Tag Archives: UC Botanical Garden
A rare Puya raimondii plant is beginning to bloom at Berkeley’s UC Botanical Garden, a sight that you may only have one opportunity to see — unless you find yourself in the right place at the right time in the Bolivian Andes.
“It’s a once in a lifetime thing,” said Paul Licht, director of the UC Botanical Garden. That’s true in more ways than one, as the Puya raimondii dies after flowering. It will be decades until one blooms again in Berkeley.
The endangered plant, nicknamed “the Queen of the Andes,” is beginning to bloom in a process that can produce 30,000 flowers on a 15-foot stalk above the already large plant. In the wild, the plants only bloom when they are 80-100 years old. This one is only 24 years old, making it the youngest of the three plants that have ever flowered in a botanical garden. … Continue reading »
A ROCK OPERA THRILLER This weekend, First Look Sonoma and ROCKIT Opera is presenting three performances of the world premiere of composer/librettist (and Berkeley local) Sheli Nan’s SAGA of the 21st Century Girl: A Rock Opera Thriller. The new opera stars Crystal Philippi as a disturbed young girl struggling to cope with her self-absorbed mother (Valentina Osinski) and gutless father (Jo Vincent Parks) and their dysfunctional home. Portraying various aspects of the predatory impulse are the Shadows, both hilarious and genuinely frightening, portrayed by Alexis Lane Jensen and John Duykers. The company says the show, with its “completely original narrative with haunting musical themes is dynamic, captivating, and humorous at times.” SAGA is recommended for mature audiences. SAGA opens tonight and there are performances Saturday and Sunday. The show is at the Osher Studio, 2055 Center St. in downtown Berkeley. Visit First Look Sonoma online for details. … Continue reading »
On Saturday and Sunday a beautiful, landmarked UC Berkeley-owned building will move across town, inching its way slowly from campus on a flat-bed rig up Centennial Drive to its new home at the UC Botanical Garden in Strawberry Canyon.
The complex relocation will conclude this weekend, with one large oversized section of the structure being transported on Saturday, and the other starting at around 6:00 a.m. on Sunday Jan. 12. The final piece, currently resting on Maxwell Field, will be moved around noon on Sunday. … Continue reading »
PARKS MAKE LIFE BETTER The City of Berkeley is hosting Parks Make Life Better month, and this weekend a celebration at San Pablo Park will cap off the festivities. Volunteers will be able to plant trees across Berkeley from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., with transportation from San Pablo Park provided, followed by a community barbecue from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. The barbecue will be followed by a carnival and landscaping and tree-climbing demonstrations until 3 p.m. The event will begin at 2800 Park St. on Saturday July 20. Free admission. View the full Parks Make Life Better flier.
… Continue reading »
A beautiful Berkeley redwood grove that is one of the city’s lesser known gems is the setting for a series of concerts organized by the UC Botanical Garden.
The opening show of the 2013 Summer Concert Series, on Thursday June 6, featured local singer Ash Reiter, whose style has been described as akin to Stevie Nicks, and the Caldecott band. It was the second appearance for Reiter who proved popular in a previous performance in the series.
The 5-acre Stephen J. Mather Redwood Grove was planted as part of the New Deal works program in the 1930s, so the trees are relatively young by redwood standards. On Thursday, UC Botanical Garden Director Paul Licht talked about how originally the creation of the grove was to have been a project for the Boy Scouts, but the depression put a halt to that plan. The Grove was dedicated in 1972 and is now accessible to ticket holders to the gardens, and hired out for private events, such as weddings. … Continue reading »
MARATHON THEATER Shotgun Players, “the biggest little theater company in town,” secured the rights last year to put on Tom Stoppard’s Coast of Utopia trilogy. This season Shotgun is producing Part Two: Shipwreck, along with some repeat performances of Part One: Voyage.” In Voyage, we met our young heroes in the first blushes of revolutionary thought and love. Now, with Shipwreck, we find them in their 30s. “The optimism of their early years has hit the rocks of marital infidelity, social anarchy, and a tsar who has no intention of stepping down. The stakes go up dramatically in this next great duel between the heart and mind.” The plays are directed by Shotgun’s artistic director Patrick Dooley. Through April 21 at the Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Avenue. … Continue reading »
It’s not just us humans who get romantic around Valentine’s Day. Have you heard of newt love? UC Botanical Garden director and zoologist Paul Licht is intimately familiar with the mating habits of the two newt species – Taricha torosa (California newt) and Taricha granulosa (rough-skin newt) – that become amorous at this time of year. And it’s quite a sight (watch video, above).
According to the Botanical Garden, these small, dark-skinned amphibians hide in the underbrush and are rarely seen by humans, but, once the rains come, scores of them gravitate to the crystal-clear waters of the Japanese Pool. (Perhaps using the famous newt crossing in Tilden Park to get there.) … Continue reading »
YEAR OF THE SNAKE Thank your lucky stars that you don’t need to brave Beijing Railway Station, reportedly the busiest spot on Earth this weekend, to find Lunar New Year celebrations. Berkeleyans can instead stroll over to Solano Avenue for a Lunar New Year parade and performance celebrating the Year of the Snake on Sunday. The performances kick off at 1o a.m. in Landmark Theatre’s Albany Twin, and include acrobatics by members of the SF Circus, Chinese dance by Ah-Lan Dance and Lion Dance and a martial arts display by Golden Lion. After the performance, there will be a parade up the entire length of Solano (on the sidewalk), starting at noon. Performance at Albany Twin, 1115 Solano Avenue, Albany, at 10 a.m. on Sunday.
WAKE UP AND HEAR THE BIRDS If you want to get a move on Saturday morning, what could be better than a birding walk through the Botanical Garden. Apparently, birds are surprisingly active in winter in the garden, and Chris Carmichael, associate director of collections and research, and local birder Phila Rogers will be there to point out sights of interest. Registration is required and space is limited. Tickets are $20, $15 for members. The birding walk is from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Drive. … Continue reading »
The 40 illustrators who are represented in the show have spent countless hours learning about the botany of plants and countless more transferring that knowledge to paper.
The results are finely detailed drawings that meticulously replicate nature’s complexity.
The show, titled Plants Illustrated, runs through Feb. 8. There will be a reception for the artists on Saurday Jan. 26 from 2 p.m. to 4 pm
WATCH THE AUDITIONS The San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival auditions start in Berkeley this weekend (continuing in San Francisco on Jan. 19-20) and are open to the public. According to those who have attended in the past, it’s a great event to see with each performance of a few minutes offering an incredible variety of dancing. Kids go free, adults $10 and it’s in-and-out privileges, so you can watch for a while, go out to lunch, come back and watch some more. Auditions take place on Saturday and Sunday Jan. 12 and 13 at Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus from 11am – 7pm. For details visit the Festival’s website. … Continue reading »
A cold front coming through the Bay Area over the next few days is forecast to bring temperatures in Berkeley to near-record lows, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures on Thursday, Friday and Saturday are expected to plumb the low 30s. The record low for January 10 at Oakland Airport was 26 degrees in 1949. The day’s average low is 42 degrees.
According to an NWS forecaster, the front originates in Alaska. The cold weather is forecast to last at least through the weekend. … Continue reading »
The UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, nestled in Strawberry Canyon, seems one of the few parts of Berkeley where political agendas can safely be set aside. But the politics-free zone of the garden was disturbed on Tuesday when right-wing bloggers, Fox News and the House Energy and Commerce Committee confected a story out of one of the artworks in the current Natural Discourse exhibition (which Berkeleyside will review later today).
SOL Grotto, by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, uses 1,368 glass tubes salvaged from Solyndra, the Fremont-based solar cell manufacturer that went bankrupt last year, despite a $527 million loan from the federal government. SOL Grotto is, in the artists’ words, “a spartan retreat that is a space of solitude.”
The right-wing attacks focused on the use of materials from Solyndra to create an artwork, leading the House committee, for example, to claim that SOL Grotto had become the world’s most expensive work of art. Greg Gutfeld on Fox News — a Cal grad — sputtered with rage at the art: “Our loss is someone else’s hip, pretentious art.” He suggested someone should take a sledgehammer to the work and call it performance art, before adding, “I’m kidding, of course that would be wrong.” … Continue reading »
NATURAL WONDERS A visit to the UC Botanical Garden is always an exercise in amazement. The garden’s collection of thousands of plants from around the world grabs the senses and immerses them into sights, shapes, and smells. Now a number of artists have built site-specific installations in the garden, drawing their inspiration from the various exotic plants. Their work is on display at In Natural Discourse: Artists, Architects, and Scientists in the Garden, an exhibit that runs through Jan. 20, 2013.