Search Results for: Parayno

How Quirky Was Berkeley? Bye Bye Birdie

The birdhouse truck. Photo: Gina G10
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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.) … Continue reading »

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The definition of funk: Mo’Fone plays Berkeley

Mo Fone
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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.

Featuring El Cerrito drummer Jeremy Steinkoler and the prodigious horn section tandem of San Francisco baritone saxophonist Jim Peterson and Berkeley altoist Larry De La Cruz, Mo’Fone has honed a singularly propulsive sound based on the insight that less can be more when it comes to funk. … Continue reading »

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How quirky is Berkeley? Topiary art

Topiary at 1322 Milvia.  Photo: John Storey.
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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. … Continue reading »

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Bites: New wine bar, sushi spot for Berkeley

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LA BOTELLA REPUBLIC La Botella Republic, a wine shop and tasting studio which we tipped you about in August of last year, is set to open in mid-April at 2055 Center St. (on the street level of the Berkeley Central building) in downtown Berkeley. Owners Christopher Clarke and Lauren Brody-Clarke, a husband-and-wife team, are in full countdown mode, including hiring staff. The pair describe La Botella Republic as “a down-to-earth spot where enterprising East Bay locals can learn more about California’s outstanding local wines by taking a virtual tour with their taste buds. Our wine bar and shop will offer a curated selection of premier NorCal wines and beers to pair with clever, seasonal bites in our tasting studio. Regular special events and workshops with guest chefs, sommeliers, vintners and others will expand and refine the horizons of wine and food pairings for the people of Berkeley.” Clarke was formerly a design director at the Food Network, and Brody-Clarke is an actress who most recently managed a wine shop. The couple, who hail from Brooklyn, have an affinity with Berkeley, Clarke told us last year. He studied at the Academy of Arts in San Francisco and lived in the East Bay, and his family lives here. He cites many reasons for choosing their new location: likeminded folk who love good food, the proximity to wine country, and the accessibility of downtown. Connect with La Botella Republic on Facebook for progress reports and details of the positions they are looking to fill. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley open studios offer holiday gift goldmine

Michael Parayno, of Berkeley Rustic Birdhouses, is one participant in Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios. Photo: Eric Smith
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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. to 6 p.m. all weekend, and every weekend in December through the 22nd.

All manner of fine art and craft will be shown, including blown glass, functional and decorative ceramics, ornaments, Menorahs, lamps and lighting, painted and custom furniture, garden art, floor cloths, one-of-a-kind clothing, textiles, many styles of jewelry, leather bags, recycled art, sculpture, photography, paintings, mosaics, stained glass, original prints and works on paper. … Continue reading »

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

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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 to continue in our current state,” co-owner Eric Thoresen told Berkeleyside.

The July 23 Berkeleyside story triggered a significant reader response, and several commenters questioned whether the pop-up restaurant was legal. “I’m curious about how these places operate. Do they get inspected by the health department…? … Also, do they get business permits? Is the neighborhood zoned for the business?” wrote Pragmatic Progressive.

Thoresen responded by saying that Rogue had a business license and paid taxes, but did not have a permit. He also addressed questions regarding food sourcing, safety and sanitation. … Continue reading »

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Birdland Jazz finds a new home at Café Yesterday

Michael Parayno, Birdland founder.
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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 residential address across from North Berkeley BART. Almost 150 people commented on the three posts we wrote about his situation, the vast majority … Continue reading »

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

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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 alto sax, clarinet and flute and Jim Peterson on baritone sax and bass clarinet.

Veteran reed players with extensive jazz and R&B credits, they seamlessly shift roles on each tune, sliding from riffing support to propulsive solos. Somehow, the trio captures the kinetic power and sonic punch of a funk horn section and a brass band, but distilled to its essence.

The band’s first album, 2003’s “Surf’s Up,” introduced Steinkoler’s surprisingly effective minimalist concept. As impressive as its full sound was the trio’s intriguing repertoire, which ranged from “Black Market” by the fusion supergroup Weather Report, and “African Market” by South African piano legend Abdullah Ibrahim to Earl King’s Mardi Gras classic “Big Chief.” … Continue reading »

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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.

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Birdland Jazz and Multi Culti Grill: Update

Michael Parayno of Birdland. Photo: Eric Arnold.
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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 Office of the City Manager.

The document lists eight code violations, including a lack of a special-event permit, loud and unruly gatherings which … Continue reading »

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

Michael Parayno of Birdland. Photo: Eric Arnold.
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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 … Continue reading »

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

Michael Parayno.
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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 morphing into the more clandestine Birdland Jazzista Social Club. This, says its founder, is to circumvent city action to shut down the nascent nightclub for code violations — including a lack of a special-event permit.

For those not in the know, the spontaneous community chow and music spot has been a happening Friday night attraction in a converted garage for seven months now.

The brainchild of artist Michael Parayno, better known as the Bird Man for his one-of-a-kind rustic birdhouse creations made from recycled materials, the grill-and-groove venue has been bringing a little cultural nightlife to an otherwise sleepy stretch of Sacramento Street opposite the North Berkeley BART station. … Continue reading »

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