Category Archives: Arts

An ideas festival in Berkeley unfolds over social media

Tanya Holland and Twilight Greenaway by Pete Rosos
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[View the story "Uncharted The Berkeley Festival of Ideas 2014: As it happened" on Storify]

Note: the Storify above does not necessarily reflect the chronological order of the festival program.

Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas, which launched in 2013, is organized by Berkeleyside as a community event to expand horizons, bring Berkeley to the fore, and help sustain Berkeleyside in the long run. If you were at Uncharted 2014, take a quick survey so we have your … Continue reading »

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

"The Magic Shoes," about an Iranian boy and his Air Jordans, is one of several USC student films showing this weekend at the Berkeley Video & Film Festival. Berkeley High students can see the student films for free. Photo courtesy of BVFF
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FILM FESTIVAL The Berkeley Video & Film Festival is a two-weekend feast of independent film, and it starts tonight, Oct. 30. Each year the East Bay Media Center narrows down(but not by much!) more than 100 submissions to a spectacular and international selection of shorts, animations, documentaries, and feature films. From a global dance documentary to animated sexual organs, there’s something for everyone. It all starts with a Student Film Marathon this weekend, and Berkeley High students get in free with ID. Otherwise, tickets for each film cost $10, or $5 for students and seniors, and they’re available at the door or by calling (510) 843-3699. A $25 pass gets you access to the whole festival. All films are screened at 1939 Addison Street. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley author Mac Barnett tickles many a funny bone

Cover of Telephone by Mac Barnett
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Berkeley author Mac Barnett knows how to tickle the funny bone of a 4-year-old. He also knows how to write picture books that are fun for a parent, teacher or grandparent to read aloud. In fact, he takes great care to consider both the “performer” who reads, and the audience who listens to his stories. Once I learned that he wrote Battle Bunny—and that he’s a local guy—I had to set up a meeting.

My granddaughter loves that book, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to increase my cred by getting to know the author. Over coffee in North Berkeley recently, I had the opportunity to talk with him about his projects, his process, and what he’s doing next.

Back when he was working summers as a counselor at Strawberry Canyon, Mac was in charge of story time, in addition to his other duties while taking care of the 4-year-olds. He loved the old picture books he read to the kids, and discovered a few new ones, such as Jon Scieszka’s The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. He loved this book as much as the kids did, and couldn’t believe they all laughed at the same things. He’d always wanted to be a writer, Barnett says. But “writing doesn’t mean much until you figure out who your audience is.” Those 4-year-olds? They turned out to be the people Barnett wanted to make books for. … Continue reading »

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Little Free Libraries are popping up all over Berkeley

Little Free Library. Photo: Colleen Neff
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What are these structures popping up along the sidewalks of Berkeley? Big birdhouses? Doll houses? Or are they homes small enough to actually be affordable in this crazy real-estate market? Nope. None of the above. They are actually part of a worldwide phenomenon called Little Free Libraries.

Berkeley now has over 20 of these charming mini-libraries that have become neighborhood meeting spots for book lovers of all ages. The idea is simple: take a book, return a book. … Continue reading »

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‘The Activist': Locally sourced treasure of a movie

The Activist
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Briefly released to theaters in late 1969 and since largely forgotten, this was director/writer/producer Art Napoleon’s final film. Napoleon – whose previous work, including the 1950s TV series ‘Whirlybirds’ and the Fabian vehicle Ride the Wild Surf (1964), displayed next to no political consciousness — immediately gave up cinema for psychotherapy and relocated to Europe in the wake of The Activist‘s poor critical and box-office reception.

The film’s title refers to main character Mike Corbett, a Berkeley senior suspended nine units short of his degree because of his dedication to radical politics. Played by real-life activist Mike Smith (one of the Oakland Seven put on trial for ‘conspiracy to commit two misdemeanors’ stemming from October 1967’s Stop the Draft Week demonstrations), Corbett is a true believer who earned his stripes as a Mississippi Freedom Rider. … Continue reading »

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Shotgun’s ‘Harry Thaw Hates Everybody’ is sparkling

standfordwhitedancebig
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The entertaining, creative and comical Harry Thaw Hates Everybody by Shotgun Players at the Ashby Stage in Berkeley is based on a scandal that is still intriguing after more than 100 years.

Playwright Laurel Meade, winner of the L.A. Drama Critics Award for Best Writing for an earlier version of the play, placed this compelling triangle of human behavior in a fresh new light. Using the technique made famous in the 1950 Japanese film Rashomon, the tale is told from the perspective of each of the four main participants. But instead of a sobering re-telling of a tragedy, the production regales us with music, dance, naughtiness and a slide show of newspaper headlines and turn-of-the-century pornography. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley teacher sees future for parenting mag RAD DAD

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By Tara Taylor/Bring Them Along

It’s hard to imagine, but there was a point in time when being a parent was a very isolating and lonely place. Parents looking for advice or community couldn’t fire up their computer and seek out a forum or mommy blog. You had one choice, mainstream media or nothing at all. It was the lack of different voices that birthed the parenting zine RAD DAD.

Ten years ago Tomas Moniz was looking for someone — anyone — who shared his feelings about fatherhood. Of course, there were parenting books and magazines, but not a single one addressed his concerns as a young father of a teenage son. There were no articles on how to talk to your kid about porn, drugs, politics, the police, or racism. … Continue reading »

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

Jessica Prentice
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UNCHARTED Wake up tomorrow morning and mingle with some of the most prominent and captivating thinkers across the disciplines. Berkeleyside presents the second annual Uncharted, a two-day festival jam-packed with  stimulating discussion and debate. On Friday, Oct. 24 and Saturday, Oct. 25, festival speakers and participants will gather at Berkeley Rep and Freight & Salvage to engage with big, daring, and dangerous ideas. This year’s exciting program includes musings on robotics, new energy, stereotyping, marriage equality, and 3D printing. A few one and two-day passes are still available for the extravaganza, which lasts 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, with workshops, coffee breaks, and a party on Friday evening. Find out more. … Continue reading »

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Audrey Martin: A dream fulfilled, plus more Berkeley gigs

Audrey Gilbert. Photo:  Irene Young
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On her 40th birthday Audrey Martin decided to sing. As a marriage and family therapist, she had spent years helping other people work through traumas, resolve deep-seated conflicts, and discover their true selves. Along the way she had set aside her adolescent ambition for a life in music, a sublimated dream that resurfaced with her midlife milestone. Martin’s long and winding creative journey resulted in the captivating debut album Living Room (full disclosure: I wrote the liner notes). She celebrates the CD’s release Sunday afternoon at Berkeley’s California Jazz Conservatory, which played an essential role in her musical education.

“This is the culmination of 17 years of planning and effort at learning the art of jazz and bringing together music that I‘ve wanted to perform and record,” says Martin, a Berkeley resident since 1998. “It also represents an integration of my musical self and my life as a psychotherapist.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley author Elizabeth Rosner’s “Electric City” is a lyrical coming-of-age story

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When Elizabeth Rosner was growing up near Schenectady New York, a company town dominated by the General Electric Corporation, she couldn’t wait to leave. Her parents, who were Holocaust survivors, had moved there after the end of the war and did not mind the provincial atmosphere. But Rosner found the town confining.

When Rosner was 16, she won a scholarship to study in the Philippines. “I got as far away from home as I could without leaving the planet,” she likes to say. She never really went back. She graduated from Stanford and moved to Berkeley in 1986.

See Elizabeth Rosner at Pegasus bookstore, 1855 Solano Ave., tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Rosner’s first two highly acclaimed, award-winning novels, The Speed of Light and Blue Nude, were set in Northern California. She didn’t think she had anything to say about Schenectady. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley composer John Adams’ opera ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ opens to protests in New York

People, some in wheelchairs, gather at Lincoln Center, with the Metropolitan Opera House in the background, as they protest "Death of Klinghoffer" Monday, Oct 20, 2014, in New York. The protest centered around the opera at the Metropolitan Opera that they call anti-Semitic. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
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Last night’s performance of Berkeley-based composer John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer at the Metropolitan Opera in New York wasn’t a typical opera opening. Protesters, many in wheelchairs, lined Columbus Avenue in front of Lincoln Center, and police were stationed inside and outside the opera house.

The New York Times reported that “a roar of cheers” greeted Adams when he took the stage at the end of the opera. Despite fears of disruption, only two small incidents marred the performance. One man who shouted, “The death of Klinghoffer will never be forgiven,” was escorted out of the opera house and arrested for disorderly conduct.

Adams’ opera has been acclaimed by critics since its debut in 1991 as a modern masterpiece. But since then, it has also attracted vehement criticism from some groups because of what they see as a glorification of terrorism. The opera is based on the hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship in 1985 by members of the Palestinian Liberation Front. Leon Klinghoffer, a wheelchair-bound American Jewish passenger, was killed by the hijackers. … Continue reading »

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‘Diplomacy': A confident statement from one of Germany’s greatest living filmmakers

« DIPLOMATIE » Un film de Volker SCHLÖNDORFF
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I spent a good portion of my teens and 20s playing the World War I-set board game ‘Diplomacy’. Though marketed to the war games crowd, ‘Diplomacy’ was much more than an opportunity to play ‘armchair general’: players had to negotiate agreements with other participants (each representing one of the European powers) in order to strategize, gain the upper hand, and win the game. Designed for two to seven players, ‘Diplomacy’ was always more fun with a larger crew, and was frequently an all-day affair.

In Volker Schlöndorff’s new film Diplomatie (Diplomacy, opening at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas on Friday, Oct. 24) there are only two players — but that doesn’t mean it’s by any means boring or uneventful. Set in 1944 Paris, the film details a fascinating cat and mouse mind game played out between a German general and a Swedish consul. … Continue reading »

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Uncharted Ideas: Do something different this weekend

View from the University Club where the Uncharted Party will take place on the evening of October 24, 2014. Photo: UCB
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We’re expecting a host of surprises at this week’s Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas.

The festival is on Friday and Saturday at the Berkeley Rep, the Freight & Salvage and the University Club high atop Memorial Stadium. Dangerous ideas, challenging questions, laughter and amazing creativity, from both speakers and participants, fascinating people to meet and to share a glass with at the Friday evening party.

As a Berkeleyside or East Bay Nosh reader you are eligible for a discount on attendance. Just use the code BerkeleysideFriend when you register. You can buy tickets for the full two days, or for Friday or Saturday only (everyone gets to go to the party!).

What are the highlights? You’ll have to come to find out.

We’re excited about everything, from Tanya Holland on cooking with soul, to Nobel prizewinner Randy Schekman on the frontiers of medicine, to gay rights pioneers Kris Perry and Sandy Stier on the inside story of the Supreme Court case, to composer John Adams on opera and controversy, to Ken Goldberg on robotics in the cloud, to Jeff Chang on multiculturalism, to Steve Coll on the Islamic State, to Saru Jayaraman on how we treat restaurant workers, to Carl Bass on our 3-D future, to… well, you get the idea. You can scan the whole program on the Uncharted website. … Continue reading »

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