Author Archives: Frances Dinkelspiel

Story of Berkeley’s Moe’s Books comes to big screen

Siciliano Trevino held a screening Aug. 27 of her new documentary at the Elmwood Theater. Photo: Ted Friedman
Print Friendly

The film that was found at the Berkeley dump of the 1965 opening night party for Moe’s Books on Telegraph Avenue now has a film of its own.

Thursday night was the premiere of New Mo’ Cut: David Peoples’ Lost Film of Moe’s Books, produced and directed by Siciliana Trevino. Dozens of people who had backed the film on Kickstarter, worked on it, or supported it in other ways, crowded into the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood for a screening. The general public got to see it at 8 p.m. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Performance of Berkeley’s library director under fire at meeting of library trustees

Jeff Scott, far left at table, talks to members of BOLT before an Aug. 26 meeting. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
Print Friendly

More than 40 people expressed concern about the actions of the Berkeley Library director at a specially called meeting Wednesday night of the Board of Library Trustees.

Those who spoke publicly – who were supported by 40 observers  – not only complained about the aggressive book weeding policy put forward by Jeff Scott, the director, but about other issues, including what they perceive as a hostile working environment and a lack of honesty and trust. They said they thought Scott had lied to the community about the number of books weeded out. (Scott initially said he thought 2,200 books had been discarded this year. He later acknowledged that the real number was 39,000). Some also said they were punished for speaking out against the collections management policy.

As Scott sat at the front of the room, his head bowed as he took notes, in what must have been an excruciatingly difficult meeting for him, a number of the speakers called for him to be either fired or suspended without pay. Others asked for an independent investigation into the weeding process: how it occurred, what might have gone wrong, and what could be learned from it. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

IKEA donates ‘makeover’ to shelter for homeless families

The "after" picture of a living room at BOSS furnished with Ikea furniture.
Print Friendly

The families living in the McKinley Family Transitional House in Berkeley now have a lovely space from which to plot their move out from homelessness.

IKEA, the Scandinavian furniture store with an outlet in Emeryville, recently donated $10,000 worth of furniture and design services to McKinley House, located at 2111 McKinley Ave. in central Berkeley. The home, which is operated by BOSS, or Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency, won the IKEA Life Improvement Challenge.

Now the living room has a comfortable blue plaid couch, lamps, a desk and shelving area, and new art on the wall. The bedrooms have wood dressers, beds and throw rugs. There is also new outdoor furniture on the lawn.

McKinley House is hosting an open house today from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to show off the redecorated facility.  … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , ,

Two historic Berkeley homes get a makeover

The John Woolley house is the blue-gray one and the Ellen Blood House is the yellow one. The owners, architect, and builder worked hard to restore the turreted window on the Woolley House. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
Print Friendly

Two historic Berkeley homes with a combined age of 263 years have been given a complete makeover, and their doors were opened Tuesday to show off their shiny new parts.

The John Woolley House, first built on Telegraph Avenue in 1876, and the Ellen Blood House, constructed on Durant Avenue in 1891, were moved in 2014 to a new location on Regent Street and Dwight Way. John Gordon of Gordon Commercial Realty and his wife, Janis Mitchell, who bought the homes for $1 each, restored, renovated, and expanded the two houses using as much original material as possible. They also added a floor to the Woolley house. Gone are two decaying, although historic homes. In their place are five gleaming apartments with all the trappings of 21st century living: sleek appliances, gas fireplaces with marble mantles, and high-tech flooring. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Staffing issues led to closure of Nabolom Bakery

Nabolom Bakery sign. Photo, taken on April 14, 20015, by Raymond Yee
Print Friendly

Nabolom Collective Bakery, which operated out of 2708 Russell St. in Berkeley’s Elmwood neighborhood for almost 40 years, shut down last Sunday because four members of the collective departed over a short period of time and the other members did not feel they could continue with such a reduced staff, according to a former collective member.

The loss of four of the 10 collective members within three months was too much to absorb at once, according to Crow Bolt, a former member who lent the business around $80,000 to stay afloat 15 years ago.

“What’s shutting it down now is not the finances, but the staffing,” said Bolt, who is now a hospital emergency room nurse in New Mexico. “Four key members [left] in too short of time to recover.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obscure and popular books part of Berkeley library weeding process

Berkeley’s Central Library on Kittredge Street: its collection is being weeded and not everyone is happy and how it’s being done. Photo: Kaia Diringer
Print Friendly

When librarians from the Berkeley Public Library were examining books that had not been checked out for three years to determine which ones to keep and which to discard, they reviewed “The Housefly: Its Natural History, Medical Importance, and Control,” written by Luther S. West in 1951. It was retained.

So was “A Guide to Shrubs for Coastal California,” by Harry Morton Butterfield, published in 1980, and the memoir “The Peacocks of Baboquivari,” by Erma J. Fisk, which came out in 1987.

But the librarians agreed that Yingxing Song’s “Chinese Technology in the Seventeenth Century,” described by its publisher as a “1637 classic on the history of traditional Chinese technology,” didn’t need to remain in circulation. Neither did “Creating Color: a Dyer’s Handbook,” by Judy Anne Walter or “Strip City: A Stripper’s Farewell Journey across America,” by Lily Burana. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , ,

Nabolom Bakery to close after 40 years in Berkeley

Nabolom Bakery sign. Photo, taken on April 14, 20015, by Raymond Yee
Print Friendly

Nabolom Collective Bakery, which has been cooking cinnamon twists, blueberry cheese Danishes, morning buns, snicker-doodle cookies, challah and other baked delights for almost 40 years, is shutting down Sunday Aug. 2.

The bakery, at 2708 Russell St. (at College) in the Elmwood district, put up signs Thursday announcing its imminent closure.

“Thank You Berkeley!!! For love and support since 1976,” said a sign in colorful chalk. “Sunday August 2nd will be our last day in operation. Get your favorite pastries while you still can!” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , ,

BART to shut transbay service this weekend

BART has put up small signs on its turnstiles to alert patrons that there won't be any Transbay service on Aug. 1 and 2. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
Print Friendly

BART will shut down its transbay service between Oakland and San Francisco on Saturday, Aug. 1, and Sunday, Aug. 2, to repair the tracks.

“We understand the interruption in service will be a significant inconvenience for tens of thousands of people but we simply can’t avoid making these repairs,” BART Assistant General Manager for Operations Paul Oversier said on the transit service’s website. “We need to completely rebuild one of the hardest working sections of track in the entire BART system. Once the work is finished, riders can expect a faster, smoother ride between West Oakland and Embarcadero.” … Continue reading »

Tagged ,

New plan calls for 10 theaters at 2211 Harold Way

The developer of 2211 Harold Way and Landmark Theatres are nearing a deal to build 10 new theaters in the proposed complex. Photo: Sharon Hahn Darlin
Print Friendly

The developer of 2211 Harold Way and Landmark Theatres are nearing a deal to increase the number of movie theaters in the 302-unit building in downtown Berkeley to 10 — but detractors say the changes do not go far enough.

After discussions with Ted Mundorf, the CEO of Landmark, Joseph Penner of HSR Berkeley Investments has submitted a new set of plans with the 10 theaters. Previously, the number of theaters proposed had ranged from zero to nine.

The current plan, which still needs city approval, would place the box office by the sidewalk on Shattuck Avenue, much like it currently is. There would be four theaters on the street level. Patrons would take an escalator, stairs or an elevator one flight down to the six other theaters. There would also be bathrooms, a bar, a lounge and a snack bar on the bottom level. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

UC Theatre project gets boost with $1.3M matching grant

The push to renovate the UC Theater got a huge boost in July when a major philanthropist made a $1.3 million matching grant. Photo: UC Theater
Print Friendly

One of the Bay Area’s biggest philanthropists has given a $1.3 million matching grant to spur completion of the renovation of the UC Theatre in Berkeley.

Tad Taube, who made his millions in real estate and through his connection to Joseph Koret, a women’s clothing manufacturer, announced this week that he will back the $5.6 million project, scheduled to be completed this fall.

“Music and the arts are gifts that should be accessible to everyone,” Taube said in a press release. “David Mayeri and his innovative team at the Berkeley Music Group have developed a contemporary vision for the UC Theatre that will both enrich our community and broaden youth engagement in the arts. Supporting this project presents an opportunity for our community to engage in an endeavor that will have a broad, diverse impact on music, culture, education and quality of life in our community.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,

Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Peets on Domingo
Print Friendly

SOURCE MINI SHUTTERS UNEXPECTEDLY Source Mini, an offshoot of San Francisco’s Source restaurant, opened to great fanfare in the Gourmet Ghetto’s Epicurious Garden at 1511 Shattuck Ave. in January 2014. Owner Mitchell Fox said his vegan place was “like a Subway or McDonald’s-esque vegan fast-food menu,” with vegan burgers and sandwiches, gluten-free tacos and quesadillas and dosadillas. Fox shuttered his San Francisco locale in January because of the escalating costs associated with a higher minimum wage; the Berkeley restaurant followed suit last week, apparently because business was slow. Fox left a short note on the restaurant’s Facebook page saying the place closed July 18: “Sorry to say yesterday was our last day in Berkeley, we want to thank everyone for their support.” When fans asked why, he replied: “Wasn’t able to do enough business.” The management of Epicurious Garden has a sign up announcing that a new restaurant will be opening soon. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Coming soon: Less traffic with a smart Interstate 80

When the I-80 Smart Corridor Project is completed in late 2015, motorists will see signs telling them about the traffic flow before them. Photo:  Smart Corridor Project
Print Friendly

Motorists driving south on Interstate 80 near Gilman might have been surprised recently by a new sign with flashing “Xs,” yellow and green arrows, or a “30” or “55.”

The sign is part of the I-80 Smart Corridor Project, an ambitious and technologically advanced $79 million endeavor to smooth the travel of the 270,000 cars that traverse from the Carquinez Bridge to the Bay Bridge each day. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Trudy the corpse flower blooms at UC Botanical Gardens

The Corpse Flower in full bloom. Photo: Colleen Neff
Print Friendly

Trudy, the corpse flower at UC Botanical Gardens, is blooming.

The Sumatran plant, officially called Amorphophallus titanum or titan arum, started to open around 8 p.m. Saturday July 25, according to the UC Botanical Garden’s Facebook page.Continue reading »

Tagged , , , ,