Daily Archives: July 17, 2012


The Berkeley Wire: 07.17.12

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A roadmap to Berkeley’s literary scene

Andrew David King, a poet and the editor of UC Berkeley's Berkeley Poetry Review, explores Berkeley's literary scene.
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For the last few months, poet and UC Berkeley student Andrew David King has been dissecting Berkeley’s literary zeitgeist by figuring out which famous authors have lived here, which books have been set here, where writers draw inspiration for their work, where their tomes are published, and where they can be purchased.

The result is a delightful and comprehensive overview of the Berkeley literary scene, published today in Ploughshares Literary Magazine. The series on “literary boroughs,” strives to “explore little-known and well-known literary communities across the country and world and show that while literary culture can exist online without regard to geographic location, it also continues to thrive locally.”

And as King’s research shows, Berkeley is thriving. Here is what he has to say about the writers who have lived here: … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

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VIDEO CHANGER  Five Star Video is moving its Solano store from Albany to Berkeley, with an opening planned for this Friday at 1882 Solano. According to owner Andy Katz, the move was spurred by the availability of the long-vacant space, which provides an additional 1,000 sq ft for the store. Katz said in the previous store, customers had no idea of the range of titles available. Now, many more of the 14,000 titles will be easily visible. And Katz has a feisty explanation for why his store is expanding when many video rental rivals have vanished: “Why not be contrarian?” he asks. “You can’t go on Netflix and say, ‘Tell me what’s a good movie.’ Our customers are very supportive.” Katz also says that he was attracted to the new site by the superior food choices on upper Solano: “I expect the staff to collectively gain about 100 pounds over the year.” Five Star has a second Berkeley store on University Avenue. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s downtown BART is all roses as part of clean-up

Installation 2
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A new art piece featuring garden-inspired photography has been installed in the windows of the Downtown Berkeley BART station entrance. The project, called the Rose Pavilion, was unveiled on Monday afternoon and is part of the continuing efforts to revitalize Berkeley’s downtown area.

The piece features vertical panels of faux stained glass with images of roses and excerpts of poetry. Artist Deborah O’Grady explains that she was inspired by the architecture of the BART station. “I was asked if I could find a way to bring the garden into the center of the city. At first, I wasn’t sure, but as I walked around the downtown I was struck by the BART entrance pavilion. I decided to turn it into a rose arbor.”

The project is a collaboration between BART, UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, and the Downtown Berkeley Association. It is part of a larger exhibition at the Botanical Garden called “Natural Discourse,” which features work by 17 artists, poets, and scientists. “We came together to convey poetry and the beauty of the garden in a variety of mediums,” O’Grady says. For her, inspiration came in the form of roses: “Roses are a source of beauty and spirituality, a food, and a transmitter of light.” … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley’s Helios Building set to open in August

Helios stairwell by Tracey Taylor
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The Helios Building, a new addition to downtown Berkeley, is in the very final stages of construction and the scientists for whom it has been built are expected to move in over six weeks, starting on July 30.

The $133 million, 133,000 sq ft building, which stands five stories high on a two-block lot, bounded by Oxford, Hearst, Berkeley Way and Shattuck, is home to UC Berkeley’s Energy Biosciences Institute, a collaborative project between Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley and the University of Illinois. BP (British Petroleum) has committed $500 million over the next 10 years to the institute, whose mandate is to explore the application of modern biological knowledge to the energy sector. Scientists working in the building will be exploring cellulosic fuels and bio-products among other things, including developing non-food crops to produce fuel and power.

The wedge-shaped building — which is now formally known as the Energy Biosciences Building — will also house Cal’s Synthetic Biology Institute, whose bioengineering research focuses on applications for health, food and the environment. … Continue reading »

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