Daily Archives: December 10, 2012

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The Berkeley Wire: 12.10.12

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End of an era for Berkeley Rustic Birdhouses, Birdland jazz

Everything must go: Michael Parayno, pictured here with some of his rustic birdhouses, is relocating to Manila soon. The vast majority of his entire stock of birdhouses is on sale. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The story of a controversial community artist and jazz event organizer will come to an end later this month, at least locally, with the relocation of Birdman Mike from Berkeley to Manila, the capital city of the Philippines.

You may know of Michael Parayno because you’ve seen his truck parked across from the North Berkeley BART station, or over on Fourth Street, bedecked with whimsical handmade birdhouses for sale.

Or you may have heard about his efforts organizing Birdland Jazz, aka the Birdland Jazzista Social Club, which Berkeleyside has been covering over the past two years. The jazz and barbecue event, which Parayno says drew world-class performers the likes of which also perform at venues such as Yoshi’s, started in Parayno’s garage before moving to Café Yesterday in 2011.

Both efforts have fierce devotees as well as passionate detractors. Critics have pointed out Parayno’s lack of concern for municipal codes, while supporters argue for his unique contributions to community life. … Continue reading »

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The ‘Three Michaels of Berkeley’: Supporting, supported

Final poster
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Authors Michael Chabon, Michael Lewis, and Michael Pollan, who all live in Berkeley, will appear at the Berkeley Rep in “The Three Michaels: A Berkeley Conversation,” an event organized by Berkeleyside, to help enable the creation in Oakland of a tutoring and creative writing center for East Bay youth modeled on the highly regarded 826 model.

The original 826 center, 826 Valencia, founded by Dave Eggers and Nínive Calegari in San Francisco ten years ago, is dedicated to supporting students, ages six to eighteen, with their writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. All their programs are free of charge and, so far, their model, which combines a writing hub and retail storefront, has been replicated in eight locations nationwide. … Continue reading »

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A sweet slice of egg nog: Tasting the season

Egg Nog Cake (9)
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Here is a cake I created as a tribute to one of my favorite seasonal treats.  As the holidays near, I find myself anxiously awaiting the arrival of egg nog — anticipating its rich, creamy sweetness and the way it signals a new year on the horizon.  For me, one of the best ways to celebrate something delicious is not simply to eat or drink it, but to transform it into a dessert.  So why settle for having a glass of egg nog when I can eat it, too? (Actually, I admit I’m even more satisfied by a slice of this cake than I am by sipping the drink that inspired it.  And whenever I’ve brought this cake to parties, I’ve witnessed it being devoured with great delight – even by those who are otherwise egg nog averse.) … Continue reading »

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Let in snow: Kids, adults come out to play in Berkeley

Snow3
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Never let it be said it doesn’t snow in Berkeley. Kids turned out in their warm fleeces and mittens on Sunday to enjoy a winter wonderland on Snow Day in the Gourmet Ghetto. The Snow Queen paid a visit to the transformed parking lot near Virginia Street, there were holiday crafts, and warm cider and cookies courtesy of Andronico’s Community Market. The event was organized by the North Shattuck AssociationWilliam Newton dropped by and took these photos.  … Continue reading »

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