Daily Archives: April 25, 2012


The Berkeley Wire: 04.25.12

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Orchestras, circuses, dance, more at Cal Performances

Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Simon Bolivar youth orchestra. Photo: Bryan Reinhart
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Cal Performances launched their 2012-13 season yesterday with a live Skype chat with conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, whose Philharmonia Orchestra will be in residence in November. “It’s a neat little program of concerts you’ve got for Berkeley,” Salonen told Cal Performances Director Matías Tarnopolsky. That “neat little program” includes massive pieces: Gustav Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, a concert performance of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck, and Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique.

As Tarnopolsky stressed, however, the 125 performances in the next season cover a bewildering range of genres, scales and periods. As well as the London-based Philharmonia, music director Gustavo Dudamel is bringing his Simón Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela in late November — which will also be the occasion for a conference on music education (Venezuela’s La Sistema is envied worldwide). Three circuses — from China, Canada and Australia — will be performing; there are dance groups from Chicago (both Hubbard Street Dance and the Joffrey Ballet), Russia (both the  Mariinsky Ballet and the Eifman Ballet) and Switzerland (the Béjart Ballet); jazz from two Marsalis brothers (both Wynton and Delfeayo); theater, including Eugène Ionesco’s Rhinocéros from Paris’s Théâtre de la Ville; world music including Benin’s Angélique Kidjo and Chucho Valdés & The Afro-Cuban Messengers; and chamber music from the Brentano, Afiara and Kronos quartets, among many others. … Continue reading »


Kayak theft puts Berkeley youth program in jeopardy

Students from Berkeley's Longfellow Middle School learn to kayak on a Berkeley Boosters camp. Photo: Berkeley Boosters
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The theft of twelve ocean kayaks from a storage trailer in Aquatic Park has put a summer  program for Berkeley youth in jeopardy.

The kayaks, which are owned by the California Police Activities League (CalPAL), were located in a parking lot owned by the City of Berkeley but leased to the Berkeley Water Ski Club.

The crime was discovered on April 13 when Oakland Police notified CalPAL that life jackets with the CalPAL insignia had been found in an Oakland dumpster. Staff from Berkeley Boosters, which runs youth water sports camps throughout the year for Berkeley youth, went to Aquatic Park and found the trailer and kayaks missing.

Cheryl La Rosa Longo, Executive Director of Berkeley Boosters, said the theft appeared to be planned rather than opportunistic. “The kayaks are stored in a remote and inaccessible part of the park. You need to open a gate and pass by a sign that reads ‘Private Property’ to get there,” she said. “The kayaks are locked but it looks like someone hitched their car to the trailer and drove away.” … Continue reading »

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In memoriam: John Reid, scholar, friend, singular man

John Reid-1970s
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John Louden Reid, 73, died peacefully in his sleep at home in Berkeley, after a brief illness.

John was born to Linnie Louden and Robert Franklin Reid of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He spent his teenaged years running high school track and perfecting his skills as a prankster and handyman. He earned a B.A. in English from Northwestern University in Evanston, where he met his wife, Susan Smith.

The recipient of a prized Woodrow Wilson Scholarship, John entered the English doctoral program at UC Berkeley in 1960, where, as a graduate student instructor, his gift for guiding his students to literary insight blossomed into brilliance.

John Reid was known throughout the Bay Area as an extraordinary teacher of literature.  While he often lectured on the subject of his doctoral thesis, Eugene O’Neill, his greatest fame was as an “explainer” of the works of James Joyce, in particular the fiendishly difficult Finnegans Wake. … Continue reading »

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Authors rally to raise funds for Children’s Hospital

Berkeley writers Michael Chabon and his wife, Ayelet Waldman. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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As the parent of four children, Berkeley author Michael Chabon has had the unfortunate opportunity to use the emergency room at Children’s Hospital in Oakland a number of times. Every time, the hospital took care of his kids. Now he is returning the favor.

On April 28, Chabon will be one of a number of high-profile writers and musicians who will appear at Notes & Words, a benefit for Children’s Hospital and Research Center. From the stage of the Art Deco Fox Theater, Chabon, Anne Lamott, Kelly Corrigan, and John Hodgman will talk about their lives and work. The band Cake will also perform.

“As a parent of four children, I have had to visit that portal of the emergency room a few times,” Chabon told Diablo Magazine in a recent interview. “The extremely high-quality and thoughtful and sensitive care that my family has directly received at Children’s Hospital is consistent with everything I have heard from other parents in the community. When I drive by the hospital on Highway 24, or fly over the hospital into Oakland Airport, I always find a sense of comfort when I see the rubber ducky on top. It’s a place that radiates comfort and promise.” … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: Unfair World

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The Greek people have been through a lot over the past few years: the whipping boys of European austerity, they’ve suffered brutal wage cuts, deep job losses, and endless benefit takeaways since the country’s slow motion debt crisis began in 2009. The social, economic, and emotional fallout of their national crisis is the unspoken subtext of writer-director Filippo Tsito’s brutally frank drachma — er, drama — Unfair World, screening at Pacific Film Archive as part of the San Francisco International Film Festival at 8:15 pm on Sunday, April 29th.

Sotiris (Antonis Kafetzopoulos) is an Athens policeman at the end of his tether. Though honest to a fault, he also feels deep empathy for the petty thieves and insurance scammers he’s tasked to interrogate — after all, times are hard, and people must do what they can to survive. When off duty he drinks to forget, tippling enough ouzo to send him toppling from his favorite park bench on a nightly basis. … 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: 12:10pm: Well, this one is proving a tough nut to crack. Ira, who took the pic, has this tip to share: “It’s about 50 feet off a main road.” Surely that makes it much easier!

Photo: Ira Serkes.

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