Daily Archives: December 11, 2012


The Berkeley Wire: 12.11.12

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

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EMERALD CITY GOWNS   Emerald City Gowns, a “consignment boutique for the glamorous green bride,” moved last month into a space above Zut restaurant on Fourth Street. Owner Emilie Hofmann specializes in “pre-loved” wedding dresses, a concept she was inspired to pursue when she wanted to trade in her own recently worn wedding gown for a different dress for her best friend and could only find a store that met her needs in the Emerald City, aka Seattle. Emerald City Gowns is at 1822 Fourth Street. Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, but note that appointments are required to try on gowns. … Continue reading »

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Benchmark: Wood-fired pizza comes to Kensington

Benchmark oven
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Benchmark Pizzeria quietly opened this summer on the Kensington-Berkeley border. The husband and wife team who run the restaurant come bearing impeccable credentials: Melissa and Peter Swanson met at Oliveto Café & Restaurant in Oakland in 1999. He worked there as a lead line cook before moving on to help Jon Smulewitz open Dopo on Piedmont Avenue, where he worked for six years. Melissa wrote about food the San Francisco Chronicle and Diablo Magazine, among others, and worked at Chez Panisse Café as a server before joining her husband in their new venture. Berkeleyside NOSH caught up with Melissa to see how the neighborhood restaurant is doing six months in.

Why a pizzeria?
Peter has always been passionate about pizza. At Dopo, he became affectionately known as “Pizza Pete” for his development of the dough recipe and nightly work on the pizza ovens. We’ve always envisioned opening a place together offering our favorite food. … Continue reading »

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Patricia Hirabara: A beloved, dedicated public servant

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Patricia Hirabara, a lifelong Albany resident and a recreation leader for the City of Berkeley for almost 40 years, died Tuesday, Dec. 4, age 66, a few months before her planned retirement.

Pat, as everyone called her, attended Albany High School, graduated from San Francisco State with a degree in recreation, and went to work for Berkeley recreation programs soon afterwards, in 1969. She  earned a teaching credential from California College in 1973.

Over her long career at the City of Berkeley, Hirabara worked at many of the City’s youth programs, including at the City’s Youth Employment Office, the James Kenney Community Center, the Willard Clubhouse, and the Live Oak Community Center, where she was the center director from 1986 to the present. … Continue reading »


‘3 Michaels’ talk writing, inspiration and Berkeley quirks

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In an evening designed to focus on the “Berkeleyishness” of Berkeley, and raise money for a great cause, three of the city’s most renowned Michaels kept hundreds of local residents laughing for the better part of 90 minutes with their wit, charm and candor. [Listen to the podcast of the evening.]

Writers Michael Lewis, Michael Pollan and Michael Chabon — all of whom live in Berkeley — answered questions from West Coast Live host and Berkeley native Sedge Thomson, who moderated “The Three Michaels: A Berkeley Conversation” at Berkeley Repertory Theatre on Monday night.

This was the third public forum Berkeleyside has put on, part of its commitment to providing quality conversations and debates on issues that matter to Berkeley, both on- and off-line. (Scroll down for a slideshow, courtesy of Pete Rosos, from the forum.) … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: The Central Park Five

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Throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, New York City was the country’s Sodom and Gomorrah, a place shunned and feared by Middle America. Near bankrupt, its school system in a state of collapse, and riddled with crime, crack cocaine, and urban decay, the city had lost the sheen acquired during the glory days of Fiorello La Guardia and Robert Moses.

On April 19, 1989, a 28-year old investment banker was brutally attacked and left for dead in the northernmost reaches of Central Park. Within days, the New York Police Department claimed they’d found the monsters responsible: five African-American teenagers. The case, and the horrendous miscarriage of justice that followed, is examined in a new documentary, The Central Park Five, opening at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas on Friday, December 14. … Continue reading »

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