Tag Archives: Freight & Salvage
Frieda Hoffman, who runs Local 123, a popular west Berkeley café, trained to be a social worker and wanted to work in the addiction field. She spent six years in Berlin with her then-husband, a German, but had difficulty landing work in her area. So when an American friend decided to open up a café there, and became quickly overwhelmed, she jumped in to lend a hand and discovered that she rather liked the barista business and wound up managing the java joint.
Hoffman and her husband returned to the States in 2008 and toyed with the idea of running an eco inn along the coast, but soon realized that was cost prohibitive. So then they started scouting for café locations – and found the storefront on San Pablo Avenue, formerly a video rental store and a beauty supply shop. (During the build-out, much of which the Local 123 crew did themselves, they discovered placenta hair gel, among other artifacts.)
Her marriage didn’t survive the cross-Atlantic shift but Hoffman decided to soldier on with opening the café – the business was a welcome distraction – and her sister-in-law Katy Wafle, stepped in to help. Hoffman lived above the café until the summer of 2009, when she decided she was done waking up to the sound of coffee grinders. … Continue reading »
PREPARE TO BE BEWITCHED Thaisa Frank’s short fiction has been captivating readers for decades, even before the publication of her highly regarded and widely translated novel Heidegger’s Glasses. Now Frank has collected 61 old and new stories in Enchantment: New and Selected Stories, published this week by Berkeley’s Counterpoint Press. As Booklist puts it:”The title of this collection hints at its contents — delectable stories with touches of the surreal as well as many plot twists and surprises. From short-short story to novella, each narrative demonstrates mastery of the genre.” Frank will be reading from Enchantment at Mrs. Dalloway’s on College Avenue at 7:30 pm on Friday, July 13.
A SALUTE WOODY GUTHRIE In 1988, Peter Glazer, the chair of UC Berkeley’s Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, wrote a musical based on the life and songs of Woody Guthrie. Almost 25 years later, Woody Guthrie’s American Song has been performed hundreds of times, on stages from Seattle to New York. Glazer himself has directed the award-winning play 25 times and his latest interpretation is playing at the Freight & Salvage Coffee House until July 22. On Saturday, July 14, the 100th anniversary of Guthrie’s birth, Glazer and the cast from the musical will hold an open house from 1 to 5 pm and perform some classics like “This Land is Your Land.” There will also be a discussion of Guthrie with Glazer. The Freight is also displaying the first public exhibit of The Kids Write to Woody . . . Woody Writes Back, letters Woody Guthrie wrote in the summer of 1955 when he was bed-ridden with Huntington’s Disease at Brooklyn State Hospital. A few dozen children attending a summer camp outside St. Louis had sent post cards to Guthrie, and he answered each one individually. … Continue reading »
Sameer Gupta is on a mission to bring classical Indian music into places where it rarely ventures. A percussionist who plays tabla and trap drums, Gupta was a mainstay in Bay Area creative music circles until his 2008 move to Brooklyn, where he’s helped kindle a thriving Indian music scene with a weekly jazz-style jam session in a Prospect Park cowboy bar. He returns to California this weekend for a performance Sunday at the Subterranean Art House with Rohan Krishnamurthy , a master of mridangam, the drum that plays a central role in South Indian music.
“It’s a North Indian meets South Indian percussion concert,” Gupta says. “We want to present each drum on its own and show them together, trading the rhythmic languages back and forth. Both the tabla and the mridangam have amazing timbres and mathematics, so we’ll talk about that and where the instruments fit in the Hindustani and Carnatic traditions.”
Let us now praise soulful women. Linda Tillery and Faye Carol aren’t merely charismatic singers with an encyclopedic command of African American musical idioms. They’re activists who have devoted their lives to tending the roots so that rising generations can draw spiritual sustenance from that same gloriously rich culture.
On Tuesday, a glittering cast gathers at Freight & Salvage to raise funds for Tillery, who’s facing medical bills and down-time after knee replacement surgery. The program features Tuck and Patti, trombone wizard Wayne Wallace’s Quintet, pianist/composer Rebeca Mauleon, body music innovator Keith Terry, guitarist Ray Obiedo and Caribe (which features members of Santana), and vocalists Molly Holm and Faye Carol.
“I think Linda is a warrior princess,” says Carol, a longtime Berkeleyan who is also presenting a concert at the underutilized Black Repertory Group Theatre on Sunday to raise awareness and funds for her afterschool program Music In the Community (MITC), which she’s operated on shoestring for the past decade. … Continue reading »
Barbara Dane was born in Detroit in 1927, and she was reborn musically in Berkeley about 25 years later. Possessing a big, bold, beautifully expressive voice, she had already earned a reputation as a gifted folk singer and musical activist who had campaigned against racial discrimination with Pete Seeger when she and first husband, folk singer Rolf Cahn, relocated to the Bay Area in the late 1940s.
After serving as the host of a pioneering folk television show broadcast on KGO TV, she was recruited as the founding member of a group conceived as a West Coast version of the hugely popular Weavers. But when Dane bailed on the project at the last minute due to creative and other differences, she was left in something of a quandary, in need of income and seeking a new creative direction.
Living in a brown-shingle house at Dwight and Telegraph (rent $35 a month), she often sat in at the Blind Lemon, the pioneering storefront folk club Cahn launched on San Pablo Avenue (a building most recently inhabited by California Office Machines). It was there that she encountered banjo player Dick Oxtot, a leading figure in the East Bay’s thriving traditional jazz scene, who was impressed by her soulful renditions of country blues and spirituals. … Continue reading »
The Junius Courtney Big Band was born in Berkeley, and it’s entirely fitting that the irrepressibly swinging 19-piece ensemble kicks off a series of events celebrating its 50th anniversary with a dance party Friday at Freight & Salvage, a venue that has hosted the band regularly for the past decade.
While the band’s namesake founder, an ebullient trumpeter and vocalist, passed away in 2003, his son, drummer Nat Courtney, has kept the JCBB rolling, the most visible legacy of a family with deep Berkeley ties. Propelled by the dogged efforts of trombonist Pat Mullan, who spent many years working as a librarian in downtown branch of the Berkeley Public Library, the orchestra is built around a core of long-time members, including trumpeter and music director George Spencer and bassist Terry Hilliard, a Bay Area jazz stalwart who provided the clave groove on Cal Tjader’s Latin jazz classic “Soul Sauce.” Trumpeter Frank Fisher and pianist Roberta Mandel both started performing with Junius Courtney in the 1960s. … Continue reading »
On Wednesday night at the Freight & Salvage, the Pitch Mixer Entrepreneur Forum will hold its first Berkeley event. In honor of Women’s History Month, the event will feature five women pitching their business ideas to an all-women panel of judges.
“I started Pitch Mixer because the East Bay — Oakland and Berkeley — lacks a strong foundation of community for entrepreneurship,” said Ayori Selassie, co-founder and director of Pitch Mixer.
“I’m from the East Bay. I know there are so many talented people here. But I had to travel to Mountain View or Palo Alto to go to these kinds of events.”
Wednesday night’s Pitch Mixer is the second Selassie has organized. The first was last month in Oakland City Hall. Nearly 100 people attended to listen to business pitches and then hear the judges dig into the details before rendering judgement. … Continue reading »
With all the requisite ethnic politicking surrounding the fast approaching presidential election, the question of Barack Obama’s Irish-American coattails is once again salient. As the Dublin-born, Oakland-based singer Shay Black discovered with an acappella version of the Corrigan Brothers’ ditty “There’s No One as Irish as Barack Obama,” the urge to claim the half-Kenyan Hawaiian as a kinsman is potent indeed.
After the genealogy website ancestry.co.uk announced that Obama’s great great great grandfather, Falmouth Kearney, was born in County Offaly, and sailed from Ireland to New York City in 1850, the Corrigan Brothers posted a video of their tongue-in-cheek tune on YouTube.
Black, who hails from Ireland’s preeminent musical family, revamped the song and recorded it as a sing-along at Berkeley’s Starry Plough. His 2008 YouTube video of the performance became an internet sensation, garnering more than 1.2 million hits, and possibly nudging the course of the campaign. … Continue reading »
What makes a city a magnet for startups? Why do entrepreneurs and financiers flock to the South Bay even though there are so few good places to eat there? Does Berkeley want to be Silicon Valley anyway? (You can guess the answer to that one.) Maybe Berkeley is just not hip enough to attract young talent? Does the city’s red tape makes it too cumbersome to be innovative? And, perhaps most significantly, is there just too much distrust of businesses as they thrive and grow? Perhaps Berkeley should focus on what it already does well: incubating startups then allowing them to fly to pastures new, be that San Francisco or Palo Alto.
All these questions were raised and debated at Berkeleyside’s Startup Berkeley Local Business Forum, last night in downtown Berkeley. An estimated 220 people gathered at the Freight & Salvage to listen and engage directly with two sets of panelists, and to discuss the issues among themselves both before and after the program.
“I took two or three classes with Grossman at Brandeis and I continued to remember that encounter as a mind blowing experience,” says Goldberg, a long time Berkeley resident. “When he reads poetry it’s like the Old Testament, a real force of nature. The main memory I have is of him reading the ‘Epic of Gilgamesh,’ and whenever he’d say the monster’s name, Humbaba, he would stamp his feet and the entire classroom would rattle.”
He didn’t think much about Grossman’s writing for a couple decades, and in the ensuing years Goldberg paved the way for the radical Jewish music movement with his New Klezmer Trio. But a series of life changes sparked by a divorce led him back to poetry, particularly the verse of MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship recipient Susan Stewart (he included his tune “Learned From Susan Stewart” on his acclaimed 2006 Cryptogramophone album “the door, the hat, the chair, the fact”). He sent Stewart a copy of the album (“She was charmed,” he says), and he ended up getting a hold of a book of her essays “Poetry and the Fate of the Senses.” … Continue reading »
One of the pleasures of living in Berkeley is that the world beats a path to our doorstep. Over the next week the city hosts a deliriously diverse array of musicians, from a virtuosic traditional Irish duo and a beloved Chilean cantadora to a new Brazilian dance band and a Near Eastern electro-acoustic ensemble.
But let’s start with the most exotic combo, Canada Day, a capaciously inventive jazz quintet led by Toronto-born drummer Harris Eisenstadt that makes its Bay Area debut Wednesday at the Subterranean Art House.
The Brooklyn-based bandleader and composer is associated with jazz’s exploratory left field. Over the past decade he’s collaborated with some of music’s most insistently creative artists, including Bobby Bradford, Butch Morris, Yusef Lateef, Wadada Leo Smith, and the recently departed Sam Rivers. He’s also soaked up far-flung rhythmic traditions through work with ensembles exploring the music of Bali, Gambia, Ghana, Morocco, Iran and Senegal. But it’s as the leader of Canada Day that Eisenstadt has truly found his voice as a composer. … Continue reading »
Kalimah Priforce describes himself as “a madman on a mission”. Through his startup Qeyno Labs, Priforce works with local partners and schools to bring technology-enabled career discovery into under-served classrooms, using game-like rewards and mentorship from real-life professionals.
Priforce will be joining the panel at Berkeleyside’s Local Business Forum on March 5th to discuss his experience moving his project from Brooklyn — which is a considerable tech hotspot these days — to Berkeley.
“I needed to be tied into the ecosystem out here,” Priforce said. “There’s a lot happening in New York, but there’s no ecosystem there yet.”
He originally thought he’d locate in Silicon Valley or San Francisco, but decided the East Bay would be more fertile ground for his work in under-served classrooms. … Continue reading »
Berkeleyside is delighted to announce that Autodesk has signed on as a sponsor of the Berkeleyside Local Business Forum 2012: Startup Berkeley, which takes place on Monday March 5th in downtown Berkeley.
“Autodesk is interested in encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk, and a Berkeley resident. “Berkeley, as a whole, has underperformed in these areas and we would like to help change that. Berkeley has a world-class university and thousands of brilliant, creative and imaginative people and we’re thrilled to see a dialog taking place about shaping the future of the community.”
Autodesk is a leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, with its headquarters in San Rafael. It has been included in Fast Company’s list of the world’s most innovative companies, and is on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.
Bass was a speaker at the recent TEDxBerkeley and a featured panelist at Berkeleyside’s inaugural Local Business Forum last year, along with Chris Anderson, Editor in Chief of Wired. … Continue reading »