Author Archives: Lance Knobel
VILLALOBOS BROTHERS The three Villalobos brothers were all violin prodigies growing up in Xalapa, Mexico. In 2000, Ernesto went to Manhattan School of Music on a Fulbright scholarship, in 2002, Alberto studied at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, and in 2003, Luis went to the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg in Germany. But a Carnegie Hall reunion of the brothers in 2005 has led to an active, non-classical concert career. They describe their music as “drawing inspiration from jazz, rock, classical, and traditional Mexican folk to deliver a message of love, brotherhood, and social justice.” Their six-piece band plays at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse on Sunday, Aug. 9 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $26 in advance, $28 at the door. Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison St. … Continue reading »
Berkeley High School’s all-school graduation is Friday, June 12 at the Greek Theatre. But in the last week, many of BHS’s small schools and programs celebrated their own graduations, with a variety of different venues and styles.
Christine Daniel, Berkeley’s city manager since May 2012, will be leaving in July to become assistant city administrator in neighboring Oakland. Daniel became acting city manager when Phil Kamlarz retired in November 2011, and was appointed to the city’s top role by the City Council six months later. Daniel worked for the city for 15 years.
In her resignation letter, Daniel paid tribute to what she described as the “unique character of this wonderful place.”
“We are fortunate to have such an engaged, thoughtful City Council who are devoted to this community and are willing to address the tough issues facing cities today,” Daniel wrote. “Berkeley is filled with creative, passionate people who are not afraid to try something new or to challenge conventional wisdom, while at the same time remaining committed to preserving the unique character of this wonderful place.” … Continue reading »
Berkeley City Council on Tuesday unanimously passed the first reading of a “Right to Know” ordinance to require cellphone retailers in Berkeley to provide consumers with information that warns them to keep a minimum safe distance between their bodies and their phones.
“The world is watching what you do tonight,” said Devra Davis, president of the Environmental Health Trust. “And you have the opportunity to do the right thing.”
The ordinance would require cellphone retailers to provide consumers with every sale or lease of a phone with a notice on radio frequency (RF) radiation exposure guidelines, warning that carrying the phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra could result in exceeding federal guidelines. City staff had assistance from Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at Harvard, and Robert Post, dean of Yale Law School, in drafting the ordinance. Lessig has offered to defend the city pro bono if the law is challenged, as expected, by cellphone manufacturers. … Continue reading »
EDIBLE SCHOOLYARD PLANT SALE The 13th annual Edible Schoolyard Plant Sale and Celebration opens at 9 a.m. Saturday at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. There’s delicious, locally made food, music, student-guided tours of the garden, raffle prizes and, needless to say, plants. Get your spring garden going with tomatoes, vegetables, fruit trees and berries, herbs, perennials, annual flowers and more. There will be gardening advice on hand for beginners and experts. The event takes place Saturday, May 9, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Martin Luther King Middle School, 1781 Rose St. (near Berryman Street). … Continue reading »
A gala outdoors performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, a novel mixture of Olivier Messaien and Berkeley photographer Deborah O’Grady, a rare visit from Paris’ Ensemble Intercontemporain, and Twyla Tharp’s 50th anniversary tour are among the highlights for Cal Performances 2015-16 season, which was announced this week.
The season marks the launch of Berkeley RADICAL (Research and Development Initiative in Creativity, Arts, Learning), a new framework in which artists will engage with Cal Performances through commissioning, creation, presentation, documentation and dissemination; with the university’s community of scholars and students; and with the Bay Area public.
Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela kick off Berkeley RADICAL with a week-long residency centered around performances of Beethoven’s final three symphonies. The Ninth Symphony will be performed at a gala performance at the Greek Theatre on Friday, Sept. 25.
“I can’t think of a better way to launch Berkeley RADICAL than with this music, this conductor and this orchestra,” said Matías Tarnopolsky, executive and artistic director of Cal Performances. … Continue reading »
Fight for 15, the campaign for an increase in the minimum wage, hit the streets of Berkeley and Oakland yesterday.
UC Berkeley Professor Robert Reich was at the center of the protest in Oakland’s Temescal district in the morning. He gave a rousing, impromptu speech on the importance of the campaign. (Watch the 2-minute speech in the video below, exclusively published by Berkeleyside.) … Continue reading »
EARTH DAY The Brower Center is hosting its first-ever Earth Day Festival, on Saturday, April 18 from noon to 6 p.m. There will be hands-on workshops, live music, family arts activities and organic food tastings, all focused on “protecting and honoring the planet we call home.” Three panels during the afternoon look at carbon farming, climate-friendly consumption and fighting climate change at the neighborhood level. The Ecology Center hosts workshops to show how to reuse common household items and there will be screenings of film shorts on carbon farming. The full schedule is here. Berkeleyside is a media sponsor of the Earth Day Festival. Admission free ($10 suggested donation), The Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way. … Continue reading »
An estimated 60 members of faith groups gathered at the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza Thursday night to protest proposed new laws that they claimed would “criminalize the homeless.” Prayers and speeches were followed by a small number of the protesters lying down to spend the night sleeping in the plaza.
“Jesus probably would be criminalized by these law if he lived in the City of Berkeley,” said Pastor Michael McBride, founder of The Way Christian Center, who gave the opening prayer at the protest. “The era of criminalizing people need to end. We’re still using old tactics to deal with modern problems.” … Continue reading »
Sam Pasarow, an Oakland middle school principal, will be Berkeley High School’s new principal, starting in July, Berkeley Unified Superintendent Donald Evans announced at last night’s school board meeting.
Pasarow will take the helm from Kristen Glenchur, who has been interim principal since last summer. Pascuale Scuderi, who served as principal for four years, became assistant superintendent for educational services at BUSD last summer.
“Finding the right leader for Berkeley High School has been both challenging and exciting,” Evans said in a statement yesterday. “We had so many great candidates, and we were fortunate to have the involvement of teachers, administrators, board members and parents who participated in the interview process. I am very pleased with the outcome, and confident that the BHS community will find a strong educational leader in Principal Pasarow.” … Continue reading »
TARTUFFE AT THE REP Molière’s Tartuffe, a satirical attack on religious hypocrisy, still has its sting after 350 years. Berkeley Rep’s production, adapted by David Ball and directed by Dominique Serrand, was acclaimed as “revelatory” by the Chronicle. Actor Steven Epp stars in the title role. If you go on Friday, March 27 (as in tonight!), you can also enjoy the “last call” reception after the play, sponsored by Berkeleyside. Tartuffe is in repertory at the Berkeley Rep through Apr. 12. Tickets from $41 at Berkeley Rep, 2025 Addison St. … Continue reading »
A Downtown Berkeley Association ambassador assaulted a homeless man Thursday evening behind CVS in what appears to be a violent incident that was captured on video. That homeless man and an associate were arrested by the Berkeley Police Department before the video came to light. After reviewing the video this week, police asked the district attorney’s office to take another look at the case.
The ambassador involved, whose name has not been released, will be fired Thursday, said Downtown Berkeley Association CEO John Caner. A second ambassador, who did not intervene to stop the apparent assault, will be suspended. The video, which appears below, contains graphic language and violence that some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.
Lance Gorée, operations manager for the DBA, and the manager of the ambassador program for contractor Block by Block, said he received a report of the physical contact last week, but the severity of the incident was not made clear until he and Caner saw the video Thursday morning.
“I was called within the hour of it happening,” Gorée said. “I always get called right away. They didn’t fully represent what happened.”
“It’s clearly totally unacceptable,” said Caner. “We apologize to (the victim) and to the community. This is clearly so out of the realm of acceptable behavior and totally contrary to all of the training provided to ambassadors.”
Mayor Tom Bates last night delivered a picaresque tour of developments in Berkeley in his State of the City address at the Shotgun Theatre’s Ashby Stage.
Bates lauded projects and improvements in each of the city’s main areas, singled out efforts to address street repairs with revenues from Measures M and BB, talked about the need for affordable housing, the police department and the December protests, and touched briefly on challenges the city faces with unfunded pension liabilities and an aging infrastructure.
“That’s a general rosy picture of how we’re doing,” Bates said at the conclusion of his main tour of what’s happening in the city. … Continue reading »