Author Archives: Tracey Taylor


Remembering Lu Charlotte: Adventurer, educator and ‘Mayor of Solano Avenue’

Lu Charlotte, who passed away on xx. Photo: Courtesy family
Print Friendly

Longtime Berkeley resident Lu Charlotte passed away peacefully in her home on The Alameda Aug. 9, 2016. She was 92.

Lu was born Lucille Charlotte Stein on Sept. 15, 1923, in Adams, Massachusetts. A bright and energetic student, she graduated from Adams High School in 1941 as class valedictorian. She subsequently attended Smith College, Massachusetts State College (now the University of Massachusetts) in Amherst, and the University of Maryland, where she studied under noted sociologist C. Wright Mills.

After graduating … Continue reading »


The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Print Friendly

‘TWELFTH NIGHT’ FREE IN THE PARK Opening Saturday, Aug. 20, in John Hinkel Park’s amphitheater, and running through Sept. 4 on weekends, is Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, “An Acoustic Rock Musical” brought to us — for free — by the Actors Ensemble of Berkeley. Take a picnic and celebrate the end of summer with Shakespeare’s most finely wrought comedy, with rollicking music to top it off. The production is directed by Michael R. Cohen, with music by Jay Africa, and musical direction by Linda Giron. The amphitheater consists of wide stone steps; blankets and/or low lawn-chairs are recommended. Wheelchair accessible, reservations especially for those with limited mobility, call 510-649-5999. Questions: Directions and other information at Weekends at John Hinkel Park Amphitheatre, Aug. 20- Sept. 4 at 4 p.m. Special performance Monday, Sept. 5 (Labor Day), also at 4 p.m. Continue reading »


UC Berkeley Chancellor Dirks says he will step down

Chancellor Nicholas Dirks: Choudhry resignation "in the best interests of Berkeley Law and the university as a whole." Photo: UC Berkeley
Print Friendly

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks announced Tuesday he will step down from the position he has held for just over three years, once a successor is found and in place. The university issued a statement about the resignation around 4:20 p.m.

In a letter to the campus community, Dirks said he had come to a personal decision that “the time was right for him to step aside” to “allow someone else to take up the financial and institutional challenges ahead of us.”

The chancellor enumerated what he views as his key accomplishments while in office, including improving undergraduate education, improving practices relating to sexual harassment, and addressing the university’s structural budget deficit. The university has faced criticism for how it has dealt with sexual harassment on campus, including cases involving faculty.

Dirks concluded: “While we have made important progress, substantially reducing our deficit for the coming year, and developing a plan to balance the budget over the subsequent two to three years, there remains much work, and many difficult decisions, ahead of us. We need fresh approaches and new ideas as Berkeley forges a path to maintain its excellence along with its full commitment to a public mission in the current funding environment.” See Dirks’ full letter below.

Read more about Nicholas Dirks on Berkeleyside.

When Dirks announced a comprehensive strategic planning process in February to address the university’s deficit, the deficit was projected to be around $150 million dollars in the fiscal year ending in June 2016. … Continue reading »

Tagged , ,

The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Don Reed's hit show East 14th, 
the first installment in his hilarious coming-of-age trilogy,
extends at The Marsh Berkeley through August 21.

Photo credit: Aaron Epstein
Print Friendly

DON REED IN EAST 14TH AT THE MARSH Bouncing between a Jehovah’s Witness mom and a pimp dad, Don Reed’s childhood in Oakland was colorful to say the least. His show East 14th, which chronicles his teen years in Oakland, is playing through Aug. 21 at The Marsh Berkeley. (The work includes Reed’s story, “I Miss Toni” recently featured on NPR’s podcast Snap Judgment.) Reed is a three-time Emmy nominee, a former warm-up comedian for late night’s The Jay Leno Show, a NAACP triple nominee for Best Actor and Best Playwright, and a Bay Area Theatre Critics nominee. Performances are Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5:30 p.m. The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley. For tickets ($20-$35 sliding scale, $55-$100 reserved), visit The Marsh Berkeley or call 415-282 3055 between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.Continue reading »


Deer jumps into Berkeley pool, disrupts kids’ swim class

Deer in King Middle School. Photo: Jeff Johnston
Print Friendly

A deer leapt into the King Middle School swimming pool Thursday morning, narrowly avoiding landing on young children taking a swimming lesson there, according to a pool staffer.

The deer ran across the pool deck and jumped into the deep end, said Jasper Solomon, a lifeguard at the pool, who said the children, around 3-6 years old, were attending a summer camp swim class. Solomon and his boss, Adonis Boyd, both leapt into action as soon as the fawn landed, he said. They asked everyone to leave the pool and then, using a lifejacket and a floater as buffers, they steered the animal to the shallow end. The fawn then scrambled out of the water and ran away.

Solomon said the incident surprised the kids, but that fortunately nobody was hurt. He described the deer as small and male, probably a fawn.

“The kids got a kick out of all the excitement!” Jeff Johnston, whose son was part of the swim class, wrote us.  … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , ,

Claremont Hotel’s new restaurant gets a reboot

The dining room at the newly opened Antoinette Brasserie at the Claremont Hotel. Photo: Fairmont Group
Print Friendly

The Claremont Hotel has had a complete rethink for its second restaurant located in the former Paragon space. To be called Limewood, it will open at the end of August with Chef Joseph Humphrey at the helm, and it will serve dishes rooted in local ingredients, according to its general manager.

Nosh chanced upon activity at the restaurant Wednesday night, with staff in training tasting dishes from the forthcoming menu, and Benjamin, its general manager, filled us in on some details.

“It’s going to be an East Bay restaurant,” Benjamin said, introducing us to the waiters and inviting us in to the redesigned space with its bay views and beautiful new tiled floor. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , ,

Baby with Zika virus may have been born in Berkeley

Print Friendly

Two children have been born in California with Zika virus-related microcephaly, according to officials, one of them in Alameda County. One of them may have been born at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley, according to media reports, although officials will not confirm this.

ABC7 reported Thursday, citing two unidentified sources, that one of the two babies was born at Alta Bates a few months ago.

The California Department of Public Health told Berkeleyside it has not reported or confirmed the locations of two Zika-related births of infants with birth defects in the state. According to state data, as of Friday, there have been 10 travel-related cases of Zika in Alameda County, seven in nearby Contra Costa County and 10 in San Francisco County.

The Alameda County Health Department confirmed Friday that the county “does have one Zika case.” Spokeswoman Sherri Willis said it would not provide any information about the location of the birth, the gender of the baby, the family or any other details about the case. Willis said this sort of information would never be released by the department.

“It’s unfortunate that any details about this case were released,” said Willis. “All we will confirm is that Alameda County has one case.”

The state public health agency has let it be known that two babies with Zika virus-related microcephaly had been born in California. In a statement issued Thursday, the agency said the two infants with Zika-related microcephaly had been born to women who had Zika virus infections during pregnancy “after spending time in a country where the virus is endemic.” The statement continued: “While mosquitoes that can carry the virus have been found in 12 California counties, there is no evidence these mosquitoes are transmitting Zika in the state at this time.” … Continue reading »

Tagged ,

Off The Grid relocates from Uptown to Temescal

Off the Grid food trucks on 10th Street during Friday Nights @ OMCA. Photo: Mark Fiorito, courtesy of Off the Grid
Print Friendly

Off The Grid, the San Francisco-based food-truck organization that has grown to a total 50 markets, is moving its Uptown Oakland market to Temescal. The former, which launched two years ago and is located on Williams Street and Telegraph Avenue, near the Fox Theater, will have its last day on Aug. 11. The new Temescal market will make its debut on Thursday Aug. 18 and run from 4 to 9 p.m., according to OTG.

The Temescal market will take over a block of Shattuck Avenue between 45th and 46th streets, just west of Telegraph. (Oakland’s other Off The Grid market, Lake Merritt, takes place on Friday nights at the Oakland Museum of California.)

Asked about the motivation for the move, Ben Himlan, OTG’s director of business development, said Off the Grid had always been interested in the Temescal neighborhood. “It has changed quite a bit in recent years, and there is a really interesting food scene popping up,” he said.  … Continue reading »

Tagged , ,

Wild bees can now check in at the Claremont Hotel

Bee hotel at the Claremont Hotel. Photo, taken on July 15, 2016, by Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

It’s not just humans who can check in to the Claremont Hotel these days. Wild bees are welcome too, now that Fairmont Hotels & Resorts have installed a ‘bee hotel’ on the grounds of the iconic hotel which straddles the Oakland-Berkeley border.

The bee hotel was designed in partnership with Pollinator Partnership as a spot for nesting and reproduction, rather than producing honey, like in a beehive. It comprises stacks of logs on several shelves built into a wooden structure with a roof. Holes drilled in the logs create natural bee homes. The bee hotel is located below the carriage entrance to the hotel on the road leading from the Domingo Avenue entrance.

“Bees pollinate 80% of the food we eat and wild bees are three to four times more effective at pollinating plants compared to other bees,”said Fairmont spokeswoman Kaitlynn Furse when asked why Fairmont decided to install the bee hotel. “When the opportunity to install a bee hotel arose, the hotel was in the process of curating a pollinator garden in the back of their Kids’ Club. They saw this as an opportunity to drive the garden’s development and increase public awareness on the importance of developing and maintaining pollinator habitats.” … Continue reading »


Inside an artist’s mind: Berkeley’s Steve Ferrera is in residence at the de Young

steve ferrera featured
Print Friendly

The work of sculptor and filmmaker Steve Ferrera, whose studio and home is in West Berkeley, crosses many disciplines, including television, animation, children’s books and collectible toys. He has collaborated with Sony Pictures and HBO, and exhibited at the California Academy of Sciences and the ProArtsGallery, among others. Through July 31, Ferrera is the artist in residence at the de Young. While there, he is offering visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the multimedia production of a children’s book in the museum’s Artist Studio. Berkeleyside caught up with Ferrera to ask him what inspires him to make his often curious and sometimes absurd creatures, and what’s up with his one-eyed cat.

What do you do?

I teach glassblowing, ceramics, and sculpture part time at Palo Alto High School. My art is my other part-time job. My background is in traditional sculpture. But I’ve worked in a variety of art-related fields — everything from running a glassblowing studio to working on films and commercials at a visual effects and animation studio. My art is kind of a synthesis of all the skills I’ve acquired doing those things: sculpture, film, animation, storytelling. … Continue reading »

Downtown Berkeley most walkable Bay Area neighborhood

Downtown Berkeley: ranked number one for walkability in new survey. Photo: Sharon Hahn Darlin
Print Friendly

Downtown Berkeley is the most walkable neighborhood in the Bay Area, and two other Berkeley areas also make the Top 10, according to a new survey published by real-estate brokerage Redfin and Walk Score, which calculates areas’ walkability.

The report analyzed the most walkable neighborhoods of mid-size cities in the Bay Area. Downtown Berkeley placed highest with a Walk Score of 96 out of a possible 100; Southside Berkeley ranked fourth with a score of 93; and Northside Berkeley came in at number six with a score of 89.

Redfin agent Tom Hendershot puts downtown Berkeley’s winning spot down to the fact that it is a “fully functioning downtown with a large university just one block off the main strip.”

“Having the University of California, Berkeley so close to downtown offers many amenities for people there,” he said in a prepared statement, pointing in particular to “the culture, the access to everything within walking distance, and the combination of housing offered; from student housing through the university, to apartments, to traditional single family homes.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,

The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Berkeley Humane's Bark and Meow Adopt-A-Thon takes place Saturday July 23. Photo: Berkeley Humane
Print Friendly

BARK AND MEOW ADOPT-A-THON: On Saturday July 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Berkeley Humane will once again host one of the largest annual adopt-a-thon events in the East Bay. Bark and Meow Around the Block, which will take over two city blocks in West Berkeley, is also the location for NBC Bay Area’s “Clear The Shelters” nationwide campaign which encourages individuals throughout the country to adopt a shelter animal and help clear the shelters. Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales of the “Today Show” are taking part in the event where more than 200 animals will be available for adoption with waived or reduced adoption fees. Said Berkeley Humane Executive Director Jeffrey Zerwekh: “Pet homelessness is a solvable problem, if more people are able to open their homes and adopt. This event will include food, beer, live music, games and a pet psychic to entertain the entire family while looking for a new dog, cat, puppy or kitten.” Saturday, July 23, 10am-4pm; Ninth and Carleton streets, Berkeley (corner of 2700 Ninth St.) Berkeley. Visit Berkeley Humane online for details.Continue reading »


At vigil, UC Berkeley student Nick Leslie is remembered as good friend, full of life

People hold hands at the conclusion of a vigil for UC Berkeley student Nicolas Leslie at Sproul Plaza, in Berkeley, on Monday, July 18, 2016. Leslie, 20, was one of 84 people killed in a terrorist attack in Nice, France on Thursday. Photo: David Yee
Print Friendly

Hundreds of students, friends and UC Berkeley faculty — even some who had never met him — gathered Monday afternoon on the Cal campus to remember Nicolas Leslie, 20, who was killed in the terror attack in Nice, France on July 14 which took the lives of 84 and injured over 200 more.

“If I had 20 years to live, I would live them like Nick,” said Natasha Nicholson, reading words written by one of Leslie’s childhood friends, who couldn’t make the vigil, which was led by ASUC President William Morrow.

Leslie was studying in UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources, and had been accepted to the Haas School of Business. He was one of 85 students on a 15-day study abroad program called Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Europe, part of the European Innovation Academy. Three other UC Berkeley students attending the program were also injured in the Nice attack. … Continue reading »

Tagged , ,