legislation outlawing the use of plastic bags in supermarkets and pharmacy chains.

Berkeley has done nothing.

“It’s an important environmental policy,” said Worthington. “To me, it’s sort of embarrassing that it was proposed in Berkeley before anywhere else. Now all these other places have policies. It’s time we get a policy.” … 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, 8:50 am: Fourteen minutes after this photo appeared, Lisaev posted the following comment: “This is the front gate of my delightful neighbors at 54 Poppy Lane (and the dogs arent THAT crazy!)” Congratulations, Lisaev, on being this week’s winner!

Photo: Tracey Taylor.

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