Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Archive for June, 2008

End of an era

By awoodall

It is indeed with the closing of Trio Bistro across from Lake Merritt after 36 years. Maestra Kimala Martin said she and her daughter shut down amidst pressure from the landlord. Not helpful was Kimala’s back surgery and ensuing heart attack, which kept her away from the restaurant she opened in 1972 with her late husband and kept running with her chef-daughter Chantal.
I stumbled across Trio Bistro one Sunday night about a year and a half ago. It was shortly before 10 p.m. and my guest and I were turned away from just about every restaurant around the lake. At Zza’s next door, several people including I think an owner looked up at us when we opened the door at 9:45 p.m. as though we were the last things they wanted to see so late on a Sunday. We noticed for the first time Trio Bistro and returned for just about every important occasion including my younger daughter’s 12th birthday, which Chantal and Kimala made delightful.
We were headed there for another celebration a few months ago when we discovered the restaurant was still closed, although the duo was supposed to open after Kimala recovered from major back surgery. But this was months later. Finally, Kimala called the other night to say they were selling the place.
Some reviews of the Trio Bistro complained about slow service and unpredictable results. Most raved about the food, service and camraderie that prevailed in my experience. More importantly, I doubt the restaurant that will replace the Trio Bistro will have a chef willing to welcome a hungry night owl on a Sunday night and provide her with mashed potatoes and a martini at nearly 11 p.m.  without batting an eyelash. Will the chef and maitre d’ greet guests with an embrace and their favorite dishes and offer tango lessons and be a home away from home?
The restaurant is already up for sale but it would be sad to let the Trio go without a send off.  Either contact me here or Kimala and Chantal if you would like to throw a bash and remember an Oakland institution whose closing is the end of an era – a very sad one for the city’s night owls.

Posted on Friday, June 20th, 2008
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There really are snakes in Berkeley

By kbender

This snake was found in Berkeley last week This 6-foot boa constrictor was trying to stay warm when a man found her curled on a pile of dirt at Aquatic Park last Friday. He didn’t want to pull the snake from the dirt so he rushed to Berkeley Animal Care Services where snake expert April Stevenson was just closing up for the day.

“I was really excited because I like snakes,” Stevenson told me. With the help of the folks at the East Bay Vivarium it was determined that the snake had an upper respiratory infection, mouth rot and an unknown mass on the lower end of her long body. Injections of antibiotics were started and everyone did their best to keep the snake warm so she could fight the infection. They even named the non-venemus snake_ Antoinette.

Stevenson, who knows a thing or two about snakes and has three of her own, said she believe the Colombian red tale boa was someone’s pet.

“Someone probably dumped it at Aquatic Park. It was doing the best it could, hoping the sun could keep it warm enough,” she said, adding that she believes the snake had been there about a week.

 In any case, the Berkeley animal shelter will keep her for at least another week and then possibly put her up for adoption. “I’m considering taking her,” said Stevenson.  Want more information? Call the Berkeley Animal Care Services at 981-6600.  

Posted on Friday, June 20th, 2008
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Oakland events Web site

By awoodall

What’s happening in Oakland? Here is the city’s official event Web site. While it’s not anywhere near to being comprehensive, it’s another helpful tool to navigate through our nightlife options.

Posted on Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
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Motorcyclists gearing up for rally at U.S. Marine center

By kbender

 

When Eagles Up, the pro-military group, rode into Berkeley in March they designated the city as a “no spend zone” to penalize the city financially for its anti-military stance.

Except for buying a pizza, organizers said bikers didn’t spend a dime in Berkeley. Well, the group has changed its’ tune and is returning to the city this Saturday to show Berkeley a little love and some dead presidents.

“This time, I think we should spend money - at every establishment that has two things displayed in their window -  an American flag (and)  a sign that says, “We Support the Troops,” organizer Doug Lyvere, the director of Western Operations for Eagles Up, tells me. The group will converge on the U.S. Marine center at 64 Shattuck Square about 10 a.m. Saturday and rally until noon when Move America Forward leader Melanie Morgan and others will give speeches in support of the Marines, who earlier this year were called “uninvited and unwelcome intruders” by the Berkeley City Council.

Organizers, who are already scouting Berkeley for America flags and troop support signs, are also encouraging members to spend at least one $2 bill. “ They’re rare enough to make a point.  Any every business that gets at least one of these, will know that the veterans are giving back, again,” Lyvere says.  

There’s no telling how many motorcyclists will show up Saturday. Last time, organizers said there were 400 bikers who spent $25,000 to $30,000 in neighboring cities. That’s a lot of pizza.  

 

Posted on Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
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“We’ll marry you gayly…” says Berkeley restaurant owner

By kbender

Disclaimer: Russell Bass is looking for publicity for his 15-year-old Berkeley restaurant.

Usually we news folks would look the other way. We don’t much care for shameless self promoters.

We ignore them. We delete their e-mails. We roll our eyes.

But Bass’ promotion _ a contest to win a free official same-sex wedding ceremony and reception dinner at Cafe de la Paz _ is a pretty good one.

“We’ll marry you gayly,” says the advertisement that an angry Bass on Monday placed in the Bakersfield Californian, Kern County’s largest daily newspaper.

You see, Bass is more than a little ticked off at Kern County for their refusal to marry same-sex couples. Kern County officials say they aren’t doing weddings _ gay or straight _ because they don’t have the staff. Officials in Butte County also won’t do civil ceremonies there anymore.

Bass says he’ll give away the prize to the first same-sex couple that can tell him “Why I’d rather get married in Berkeley at Cafe de la Paz” that in Kern County. To enter go to www.cafedelapaz.net.

The winning couple will be treated to a wedding for ten at Cafe de la Paz, which Bass happily tells us translates (in Spanish) to Peace Cafe.

Posted on Monday, June 16th, 2008
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Big B.A.D. Dirty Smack Down

By awoodall

Join the Bay Area Derby Girls Friday, June 27 for some good, clean, wholesome mud wrestling at CELLspace in San Francisco’s Mission District. Watch skaters from the Richmond Wrecking Belles, Oakland Outlaws and San Francisco ShEvil Dead get messy in a mud wrasslin’ smackdown fundraiser to benefit the Bay Area’s only all-women flat-track roller derby league. The $15 cover will help ensure the B.A.D. Girls will bout all year long. This event is for fans who are 21 years and older. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the fightin starts at 9:00 p.m. www.bayareaderbygirls.com or www.cellspace.org CELLspace is located at 2050 Bryant Street.

Posted on Monday, June 16th, 2008
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Breast arrest in Berkeley

By kbender

It seems odd that there is an anti-nudity ordinance in Berkeley of all the liberal places on the planet. But the law has been on the books for almost a decade and that means you can’t show your stuff in public _ no matter how much you want to.

 

Pamela Bennett, a 45-year-old Code Pink activist was arrested at the the Breasts Not Bombs rally Friday because she didn’t follow the rules, police said. “feel that this is really silencing the message. If Berkeley can’t allow (nudity) for a few minutes then where are we with free speech?” said Bennett.

She thinks the arrest was political and that police targeted her because she’s been arrested three times before at the Marine recruiting center for tresspassing. Police say she was told to put her pink top back on once and didn’t do it. The second time she got the cuffs and a trip to the Berkeley city jail.

“I didn’t plan to get arrested today,” she said. “I planned on baring my breasts (for a news photograph) and getting that photograph out there to show warmth, nurturing and peace. I wanted to counterbalance the other (negative images of war) that are out there and show the vulnerability,” she told me Friday afternoon after being released from jail.

Bennett was headed back downtown to the embattled recruiting center, which has been under fire since February when the City Council called them “uninvited and unwanted intruders.” She wasn’t sure if she was going to show her breasts again. She said she’d drawn a pair of boobs on her clothing and written the word “Danger” nearby to make a point.

Nudity in Berkeley wasn’t outlawed before the late Andrew Martinez, formerly known as the Naked Guy, began showing his stuff on the UC Berkeley campus in 1992. He led campus nude-in and nobody really cared. Nudity without lewd acts was not illegal.

UC Berkeley eventually banned nudity and asked Martinez to leave, issuing its “Policy Statement Concerning Public Nudity and Sexually Offensive Conduct” in December 1992. In 1999, the city adopted an anti-nudity ordinance, after Martinez attended a City Council meeting naked. Martinez was once part of the X-Plicit Players, a group of naked folks that had historically been in Berkeley events and parades, including the How Berkeley Can you Be parade.

This year, they were asked to stay home. When we wrote the story, organizer Greg Keidan told me this.  ”For some reason, some people in Berkeley didn’t want to see naked people in the streets. They (organizers) wanted to make it more of a mainstream event.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on Friday, June 13th, 2008
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Sail away for summer solstice

By awoodall

“Summer Sailstice” Open House
Jun 21, 6:30 ~ 9:30 pm
Free boat rentals – open late!
Lake Merritt Boating Center
568 Bellevue Avenue, (510) 238-2196

Posted on Friday, June 13th, 2008
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Oakland: Damsel in distress?

By awoodall

Bright and early this morning I got a call from the Mayor’s office saying that they didn’t like the tone of the NIght Owl column in today’s paper – a follow up on the plague of armed restaurant robberies in April.
Of course, I shot my big mouth off but once I reread the story I could see where Dellums’ aide was coming from. I could have been more obvious about crediting the mayor for getting safety measures going in the wake of the robberies; for doing something. That’s assuming readers are too obtuse to recognize that I was poking fun at the mayor’s office and people who are angry at Dellums for not being our prince in shining armor. We do need a mayor who is visible and active and NOT in South Africa during a crime spree. But he’s not going to be our savior, which, I suspect, is the expectation that got him elected.

Posted on Friday, June 13th, 2008
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Breasts Not Bombs out Friday… will the protest cam be there too?

By kbender

Breasts Not Bombs, the ladies who like to go topless in public during non-violent public protests, are gearing up to show their stuff at the embattled U.S. Marine recruiting center on Shattuck Square in downtown Berkeley from 10 a.m. to noon Friday. They are doing it in the name of peace and justice and we’re all for that.

 Members of Breasts Not Bombs during a protest

But we do have a question: will the 24-hour Fox News camera that is attached to a building across the street and has been steaming live video for several months be showing the bare breast brigade on their Web site? We tried to check the status of the site  http://www.foxnews.com/protestcam/ today but couldn’t get a picture. 

The Breast Not Bombs women say they are coming to Berkeley because they can’t bare another day of the military recruiting youth and occupying the “sovereign nation of Iraq.” They want to stop “funding the war and turning valuable human life into casualties or cannon fodder.”

Now, the U.S. Marine center has been plenty of action in the last four months since the City Council called them “uninvited and unwelcome intruders” and Code Pink and the like began rallying outside weekly. But we’re pretty sure this is the first time the bare ladies will be out in force.

As the group likes to say, maybe the breast is yet to come.

 

 

 

 

Posted on Thursday, June 12th, 2008
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