Daily Archives: June 4, 2012


The Berkeley Wire: 06.04.12

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The Great Divide: Fighting Big Energy, now and then

The Great Divide
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The process of Hydraulic Fracturing, or “fracking” — extracting gas or petroleum from rock layers by boring deeply underground and pumping water, sand and other chemicals into fissures — is making news headlines. It also forms the vortex of ‘The Great Divide” an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s “Enemy of the People” produced by Berkeley’s Shotgun Players. Below, Lou Fancher reviews the play, and Adam Tolbert interviews the play’s playwright, Adam Chanzit.

Playwright Henrik Ibsen’s Dr. Thomas Stockmann was an “enemy of the people”, a medical man who in 1882 discovered tainted water in his small Norwegian village’s popular medicinal baths. Transposed to the 21st century by playwright Adam Chanzit, a female doctor, hellbent on revealing water contamination in her Colorado town, bears the same mantle in Shotgun Players’ production of Chanzit’s “The Great Divide”, where truth’s bony finger is pointed at the energy industry.

Doctor Katherine Stockmann, played with impressive command by Heather Robison, is a medical vigilante. Prone to protect and protest in support of disadvantaged populations across the globe, she has mired herself and her family in trouble. Escape comes in the form of a fragile homecoming. … Continue reading »

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When chocolate met cheese in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto

Berkeley's Bar
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At the Cheese Board on Saturday night, the bar for both chocolate and cheese was raised to new heights. Pairings of high-end dark chocolate with carefully selected foreign and domestic cheeses had local taste buds all atwitter.

The unusual tasting was the brainchild of Leonard Pitt, founder and president of the exclusive Berkeley Chocolate Club (BCC), and Laura McNall, a veteran Cheese Boarder and recent inductee into the BCC. Pitt is well known in the Bay Area for his work as a mime (trained in Paris in the 1960s by the teacher of Marcel Marceau), and his books, including Walks Through Lost Paris (Shoemaker & Hoard), about Parisian architectural history. His latest venture into chocolate is just another of his many autodidact passions.

For April’s BCC meeting, McNall wowed members with a carefully designed cheese and chocolate tasting. The idea was then hatched for a public tasting of her revelatory combinations in conjunction with the Gourmet Ghetto’s annual Chocolate & Chalk Art Festival. … Continue reading »

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Edy Boone: A life spent inspiring others captured on film

Edy Boone
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If you have lived in Berkeley for a while, you have probably crossed paths with Edythe Boone. A spry 74-year old with a quick laugh, Boone has worked as a counsellor and as a health activist, and taught art at several local schools, including currently at Berkwood Hedge and West Oakland Middle School. With her warm personality, she imbues the very young, as well as the very old, with the spirit of creativity. She also transforms lives.

The results of her work can be seen on our cities’ walls. She collaborated on the “Let a Thousand Parks Bloom” mural at People’s Park, and, in conjunction with Berkeley’s Youth Spirit Artworks, the “Music on our Minds” mural at the corner of Ellis and Alcatraz. She also worked on the well-known “Maestrapeace” which graces the façade of the San Francisco Women’s Building, and on the “We Remember” AIDS mural in San Francisco’s Balmy Alley. … Continue reading »

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Op-Ed: Little oversight on City Manager — time for change?

Old City Hall. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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Berkeley’s city charter makes the City Manager one of the most powerful political posts in city government yet it largely immunizes the manager from public insight, oversight, and removal from office, argues Thomas Lord in a new Opinionator piece. The charter’s specifications of tenure, authority, and reporting obligations interact in ways that help to keep the public in the dark and the council and public weak regarding the day to day operations of the city, he says. Perhaps it is time to reconsider the structure … Continue reading »