At a press conference held this afternoon on a closed-down Haste Street with the still smoldering Sequoia Apartment building in the background, Mayor Tom Bates, City Manager Phil Kamlarz, and Assistant Fire Chief Gil Dong said that it hasn’t been fully established whether all the occupants of the building got out during the five alarm blaze, and that the historic building, constructed in 1916, will probably be demolished in the immediate future. -more-
The fire that started in the Sequoia Apartments at Haste and Telegraph on the evening of Friday, November 18, was still burning the next morning. Berkeley Fire Department crews continued to pour water into the mixed-use structure, a historic apartment building that contains 39 units and restaurants popular with the campus crowd, including Café Intermezzo and Raleigh’s pub. The building has four floors—including the commercial level—along Telegraph and five levels on Haste.
A column of smoke was visible throughout Berkeley this morning above the severely damaged building. Along Telegraph the top floor apartments and some on the third floor below appeared gutted. The sky and charred lathe and plaster walls were visible through several of the fourth floor windows. Along Haste the damage extended down to the second floor, which was one of the first portions of the building visibly burning last night. Some of the aluminum window frames hung blackened and distorted above the street. -more-
A four-alarm fire at an apartment building near the University of California at Berkeley has been contained more than six hours after the fire department first received reports of a fire, a Berkeley fire chief said. -more-
A four-alarm fire is raging in the Sequoia Apartments building, on the northwest corner of Haste and Telegraph in Berkeley. The tile-faced five-story building, which dates from the early 20th century, has 39 apartments on its upper floors. The storefront on the first floor for many years housed Mario's La Fiesta Restaurant. There was a two-alarm fire in the building in February of this year. -more-
Occupy Oakland will take to the streets at 14th and Broadway this Saturday at 2:00 p.m. for a mass rally and march. -more-
The “Occupy Cal” encampment seemed at an early morning ebb on Friday as I arrived on the UC Berkeley campus for work. After the police action on Thursday night that had cleared away the tents and most of the other objects and art—from pianos to sculpture—that had accumulated on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Mario Savio Steps of Sproul Hall displayed only a few signs, some black and white balloons, and perhaps a dozen Occupiers. -more-
About 200 Occupy Cal protesters gathered on the steps of Sproul Hall at the University of California at Berkeley last night for a general assembly meeting to decide if they will set up an encampment again. -more-
By Steven Finacom -more-
Two people were arrested when police from the University of California at Berkeley and other agencies disbanded the Occupy Cal encampment on the steps of Sproul Hall early today, a university spokesman said. -more-
It appears police in riot gear arrived at the "Occupy Cal" newly established encampment on the University of California at Berkeley campus this morning.
Footage from a livestream video at the campus showed police lined near Sproul Hall around 4 a.m. where Occupy Cal protesters had erected about 15 tents in violation of the university's ban on camping. -more-
A student who was fatally shot by University of California at Berkeley police on Tuesday after allegedly brandishing a gun appeared to be troubled, university officials said today. -more-
Dozens of protesters have pitched a tent inside a Bank of America branch in downtown San Francisco this afternoon and are refusing to leave.
At about 2:15 p.m., at least 100 protesters rushed into the branch on California Street near Davis Street, taking it over. They stood inside the branch chanting, "We are the 99 percent."
University of California at Berkeley graduate student Elise Youn said one of the aims of the march is to "make the connection" between the business interests of certain UC Regents and their work on the board.
The marchers were focusing on three regents: Richard Blum, chair of Blum Capital Partners; George Marcus, who heads a national commercial real estate brokerage firm; and Monica Lozano, who is a Bank of America board member. -more-
California State University faculty from throughout the state are pouring in to two of the system's 23 campuses this morning to participate in a one-day strike to protest the cancellation of contractual raises for CSU faculty as tuition increases for CSU students, union officials said. -more-
A man who was shot by University of California at Berkeley police after he allegedly brandished a gun at the Haas School of Business on Tuesday has died, university officials said today.
The man, identified by the university as 32-year-old Christopher Nathen Elliot Travis, died Tuesday night at Highland Hospital.
"We're very saddened by this new information," university spokeswoman Claire Holmes said.
Travis was an undergraduate transfer student, according to the university. -more-
Thousands gathered on Sproul Plaza last night after a day of campus teach-ins and protests to re-ignite the “Occupy UC” movement. The evening “General Assembly” of protesters was preceded by marches through Berkeley that originated on, and returned to, the campus and the arrival of a contingent that had marched from the dispersed Occupy Oakland encampment. -more-
Occupy Cal protesters began setting up tents at Sproul Plaza at the University of California at Berkeley campus again tonight after 88.5 percent of the group's general assembly voted to support the action. -more-
At the latest evacuation of campers Monday from Oakland's Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, the epicenter of Occupy Oakland, a lone protester was able to escape the police evacuation. -more-
Julie Sinai, the long time chief of staff to Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, is resigning to take a job as the new director of Local Government and Community Relations at UC Berkeley. -more-
Flash: U.C. Berkeley Police Shoot Person Alleged to Have A Gun in the Computer Lab at Haas Business School
At 2:15 this afternoon a person alleged to have a gun was shot by UC Berkeley Police in the computer lab of the school's Haas Business School, according to UC Police Officer Alex Yao. The victim's name has not been released. Yao said at a 3:15 press conference that he is now being transported to Highland Hospital. -more-
Hundreds of protesters blocked traffic on Bancroft Way near the University of California at Berkeley this afternoon. -more-
Protestors will call on bank execs on higher education boards to “make banks pay” to end cuts to higher education -more-
Students, workers, faculty and community members rallied on the University of California at Berkeley campus today as part of the Occupy Cal strike. -more-
A group of University of California at Berkeley students and community protesters who say they were victims of police brutality during a Nov. 9 "Occupy Cal" demonstration announced today their lawsuit against the university and multiple UCPD police officers. -more-
Press Release: St. Mary's College Student Arrested Wednesday at Occupy Cal Plans to Address Rally Off-Campus in Berkeley Tomorrow
Robert Slaughter, a political science major at nearby Saint Mary’s College, was one of those arrested during the 'Occupy Cal' protest on the night of Wednesday, November 9th. Slaughter, who is Black, was subjected to what appears to be a clear case of racial profiling. -more-
The kind of violence exhibited by police against peaceful protesters at Occupy Oakland and Occupy Cal in the past weeks is unnecessary and intolerable. We (a group of mathematicians at UC Berkeley and SF State) are taking a stand against police brutality by doing what we do best: mathematics! Come to our anti-police-brutality teach in on Wednesday, November 16th from 11am to 5pm. We will be lecturing at Dwinelle Plaza (just north of Sather gate). -more-
The University of California Board of Regents announced today that it is canceling its meetings in San Francisco this week because of "credible intelligence" indicating that violence was possible. -more-
Press Release: Berkeley Students, Faculty to Strike Tomorrow to "Make Banks Pay" to Refund Higher Education, Reject Police Violence Against Peaceful Protestors
Leading up to protests at Wednesday’s UC Regents and CSU Trustees meetings, strikers will call on UC, CSU board members to sign pledge to make banks pay to end cuts to higher education . [Editor's Note: The Regents' meeting has been cancelled.} -more-
Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said police will allow protesters to re-enter Frank Ogawa Plaza late this afternoon but will remove anyone who tries to camp out there.
He said the police sweep at the plaza early this morning went more smoothly than the raid three weeks ago, in part because he said no one threw rocks at officers this time.
All of the protesters were gone from the plaza, except for Zachary Running Wolf, a tree-sitter raised in Berkeley who is perched atop a small wooden platform in a tree there.
Jordan said police are leaving him alone for now as they look into what his legal rights are to be there.
This morning, he could be heard shouting from the tree, "This is native land. I'm not coming down." -more-
Hundreds of "Occupy Oakland" protesters have gathered in Frank Ogawa Plaza this evening for a general assembly meeting after their encampment was dismantled by police this morning. -more-
Thirty-two people were arrested this morning in what appears to have been a largely peaceful police sweep of Frank Ogawa Plaza to clear out the Occupy Oakland encampment that has stood outside City Hall for weeks.
At a morning news conference at the city's Emergency Operations Center after the raid, Police Chief Howard Jordan said only nine of the people arrested are Oakland residents.
He said there were no injuries to police officers or protesters. -more-
Lynne Hollander Savio has informed people on the Will Call list for the Mario Savio Memorial Lecture, this year to be delivered by Professor Robert Reich, that the event, orginally scheduled for Pauley Ballroom on the UC Berkeley campus, has been moved to the Mario Savio Steps in Sproul Plaza. It will take place at 8 p.m. on Tuesday. -more-
Flash: Police Tear Down Occupy Oakland Encampment, Arrest Protestors--Now Withdrawing from Ogawa Plaza
Police began withdrawing from Broadway at around 6:30 a.m. today, after blocking off Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza and arresting people remaining in the plaza.
Police are in the process of dismantling what remains of the Occupy Oakland camp that has occupied Frank Ogawa Plaza for most of the last month.
Police blocked off the plaza shortly before 6 a.m. today with lines of riot police. Most protesters had already moved into the street at 14th Street and Broadway before police arrived.
One protester [identified by the San Francisco Chronicle as Zachary Running Wolf of Berkeley] climbed a tree in the plaza and has remained there for several hours. It was not immediately clear if police arrested him when they blocked off the plaza. -more-
The man killed in Thursday's shooting near the Occupy Oakland encampment has been identified as Oakland resident Kayode Ola Foster, Oakland police said this evening.
Foster, 25, had been staying at Frank Ogawa Plaza in the protest camp, according to his family, said Officer Johnna Watson. -more-
Pressure on Occupy Oakland protestors increased today, with police issuing a third notice this afternoon ordering protestors to vacate the area-and all city parks.
The most recent notice notifies protestors that they do not have permission to stay on any city property or parks, including Frank Ogawa Plaza, Lafayette Square Park, Jefferson Square and Snow Park.
Some Occupy Oakland activists issued a statement this afternoon noting that there were rumors some protestors might have met with the mayor and discussed moving the protest to Jefferson Park. However, the group indicated that if such a conversation had taken place, it did not represent Occupy Oakland's General Assembly-and the city's notice to vacate does not exclude any parks.
Protestors were issued a formal notice to vacate Frank Ogawa Plaza on Friday after a fatal shooting near the camp.
A man in his early 20s was killed just before 5 p.m. in the 1400 block of Broadway in Thursday's shooting. His identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
Police said today that the suspect, described as a male African American, 20-25 years old, 5 feet 9 inches tall and 150 pounds with short hair, has been a frequent resident at the encampment over the past several days. -more-
For insight into the Occupy movement, one of the best places to look is Tricia Shapiro’s new book on the movement against mountaintop removal – Mountain Justice, published by AK Press in Oakland.
When young urban anarchists joined with longtime Appalachian residents in the Mountain Justice Summer campaign of 2005, Shapiro signed on as the campaign’s chronicler. She sat in on strategy sessions and scrambled up a mountain during the night with demonstrators. She listened. She asked questions. She recorded what people said, and she understood what she heard.
An experienced author of young adult histories and biographies under the name Tricia Andryszewski, Shapiro had written about the movements for civil rights and gay rights. She had described the devastation of the Dust Bowl. She wrote then as a historian.
For Mountain Justice, she has written as a reporter, and the movement could not ask for a better one – she is both sympathetic and honest, frank about the disagreements that arose, clear about the failures as well as the successes. -more-
Carol Denney, a frequent contributor to these pages, is fond of saying that the reason the Free Speech Movement took place at the University of California at Berkeley was NOT because free speech flourished on this campus. Quite the contrary: it’s been the tradition at Cal, going way back in pre-history before I was an undergraduate, for arrogant administrators to try to keep the lid on student speech. It could be described as a form of hubris (a ten-dollar word I learned in Cal’s English department): “we’re the top …students are damn lucky to be here…so they should shut up and drive.”
At the University of Michigan, another school I had the opportunity to observe in the 1960s after I graduated from Cal, the bosses took the opposite tack. By and large, they ignored student protests, so there were never any major riots on the part of either students or police. Eventually the more radical students got bored, founded first SDS and then the Weathermen, and went off to tear up Chicago instead, which was much more satisfying—and now like Bill Ayres they’re almost all professors somewhere or other.
But at Cal, as we called it back in the day before the name of the town was appropriated by the university’s PR department, decision-makers have always provided satisfying opposition to student action which has historically stimulated more student action. And the current crop of well-paid administrators is keeping up the tradition. Lots and lots of them, including Chancellor Birgeneau ($428,712.84) who okayed the police action last Wednesday where heads were bashed and stomachs jabbed with batons, are firmly part of the richest 1%, and they have no qualms about asserting their power over impecunious and mouthy students because of it. -more-
The Editor's Back Fence
Berkeley's small but vocal band of ignorami has been wondering aloud in venues open to them about what critics of last Wednesday's UC Berkeley police riot would have done instead. Here's a sample quote from an anonymous bloviator on a local site: "You'd think that people who were so worked up would have their much better solution at the ready, but I guess not. "
Well, actually, Ty Alper, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Associate Director of the Death Penalty Clinic at UC Berkeley School of Law, has explored the topic on Huffington Post.
He notes that "In response to November 2009 violence between police and protestors at UC Berkeley's Wheeler Hall, the Police Review Board issued a thorough, comprehensive report recommending all sorts of improvements to the way it handles exactly the kind of demonstration that occurred again on campus this week."
Unsurprisingly, Professor Alper concludes that the Review Board's advice was not followed on Wednesday—to say the least. -more-
Dear Parents and Alumni of Cal:
Like many of you, I have been so proud that our daughter is attending an institution with the stature of Cal. Until last week. While the context of the protests have not been thoroughly reported nationally and are difficult to judge, students linked by their arms should not be bludgeoned. Did the students err? Quite possibly. Did they deserve to be beaten? Absolutely not. Any respect the students and the rest of had for the judgment of the Cal police and administration has been lost by this senseless response. -more-
This week, the Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees adopted a resolution for the local reinvestment of its student fees and community tax dollars that will move the East Bay colleges’ funds from large, for-profit banks to community-based financial institutions. -more-
Dear Chancellor, -more-
I just finished reading a stock proxy. Like most proxies, it has a section on compensation for its five named executive officers. Also, not atypically, this section was a full third the length of the full proxy, in this case despite the fact that there were two appendices with a restatement of the articles of incorporation. What is particularly relevant to current events in this proxy, was that the compensation section, like all such sections I have read, had no discussion of how executive compensation compares to the compensation of any of the other employees of the company. In the corporate pay structure there is no connection between executive compensation, and worker compensation.
It gets worse. Worker compensation is a cost, and a well-run business does what it can to limit this cost. This includes automation, outsourcing, temporary or part-time employment without benefits, layoffs, and even efforts to eliminate minimum wage laws. On the other hand, the compensation philosophy espoused in proxies almost guarantees pressure to increase executive pay. Companies present themselves as being in competition to attract and hold scarce executive talent. Every compensation section I have read has an extensive discussion of the pay in comparable companies. To ensure company success, target compensation for their executives is almost always at or above the median of their competitive group. At or above, that is the rub. All companies cannot be at or above the median, at least not all the time. A company can, however, raise its pay to the median or above at a particular time. It will then be at or above the median until its competitors raise their executive pay so that they are at or above the median. -more-
Shock and Awe is a good description of the mood in the late night hours of last night’s City Council Meeting as a play was made to postpone redistricting until after the November 2012 election. Whether it was a strategy to form two student districts in order to unseat councilmembers Arreguin and Worthingtonm, or an attempt to consolidate two existing districts into one in West Berkeley to leverage development, or some other goal, it was, as Councilmember Worthington stated: “possibly the most thoroughly undemocratic motion ever before Council”. -more-
I’m 70 and on Medicare and Social Security. I still pay-in and I still work. I’m a semi-retired primary care doc now working part time at Alameda County’s Winton Wellness Center. Recently, I’ve spent some hours at the Medic tent at Occupy Oakland. -more-
I am currently on the California State Democratic Party Platform Committee and am chair of the National Security plank. We are in the process of drafting the 2012 platform and I would like to get support for the National Security plank to say that we support reducing the military budget to a level that reflects our true defense requirements, as opposed to a world domination budget – I suggest $200 billion.
Our current projected level of military expenditures for 2012 is $1.03-$1.415 trillion , while the next highest spending county in the world on their military - China - "only" spends about $100B, less than 10% of us. And all other countries are far far less than that, including Russia, at around $50B (still an obscene amount of money but less than 1/20th of what we spend). -more-
we are having quite a slice of occupy
hot, fresh, wild, delicious occupy
stir it up a nice hot cup of occupy
share it with your friends and neighbors
taste the fruit of all your labors
be the first one on your block to occupy
wind it up and set your clock to occupy
tell the cops and tell the mayor
you’ve become an occuplayer
have yourself a slice of occupy
In a letter  addressed to Oakland’s Mayor Jean Quan on Nov. 8, two little-known entities, the Lake Merritt/Uptown District Association (LMUDA) and Downtown Oakland Association (DOA) implored Mayor Quan to “step up and provide cohesive, common sense leadership.” Cohesive leadership, according to these two organizations, means giving the Oakland Police Department a green light to eradicate the now month-old Occupy encampment. “It’s time for Frank Ogawa Plaza to be given back to the people of Oakland,” they conclude.
Who are the LMUDA and DOA? What gives them the authority to make such demands? Further, who are the “people of Oakland” referred to in their letter? If those occupying the plaza do not constitute the people of Oakland, then who are the rightful owners of this contested public space? -more-
The UC Student Association learned this morning that the UC Regents have cancelled this week’s meeting in response to concerns about public safety. UC students are strongly opposed to this decision. -more-
Editor's Note: This was received by the Planet before the Occupy Oakland protestors were evicted, but some of the points made by the correspondents are still relevant to the discussion of what happened there.
I think you might find this exchange between a student and me about Occupy Oakland and the Oakland community of some interest. There is a rumor that there may be a new violent confrontation hours from now as the occupiers refuse to leave (the mayor had previously offered for us to be able to stay 24/7 but without tents--in other words, just as people coming to present our ideas, but not as occupiers. Let me hasten to add that I believe that the police riot 12 days ago was totally unjustified, and believe that the police who were involved should be sent to prison like others who violate the law. The violence of Oakland police is a daily reality for people of color in Oakland and many other American cities, and always a shock to everyone else because it is only when it happens to white people that the media stays on the story for more than a day or two!
So here is the letter I received on email this morning: -more-
After a mass rally and march of over 3,000 people, and repeated police assaults on the Occupy Cal encampment, the general assembly at UC Berkeley decided on the night of November 9th -- with over 500 votes, 95% of the assembly -- to organize and call for a strike and day of action on Tuesday, November 15. We ask that all classes be cancelled or held at Sproul Plaza. -more-
An Open Letter to Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau, University of California, Berkeley
Cc: President Mark G. Yudof, George W. Breslauer, Henry Le Grande, Jonathan Poullard
Re: A concerned parent's objection to police in riot gear beating non-violent students on University grounds on the evening of November 9, 2011
I am a parent of a student at University of California, Berkeley. I was appalled to see police in riot gear using excessive force on the evening of November 9, 2011 against peaceful student protesters on the grounds of the University of California, Berkeley. -more-
Who: Ad Hoc Labor Activist Assembly of veteran Oakland area labor organizers
What: Urgent Call to Alameda Labor Council for Labor Defense of Occupy Oakland
Why: Threat of Imminent Police Action to Attack and Evict Occupy Oakland
When: November 12, 2011
The following urgent proposal was unanimously adopted today at an ad hoc Labor Activist Assembly, and signed by more than 30 veteran labor activists: -more-
The U.C. Police Department recently used violence against Berkeley students, workers, faculty and community supporters on November 9. This was unprovoked, unexpected, unjustified and unreasonable. The General Assembly at the event had publicly and clearly committed to nonviolence, and the participants appear to have maintained their nonviolence despite the violence inflicted on them. The police clearly could have arrested individuals rather than repeatedly hitting them with batons and grabbing them by their hair. There are multiple videos documenting the police use of excessive force. The Stephen Colbert commentary mentions “spearing a small Asian girl in the spleen first” but there appeared to be a true reflection of diversity in Black, White, Asian, Arab and Latino students and workers equally assaulted by the Police. -more-
Chancellor Birgeneau emailed the UC Berkeley Community on Thursday. I quote: “It is unfortunate that some protesters chose to obstruct the police by linking arms and forming a human chain to prevent the police from gaining access to the tents. This is not non-violent civil disobedience.” -more-
Somebody needs to report this story. During Chief Jordan's press conference Thursday someone yelled, "Turn on the lights," but Jordan ignored the comment and this issue hasn't hit the MSM yet. But it should. If OPD knew the camp was dangerous and deliberately turned off the lights, then they're culpable in the killing that followed. Tonight the lights are still off and it's pitch black in there. The Fire Dept has brought in a large floodlight to illuminate the area where the victim was killed. Evidently the Fire Dept is the only agency in town with any common sense.
Blog comments and a photo story ...
Additional pics ...
The other day I was at a bus stop in Berkeley waiting for a bus to Oakland. The bus was late. I had already walked a distance to get to my stop. I kept checking the arrival time indicated on the bus route board. A fellow commuter looked at me and said, “Are you joining the protestors today to benefit the millions who live in Oakland? “I am going to a professional meeting,” I said, “but my method would be to peacefully ask those who are well-off to support the needy. I don't like to hurt anyone even they are hurting us all the time through their discriminatory actions. I believe in the Gandhian way of finding common ground. Activating natural kindness in people will take us closer to our goal. Until then we have to remain calm and peacefully demand our rights. We should not forget our human duties to others even when we are being taken advantage of.” -more-
While the 2012 elections are twelve months away, Republicans have handed President Obama and Democrats a winning theme: ”they’ve gone too far.” -more-
On November 15, 2011, New York City Police evicted Occupy Wall Street (OWS) from lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park. Later that same day, OWS obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) requiring that they immediately be allowed back into Zuccotti Park with their tents, tarps, and sleeping bags. But the next day, the New York County Supreme Court In the matter of Waller V. The City of New York, et. al.
This week I saw and heard Bill Cain’s play, How to Write a New Book for the Bible, world premiered at the Berkeley Rep. In short, “A man moves in with his mother when she can no longer care for herself… Their reunion heals old wounds, opening a heartfelt and humorous new chapter in their relationship … this timeless tale celebrates a mother’s love and a son’s devotion.” -more-
Living with schizophrenic illness entails several different “catch-22’s” in which the options are limited. One of these conflicts is the choice between being overmedicated and thus depressed, versus not taking enough medication and being mildly psychotic. It seems, for me at least, there is little or no middle zone between these. -more-
The Budget Control Act of 2011created the 12-member, bi-partisan Super Committee with extraordinary powers with the goal of achieving at least $1.5 trillion in budgetary savings over 10 years. What they ultimately decide -- or fail to decide -- by the deadline of November 23, 2011, will shape the economic future of this country for many years to come. Thus, it is important to know the identity of interest groups seeking to influence the Committee members. -more-
Someone once asked the science fiction writer Barry Longyear where his ideas came from. “Schenectady,” he replied. I think he eventually published a book called It Came From Schenectady. The column-writing process is similar. Ron and I recently had an article on the autumnal florescence of garden, AKA pumpkin, spiders in another publication. It drew a fair amount of reader response, one of which could be paraphrased: “If you know so much about spiders, how do birds manage to stand on one leg?” -more-
I am an indifferent viewer of sports. If another activity such as a movie, a concert, the theater, or a social activity beckons, I choose that activity over watching a game. However, I am interested in how the 49ers, the Raiders, Stanford and Cal football did. I therefore read the sports section of the newspaper or turn on ESPN for the latest scores. Recently, the media -- ESPN in particular -- has been overly absorbed in the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) scandal where Jerry Sandusky, a long-time assistant to now former PSU football coach Joe Paterno, allegedly molested eight troubled young boys over a 15-year period at times at PSU satellite campuses. PSU administrators knew about it but allegedly covered it up. -more-
My Commonplace Book (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader.)
—oh, celestial, soothing, sanctifying process, with all the high, sane forces of the sacred time, fighting through it, on my side. Henry James (1843—1916) -more-
Arts & Events
It started out like a typical community theatre musical, kind of lackluster, some good actors and singers, some mediocre, the set very Japanese but everyone dressed for Guys and Dolls. It was the Point Richmond Masquers Playhouse production of The Hot Mikado, a swing era rewrite of Gilbert & Sullivan. For the most of the first act I was in and out, occasionally nodding. The band was flat and non- ensemble with no drummer (!?). The choreography seemed uninspired. There was a good barbershop-like harmony at one point. There is one truly impressive baritone, a couple of pretty girls, one a guy who had great moves, but pretty unmemorable all around. -more-
"I'm so glad you came to see me ..." -more-
Around & About Theater: 'Rumi x 7' in Oakland; Beckett's 'Endgame' & 'Watt': Dublin's Gate Theatre in Berkeley; Virago's 'Shoot O'Malley Twice' at Stagewerx -more-
Truth be known, when you pass the big six-oh, sleep doesn’t come easy. Six am the eyes click open like some crazy baby doll and there is no rolling over to snooze. The tension –filled job, a world of worry, and the double espressos don’t help. By 8:30 pm dozing sets in. Not great for a theatre critic, but if my anecdotal observation is true, I seem to be the median age of the average theatre-goer, so it’s a good barometer. And when you see two or three plays per week, often one’s concentration slips, “watcher-fatigue” sets in, and the mind wanders. Thus, if I don’t doze, if I am rapt throughout, it is a good barometer of the quality of the production and performance. -more-
With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, many of us are thinking Turkey, cranberries and pumpkin pie. Sadly however, the term "Thanks" has given way in recent years to "Spend", with department stores remaining open all day, followed by "Black Friday" -- an oxymoron if ever there was one.
Despair not, friends -- there are a host of heart warming and traditional holiday programs awaiting your pleasure through November and into January, as you'll see from the list to follow. -more-