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How Quirky Was Berkeley? Bye Bye Birdie

Berkeley is less quirky today than it was a week ago. The gods and goddesses of quirk shed a tear. Three years in the leaving, Mike Parayno has now completed his move from Berkeley to the Philippines, maintaining Bay Area ties with the Birdland Jazzista Social Club at 4318 MLK Way, Oakland. According to Parayno, the building is now on the market and his famous birdhouse truck has been sold. (Read more about Parayno and Birdland in previous Berkeleyside coverage.) (more…)

The definition of funk: Mo’Fone plays Berkeley

The Oxford English Dictionary has yet to add the word “’Fonology” to its hallowed lexicon so let me provide this helpful definition for the euphonious noun. ’Fonology: the study of distilling grooves to essential components. Credit for its coinage goes to the potent East Bay trio Mo’Fone, which celebrates the release of its captivating third album ’Fonology Thursday May 15 at the Freight & Salvage.

How quirky is Berkeley? Topiary art

We tend to think of topiary as an art form of the Establishment rather than as a manifestation of oppositional values. For example, the sundial topiary above from University House on the UC Berkeley campus screams out “Dominant Paradigm!” The classical revival/neo-classical house was designed by Albert Pissis, and the landscaping plan was created by John Galen Howard. (more…)

Best of Berkeleyside: This week’s most popular posts

Best books of 2010: A Berkeley perspective Sylvia Brownrigg, Linda Schacht Gage, Tomas Moniz, Tom Leonard, Elizabeth Stark, Donna Corbeil, Lance Knobel and Frances Dinkelspiel select their favorite books of the year.
Berkeley block by block: how diverse is the city? The treasure trove of data in the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey reveals much about the make-up — economic, educational, racial — of Berkeley’s neighborhoods.
Berkeley City Council tables WikiLeaks resolution All eyes were on Berkeley on December 15 when its leaders opted to postpone a decision on whether to declare the alleged WikiLeaks leaker a hero.
What next for Multi Culti Grill and Birdland Jazz Club? Our story on Michael Parayno’s underground BBQ-jazz joint, and its threatened closure, prompted many dozens of readers to get in touch to express their support for these wildly popular neighborhood gatherings.
Berkeley bashing: A favorite national sport “Anti-American”, “disloyal”, “a joke”, “nuts” — Berkeley is accustomed to being called all these things and more, but this week saw more vitriol than usual.

Must-haves: A couch in the garage, a grill in the driveway

On December 10, we published a story by Sarah Henry on Multi Culti Grill Birdland Jazz, an informal BBQ supper club run by Michael Parayno, who is also known for his artisan birdhouses. The city is threatening to close down the Grill for code violations. Many readers left comments on the article expressing their support for the initiative which, they said, has brought a great sense of community to this north Berkeley neighborhood. Mike himself sent in this note: