Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Archive for May, 2008

Fox News theory: serial roof-top pushing in Berkeley

By kbender

A spokesman from the Alameda County Coroner’s Office told me this week that University of California, Berkeley new graduate Alan Hamai died of multiple blunt injuries sustained when he fell (or possibly jumped) 30 feet off from his Durant Avenue apartment rooftop early Saturday.

Detectives are still investigating, talking to friends and neighbors, but by all accounts police say it was an accident or suicide. There was no sign of foul play. No sign of a struggle. Nothing to indicate that anyone else was even with Hamai on the rooftop. Hamai certainly was not the first college student to die from a fall off a rooftop.

Many have done so _ drunk or not _ before him. But Hamai is certainly the first UC Berkeley student to tumble from a building in recent years. But you wouldn’t know it from the call I received Monday from Fox News’ Jeff Miller with the “On the Record with Greta” program.

Miller wanted to know my thoughts on a theory that someone is running around Berkeley pushing people off rooftops. A serial pusher of sorts. I didn’t want to laugh at his theory because death is certainly not a laughing matter. But now I have a better understanding of why journalists get lumped together as sensationalists.

“No,” I told Miller, “I don’t think that.” Police don’t think that. UC officials don’t think that. Why on Earth would you?

Hamai’s death is the third near the Cal campus in three weeks. Christopher Wootton, a 21-year-old nuclear engineering student who was set to graduate this month was stabbed to death in front of a sorority on May 3. Last week, Maceo Smith, a 33-year-old Berkeley man who was not a student, was shot near the Cal campus as students walked to graduation.

Chancellor Robert Birgeneau sent out a statement this week that said that recent weeks have been the most tragic in his long career in education. “In all my years in higher education, this has been among the saddest and most tragic times for a university community that I have known….”

I wonder if Miller realized that when he was digging around for a story that wasn’t there.

Posted on Tuesday, May 20th, 2008
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Downtown isn’t just for Pink Ladies

By asoglin

The women from Code Pink http://www.codepink4peace.org/ still get more attention than almost anything going on in downtown Berkeley these days. But the protesters at the U.S. Marine Center are far from the only thing happening in the city’s core.

boona cheema, no that’s not a typo, cheema uses all owner case letters in her name to keep her humble, was recently honored as the executive director of Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency (BOSS) http://www.self-sufficiency.org/ during the organization’s 35th anniversary celebration. More than 250 politicians, business and faith leaders, staff, supporters, and participants of BOSS gathered for the event at Hs. Lordships earlier this month and reports are that the party was a success.

Speaking of parties, seems there’s one at the “new” Brazil Cafe at 1983 Shattuck Ave. every Wednesday afternoon. That’s when Pedro Robbins and Lynn Ferreira offer free shots of Mona Vie _ a delicious fruit drink that includes Acai _ the high vitamin berry from Brazil. The drink is a mix of 19 of the highest powered vitamins on the planet, says Deborah Badhia with the Downtown Berkeley Association. The new cafe is not to be confused with the Brazil Fresh Squeeze Cafe, the little hut at 2161 University in the parking lot of Mike’s Bikes that almost always has a line out the door. Seems that parking lots, little kitchens are a good place to gather, chat, eat and drink.

Berkeley, with the gourmet ghetto and world-renowned Chez Panisse, is a foodie’s paradise. But restaurant owners also want to make sure that places that sell booze are following the law.

Natalie Kniess of Bistro Liaison recently launched the Berkeley Restaurant Action Committee to work on Berkeley’s new responsible beverage ordinance, which mandates more training for restaurant employees who serve alcohol as well as other guidelines around the sales of alcohol. Already 51 Berkeley restaurants have joined the group.

- Kristin Bender

Posted on Tuesday, May 20th, 2008
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Show your cool Thursday

By awoodall

cool.jpgMay 17– August 17, 2008
Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design, and Culture at Midcentury
Show your cool 4  p.m to 8 p.m. May 22 at the Oakland Museum to celebrate the opening of Birth of the Cool, named for a Miles Davis album of the same name and describes the SoCal melding of architecture, art, music and design to form a modern sensibility based on living well. It doesn’t stop there. COOL REMIXED , is an original exhibition on topical forms of cool. Graffiti, DJs, lounges, street fashion, scraper bikes, video, skate ramp, and artwork created on car hoods, hubcaps, and sneakers are part of the exhibition.
Oakland Museum of California
1000 Oak Street@ 10th St.
Oakland, California 94607
510-238-2200


 

Posted on Monday, May 19th, 2008
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Grown N’Sexy Fridays — Uh no

By awoodall

ptf.jpgPam the Funkstress — lovely lady of The Coup fame – was supposed to be spinning the best of new and old R&B at The Silk Road Fridays starting 9 p.m.  Turns out, the Vietnamese restaurant put her act on hold because, they found out at the last minute to their surprise, the city requires a cabaret license for a DJ, even one as famous as PTF. So, it looks like she’s playing a gig at the Shine club in Gastown (Vancouver), at least acc to this Web site. Too bad she had a bunch of slick ad cards printed up for The Silk Road gig before the city gave them the bad news.  We’ll let you know when and if her Grown N’Sexy show at The Silk Road gets started. The Silk Road is located at 101 Broadway @ Embarcadero. The phone is 510-836-6600.

Posted on Friday, May 16th, 2008
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Berkeley Daily Planet tries to live up to its name

By kbender

The Berkeley Daily Planet, which is neither daily nor covers the planet, has scaled down the print edition from two days a week (Tuesdays and Fridays) to one day a week, producing a newspaper on Thursdays. But readers can find breaking news, feature stories, columns and opinion pieces each weekday at www.berkeleydailyplanet.com.

Reporters and photographers will also post to the Web on the weekends if anything “big” happens, according to Becky O’ Malley, who has owned the paper for five years with her husband Mike. The reasons for moving to the Web five days a week and cutting back the print edition were two-fold. “This way we can try the Web and see what happens without adding new people,” said O’ Malley.

O’Malley said the couple chose to publish on Thursdays to give people time to check out the weekend happenings and make their plans accordingly. Most of what’s posted on the Web during the week will also show up in print, O’Malley said. The O’Malleys bought the newspaper after running a successful software company in Berkeley for 15 years, she said. “We made more money than we ever expected to make and so we said we should do something good with it,” she said during a recent interview.

The Daily Planet, once owned by publisher Arnold Lee, and Stanford MBA grads Dave Danforth and Ed Carse, had folded in November 2002 when the O’Malleys took over and gave it a go. “I was playing around with starting a Web-based paper and then this came up and we had been readers of the original Planet,” she said. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley in comparative literature, O’Malley said she had written for and edited various publications before going to law school.

After passing the bar exam, she toyed with the idea of practicing law, but journalism seemed more entertaining. She continued writing, for Mother Jones, the Nation, New West and other pubs, she said.. Then came the software company and its success. Although the Berkeley Daily Planet has been in operation under the O’Malley’s leadership since 2003, its new form on the Web is really the first time the publication is living up to its name. Now, the paper just needs to start really covering the planet.

“Well, we might,” said O’Malley “We have lots of people who would like to be writing about international issues. We might have dispatches from Iraq.”

Kristin Bender

Posted on Friday, May 16th, 2008
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Float beneath the Surface

By awoodall

…at FLOAT galleries, where the motto is “come for a float, stay for the show.” The home of the largest enclosed floatation tanks in the Bay Area is celebrating its 2nd anniversary 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday with the artwork of LIz Mamorsky and Paul Baker. DJ Bonscott of WaxON WaxOFF productions will be spinning funk, Hip-hop and jungle during the May 17 event. FLOAT is located at 1091 Calcot Place, Unit #116, Oakland. The telephone is 535-1702. (The floatation tank is approximately 8.5′ long by 4′ wide, and almost 4′ high, it is a sound and lightproof unit in which you float like a cork effortlessly on the surface of 10.5 inches of water that is saturated with 1000 Lbs of medical grade Epsom salt solution.)

Posted on Thursday, May 15th, 2008
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Lake Merritt walk for peace

By asoglin

Looking for something to do this Saturday?
Consider walking three miles around Lake Merritt to help end poverty and violence or check out an evening event to help the four-legged friends of the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society.

The Community Action Partnership is holding a three-mile walk around Lake Merritt on Saturday to call attention to some staggering numbers. Nearly one in five Oakland residents or about 68,000 people live in poverty. About one-third of the city’s population is receiving some sort of public assistance. Homelessness effects up to 6,000 people in Oakland. The Community Action Partnership is challenging people to be part of the Walk to End Poverty and Violence to call attention to those numbers and work to lower them.

The walk starts at 9 a.m. Saturday with registration at 8 a.m. at the Lake Merritt Bandstand, 666 Bellevue Ave. A community fair with free snacks, children’s activities and free T-shirts follows at 10 a.m. For more information visit www.oaklandcap.or or call 510-238-2368.

Drinking, not walking

If walking isn’t your thing, but drinking wine is, there’s a people-only event Saturday night to benefit the animals—the ones with the fur–of the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society. The event is from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave. in Berkeley. Maestro George Cleve and featured players from the Midsummer Mozart Festival will perform at the event, which also includes wine, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction for overnight stays, restaurant certificates and more. Tickets are $90 and more information is available at www.berkeleyhumane.org of by calling 510-845-7735, ext. 19.

- Kristin Bender

Posted on Thursday, May 15th, 2008
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Pssst…Green Day in Oakland Thursday

By awoodall

greenday1.jpgIt’s not exactly the best kept secret in town, but somewhat under the radar Green Day will be performing under the alter band ego “Foxboro Hot Tubs” tomorrow night (May 15) at The Stork Club over on 23rd and Telegraph. The band called up the owner Tom and asked if they could gig at their old punk rock haunt. What are you gonna’ say? No. We’re too good for you superstar grunge boys? What the hell, Foxboro Hot Tubs? You no-names. 
Right. Anyway, get in line early (the club opens 6 p.m.) for tickets, which are first-come, first-serve and will cost about $20. The Web site Buzznet announced that there is a two-ticket purchase minimum. Hmmm. That sounds very much not indie to me. And the band’s debut release (vinyl and CD) will be out on May 20. So, this could be a big hoax or the real thing. Let’s go check it out.

Posted on Wednesday, May 14th, 2008
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Iceland still needs a cool $12 million to reopen

By asoglin

Save Berkeley Iceland, www.saveberkeleyiceland.org, the grassroots group that is trying to reopen the historic Berkeley Iceland, is gliding along with plans to restore the skating palace. This week the nonprofit announced that it has selected Page & Turnbull, a San Francisco architecture firm noted for their work in restoration and preservation.

That’s good news, but the bottom line is the group still needs $12 million to buy the ice rink that once hosted Olympic champion skaters Kristi Yamaguchi and Brian Botano. Tom Dufurrena with Page & Turnbull says the “bones of the building are strong, it has great interior space and natural light.” The ice rink closed in April 2007 after financial struggles. It was later deemed a historical landmark by the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission.

Save Berkeley Iceland, which includes skaters and parents of skaters and hockey players as well as community members, hopes that Page & Turnbull can bring its expertise to the rink. The firm’s past projects include the San Francisco’s Ferry Building, the Berkeley Public Library, and several projects at UC Berkeley .

Plans for the rink not only include restoring the elegant lobby and ice surface using the latest energy efficient technology, but also include adding other complementary uses to the facility. Proposals include workout facilities, dance studios, and multi-purpose rooms for events. If you want to get involved with the campaign check out the group online at www.saveberkeleyiceland.com.
- Kristin Bender

Posted on Wednesday, May 14th, 2008
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Family secrets, genocide and human rights

By awoodall

“NEW YEAR BABY”  — A  DAUGHTER’S  SEARCH  FOR  THE  TRUTH  ABOUT  FAMILY  SECRETS, genocide, human rights and the ties that bind family together during times of war and resettlement.
Exclusive free Oakland advance screening and Q&A featuring director Socheata Poeuv.
The film is a personal and moving film that intertwines a family history with those of millions of others who suffered under the Khmer Rouge.
Tuesday, May 13 2008
Reception 6:00 PM
Film 6:30 PM
Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 Ninth Street, Suite 290, Oakland

RSVP: rsvp@asianamericanmedia.org or (510) 326-1440
Media also encouraged to attend

For more information, visit: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/newyearbaby

Posted on Monday, May 12th, 2008
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