Free stuff on Berkeley’s streets: Blight and/or opportunity?

Stuffed animals and a maquette discarded on a Berkeley street. Photo: Jim Rosenau
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The annual exodus of UC Berkeley students brings with it a not so welcome dumping of furniture and other sundry possessions on streets around the city, particularly near the campus. The city last week reminded tenants and landlords to help keep streets clean by using city services. It included with its release a list of resources to use when dealing with unwanted items. However for artist Jim Rosenau, while he too encourages responsible discarding, the appearance of free stuff on the streets is tantamount to a thrilling treasure hunt. 

“Hippie Christmas” is what they called it in Madison, WI, when the students moved out and put their household belongings on the curb, a former Madisonian tells me. In my near-campus Berkeley neighborhood the curbs today are sprinkled with furniture and household goods (and quite a few bads) that departing students left behind. It’s easy to find fault with mattresses and fax machines on the curb, but for me, the enduring culture of free boxes is like a daily Easter egg hunt. … Continue reading »

How Quirky is Berkeley? Ace Hardware’s relocation

Quirky Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif. on March 26th, 2016.
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When Berkeley Ace Hardware leaves 2145 University Ave., an era will end. The store closes for the last time in its current location today, Monday. Generation upon generation of Berkeleyans have known and loved Ace Hardware. As it prepares to move to the northwest corner of Milvia and Addison streets (the Tioga Building), I have composed a list of what I love about Berkeley Ace, aside of course from the merchandise. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 05.20.16

Fly a kite at the Cesar Chavez Park, Berkeley. Photo, taken on May 15, 2016, by Mojan Ajmani

Fly a kite at the Cesar Chavez Park, Berkeley. Photo, taken on May 15, 2016, by Mojan Ajmani

Berkeley Planning Commission talks increase in number of dispensaries in city (Daily Cal)
Golden Gate Fields donates land for Bay trail (East Bay Times)
Berkeley School Board approves ballot to reduce class sizes (Daily Cal)
18 projects win grants through chancellor’s community partnership fund (UC Berkeley)

Follow Berkeleyside on Twitter and on Facebook where we often break news. Email us at tips@berkeleyside.com. Would you like the latest Berkeley news sent to your email inbox once a day? Click here to subscribe to Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing.

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Bites: B&B Wine Bar, LocoL, 2 Laurel beer gardens

Octopus and chorizo from B&B Kitchen and Wine Bar. Photo: B&B
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Openings, closings

B&B WINE BAR OPENS TOMORROW In January, we broke the news that Burritos, Inc. had abruptly shuttered. We now know that the owners Abraham Masarweh and Julia Joslyn have stuck around and will reopen the restaurant as B&B Kitchen and Wine Bar tomorrow for dinner. B&B will be a seafood-focused sister restaurant to the owners’ Rockridge spot Bourbon & Beef. Masarweh told Nosh in an interview that they decided to overhaul Burritos, Inc. because the space was too big for the concept. He said that they landed on a seafood restaurant because the neighborhood is currently lacking in classic American seafood dishes. Menu highlights include butter-poached lobster with squid ink linguine, a grilled octopus and chorizo appetizer, and classic cold seafood towers of oysters, shrimp cocktail, ceviche, crab and lobster tail. For those skipping seafood, B&B will serve steaks, burgers and pork chops, and there will be both vegan- and gluten-free dishes as well. On the drinks side, B&B will serve around 30 affordable wines by the glass — “There will be something for everyone,” said Masarweh — plus 10 draft beers. B&B will open for dinner hours this weekend; starting Monday, it will transition to its full schedule, which includes weekday lunch, nightly dinner and weekend brunch. The restaurant may stay open later on the weekends if the community wants it, said Masarweh. B&B Kitchen and Wine Bar is at 2116 Shattuck Ave. (between Addison and Center streets). Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Cal student sexually assaulted in Oxford parking lot

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A UC Berkeley female student was sexually assaulted in the parking lot at the corner of Hearst and Oxford on Sunday, May 15 at around 2:30 p.m.

The victim was walking through the lot when she was grabbed and sexually assaulted by a male suspect. The UC Police Department and Berkeley Police Department are jointly investigating the crime.

There is no suspect description available at this time.

If you have any information about this crime, contact UCPD’s Criminal Investigation Bureau on (510) 642-0472 … Continue reading »

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

Trail_Crest by Christopher Woodcock 2015
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A CELEBRATION OF OUR NATIONAL PARKS Writer and historian Wallace Stegner famously called our national parks “The best idea we ever had.” The opening reception for the David Brower Center’s new juried group exhibition, Common Ground: A Celebration of our National Parks, is tonight, Friday May 20, and the exhibition runs through Sept. 8. On the 100th anniversary of the National Park System, the multimedia exhibition observes art’s crucial role in preserving our parks, as well as the notion that parks are America’s best idea, through the lens of 20 Bay Area artists. They are: Alexis Arnold, Jenny E. Balisle, Tony Bellaver, George-Ann Bowers, Mariet Braakman, Hopi Breton, Kimberley D’Adamo-Green, Marshall Elliott, Tanja Geis, J.M. Golding, Jeff Greenwald, Andras Ladai, Malcolm Lubliner, Kara Maria, Kim Miskowicz, Karen Preuss, Ansley West Rivers,Caroline Seckinger, Paul Taylor and Christopher Woodcock. The jury is composed of recognized West Coast curators Stephanie Hanor (Mills College Art Museum), Katrina Traywick (Traywick Contemporary), Sean Uyehara (Headlands Center for the Arts) and the Brower Center’s Executive Director, Laurie Rich. The Brower Center has also curated a series of public programs in conjunction with the exhibit. For full details and opening times, visit the David Brower Center. (Berkeleyside is a media sponsor of Common Ground.) … Continue reading »

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Berkeley lawn bowler is 2016 Men’s Champion

2016 PIMD Men's Singles Finalists
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Jim Corr, Berkeley lawn bowler — and a periodic contributor to Berkeleyside — won the 2016 PIMD Men’s Singles Championship title last weekend at Sunnyvale Lawn Bowling Club. (PIMD is the Pacific Inter-Mountain Division of BowlsUSA, comprising clubs in Northern California, Utah, and Hawaii).

The competition was a two-day affair involving 16 players from all over the Bay Area. The semifinal featured Jim and Cris Benton, a fellow Berkeley bowler (as well as a noted kite aerial photographer), which turned into a nail-biter.

Read more on Berkeleyside about the Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club.

Corr took an early lead only to see Benton draw level and then surpass him to reach 17-13. With 18 points being the winning goal, Corr had to dig deep, but eventually managed to prevail by the narrowest of margins, eking out an 18-17 victory. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 05.19.16

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Agreement on housing breaks out at Berkeley council

Housing
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There were unusual happenings at Tuesday night’s special City Council meeting on housing. Comity broke out in a series of unanimous votes, and public comment was civil and largely complimentary to the council’s actions.

The council passed unanimously an ambitious list of items for a city housing action plan. The list consolidated proposals from Councilmembers Kriss Worthington and Laurie Capitelli and Mayor Tom Bates. It also passed unanimously proposals on the “housing emergency” from Councilmember Jesse Arreguín. And Councilmember Lori Droste’s proposal on workforce housing also passed unanimously.

When the council tried to discuss housing on April 5, chaos ensued, with a raucous crowd, disputes among councilmembers and lengthy arguments over the order of the agenda. At that meeting, it took nearly three hours for the council to reach the action items on the agenda.

On Tuesday night, in contrast, even when some in the small crowd hissed Livable Berkeley’s Eric Panzer, they were quickly disarmed by his quip, “Hissing is just applause from snakes.” (Droste recognized it as a RuPaul allusion, something that flew over the head of Berkeleyside and many others during the meeting.)

Continue reading »

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Maker’s Common to ‘geek out’ on local producers

Cheese plates like this one will be served at Maker's Common. Photo courtesy: Maker's Common
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Sarah Dvorak, Oliver Dameron and Eric Miller weren’t thinking of Berkeley when they first began planning the expansion of Mission Cheese, their popular Valencia Street cheese and charcuterie bar. They expected to open their new spot — called Maker’s Common — somewhere in San Francisco.

But, as has been the case with other restaurants like Millennium, which relocated to Rockridge, and Pal’s Takeaway, which opened in Uptown Oakland, finding affordable space in San Francisco proved impossible. The three founders started looking further afield in the East Bay. And when they had a look at the large, light-filled space at 1954 University Ave., just east of MLK Jr. Way, in downtown Berkeley, they were sold.

With plenty of space to build out both a market and a restaurant, plus outdoor dining space and zoning permits already in place for beer and wine service to boot, the Rose Garden building was too good to pass up.

“When we first saw the space its layout just said ‘THIS IS IT!,'” wrote the founders on the company’s blog. “We all walked and and knew where the retail market would be and where the kitchen would go for the eatery. When we brought an architect in they said the exact same thing — we knew we were onto something.”

Plus, as Dameron says, “It’s a great time to come to Berkeley. There’s lots of change going on here.” … Continue reading »

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Getting busy with pianist/composer Satoko Fujii

Pianist/composer Satoko Fujii performs at the Berkeley Arts Festival performance space Friday on a double bill with Larry Ochs, and plays a solo recital Saturday at Maybeck Studio in honor of Paul Bley
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When Satoko Fujii describes herself as lazy, take it with a grain of salt. Better yet, make it a shaker-full. Since recording her first CD in 1996, the Japanese pianist/composer has left even her most prolific peers in the dust, releasing a veritable torrent of albums documenting a dizzying array of ensembles around the world. And it’s not like she’s sacrificing quality for quantity, as Fujii is widely considered one of the most consistently vivid writers in jazz.

She returns to Berkeley this weekend for two very different concerts that are part of her year-long celebration marking the 20th anniversary of Libra, the label she runs with her husband, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura (aka Kappa Maki). On Friday, Fujii plays the Berkeley Arts Festival performance space in a double bill co-sponsored by the Center for New Music San Francisco. She opens with Maki and special guest drummer Gino Robair, followed by Berkeley saxophonist Larry Ochs, bassist Jason Hoopes and drummer Jordan Glenn (with all the musicians coming together for a brief third set). And on Saturday she plays a free improv solo piano recital at Maybeck Studio, offering a tribute to the late pianist/composer Paul Bley, a mentor who joined her on the first Libra album in 1996, Something About Water. … Continue reading »

UC Berkeley students build new bridge in John Hinkel Park

Blackberry Creek  bridge. Photo: Rene Davids
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By René Davids

This spring, as the result of a collaboration with the City of Berkeley, students enrolled in a multidisciplinary seminar at UC Berkeley’s Department of Architecture designed and built a pedestrian bridge for the upper portion of Blackberry Creek, one of the most attractive natural features in John Hinkel Park.

Located on a steep hillside in North Berkeley planted with oaks and other native species, the 4.9-acre park, which was donated in 1919 to the city by businessman John Hinkel, also includes a clubhouse, a large native-stone fireplace, a network of paths and a playground. The small bridge is intended to improve the safety of park visitors who were previously forced to either jump over the creek, or tread carefully across a slippery stone during periods of increased water flow.
Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 05.18.16

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