Uncharted speakers just keep doing extraordinary things

Saru Jayaraman
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One of the thrills about putting together Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas 2014 is that our speakers keep doing extraordinary things. It’s hard to keep up. We have Nobelists, Pulitzer winners, and Grammy recipients. And more and more is happening in the run-up to Uncharted on Oct. 24-25!

We just wrote on Berkeleyside about astronomer Josh Bloom‘s $110 earthquake early warning alarm. It’s more than a clever bit of tinkering – it could herald a new era of safety devices for all of our homes.

Tanya Holland has just published her Brown Sugar Kitchen cookbook, with a forward by Berkeley’s Michael Chabon who wrote that Holland and her Oakland restaurant are a way to “ponder the historical spirit of the city or skip straight to the fried chicken.” … Continue reading »

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Local business

Bayer HealthCare may expand in West Berkeley

Bayer HealthCare. Image: Flad Architects
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Bayer HealthCare won unanimous approval Thursday from the city of Berkeley’s zoning board to make significant changes at its West Berkeley campus, on Grayson Street, to prepare it to manufacture a new generation of the company’s recombinant DNA treatments for hemophilia.

Bayer spokeswoman Trina Ostrander said in May that the new 3-story facility would house testing operations — on an existing parking area and empty lot — “for various raw materials and final product” related to the treatments.

Berkeleyside wrote about the project, at 801 Grayson St., west of Seventh Street, in May. The project was approved as part of the consent calendar before the Zoning Adjustments Board on Thursday evening. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley to look at residential permit parking citywide

The city of Berkeley is looking at expanding its permit parking program to ease the crush in residential neighborhoods. Photo: Chris Makarsky
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The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to study whether permit parking might be needed in more residential neighborhoods throughout the city, and whether the cost to buy those permits should increase.

To be included, residents would have to opt in to the program by garnering the support of at least 51% of homes per block face. In addition, a parking survey would need to show that at least 75% of available street parking is occupied at mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Council will set the boundaries but it is residents themselves who will determine which blocks will participate.

Parking in West Berkeley, particularly around Fourth Street and the city Corporation Yard on Allston Way, has been an area of concern for officials, as are blocks near Sacramento Street where many city staff reportedly park.

The city hopes to learn — via a new environmental study — where it might make the most sense to expand the permit parking program. Berkeley currently has 14 permit (RPP) zones in central Berkeley, most of which are near commercial areas. Via the staff report, “The existing RPP zones are bounded roughly on the north by Rose, Hopkins and Eunice Streets; on the east by UC Berkeley; on the south by Woolsey and part of 62nd Street; and on the west by Sacramento and Chestnut Streets.”

Read more about parking and transportation issues in Berkeley.Continue reading »

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Getting old in Berkeley (Old-Time Music, that is)

The Bucking Mules: one of the many bands performing at the Berkeley Old-Time Music Convention which kicks off next Tuesday. Photo: BOTMC
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In Berkeley everyone gets to be old, at least for a few glorious days.

The 11th annual Berkeley Old Time Music Convention, which runs from Tuesday Sept. 16 to Sunday Sept. 21 at venues around the city, presents some of the countries finest folkies, including young players who are finding their own voices in American roots music. The festival opens on Tuesday at the Pacific Film Archive with a screening of the documentaries “Banjo Tails” and “Musical Holdouts,” with both followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.

With jam sessions, workshops, panel discussions, square dances and the famous Berkeley Farmers’ Market String Band Concert (first place: one bag of rutabaga; second place: two bags of rutabaga), the BOTMC offers many opportunities to experience the music. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 09.11.14

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Bites: Rosamunde Sausage and Plum expand, more

Rosamunde Sausage & Grill will open in Oakland's Temescal. Photo: Rosamunde
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Openings, closings…

SAUSAGE GRILL TO TEMESCAL Rosamunde Sausage Grill is set to open in the old Good Bellies Café space at 4659 Telegraph Ave. It’s the second East Bay location for the sausage and craft beer purveyor, which is also at Swan’s Marketplace in Old Oakland. Inside Scoop SF reports that owner Josh Margolis thinks Temescal’s restaurant row, with all its buzz, is “a great place to be.” It’s the fifth Rosamunde location — others are in San Francisco and Brooklyn. Rosamunde Sausage Grill will be at 4659 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Connect with Rosamunde on Facebook and Twitter.

UME IS NO MORE It’s only been the blink of an eye, but Oakland’s Ume, next door to Plum Bar, both part of the Daniel Patterson Group empire, has been shuttered. It will re-open as an expanded Plum Bar & Restaurant, according to the Bay Area News Group. Plum became Japanese-centric Ume — Japanese for “plum” —  just four months ago, while Plum Bar next door continued as was. The newly configured spot will offer a seasonal menu of “Americana flavors,” including biscuit sandwiches, Plum Bar burgers, and soft-serve desserts from the Malted, a hit at San Francisco’s Alta CA, another Patterson eatery. A Patterson Group rep told Inside Scoop SF that Ume was “always meant to be a pop-up to see if that format/style worked for the neighborhood,” and that ultimately it was decided “that expanding Plum Bar made the most sense for the community.” Plum Bar is at 2216 Broadway (near 22nd Street) in Oakland. Connect with Plum Bar on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Crime

Man with crack cocaine in mouth arrested by police

Image via Facebook
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An Oakland man arrested last week by Berkeley Police officers had 20 individually wrapped pieces of what authorities believe to be crack cocaine in his mouth at the time of his detention, according to court papers.

Berkeley Police officers served a search warrant at the man’s West Oakland home Sept. 3 shortly before 11 a.m. Around the same time, they detained 46-year-old Ronald Major about 3 miles away near the MacArthur BART station in Oakland.

According to court papers, Major had more than 4 grams of cocaine, including packaging, in his mouth when he was arrested. Police said he also had a cell phone in his hand “with text messages indicating narcotics sales.”

At Major’s home, police said they recovered a digital scale and suspected cocaine residue, used and unused packaging material, $270 in cash, a stolen loaded revolver and a bottle of suspected liquid morphine with the name torn off the bottle. … Continue reading »

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Politics and prose are all in a day’s work for Erik Tarloff

Erik Tarloff. Photo: Terry Lorant
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When the bestselling author Erik Tarloff turned up for an interview at Berkeley’s Elmwood Café in July, he had left an empty house. His wife, Laura D’Andrea Tyson, the former economic advisor to President Bill Clinton and a professor at the Haas School of Business, was in Aspen consulting with U.S. leaders. Tarloff had remained behind at their Berkeley home as he prepared to depart for Stockbridge, Mass., where the Berkshire Theater Group was gearing up to perform his new play, “Cedars.”

This interplay between writing and politics has been a constant in Tarloff’s life, and one that seems to inform his writing. He was born in Los Angeles to screenwriting parents who were blacklisted in 1953 because of their affiliation with Communism. The family had to move to England so his father could find work. … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: ‘God Help the Girl’ and ‘Mobilize’

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Since 1996, Scottish musician Stuart Murdoch has earned a decent crust writing songs for his musical projects Belle and Sebastian and God Help the Girl. Now, apparently eager to further stretch his creative muscles, Murdoch has directed his first feature film, and it’s a winner.

Taking its title from the second of Murdoch’s pop outfits, God Help the Girl (opening at San Francisco’s Roxie Theatre on Friday, Sept. 12t – sadly, no Berkeley play dates are currently scheduled) is cinematically analogous to Murdoch’s best songs: bittersweet, literate, and wryly humorous in equal measure, it’s bound and determined to win over even the most curmudgeonly of hearts. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 09.10.14

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City of Berkeley may consider ride-sharing rules for companies like Uber, Lyft, Sidecar

Taxis in Berkeley. Photo: Nick
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A Berkeley councilman has asked the city to require ride-sharing companies to have business licenses and safety standards, and wants protection for disabled access to be part of those new rules.

Similar discussions about regulating the ride-sharing industry — which was popularized by companies such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar — are going on around the country in San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Chicago, among other cities. The California legislature has also taken the matter into its own hands, and a bill that passed both the Assembly and Senate is, as of late last month, waiting for the governor’s approval.

In the meantime, Berkeley Councilman Kriss Worthington has asked the city manager to look into the regulation of ride-sharing businesses within the city. Currently, he said, no local rules exist. Worthington originally brought his proposal to the Berkeley City Council in July, but it was held over. Tuesday night, council agreed to have the city keep an eye on the state legislation and bring back the matter at the end of the month. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: ‘In its battle with Big Soda, Berkeley may once again make history’

Robert Reich. Photo: Victoria Bernal
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As election season approaches, the Berkeley vs Big Soda battle is heating up. Measure D, which is on the ballot, would see a tax put on sugar-sweetened beverages. An op-ed on the subject by a Berkeley parent published on Berkeleyside on Monday has generated over 370 comments and counting.

Today, in our Opinionator section, we publish a piece on the issue by Robert Reich who says that, if a soda tax can’t pass in the most progressive city in America, it can’t pass anywhere.

“Big Soda knows that, which is why it’s determined to kill it here,” writes the chancellor’s professor of public policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley.  … Continue reading »

‘Rapture, Blister, Burn’ fires up Berkeley’s Aurora Theatre

Rapture Blister Burn at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley
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Jean-Jacques Rousseau … Betty Friedan … Phyllis Schlafly … Dr. Phil … feminists and anti-feminists are all fodder for amusing academic banter in Gina Gionfriddo’s engaging and entertaining Rapture, Blister, Burn now at Berkeley’s Aurora Theatre Company through Oct. 5.

A finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize, Rapture reunites a graduate school triangle after 12 years of separation — Catherine (Marilee Talkington), now a single, feminist scholar and author-cum TV talking-head in stiletto heels; Catherine’s former roommate, Gwen (Rebecca Schweitzer) a graduate school dropout, now a self-righteous, priggish wife and mother of two; and Gwen’s husband, who she snatched from Catherine while Catherine studied abroad, Don (Gabriel Marin), now a pothead, porn-watching, disciplinary college dean. … Continue reading »

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