Author Archives: Lance Knobel
The second Bay Area Book Festival took over downtown Berkeley on Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5. Tens of thousands of book lovers filled 11 different venues, as well as the open-air kids’ stage, the Lacuna book installation in Civic Center Park, and scores of publisher booths.
According to festival founder and organizer Cherilyn Parsons, nearly 10,000 tickets were issued, which guaranteed seats at events, and thousands more participants were “walk ins” for the free sessions with authors.
“What really stands out this year was the excellent literary quality of the festival,” Parsons said. She also cited the popularity of the kids’ stage, the literary-themed movies at the Pacific Film Archive, and the international authors. … Continue reading »
BAY AREA BOOK FESTIVAL The second annual Bay Area Book Festival will take over downtown Berkeley on Saturday and Sunday with hundreds of author talks, panel discussions, book signings and literary kids’ events. Everyone will have their favorites, but among the highlights: Jonathan Lethem, Jacqueline Winspear, Tanya Holland, Sherman Alexie and two-time Pulitzer winner (and Berkeley resident) T. J. Stiles. All sessions — even those shown as sold out on the festival site — will have free seats available for those willing to stand on line. Plus there’s the Lacuna installation with 50,000 free books. Saturday, June 4 and Sunday June 5, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., throughout downtown Berkeley. … Continue reading »
Around 30 disability rights activists demonstrated in front of the Landmark Shattuck Cinemas Thursday night, protesting that the movie Me Before You amounted to a “little more than a disability snuff film,” according to Ken Stein, one of the protesters.
Me Before You, described in a scathing review in The New York Times as a “floppy British romance,” is the story of a wealthy, aristocratic quadriplegic who falls in love with his carer. He is determined to commit suicide since his life isn’t worth living. Will the new-found love change his mind?
“Me Before You insults audiences by presuming that they cannot handle the realities of disability,” said Ingrid Tischer, one of the organizers of the Berkeley protest. “The director claims the goal of ‘normalizing’ disability without any awareness that ‘normal’ is a freighted concept to people with disabilities. The only thing Me Before You normalizes is a deadly double standard when it comes to suicide prevention and people with disabilities.” … Continue reading »
ABOVE & BEYOND The English progressive trance group Above & Beyond perform at the Greek Theatre on Friday at 7 p.m. Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness and Paavo Siljamäki are best known for electronic dance music, but at the Greek they’ll be playing works from their new album, Acoustic II. At the launch of their 2014 album Acoustic, McGuinness explained, “The acoustic project is a reconnection with the musicians that we were before we met… the songs have been on an interesting journey to get here because we tend to write in a fairly acoustic way anyway.” Tickets from Ticketmaster. Friday, May 27, 7 p.m., Greek Theatre, 2001 Gayley Rd. … Continue reading »
A UC Berkeley female student was sexually assaulted in the parking lot at the corner of Hearst and Oxford on Sunday, May 15 at around 2:30 p.m.
The victim was walking through the lot when she was grabbed and sexually assaulted by a male suspect. The UC Police Department and Berkeley Police Department are jointly investigating the crime.
There is no suspect description available at this time.
If you have any information about this crime, contact UCPD’s Criminal Investigation Bureau on (510) 642-0472 … Continue reading »
There were unusual happenings at Tuesday night’s special City Council meeting on housing. Comity broke out in a series of unanimous votes, and public comment was civil and largely complimentary to the council’s actions.
The council passed unanimously an ambitious list of items for a city housing action plan. The list consolidated proposals from Councilmembers Kriss Worthington and Laurie Capitelli and Mayor Tom Bates. It also passed unanimously proposals on the “housing emergency” from Councilmember Jesse Arreguín. And Councilmember Lori Droste’s proposal on workforce housing also passed unanimously.
When the council tried to discuss housing on April 5, chaos ensued, with a raucous crowd, disputes among councilmembers and lengthy arguments over the order of the agenda. At that meeting, it took nearly three hours for the council to reach the action items on the agenda.
On Tuesday night, in contrast, even when some in the small crowd hissed Livable Berkeley’s Eric Panzer, they were quickly disarmed by his quip, “Hissing is just applause from snakes.” (Droste recognized it as a RuPaul allusion, something that flew over the head of Berkeleyside and many others during the meeting.)
JEKYLL AND HYDE Robert Louis Stevenson is clearly in the air in Berkeley. Audiences at the Berkeley Rep are enjoying Mary Zimmerman’s adaption of Treasure Island, which runs through June 19. This weekend, Central Works debuts Robert Louis Stevenson: Jekyll and Hyde, a new play written by Gary Graves and directed by Jan Zvaifler. Graves’ play has Stevenson wake from a “terrifying fever dream.” He has the idea for a new novel — the macabre Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde — but his wife Jenny tries to persuade him to drop the horrifying tale. You can see what happens next during the run at the Berkeley City Club. Performances Friday, May 13 (a pay-what-you-can preview) and Saturday, May 14 at 8 p.m., Sunday, May 15 at 5 p.m. Central Works at Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave. … Continue reading »
After 36 years downtown and 19 years in its current location, Games of Berkeley is moving to the old Tower Records site, just east of Telegraph Avenue.
“We’ve outgrown the possibilities of this space,” said Erik Bigglestone, managing owner. “I’ve wanted to do bigger events and we need more space.”
Games of Berkeley calls itself the Bay Area’s “oldest tabletop game store.” It started on Addison Street in 1980 and moved to Shattuck near University, before settling in its corner location on Shattuck and Center in 1997. The new location, 2510 Durant Ave., whose latest occupant was Earth’s Bizarre, will have just over 11,000 square feet, up from the current 8,900 square feet.
Bigglestone said that Games of Berkeley will stay open downtown until the end of the year, while the Durant store should open in the fall. The final move of everything to the new store is planned for January 2017. … Continue reading »
When Berkeley-based comedian W. Kamau Bell went to San Quentin State Prison last fall he expected a tough dystopia, thanks to the images accumulated through what he calls “prison porn.” Bell found something very different.
He went to prison to make an episode of his new CNN series, “United Shades of America” (broadcast on Sundays at 7 p.m.). In “United Shades,” Bell “explores the far corners of our country and its various groups and subcultures.” In the first episode, he seeks out and speaks to Ku Klux Klan members, encounters that veer from frightening to hilarious to disquieting. The San Quentin episode first aired on May 1.
But before the Sunday broadcast, Bell and a small CNN crew went back to San Quentin for a special preview screening for prisoners, many of whom appear in the show. Berkeleyside was the only media invited to the preview.
“I walked in here afraid, and you all made fun of me,” Bell, who lives in Berkeley, told about 200 prisoners who came to the screening. … Continue reading »
The proposed locations of ten Berkeley bike-sharing stations are included in the first phase of Bay Area Bike Share‘s expansion to the East Bay, announced Monday by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Motivate, the company that operates most of the major bike share systems in the US.
Bay Area Bike Share plans to have at least 37 stations in Berkeley by the time the program’s first three phases are complete. Phase one of the program should be in operation by the end of 2016. Launched in San Francisco in 2013, Bay Area Bike Share aims to have 7,000 bicycles across the region by 2018.
“Berkeley is a vibrant, world-class city that is dedicated to reducing its carbon footprint,” said Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates in a statement. Bates serves on the MTC. “Motivate’s partnership with MTC gives us another important tool in our efforts to combat climate change and makes bike sharing a reality in our city.” … Continue reading »
BILLY COLLINS AND AIMEE MANN Poet Billy Collins and singer-songwriter Aimee Mann collaborate for an evening of poetry, acoustic music and conversation about the creative process, in a Cal Performances concert at Zellerbach Hall Sunday. Collins is a former Poet Laureate and the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for Humor in Poetry. Grammy-nominated Mann had a first brush with stardom in the ’80s in the band ‘Til Tuesday. Her songs featured in Paul Thomas Anderson’s film Magnolia. 7 p.m., Sunday, April 24, Zellerbach Hall. … Continue reading »
A world premiere of a Mark Morris work, the first fully staged performance of an opera in 270 years, a restaging of a groundbreaking collaboration between John Adams, Lucinda Childs and Frank Gehry, a residency by London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, a choral festival, and a complete cycle of Beethoven string quartets are among the highlights of the 2016-17 season of Cal Performances.
At the core of the 111th Cal Performances season are what executive and artistic director Matías Tarnopolsky calls “three strands of artistic exploration”: inclusion, innovation and immersion. The inclusion theme kicks off with the season opening world premiere of Mark Morris Dance Group’s “Layla and Majnun,” with music performed by The Silk Road Ensemble with the voices of Azerbaijan’s Alim Qasimov and Fargana Qasimova, with sets and costumes by British artist Howard Hodgkin. … Continue reading »
If you were one of the tens of thousands to attend the first Bay Area Book Festival in downtown Berkeley last June, you’re certainly looking forward to the second edition, June 4-5. If you missed it, don’t make that mistake this year. Nearly 300 authors will be speaking, performing, reading, signing and mingling at the free festival which takes over dozens of downtown venues.
The festival schedule, with nearly 100 sessions, is now online.
There are several new features in the festival. Culture Ireland is funding a special Tribute to Ireland one year after the tragic balcony collapse. Novelist Colm Tóibín (Nora Webster, The Master, Brooklyn) will be in conversation with UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks on the Sunday morning of the festival. On Thursday, June 2, two days before the full-blown festival, spoken word artist Saul Williams will be performing at the Freight & Salvage, together with jazz musicians Black Spirituals and poet Chinaka Hodge (the Williams evening costs $18; the main festival is free). … Continue reading »