The Week

Martin Nicolaus


Press Release: Rally and March Planned to Protest Effort to Pass New Anti-Homeless Laws in Berkeley

Osha Neumann
Thursday March 12, 2015 - 06:29:00 PM

The Streets Are for Everyone Coalition (SAFE), is calling for an emergency march and rally on March 17 to protest efforts to get the Berkeley City Council to pass new laws targeting homeless people on the streets of the city.

The protest will precede a meeting of the Council at which it will consider a proposal by Councilmember Linda Maio for a raft of new ordinances, which would criminalize such innocuous activities as “lying on planter walls” and “deployment” of bedding on sidewalks and plazas during the day.

“Taken together with existing laws, these ordinances would essentially make it illegal for people who are homeless to have a presence on our streets and sidewalks,” said Osha Neumann an attorney with the East Bay Community Law Center. He has represented many homeless people who have received citations for, he says, “activities they engage in as part of their effort to survive.” -more-

Berkeley Shoreline Parks
under Scrutiny

Toni Mester
Saturday March 07, 2015 - 04:15:00 PM

The Parks and Waterfront Commission meets Wednesday night to consider the future of the Brickyard and Cesar Chavez Park, two prominent but troubled shoreline facilities that will be developed to serve the open space and recreational needs of a growing regional population.

The meeting will take place at the Frances Albrier Community Center, 2800 Park Street in San Pablo Park on Wednesday March 11 at 7:00 PM. Commission Chair Jim McGrath will preside over what promises to be a significant gathering. -more-

50 Years On: A Gathering to Celebrate The Berkeley Barb

Gar Smith
Saturday March 07, 2015 - 04:27:00 PM

With the 50th anniversary of the birth of the Berkeley Barb coming up in mid-August, what could be better than a Berkeley-based celebration—call it a Barbapolooza. Toward that end, a small but growing group of former Barb vets (both staff and contributors) is just starting to kick this idea into shape. -more-

Berkeley Library patrons might have been exposed to measles

Sara Gaiser
Friday March 06, 2015 - 11:30:00 PM

A person with a possible case of measles was at two Berkeley library branches last week and could have exposed library patrons to the highly contagious disease, city health officials said today.

The person, a Contra Costa County resident who had not yet developed the tell-tale rash associated with measles and whose diagnosis has not yet been confirmed, visited the City of Berkeley West Branch Library last Friday and Saturday and the Central Branch Library on Friday afternoon.

Patrons who visited those libraries on Friday or Saturday should monitor themselves until March 21. Symptoms can develop between seven and 21 days after exposure. -more-

The Oakland Museum's White Elephant Sale Is This Weekend!

Steven Finacom
Friday March 06, 2015 - 04:28:00 PM

Imagine taking the total moveable contents of scores of Bay Area houses—everything from bed linens to toys to garden tools to artwork from the walls—packing everything in shipping containers for 20 or 30 years, and then spreading them out in a block square warehouse for sale at pennies on the dollar in one grand, two day, event open to all.

That’s essentially the Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale, which takes place this weekend, March 7 and 8, 2015 from 10 to 4 each day.

The WES corrals and collects discarded but still re-useable objects of consumer culture from primarily the East Bay and offers them up to you, annually, to stuff your house and suit your thrifty urges. Proceeds benefit the programs of the Oakland Museum of California. -more-



BARF comes to Berkeley--will this be a trend?

Becky O'Malley
Friday March 06, 2015 - 04:52:00 PM

Wow, the stuff that comes in over the transom!

An acquaintance who follows San Francisco politics sent me this juicy excerpt from something gleaned from an online mailing list because it mentions Berkeley:

“TONIGHT!! Berkely [sic] !!! Landmark preservation hearing

Some people are trying to landmark the view of west Berkeley from a hill - that's basically a moratorium!! Block out your evening,

If any Berkely people already have more info in this, can u post it?”

Hm, someone’s planning to harass the Berkeley Landmarks Preservation Commission who can’t even spell Berkeley correctly? Sounds like trouble, so I went. -more-


Bounce: Moral Compasses (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Sunday March 08, 2015 - 10:56:00 AM

Public Comment

New: Shattuck Cinema Preservation

Armin Wright
Sunday March 08, 2015 - 08:30:00 PM

The community and the city should mandate a firm, legally enforceable, long-term commitment to very specific lease terms and theater reconstruction terms for the Shattuck Cinemas before signing off on permits for the Harold Way attroc... I mean the Harold Way Project.

Who can forget that the Fine Arts Theater was assured that it could return to its location at Haste and Shattuck if the developer got his permits, but with no hard numbers, only to discover after the new building went up that the theater, a unique cultural asset to the East Bay, could never survive on the new market rental rates demanded. The end result being that while the name was purloined for the Fine Arts building (as a perpetual flipping of the bird to the public), the theater and its repertory are long gone.

Fool me once.... -more-

New: Rhyme for Disappearing Berkeley

Kelly Hammargren
Sunday March 08, 2015 - 11:34:00 AM

Mayor Bates he's the man
Stole our city with his plan
Developer's promises are his glory
Broken promises are our story
Confuse the voter was the mission
Get them to give the builders permission
The only green that we have seen
Is in the pockets of developer's schemes
Rhoades is said to grease the wheels
Making for those backroom deals
Now it's time to gather traction
Stop complaining move to action
Let's come together to have our say
Save our cinemas from Harold Way -more-

New: Musicians should be reviewed equitably without discriminating

Patricia Roberto
Friday March 06, 2015 - 11:55:00 PM

Your music reviewer, James MacBean, in the best standards of journalism, appeases the public's need to know in his description of pianist Khatia Buniatishvili's evening wear, with its low cut neckline and its caress of her "hourglass figure."

In contrast, her male counterpart on the violin, Renaud Capucon, suffered egregious discrimination in MacBean's piece. True, we find out that he is short ( 5'8" or 5'9") but only to contrast his "stunningly beautiful" partner who is "tall and statuesque, perhaps three inches taller than he is." Well, yes, it happens all the time.

Not a word on the fit of his pants over his crotch or the clutch of his jacket around his abs. . By god, this is the 21st century and Berkeley no less! I demand equality for male performers (not to mention female readers) in the pages of your newspaper. If chamber music can't deliver on titillating visuals, it has no place in contemporary culture. -more-

Determination of Community Benefits for Large-Scale Downtown Berkeley Buildings

Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club
Wednesday March 04, 2015 - 04:21:00 PM

The Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club requests that the ZAB and City Council enhance the significant community benefits to be provided by developers of the three large scale developments allowed in the downtown, including those to be applied to the proposed Harold Way project.

Many of the design elements of the Harold Way project as proposed, including its height, are concerning in and of themselves. In this letter, we only address the larger issue of the community benefits to be provided. As Harold Way is the first of the projects to be considered under the Downtown Plan, whatever benefits are required of its developers will set a standard against which the other very large developments will be judged. The community as a whole should be involved in the definition of these benefits given the impact these buildings will have on all of our citizens. -more-

Open Letter to the Berkeley School Board regarding enrollment projections

Larry Bensky
Friday March 06, 2015 - 08:04:00 AM

Dear School Board Members,

I'm writing to you after reading, in the 3/2 edition of the Daily Californian, about school capacity.

I was among the Berkeley Independent Study parents, students, and teachers who attended your meeting late last year when this issue, and its implications, were addressed.

At that time I submitted a question about the projections for increased enrollment, based on my examination of the documentation available that night.

It seemed to me that the projected enrollment increase figures were highly speculative, and almost certainly inflated. -more-

March Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Sunday March 08, 2015 - 10:48:00 AM

Editor's Note: The latest issue of the Pepper Spray Times is now available.

You can view it absolutely free of charge by clicking here . You can print it out to give to your friends.

Grace Underpressure has been producing it for many years now, even before the Berkeley Daily Planet started distributing it, most of the time without being paid, and now we'd like you to show your appreciation by using the button below to send her money. -more-


DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE:Greece: A Whisper of Battles Past

Conn Hallinan
Saturday March 07, 2015 - 04:07:00 PM

The recent negotiations between Greece and the European Union (EU) bring to mind Themistocles, a man who knew when to retreat and when to fight. The year was 480 BC and Xerxes I—“the king with half the east at heel”—was marching on Greece with a massive army accompanied by an enormous fleet. Against the invasion stood a small Greek army, led by Leonidas of Sparta, and an equally outnumbered navy, commanded by the Athenian, Themistocles. -more-

SENIOR POWER: Whose month?

By Helen Rippier Wheeler,
Friday March 06, 2015 - 07:53:00 AM

Disparate treatment of elderly persons occurs as a result of the belief that older people are of less value than younger people. It lends itself to satire, sarcasm, ridicule and stereotyping. Remember Barbara “walkies” Woodhouse (1910-1988), parodied in the James Bond Octopussy film? Fear has a lot to do with it too.

Old age consists of ages nearing or surpassing the life expectancy of human beings, and thus, the end of the human life cycle. Euphemisms and terms for old people include seniors (American usage), senior citizens (British and American), older adults (social sciences,) the elderly, and elders (many cultures, including those of aboriginal people).

Ageism (also spelled "agism") is stereotyping and discriminating against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. The term was coined in 1971 by Robert Neil Butler (1927-2010) to describe discrimination against seniors, patterned on sexism and racism. It may be casual or systematic. Butler defined ageism as a combination of prejudicial attitudes towards older people, discriminatory practices against them, and institutional practices and policies that perpetuate stereotypes about them. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Cognitive Techniques Instead of Illicit Drugs

Jack Bragen
Friday March 06, 2015 - 07:40:00 AM

In this week's column I offer a comparison between meditation versus illicit drugs as avenues for relief from the suffering that may accompany a mental illness. I am offering this contrast because, in the case of mental illness, you might need something that offers at least the hope of feeling better. If stuck in pain in the absence of a way out, or even a hoped-for way out, it becomes a lot more of a temptation to use illicit drugs or to take medication not according to the directions.

If you feel okay, the above paragraph does not apply to you.

Cognitive techniques to help deal with mental illness might, by many people, be thought of as out of reach. Many therapists and other mental health professionals might not believe that persons with mental illness have the necessary insight to perform meditation.

Unfortunately, it seems that many people involved in the organized practice of meditation have the same incorrect skepticism. However, gaining an understanding of one's own mind and learning things about what makes it work or not work might be a big help with a lasting and genuine recovery. Additionally, meditation is possible for persons with mental illness. -more-

Arts & Events

New: Around & About: Music--Cypress String Quartet at the City Club; a Note on Berkeley Symphony

Ken Bullock
Friday March 06, 2015 - 05:24:00 PM

Cypress String Quartet--Cecily Ward & Tom Stone, violins; Ethan Fitner, viola & Kloetze, cello--whose group name comes from the title for 12 love songs Anton Dvorak composed for string quartet, will play at 8 this coming Tuesday at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Avenue, between Ellsworth & Dana, featuring Beethoven's String Quartet Opus 18, No. 3 (actually his first quartet from 1801); Erwin Schulhof's Divertimento for String Quartet, Opus 14 (Schulhof, a Czech composer encouraged by Dvorak, died in a concentration camp, held as Jew and socialist; and Dvorak's String Quartet in E-flat, Opus 51. -more-

Theater Review: Just Theater's 'We Are Pleased to Present a Presentation ... ' at Ashby Stage--(Last Performances)

Ken Bullock
Friday March 06, 2015 - 04:43:00 PM

--"What if we ended it right there? The overview may be enough ... "

--"But what about my song?"

Just Theater, in collaboration with Shotgun Players, has taken on Jackie Sibblies Drury's 'We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915,' now going into its final weekend at Ashby Stage, about a mixed race ensemble struggling in taking on a seemingly undefined--and protean--project concerning a not-so-well known colonialist genocide of an indigenous African people a hundred years ago--by turns awkward and funny, argumentative and increasingly gamey and troubling to both players and audience. -more-

Theater Review: 'How the World Began' at Custom-Made Theatre

Ken Bullock
Friday March 06, 2015 - 04:39:00 PM

A Brooklyn schoolteacher, leaving a botched personal life behind--though more than memories follow her, as she's "in the family way"--takes a job in a Kansas town rebuilding from tornado devastation, and the big city teacher finds herself questioned by the stepson of one of the tornado victims, a young man traumatized too by the physical impact of the storm, about a casual aside she made during class, something she doesn't remember, while explaining the origin and early development of the earth--and the student wants an apology for what he regards as a slander to his god. -more-

Masakela, Mandela Featured at U.C. Berkeley this week

Ken Bullock
Friday March 06, 2015 - 04:35:00 PM

Great South African trumpeter-fluegelhorn player-vocalist-bandleader Hugh Masakela will split the bill with Sotho singer-songwriter guitarist Vusi Mahlasela, "the Voice of South Africa," for a program of music to celebrate "20 Years of Freedom" this Wednesday at 8 in Zellerbach Auditorium, near Telegraph and Bancroft on the UC campus. Masakela, the former husband and collaborator of the late, great singer Miriam Makeba, is in particular no stranger to Berkeley audiences: 45 years ago, leading his band The Union of South Africa, he mounted an ecstatic, unforgettable nighttime show at the Greek Theater for the UC Jazz Festival to wild audience and critical acclaim. Tickets are selling briskly. $19-$64. 642-9988; -more-

American Bach Soloists Perform the St. Matthew Passion

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday March 06, 2015 - 05:16:00 PM

It is one of the oddities of music history that more than 75 years after the death of Johann Sebastian Bach his monumental St. Matthew Passion had long been neglected and almost forgotten. It is to the credit of Felix Mendelssohn that in 1829 he resuscitated Bach’s St. Matthew Passion by performing this work with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. However, Mendelssohn saw fit to hugely amplify the orchestral forces far beyond the modest scale of Bach’s own era. Thus, audiences today are more likely to encounter the St. Matthew Passion in the large-scale setting initiated by Mendelssohn than in the small-scale setting Bach himself would have performed. -more-

Anne-Sophie Mutter Plays Brahms at Davies Hall

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday March 06, 2015 - 04:48:00 PM

Anne-Sophie Mutter returned to San Francisco for four performances of the Brahms Violin Concerto in D-Major, Thursday-Sunday, February 26-March 1, with the San Francisco Symphony. To hear Mutter play this Brahms concerto 33 years after her famous recording of it when, as a young teenager, she teamed up with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic, offers a rare opportunity to examine how an artist’s interpretation changes over time. Interestingly, the youthful Anne-Sophie Mutter’s reading of the Brahms concerto under von Karajan turns out to be mellower, more graceful and balanced than her mature inter-pretation under Michael Tilson Thomas, which latter is hard-edged to the point of being almost strident. -more-