Category Archives: Events

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

Berkeley Chamber 2016 Visionary Award winners
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BERKELEY VISIONARY AWARDS It’s not on the weekend — unless you’re in the habit of taking long ones —but the 2016 Berkeley Visionary Awards that take place Monday just had to be mentioned. The Berkeley Chamber created this honor to celebrate innovative entrepreneurs based in Berkeley, and Monday evening’s event promises, it says, “accomplished speakers, inspirational videos and a chance to meet the business leaders who are making Berkeley known for transformational enterprises.” Award recipients this year are: Steve Isaacs, Chairman, President and CEO, Aduro Biotech; Danielle Applestone, CEO, Other Machine Company; Emilie Mazzacurati, Founder and CEO, Four Twenty Seven Climate Solutions. The keynote speaker is Michael Witherell, Director, Lawrence Berkeley Lab, and there’ll be hors d’oeuvres and wine and it runs 5-7pm at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison Street. Tickets are $50. Get details. … Continue reading »

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TCHO chocolate lab; climate-change deep dive in Berkeley

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TCHO’s Chief Chocolate Maker Brad Kintzer is to host a special chocolate lab at Berkeleyside’s Uncharted Festival of Ideas, on Friday Oct. 14. Kintzer, who studied botany and has spent months working on cacao plantations throughout Latin America, will provide an insider’s perspective on how cocoa is sourced and offer enlightening chocolate tastings.

Also on the program at the two-day Uncharted festival, which is back in downtown Berkeley for its fourth year, are conversations with Michael Krasny, Mark Bittman, Sujatha Baliga and Aminatou Sow. Kevin Powell and Eve Ensler will be on stage together on Saturday Oct 15 in a session titled, ‘Violence or love? Rape culture, race, and building social movements.’ See full program.

End-of-summer 30%+ discounted Uncharted tickets end midnight Friday Sept. 23.

This year also sees the festival’s first deep-dive session on climate change, in partnership with the College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley. As part of CNR’s first ever Big Ideas @CNR competition, John Battles will discuss how and why many ecosystems are suffering from loss of resilience, and Dennis Baldocchi will address the water-food-people nexus: how climate change threatens California’s ability to sustain its population and its economy. The pair will be joined by Steve Bumgardner (aka Yosemite Steve) one of the world’s great natural-history filmmakers, who will provide a visual insight into working in the High Sierra. … Continue reading »

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Mark Summer explores life after Turtle Island

Mark Summer and Ken Cook are the duo Celloland. Photo by Silos Napa.
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Cuban reed virtuoso Paquito D’Rivera likes to call Mark Summer a barking cat, which is actually a compliment. As a cellist well-versed in improvisation, Summer is as rare as a woofing feline, though his three-decade run with two-time Grammy Award-winning Turtle Island Quartet has paved the way for several generations of conservatory-trained cellists with at least one foot in jazz. In his first East Bay concert since leaving Turtle Island in 2015 Summer introduces his new duo with veteran jazz pianist Ken Cook, Celloland, 7 p.m. Sunday at Freight & Salvage.

D’Rivera got to know Summer well while collaborating on the 2002 Turtle Island String Quartet album Danzón (Koch International), back before the group dropped “string” from its name. He was so impressed with Summer’s skills and versatility that he launched the Jazz Chamber Trio, a group “that I wouldn’t have thought possible before meeting Mark,” D’Rivera said in an interview around the time of the group’s Grammy-nominated 2005 eponymous debut album on Chesky.

Celloland offers another opportunity for Summer to explore his love of jazz and Latin American music. Cook, who holds the Jazz Piano chair in Sonoma State University’s Jazz Studies Department and has studied in Cuba, works regularly with vocalists Terrie Odabi and Deborah Winters, Brazilian guitarist Ricardo Peixoto, and Latin jazz flutist John Calloway. Together they’ve developed a far-ranging repertoire at the crossroads of jazz, European classical music and various South American traditions, with tunes by Brazil’s Egberto Gismonti and Pixinguinha, Argentina’s Nuevo tango maestro Astor Piazzolla, and jazz greats Pat Metheny and Keith Jarrett (with some Jimi Hendrix and J.S. Bach thrown in for good measure).

“Ken is a very sympathetic musical partner,” says Summer, 58, who settled in Novato after several years in Berkeley in the mid-aughts. “I heard him with his trio a few years ago and was blown away. We started talking and quickly realized we shared a love of Keith Jarrett and Latin music.” … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: Fistful of Dollars & Equinox Flower

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Summer is all but over, and it’s not quite Oscar season yet. New releases are thinner on the ground than autumn leaves in May, but fear not film fans: Pacific Film Archive has two very different but equally worthwhile motion pictures with which to tempt you this weekend.

Fistful of Dollars (Per un pugno di dollari, 1964) was the film that single-handedly kicked off the spaghetti western craze, which spawned well over 500 films before the genre petered out in the mid ’70s. Love it or hate it, it’s an important film — not least because it marked the arrival of a significant new talent (and the focus of PFA’s current series ‘Something To Do with Death’), director Sergio Leone.

Few would suggest that Fistful of Dollars (screening on Friday, Sept. 23 at 8:15 p.m.) is the equal of Leone’s classics The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West (both of which have also screened in the series). Nonetheless, it’s thoroughly entertaining, was beautifully shot in southern Spain, and (of course) includes an unforgettable original score by Ennio Morricone (actually credited on screen as the pseudonymous ‘Dan Savio’ – as with Leone, Morricone would become a household name thanks to this film).

And then there’s Clint Eastwood, who parlayed his performance as the serape’d Man With No Name into a career that still continues today. Unsurprisingly, Eastwood is pretty affectless here, but that was the gimmick: who is that masked-man-with-no-mask? What secrets lie behind the emotionless stare? When you compare his work here to that of other spaghetti stars such as Robert Woods, George Eastman, and Brad Harris, you realize how good Clint genuinely was as the man of mystery. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s radical roots on show in major London exhibit

A graphic by Jay Belloli made at the Berkeley Political Poster Workshop in 1970 is on display at the V&A exhibit.
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By Yasmin Anwar / UC Berkeley

A magical mystery tour of 1960s youth rebellion, which launches this month at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, has to include a stop at UC Berkeley.

Students here birthed the Free Speech Movement, led anti-Vietnam-war protests and occupied People’s Park. The campus is where anti-establishment gurus like Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and Timothy Leary, who urged a generation to “turn on, tune in, drop out,” cut their counterculture teeth.

Berkeley’s rich history of radicalism has thus earned it a place at the much-heralded V&A exhibit, “You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-70,” which runs through Feb. 26.

The wildly eclectic retrospective features some 350 iconic artifacts, including a moon rock from NASA, shards of Jimi Hendrix’s smashed guitars, the first computer mouse and a kaftan worn by Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick at Woodstock. … Continue reading »

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

Terri Friedman: Yarn Painting, 2016 (detail); acrylic, wool, and cotton fibers; dimensions variable; courtesy of the artist.
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FILMS ABOUT COURAGE AND THE OUTDOORS – Yeti is a manufacturer of ice chests, drinkware, T-shirt, caps and other gear. It also produces a roving mini-film festival of movies highlighting courageousness and the outdoors. On Friday, Sept. 16, Yeti will present “Stories from the Wild Film Tour” at Freight & Salvage. Tickets for the evening cost $10 and include beer, BBQ, and a raffle ticket, with all of the money going directly to American Rivers.  According to Gear Junkie, the films include Charged, “which shows the incredible survival story of chef and outdoorsman Eduardo Garcia.” Cosmo documents the story of a fishing guide in the remote waters of the Seychelles. Doors open at 6:00 p.m.; films begin at 7:00 p.m. … Continue reading »

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Entertaining, enlightening: Aurora Theatre’s ‘Dear Master’

George Sand (l. Kimberly King*) and Gustave Flaubert (r. Michael Ray Wisely*) converse about politics and family in Dear Master. Photo: David Allen
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Berkeley playwright Dorothy Bryant seemed delighted to be in the audience at the opening of Aurora Theatre’s 25th anniversary revival of her insightful two-person epistolary play, Dear Master, about famed 19th-century French authors George Sand and Gustave Flaubert. Dear Master is the salutation Flaubert used when writing to Sand, who was 17 years his senior.

It’s a shame that Barbara Oliver (d. 2013) could not have been in attendance on opening night, as she portrayed George Sand in the original 1991 production that she created with playwright Bryant. Arising out of that production, Berkeley’s Aurora Theatre was formed, with Oliver as its founding artistic director. In fact, the theatre company was named after Sand’s given name, AmantineLucile-Aurore Dupin. But this production of Dear Master must be reviewed on its own merits, without regard to the sentimentality of restaging the Aurora’s initial drama, or the stellar growth and development of the Aurora over the years.

The feminist, socialist and prolific novelist George Sand (1804-1876), lover of Frederic Chopin in her younger days, and the somber, depressive perfectionist writer Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880), best known for Madame Bovary, engaged in an active 13-year artistic correspondence. Using translations of their actual letters as well as her imagination, Bryant has recreated Sand and Flaubert, such that, by the end of the 90-minute one-act play, we feel we understand their lives, personalities, literary methods and creative demons. … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: ‘Demon’

The woman in white appears in 'Demon'
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Before the Second World War, heavily Catholic Poland was also home to most of the world’s Jewish population. That changed, of course, during the war, when at least 90% of Poland’s 3 million Jews were killed by the Nazi extermination machine, leaving only a few thousand survivors behind.

Poland is still coming to terms with the legacy left by the Jewish Holocaust’s dead millions. Director Marcin Wrona’s Demon (opening at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas on Friday, Sept. 16) examines that legacy, emphasizing how this historical memory has largely been left buried and forgotten by the country’s Christian majority.

Based on Piotr Rowicki’s play ‘Clinging’, Demon takes place in a decrepit southern town where the rain never seems to let up. Fashionable youngster Piotr (Israeli actor Itay Tiron) has returned from success in London to marry Zaneta (Agnieszka Zulewska), daughter of local mining magnate Zygmunt (Andrzej Grabowski). … Continue reading »

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Ask Berkeleyside: Why no toilets at the Solano Stroll?

Solano Stroll 2016. Photo: Steve Crawford
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It wasn’t a conspiracy, and it wasn’t by design. There were no portable toilets at the Solano Stroll on Sunday due to “a simple error,” event organizer Allen Cain of the Solano Avenue Association told Berkeleyside this week.

Exactly whose error is a matter of dispute. Cain said he emailed in the toilet order months before the huge annual event. The alleged service provider says no order was received. 

Cain, who has spearheaded the Solano Stroll for nearly a decade, said he makes all the arrangements the prior April — five months in advance — to ensure he has all the rental supplies he needs. The toilets are usually set up Saturday, the day before the Stroll, to avoid vandalism to the units or to the properties around them.

(Berkeleyside first reported on the missing toilets Monday.)

Saturday, Cain said he was on the avenue at 5 a.m. to mark off the street with chalk, to prepare for the event, before traffic got in the way. Around 11 a.m. or noon, he said, he started wondering where the toilets were. He wasn’t too worried, though, because they sometimes don’t show up until 8 or 9 p.m.

“At about 3-4 o’clock, we start to get a little nervous,” he said Tuesday night. Organizers tried to call the rental service to find out what was going on. But Cain said they could only reach an answering service. The answering service said it had two numbers for United Site Services, the rental company Cain said he ordered the toilets from. But both numbers went to voicemail, and that voicemail was full. … Continue reading »

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KALW airs Berkeley conversations on Uncharted Radio Hour

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Uncharted, a production of Berkeleyside, features some of the world’s edgiest thinkers and creative performers. It takes place over two days in downtown Berkeley. This year’s festival is on Friday Oct. 14 and Saturday Oct. 15.

On this week’s Uncharted Radio Hour, we hear from Shannon Brownlee, a national leader in highlighting the scope and consequences of overuse in healthcare. Brownlee argues that millions of people in the U.S. are being harmed — and are even dying — by having unnecessary health interventions. She explores many of these issues in her book, Overtreated — Why too much Medicine is Making us Sicker and PoorerBrownlee was in conversation with former KQED Health Editor Lisa Aliferis.

See Program and get tickets for the 2016 Uncharted Festival on Oct. 14-15

Also on Thursday’s Uncharted Radio Hour: Alice Dreger, an historian of medicine and science, a sex researcher and a writer. Her most recent book is Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science. Dreger made headlines in 2015 when she resigned from her position at Northwestern University for what she said was a lack of academic independence. Dreger sat down with Lance Knobel, co-founder of Berkeleyside and Uncharted’s program curator, at the 2015 Uncharted Festival for a conversation that ran the gamut from sex through science and back again.Continue reading »

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Memorial garden dedicated to late Berkeley firefighter

Berkeley Fire Department dedication ceremony on Sunday Sept. 11, 2016. Photo: KLC Fotos
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On Sunday Sept. 11, the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Berkeley firefighters held a ceremony to dedicate the department’s memorial garden at the city’s Fire Station 6 at 999 Cedar St.

The garden, a place where Berkeley firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty are remembered, was dedicated on Sunday to deceased firefighter Tony Nunes. Nunes died in February 2014 in an accident on his family property in Martinez. He was 54 and had worked for the department for 28 years.

Several city leaders were in attendance, including council members Lori Droste, Linda Maio, Susan Wengraf and Kriss Worthington.

“Berkeley Firefighters gathered… to recognize lives lost in the line of duty, both here in Berkeley and across the country,” said BFD’s Colin Arnold. “They shared a moment of silence to remember the victims of 9/11, and reflected on stories of peers who had lost their lives.” … Continue reading »

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Photo Gallery: The 42nd Berkeley-Albany Solano Stroll

Solano Stroll 2016. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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“I’ve come to the conclusion that at the Solano Stroll, if you don’t see the essence of Berkeley, you’re not paying attention,” wrote Daniel McPartlan to Berkeleyside when sharing with us some wonderful photographs he took at this year’s Stroll, which took place on Sunday. Of course, the Solano Stroll includes Albany too, but we hear what he’s saying. Meanwhile, Berkeleyside contributing photographer Nancy Rubin commented on submitting her amazing portfolio, “I feel the Stroll represents the best of Berkeley — such good feelings, such diversity — of both humans and animals.”

People turned out in droves to the 42nd annual Stroll, despite the vain attempts by the sun to shed any warmth on events, and the unfortunate absence of portable toilets at this year’s event (we’ve asked the Solano Stroll Association for more on this and will update the story when we hear back).

[Update, 4:15 p.m. Allen Cain tells Berkeleyside he submitted his request well in advance, noting, “We go out of our way to provide facilities.” He said there was only an answering service for United Site Services picking up the phone Sunday, and the service could not provide any information. “If they had just told us that they lost the order, we could’ve navigated something but they kept us hanging,” he said.]

The parade was as impressive as always, and this year local election candidates were out in force. And there was a near-constant stream of visitors to the Berkeleyside/Nosh booth and the onsite team — Wendy Cohen, Bethany Del Lima, Kate Williams, Emilie Raguso, Debbie McKeen and Tracey Taylor — were delighted to meet everyone and hear your positive feedback. We will draw the winners of our two raffle prizes — a basket-full of East Bay food and drink goodies and a copy of Kenji López-Alt’s The Food Lab book — shortly.

Meanwhile enjoy the Stroll photographs published here — and thank you for sharing them with us.

See more photos of the Solano Stroll by Nancy Rubin.

See more photos of the Solano Stroll by Daniel McPartlan. … Continue reading »

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Visit Berkeleyside, Nosh at the Solano Stroll

Solano Stroll 2015. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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It’s that time of year again, and the East Bay’s biggest street festival is coming Sunday with the 42nd annual Solano Stroll.

You can find the Berkeleyside team in our usual spot, between Pegasus Books and iScream, where northbound Colusa Avenue hits Solano Avenue. We hope you’ll come by to say hello.

This year, Berkeleyside’s Nosh site will be our booth’s focus. To that end, we’ll be raffling off a big basket of East Bay food and wine, as well as a copy of “The Food Lab” by J. Kenji López-Alt (don’t miss him at our Uncharted festival, coming in October).

This year’s Stroll is set to feature over 500 vendors including 50 entertainers, 50 food booths, 150 government and non-profit agencies, 150 juried hand-crafters, a 75-entry parade, mechanical rides and much more, organizers say. (The parade begins at 10 a.m.) The expected estimated attendance is 250,000.

We invite readers to share Solano Stroll photos with us by tagging #Berkeleyside on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also add photos to our Flickr group or simply email them to tips@berkeleyside.com. (We always love seeing your photographs of any interesting sights around Berkeley.) … Continue reading »

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