Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Archive for May, 2008

Honey Lawless goes solo

By awoodall

If you read any of my stories or blogs about burlesque, you’ll know who Honey Lawless and the Belles du Jour are:  

“In an effort to pursue my own artistic vision, I will no longer be working with Belles du Jour or First Friday Follies.  I have truly appreciated my experience with the Belles and wish them nothing but the best.   If you have any questions about First Friday Follies or Belles du Jour, please contact the Belles at bellesdujour.burlesque@gmail.com.   I am very excited about this new direction and have been working on my own solo performances.  I look forward to showcasing them soon.   Stay tuned for announcements.”

Posted on Monday, May 12th, 2008
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Tree sitting, Day 500-ish

By asoglin

It would only seem fitting to start this blog with the-most-covered Berkeley story of the last 500-plus days — the tree sit at the University of California, Berkeley, otherwise known as People’s Perch. Yes, a die-hard (and revolving group) of tree sitters are still up in the oaks with their poop buckets and their hammocks and their environmental spirit.

No, Judge Barbara Miller has not yet made a decision about the three-consolidated lawsuits that are tying up Cal’s plans to build their sports training center. But, now the longest urban tree-sit in the country (world?) is getting some attention from eyebrow news outlets. Save the Oaks at the Stadium member Doug Buckwald tells us that both the New Yorker and the Economist magazines have contacted him in recent weeks to get the story.

Buckwald said he isn’t sure about the angle of the stories will be but we’re pretty sure that at least one cartoonist at the New Yorker could have some fun with the tree-sitting troop. Stand by for updates.

- Doug Oakley, Kristin Bender

72 candles for Wavy Gravy

It also seems fitting to start this blog, which will feature updates on the amusing, the strange and the little known stuff that goes on in Berkeley (and other cities) that you don’t see in our newspaper, with an item about counter culture icon Wavy Gravy. How many people can say they once had an ice cream flavor named after them? The hippy icon turns 72 this month, but it doesn’t seem to be slowing him down. Mr. Gravy (as some call him) was out in full clown regalia this week at Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop in Berkeley, entertaining the crowd and soliciting donations for the Seva Foundation, the international public health non-profit that he launched 30 years ago.

It didn’t seem to bother him that 99 percent of the young Cal students waiting in line for free cones had no clue who the old guy in the hemp-clown outfit was.

Gravy just kept on truckin’, blowing bubbles and having fun. A few of those older than 40 seemed to be in the know and occasionally people called out, inquiring into the clown’s condition. “Superb,” if you are wondering. It must be all those aqua aerobics classes that he and his wife take at Berkeley swimming pools. Or maybe his good health can be credited to staying away from the bad brown acid that he was warning the crowd at Woodstock about in 1969.

Whatever it is, Gravy is busy this summer, with a 72nd birthday party on May 15 that will benefit Camp Winnarainbow, (www.campwinnarainbow.org) a camp that teaches kids and adults circus and performing arts. The event is at 7:30 p.m. at 142 Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley and will feature Moonalice with G.E. Smith, Pete Sears, Barry Sless, Jimmy Sanchez, Roger & Ann McNamee, with special guests Mickey Hart & Barry Melton. There will also be performances by Jonathan Richman, David Nelson, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Emory Joseph & Woody Vermeire as well as Wavy Gravy & the Clown Conspiracy. General Admission is $35 with Circle of Schmooze (Gravy’s words, not mine) tickets going for $100. Prices include special seating, access to the pre-show reception and an autographed event poster. To buy tickets go www.142throckmortontheatre.org and click on tickets, or call 415-383-9600.

Gravy also let it slip recently that later this summer or early in the fall he’ll have another event in Oakland featuring one of the biggest acts in the world of classic rock. He swore us to secrecy but the guy is local (think the wilds of San Mateo County) and he is awesome. Check the Seva Foundation web site in July at www.seva.org for more information.

–Kristin Bender, Doug Oakley

Posted on Monday, May 12th, 2008
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Late Night Dining — FINALLY

By awoodall

From 10 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays TAMARINDO in Old Oakland is serving up late night dining (after hours for the Bay Area, anyway). The address is 468 8th St. 510-444-1944.

Posted on Friday, May 9th, 2008
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Viva la resistance

By awoodall

Festival de teatro de resistencia en la calle
Theater Festival of Resistance in the Streets
At the Placita one block from the entrance to the Fruitvale BART Station.
En la placita a una cuadra de la entrada de la Estación Frtuivale de BART
Live with/En vivo con: HeadRush theater group/grupo de teatro, poetas, decimistas, spoken word, music & community art project
Sábado/Sat. May 10, 2:00-4:00 p.m.: ¡Paz para la gente! – Peace for the people!
Sábado/Sat. May 17, 12:00-2:00 p.m.: Sacred Mother Earth – Madre tierra sagrada
Organized by headRush!
With Libros Arte y Cultura bookstore and La Carpa del FEO
For more info, visit www.headrushcrew.com

Posted on Friday, May 9th, 2008
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Chicken livers and new chefs

By awoodall

Since March 15, B Restaurant & Bar in Oakland has had a new master: David Seawell, Executive Chef. Seawell, who has worked mostly in the Bay Area — Stars Café, Boulevard, Fog City Diner – since he began his career at the age of 17 at a swanky French restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona. I mention all this only because Seawell is responsible for my favorite dish: Marrow Bean Soup with fennel broth and chicken liver crostini. Do you know how hard it is to do chicken liver right?
And in case you’re interested, B was opened in 2005 by Gourmet Provisions (the company behind boxed foods company and the B Restaurant & Bar, both of San Francisco) “with the idea of serving as a catalyst for a neighborhood renaissance that has since come to fruition.” (Note to PR writer who sent me the note: renaissance has only one N in it.) Everything served is supposed to be bought from farms within 100 miles of the Bay Area. Yum.

Posted on Wednesday, May 7th, 2008
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The royal pair: King Sisyphus and Queenie Pie

By awoodall

Two jazz operas are coming to town — SOON.
The first, “The Sisyphus Syndrome”  is by Black power poet-playwright Amiri Baraka and sax-man David Murray. The show begins 8 p.m. Thursday and runs through Saturday at the Eastside Cultural Center. 
In “The Sisyphus Syndrome”  the Baraka-Murray duo combines poetry, live music and mixed media to tell the story of African Americans’ struggles in the United States. The Eastside Cultural Center is located at 2277 International Blvd. General admission for the play is $20 and $10 for students up to age 19 with student ID. Discounts are available for student groups by calling 510-533-6629. For more information, visit the Web site www.eastsideartsalliance.org.
Then Friday, an adaptation of jazz great Duke Ellington’s last large-scale work and only opera opens. The premier of the restored opera will be the first time Bay Area audiences will be able to hear “Queenie Pie,” which was unfinished in 1974, when Ellington died.  Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays.
Advance tickets for the show at The Oakland Opera are $28 (or $35 at the door) and can be purchased online at www.oaklandopera.com, by mail (1734 Campbell St., Oakland, Calif., 94607) or by calling 510-763-1146. For more information, visit the Web site www.oaklandopera.com.

Posted on Tuesday, May 6th, 2008
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Open call for photogs

By awoodall

jvdz.jpgPhotographers working in all styles and mediums are invited to submit up to two of their images for the international juried photography exhibit: Glimpses in Time. This year’s exhibit pays tribute to the life and art of Harlem Renaissance camera genius James Van Der Zee. Entry forms and submission guidelines are available at www.joycegordongallery.com.  

Posted on Monday, May 5th, 2008
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Downtown a little brighter

By awoodall

You remember the story I wrote in January about no nightlife in downtown Oakland? I said that might be changing? Well, Friday night — art murmur night – it was changing. We’ll see how it looks this weekend, but on Friday, 14th Street between Broadway and Franklin was livelier than it has been since the lights started getting not “so much brighter there.” No disrespect, Petula Clark, but downtown has been more ghost town than O-Town for a long time. If a lack of parking is any indication of the area’s future success, downtown is going to see a revival.
Friday the Awaken Cafe on 14th Street stayed open late while droves of Burning Man rave types waited in line for what is supposed to be some of the best java in town. I just wasn’t into it. My boyfriend and I were ready to fall asleep standing after three days of moving (how the hell does one woman collect so much stuff???). Besides, I was all excited that finally the cafe/gallery/performance space (used to be the Golden Bull bar) renovation was ready. But when we arrived it turned out they were operating only the daytime coffee-to-go business. Oh well. Still, it was good to see the life bursting out of the cafe storefront like an overflowing candy jar. Next door, Joyce Gordon’s gallery was pulsing with art hipness at the reception for artists Chris Trueman, Sam Nejati and, in the photo gallery, Michael Johnson. I’ve never seen so many white folks in the gallery before. Come to think of it, I have never seen white artists displayed there. Whatever.

Posted on Monday, May 5th, 2008
Under: Art Murmur, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife | 1 Comment »
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Eli’s Mile High closing

By awoodall

elis.jpgA note from Samuel D. Marshall: I want to start off by thanking everyone that I’ve met these last 2 1/2 years owning the business side of Eli’s Mile High Club.  I succeeded my dream of becoming an official owner of a club, I by no means opened it to get rich, I opened it to save live music, and make it a fun place to come to and have a little fun.  These past 2 years have been very difficult times for me trying to work a fulltime job, and then run and host at the club Eli’s Mile High, and then try to run my own band, and then try to find that happiness.  Well the landlord decided to raise the rent by an anormous sum to where I could not take it anymore, so, I decided to say enough is enough so I decided to move on.  So once again I want to thank everyone who came out and supported the club, and like the saying goes, I’ll see ya all down the road, take care everyone, and be true to yourself everything will be alright. (Picture by Jackson West)

Posted on Thursday, May 1st, 2008
Under: Oakland nightlife | 7 Comments »
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