Author Archives: Lance Knobel
Scientist Steven Visco and developer Patrick Kennedy received the inaugural Visionary Awards from the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce on Monday night in a casual ceremony at the startup accelerator Skydeck in downtown Berkeley.
Chamber CEO Polly Armstrong said the awards were designed for “those individuals with both the imagination and persistence to innovate in the City of Berkeley. Our town has a long history of activism and is proud of its heritage. However, our colorful history has also fostered a cautious if not skeptical view of change and the role that local businesses play in the economic health of the city.” … Continue reading »
Brazilian activist Maria Luisa Mendonça; inequality chronicler Chrystia Freeland will be at Uncharted
Maria Luisa Mendonça, director of Brazil’s Network for Social Justice and Human Rights (and director of the documentary about sugar plantation slaves embedded below), is the latest speaker to be sign up to be part of the exciting program at Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas, which is being produced by Berkeleyside in downtown Berkeley, October 25-26.
Mendonça, currently a visiting scholar at Cornell, concentrates on key issues for the food movement, notably the spread of industrial agriculture in the global South and the connection between land and resource policy and poverty.
Chrystia Freeland, currently running for Canada’s Parliament and, until recently, managing director and editor of consumer news at Thomson Reuters, will also speak at Uncharted. Freeland’s recent book, Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else, examines the drivers of increasing income inequality. … Continue reading »
New UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks will be one of the speakers at Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas on October 25-26. Dirks, a historian and anthropologist whose work focuses on India, will be in conversation. The subject: “What are the humanities — chopped liver?”
Among the other speakers recently added to the lineup for what promises to be an enthralling new gathering for those wishing to broaden their horizons are Dan Miller from the Roda Group, who will speak about strategies to tackle climate change, and Joshua Bloom, co-founder of big data startup wise.io and a professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley. Bloom plans to demystify the “uncanny valley” of machine intelligence for festival-goers.
What else is happening at Uncharted? Chris Anderson on the new industrial revolution, UC Berkeley’s Ananya Roy on poverty, food pioneer Mollie Katzen on the changes in our eating, Daily Kos’ Markos Moulitsas on the 2014 midterm elections, Business Insider’s Josh Barro on the future of political parties, io9′s Annalee Newitz on humans and mass extinction… and much, much more, including a lab-style workshop, and a great Friday night party for festival-goers at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Institute. … Continue reading »
FORTINBRAS Let’s be honest. Fortinbras is one of the more forgettable figures in Hamlet. He shows up just as Hamlet is dying and utters some unremarkable lines, marking him as the kind of upstanding, dull Norwegian prince that would never be fit subject for drama. But wait! Writer Lee Blessing took that unpromising kernel and crafted a work that the LA Times hailed as a “pungent political satire” with “dialogue as scathing as it is hilarious.” The Actors Ensemble of Berkeley has brought Fortinbras to the beautiful amphitheater in John Hinkel Park for five free performances, starting on Saturday, Aug. 24 at 4 p.m. Seats in the first three rows can be reserved by calling (510) 649-5999. Fortinbras will also be performed at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 25, Saturday, Aug. 31, Sunday, Sept. 1 and Monday, Sept. 2. John Hinkel Park Amphitheatre, 41 Somerset Ave. Further information on the Actors Ensemble website. … Continue reading »
Science education advocate and community volunteer Karen Marie Meyer died in her West Berkeley home on Wednesday, Aug. 14, after battling brain cancer. She was 45.
Karen graduated from UC Berkeley in 1991 and soon after began working with Dr. Isabel Hawkins of UC Berkeley’s Space Science Laboratory. While at SSL and in partnership NASA, Karen co-founded and served as manager of the Sun-Earth Connection Education effort and the project manager for the Energy from the Sun project. Most recently, Karen worked as an education project manager for MAVEN, the spacecraft satellite slated to arrive on Mars in November 2013. … Continue reading »
THE LODGER The Pacific Film Archive is showing Alfred Hitchcock’s 1926 film, The Lodger, on Friday, Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. in a digitally restored print from the British Film Archive. Hitchcock called his third feature “the first true Hitchcock movie.” It was his first thriller and introduced the “wrong man” theme that would recur throughout his career. Ivor Novello plays the mysterious tenant who may be implicated in a series of Jack the Ripper-style murders; his performance dares the audience to suspect an attractive man of unspeakable crimes. The silent film will have live music accompaniment from Judith Rosenberg on the piano. The Lodger is the first of nine rare Hitchcock silent films being shown at the PFA. Details of the series on the BAM/PFA website. … Continue reading »
The original 1975 production of Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land starred John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson in the two central roles. That sets a pretty high bar for revivals. But it’s hard to believe those two greats would surpass Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in Sean Mathias’ production that opened at Berkeley Rep on Sunday night and runs until the end of the month.
If you want to see acting at its very peak, do whatever you need to do to get tickets. McKellen, in particular, as the down-at-heel, shambolic Spooner, is mesmerizing. He’s a master of the classic Pinter dialogue, with its pauses, hesitations, misdirections and misunderstandings. But it’s McKellen’s physical presence that is most memorable: just watch him walk across the stage, somehow simultaneously lithe, drunk and worn out. Stewart, in the less showy role of literary grandee Hirst, is also strong, although the role is more a foil to Spooner. … Continue reading »
Civil rights, global poverty, mass extinction: Dangerous thinking at Uncharted, The Berkeley Ideas Festival
Uncharted, organized by Berkeleyside, will be two days of dangerous ideas, thought-provoking discussions, real interactions with great thinkers, as well as a fantastic party with fellow festival-goers at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive.
Uncharted aims to bolster’s Berkeley’s identity as a place where boundary-stretching, innovative ideas happen.
Ananya Roy is regularly named one of the popular teachers at UC Berkeley. Her commitment and passion about helping people understand the reality of poverty and her vision of ways to better the lives of the world’s poorest people is palpable whenever she speaks.
Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, had a delicious moment of YouTube fame after the Supreme Court struck down Prop 8 and has a two-decade record as a civil rights advocate. At Uncharted, Kendell will be talking about the new frontier of civil rights.
Patnaik and his consultancy, Jump Associates, will be leading the interactive workshops at Uncharted. The workshops will both stretch the minds of Uncharted participants, and develop their idea-generating capacity. … Continue reading »
A mobile art gallery, numerous dancers, DJs, artists, art cars, and a host of surprises are in store when Berkeley Spark is held on Saturday at Civic Center Park. The 10-hour free festival will bring a touch of Burning Man’s Playa to downtown Berkeley.
Berkeley Spark was conceived both for “Burners” deep into preparations for the annual gathering at Nevada’s Black Rock Desert at the end of August, and for Berkeleyans to get a dose of the free spirits and creativity of Burning Man.
“We’re offering a space for other creative instantaneous collaborations to occur,” explains Kat Parkin, project manager for Berkeley Spark. … Continue reading »
On his third day as superintendent of Berkeley Unified School District, Donald Evans’ office still had a just-moved-in feel, with few personal effects on the walls or his desk. Pride of place on the desktop was a freshly bound copy of the school district’s annual budget, already looking well thumbed.
Berkeleyside met with Evans so early in his tenure not to grill him about Berkeley issues — he understandably said he needs time to develop his thinking on the specifics — but to hear from the new superintendent about what brought him to Berkeley, and what he views as the major challenges of the post. … Continue reading »
This Friday, nearly 800 students from Berkeley High will attend their graduation ceremony at the historic Hearst Greek Theatre. But with equal fanfare, they’ll be joined by 62 seniors from Berkeley Technology Academy (B-Tech). Compared to the many hundreds from BHS, that might not sound like a lot, but consider this: two years ago, only seven B-Tech students graduated.
B-Tech provides a continuation high school diploma program for students who have either involuntarily been placed because of violations of Education Code 48900 or have chosen to be placed there because they are falling behind in academic credits at BHS. Many of the students are economically disadvantaged, nearly a third are homeless, and many have direct experience of violence and incarceration in their community. It’s a small school, with enrollment around 150, many of them in their senior year. The 62 B-Tech graduates this year are part of a class of 73 seniors.
“I want all 73 seniors graduating,” said Sheila Quintana, principal of B-Tech since July, 2011. … Continue reading »
A growing number of playwrights grapple with the ethical issues of science and technology. Tom Stoppard was a pioneer, and Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen was a memorable exploration of nuclear physics and the responsibilities of scientists. In the Bay Area, Stanford’s Carl Djerassi, one of the inventors of the Pill, has a minor sideline as a playwright writing about science.
By And By, which debuted at Shotgun Players last week, wrestles with the dilemmas posed by full human cloning. But the compelling twist in Lauren Gunderson’s play is that it focuses on human emotions in a very recognizable world, rather than confecting some science fiction fantasy of the material. … Continue reading »