One to watch: Singer SydneyNycole

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Berkeley native Sydney Reeves, who goes by her stage name, SydneyNycole, talks about her new project, recent deals and what it’s like to be a Black woman in the music industry.

“When people look at me, they don’t expect for me to make the type of music that I do,” Reeves told Berkeleyside in a recent interview via Facetime. The 25-year-old singer and songwriter, whose glowing brown skin beautifully sets off her choice of fine fabrics, gives off the vibe of soulful women singers who have come before her, such as Angie Stone, Lauryn Hill and Jill Scott.

Read more profiles in Berkeleyside’s One to Watch series.

Reeves, who recently signed a publishing deal with Sony Records said, although she might not be as soulful as people expect, her goal is to transcend genres and make music people of all ages and backgrounds can appreciate.

During her conversation with Berkeleyside contributor Delency Parham, Reeves talked about her upcoming EP, the struggles she faces as a brown-skinned woman in a white industry, and what a successful career in music looks like to her. … Continue reading »

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Sisters finding success with Bowl’d restaurants

Jessica Oh (left) and Chi Moon, the owners of Bowl'd, Spoon and Bopshop, at Bowl'd Alameda. Photo: Clara Rice
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Chi Moon’s favorite Korean dish is bibimbap. “I had it for a whole year — every single day,” she said. “Beef with multigrain rice.” It’s a fitting choice for the co-owner of the rapidly growing mini-chain Bowl’d, which is, at its heart, a rice bowl restaurant.

Moon praised the dish’s health status — it’s vegetable heavy, with whole grains and just a small amount of meat — but heathy eats are not the only reason why so many East Bay residents flock to Moon’s restaurants. There’s also, of course, the chicken wings.

“We’ve kind of turned into a fried chicken place, somehow,” said Moon’s sister and business partner Jessica Oh. “We thought maybe we should change our name to a wing place.”

Bowl’d’s original fried chicken wings are served with an extra thick, supremely crisp crust, doused in a fiery red spicy-sweet sauce that sticks to your fingers, lips, chopsticks — anything. Despite the extra 10 to 15 minutes the wings take to arrive at the table, they’re a must-order for many guests, including this writer. “I think people would riot if we didn’t have wings on the menu,” said Oh.

They’re so popular, in fact, that when Moon and Oh decided to open their third location, Bowl’d BBQ in Temescal, they expanded their fried poultry line-up to full pieces of chicken and three sauces (soy, barbecue and spicy).

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. … Continue reading »

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More details emerge about carjacking on Friday

A suspected carjacker crashed this stolen car into a house on Sixth Street, then fled on foot to the railroad tracks, where he was arrested. Photo: Berkeley Police
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Berkeley police have arrested 22-year-old Theodis Evans in connection with the carjacking and crash on Friday that slowed down Amtrak train traffic.

According to police, Evans allegedly commandeered the car of a man parked near the North Berkeley BART station around 12:06 p.m. He allegedly approached a man sitting in his car, punched him, opened the door, and pulled him out of the car, according to Lt. Kevin Schofield. … Continue reading »

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2 feuding groups go on shooting spree through West Berkeley

After occupants in two cars raced through the streets of Berkeley shooting at one another, this car crashed. Photo: Chris Greacen
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This article has been updated since its initial publication.

Occupants of two cars racing through Berkeley shot at one another over a six-block area Friday night before one of the cars crashed and the other sped off.

A 17-year old boy was shot in the face during the incident – the second time he had been shot in seven months, according to Lt. Kevin Schofield of the Berkeley Police Department. The 17-year-old was one of three teenagers wounded Feb. 16 when shots were fired into a car they were sitting in on the 1100 block of Parker St., near San Pablo Avenue, he said.

The shooting Friday night and the February shootings are most likely connected, said Schofield.

“It stems from an ongoing conflict between two groups,” he said. He did not know from which cities the groups were based. Detectives are still trying to determine the motive.

Continue reading »

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Willard Middle School at 100: Film captures memories

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Willard Middle School is getting ready to celebrate its centennial this year. Former students, staff, and parents are planning a huge gathering for Sunday, Oct. 16 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

As part of the celebration, Berkeley filmmaker Kim Aronson has made a 19-minute film that features 13 current and former Willard students reminiscing about their time there. Starting with Paul Grundland, a 1939 graduate, and continuing to Nakalia, who will graduate in 2017, the film highlights some enduring memories and the cultural context in which students attended the school at 2435 Stuart St. Check out a timeline of the school.

Some highlights:

Harold Hayashi attended Williard in 1941 and half of 1942 – when he and his family were sent to internment camps. He remembers how Willard teachers (unknowingly) helped prepare him for the three years he spent at the Topaz internment camp.

Jane Wallace talks about how the entire school watched the Richard Nixon – John F. Kennedy presidential debate in 1960 on small screen, black and white television sets. The occasion felt monumental, she said. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 09.19.16

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Man who threatened family and Berkeley police surrenders after a three-hour standoff

A man who threatened to harm his mother and brother surrendered to police Monday after a three-hour standoff. He lived in the 1500 block of Prince St.
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Berkeley police spent three hours Monday negotiating with a man who had locked himself in his family’s apartment in the 1500 block of Prince Street after threatening to kill officers and harm his mother and brother.

The subject eventually surrendered and he was taken to a medical facility on an emergency psychiatric hold, according to police. Charges may be pending, according to a Berkeley Police Department Nixle alert.

Police received a 911 call at 10:22 a.m. from the mother of the subject. “The reporting party stated she locked herself in the bedroom because her 34-year old son had been smoking drugs and that he was making threats towards her and her older son,” according to police. … Continue reading »

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FEMA pulls funding for tree clearing in Berkeley hills

Thousands of the Berkeley hills eucalyptus trees may be removed with funding from FEMA. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to remove trees in the Berkeley/Oakland hills for fire management have been pulled after a successful suit by a community group to stop the plan.

FEMA withdrew $3.5 million in funding to UC Berkeley and the City of Oakland as part of a settlement agreement between the agency and the Hills Conservation Network (HCN). FEMA funds for fire mitigation by East Bay Regional Park District are not affected by the settlement.

“The folks who were intending to deforest large swaths of the Oakland/Berkeley hills are not going to be able to get FEMA money to do that,” said Dan Grassetti, president of HCN. “What we would like to see is for species-neutral vegetation management to happen throughout the area. The agencies should focus on eliminating the actual threat we face.”

Fire mitigation plans in the hills have been intensely debated since the devastating 1991 fire that killed 25 people and destroyed 2,843 single-family homes and 437 apartment and condominium units.

In the long-running dispute over the FEMA grant, HCN had argued that plans to remove thousands of eucalypti, Monterey pines and acacia trees would not reduce fire risk. The better approach, according to HCN, was to focus on vegetation-free zones near roadways and structures and brush clearing. That is the approach of the EBRP, he said.  … Continue reading »

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Semitruck catches fire near Ashby exit on eastbound I-80

Photo: Jaige Rudner
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A tractor-trailer caught fire this morning on eastbound I-80, sending plumes of black smoke high into the air. According to the Berkeley Fire Department, there were no reports of injuries.

The fire was reported at 11:01 a.m. Berkeley Fire Department responded to the fire and called in Alameda County Fire Department as well.

Video on television news showed dramatic flames issuing from the tractor-trailer before the fire was knocked down by fire fighters.

If you’re missing our stories, you … Continue reading »

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Ms. Barstool: Limewood at the Claremont Hotel

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It had been a couple of years since we visited The Paragon, the bar located just inside the Claremont Hotel. Since our last sunset cocktail on the deck, the bar has gone through some changes and remodels. However, as of the end of August, the bar is back in business. Over Labor Day weekend, we popped in to check out the newly christened Limewood Bar & Restaurant, which had only been open for five days.

We spoke with bartender Manny Martinez, an 18-year veteran of the bar, who helped us with our drink choices and filled us in on what changed and what stayed the same after the recent re-opening of this popular location.

Limewood has taken the place of the short-lived high-end brasserie, Antoinette, and according to Martinez, “the old-time regulars are coming back.” They’re neighbors, other locals, and commuters who decide to wait out the Caldecott Tunnel traffic and study the view while enjoying a libation. … Continue reading »

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Cannabis accelerator program opens, but some worry about a corporate cannabis industry

Acro-Vape, one of the start-ups participating in Canopy's accelerator program for cannabis-start-ups, produces a vaporizer. Photo: Acro-Vape
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As California edges closer toward cannabis legalization for adult recreational use in November, a marijuana-focused business accelerator program has announced a new Berkeley-based boot camp for entrepreneurs.

Based out of the WeWork building on University, the accelerator called Canopy has agreed to invest a total of $180,000 investment in nine startups — though none of them are tied directly to the cultivation, refining, or sale of the drug. The 16-week program aims to refine the businesses, and ultimately help fledgling organizations raise additional capital, according to Canopy CEO Patrick Rea.

“Berkeley is a great place to launch a cannabis business,” Rea told Berkeleyside in a phone interview. “The important thing is to be in California, and to immerse the teams in the largest legal market for cannabis in the United States, especially at a time period when California is voting on legalization.” … Continue reading »

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How Quirky is Berkeley? Darwin the Retriever Cat

Photo: Darwin the Retriever Cat Facebook Page
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The Museum of Modern Art defines the French term objet trouvé (found object) as art created from undisguised, sometimes modified, objects or products that are not normally considered art, often because they already have a non-art function.

A subset of found object art is celebrated in Found Magazine, which collects, catalogs, and publishes found notes, photos, and other ephemera, publishing them in a magazine, in books, and on its website.

And that’s what we have here.  Notes, photos, and other ephemera found on the streets and in the yards of Berkeley, collected and photographed as above.

So far so good – but there is a catch.

The objects are found and retrieved by a cat, Darwin.

His spokesperson, who is the epitome of all that is good and inspiring and to be admired about our dear old Berkeley, explains:

A friend from West Oakland called me.  He had found an orphaned kitten. I was going to just socialize him and adopt him out, but that … uh … didn’t happen. I knew from the get-go that he was odd. I called him Darwin because I was convinced he was going to naturally select himself out of the gene pool. If there was a dangerous object, he would find it. He would chew on tacks, broken glass, scissors, X-Acto blades, walk toward hot burners and open flames, that sort of thing.Continue reading »

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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