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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Berkeley open studios offer holiday gift goldmine

This weekend kicks off the 23rd year of Berkeley’s Artisans Holiday Open Studios, with more than 100 artists and craftspeople opening up their workshops and galleries to the public. The event — which offers extensive fodder for shopping local to meet your holiday gift needs — launches Saturday, Nov. 30, and runs from 11 a.m. […]

End of an era for Berkeley Rustic Birdhouses, Birdland jazz

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 […]

Pop-up spot Rogue Café goes private to comply with law

Rogue Café, a pop-up brunch spot held on weekends in a Berkeley backyard, has chosen to become a private event after a Berkeleyside story prompted a visit by the city’s health department. “After speaking with the health department we have decided to make Rogue a private event. It is the only legal way for us […]

Birdland Jazz finds a new home at Café Yesterday

Late last year Michael Parayno, the founder of arguably the hippest garage jazz club and barbecue joint in town, was having some serious run-ins with the city — as first reported on Berkeleyside. Parayno was operating a very popular supper club, then called the Multi Culti Grill and Birdland Jazz, out of his Sacramento Street […]

Out in Berkeley: Mo’Fone — distilling the essence of funk

By Andrew Gilbert When it comes to funk, less is often more. The band Mo’Fone puts that insight into insistently syncopated practice on just about every piece. Led by El Cerrito drummer Jeremy Steinkoler, Mo’Fone, which performs a late set Friday at Michael Parayno’s singular Birdland Jazzista Social Club, is a stripped down combo featuring Larry De La Cruz on […]

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 […]

Birdland Jazz and Multi Culti Grill: Update

Many Berkeleyside readers have weighed in on the fate of the Multi Culti Grill and Birdland Jazz evenings hosted by Michael Parayno out of his garage at 1733 Sacramento Street, across from North Berkeley BART. Here’s an update: Last Thursday, December 8, Parayno received a Notice of Violation from the Code Enforcement Unit of the […]

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 […]

What next for the Multi Culti Grill and Birdland Jazz club?

So Berkeley finally gets a not-so-secret supper club, a down-home version of guerrilla gourmet hipster hangouts in Oakland and San Francisco, but now its future is uncertain. At press time, the Multi Culti Grill and Birdland Jazz, the city’s only underground BBQ and jazz joint is retreating from its street-front presence in North Berkeley and […]