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Berkeley in 2010: A year of making news

It’s been a relatively quiet year in Berkeley compared to some other turbulent decades, but there were a number of developments that were significant to the city. Berkeleyside takes a look at 2010’s most important trends.

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

Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso go into a bar… that’s the opening premise of Picasso at the Lapin Agile, a play written by Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) and being produced by the Actor’s Ensemble at Live Oak Theater through Oct. 26. In the play, Picasso and Einstein encounter a host of other characters and must deal not only with their own brilliance and idiosyncrasies, but with the unexpected talents brought to the party by a mysterious Visitor. The play is directed by Anna Andersen, recent transplant from Los Angeles where she directed and performed professionally, as well as writing and directing a Shakespeare-themed educational program for Los Angeles-area schools. The Lapin Agile, Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. through Oct. 26. Sunday matinee Oct. 20 at 2 p.m., Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck Ave. (at Berryman). Visit Actors Ensemble for details. (more…)

Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

MR. MOPPS’ BOOKSTORE We brought you the news in August that much-loved toy store Mr. Mopps’ would be opening a standalone bookstore. Mr. Mopps’ Children’s Books is opening on Saturday Oct. 19 at 1417A Martin Luther King Jr. Way, near Rose Street, and just four doors down from Mr. Mopps’ toy shop. Co-owners Devin McDonald and Jenny Stevenson wanted to expand their selection of books in the toy shop and seized the opportunity when the lease was made available at 1417A a couple months ago. The grand opening will include a book signing with Parker Jacobs, author and illustrator of The Goon Holler Guidebook and co-creator of TV shows “Yo Gabba Gabba” and the “Aquabats!” Customers can also purchase silk screens of the bookstore’s new poster, which was designed by Jacobs (pictured left). There will also be face and glitter painting for children. The grand opening will run from 9:30am to 5:30pm.

Interactive map: Bay Area and Berkeley’s literary scene

The Bay Area, and by extension Berkeley, has always had a lively literary scene. The first bookstore was opened during the heat of the Gold Rush in 1849 by a man named Joshua Hamilton Still. There is a plaque in San Francisco’s Portsmouth Square commemorating that auspicious act. The past rings also with many famous names who spent time in the Bay Area: Mark Twain, Jack London, Dashiell Hammett, Gertrude Atherton, Jack Kerouac, and others. The San Francisco Chronicle has just produced an online literary map that attempts to capture today’s lively literary scene. The interactive site highlights booksellers, publishers, literary events, open mikes, festivals, magazines and journals, the location of famous passages, and a listing of many authors. Not surprisingly, there are a lot from Berkeley. There are 48 authors and 20 bookstores listed for Berkeley to be exact. (more…)

Best of Berkeleyside: This week’s most popular posts

Certainly the most serious news this week was the drive-by shooting death of a 24-year old man on the 1800 block of San Pablo Avenue near Delaware. The 9:18 p.m. killing on Aug. 1 was the second in two weeks. On July 17, Jermaine Davis was shot and killed in the 1800 block of Derby Street. Thursday’s shooting also occurred almost at the same spot where Zontee Jones was gunned down on Feb.4. Two men have been charged with murder in connection with that shooting, Maurice Thomas Jr. and Jevon Calland.

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

SHOOT ‘EM UP   Shotgun Players have been bringing cutting-edge, gripping theater to Berkeley for 20 years and now, right in time for the election season, the group is putting on Assassins by Stephen Sondheim.  The musical showcases America’s nine presidential killers and explores their reasons for taking aim at the country’s elected leaders. “Their guns and justifications (set to music!) are just the balm for an election season that’s already set to explode,” reads the show’s description. The show opens at 8 pm Friday Oct. 5 at the intimate Ashby Stage and runs through Oct. 28.

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

BEFORE HUMAN CONTACT When Laura Cunningham was growing up in Kensington, she used to walk to school and wonder what the East Bay looked like before buildings and roads covered everything. That curiosity remained with her as she went on to get degrees in paleontology and natural science illustration. The remarkable result of that decades-long question question is answered in Laura Cunningham: Before California, a new exhibit opening Thursday Sept. 13 at 5:30 pm at the Hazel Wolf Gallery in the David Brower Center. Cunningham has created striking illustrations of California landscapes as they would have looked centuries ago before they were dramatically altered by human activity. Berkeley’s Heyday Books published a collection of Cunningham’s work in 2010, but this first-ever solo exhibition also includes contemporary photos and drawings. The show runs until Jan. 30, 2013. Cunningham will speak about her art at the opening and will hold an outdoor sketch class this Saturday, part of a number of programs held in conjunction with the exhibition.