The latest greatest news that doesn’t revolve around bars is the remake of Footloose, the 80s hit in which Kevin Bacon walking around saying stuff like “Get Back!” sounded soooo cool to a geeky 8th grader like me. I was torn between his big-city meets Puritan village persona and wanting to sound like the English translation of a book about a German teenage junkie. I said “sound like” — not act like — a teenage junkie in Berlin. Anyway, Gossip Girl star Chace Crawford (I write this as if I have a clue who the heck that is…) is the new Kevin Bacon. Maybe they can film in Oakland, which as you might know, has some dance laws that could have come straight out of the movie.
Esther’s Orbit Room, the last holdout from the days when Seventh Street was THE place to go in the Bay Area to catch well-known or up-and-coming jazz and blues artists such as Ike and Tina Turner, Ray Charles and Etta James, has finally closed its doors. And with Esther Mabry’s declining health, the club’s future is very much in doubt. Stay tuned for the story later this week in the Tribune.
Last month, crews used Cragmont School in Berkeley as a set for filming NBC’s pilot program, “Parenthood.’ “Parenthood,” from the creators of “Friday Night Lights” revolves around adult siblings, the Bravermans. The project is based on the 1989 movie by the same name.
Berkeley school district spokesman Mark Coplan said the view of the Golden Gate Bridge and City of San Francisco were primary reasons for crews picking the school for filming.
The filming of “Parenthood,” with Peter Krause and Maura Tierney, has wrapped up in Berkeley, but not without a tragedy. Nora O’Brien, the executive in charge of drama programming, died April 29 after collapsing in Sausalito, according to the Associated Press.
There were reports on the Internet that the 44-year-old O’Brien actually collapsed while filming on a set in Berkeley. Coplan said that isn’t true. O’Brien had worked for six years at NBC Universal as an executive at the Sci Fi Channel and, most recently, as vice president of drama programming for the company’s studio division, according to the AP. Reports said she suffered a brain anyeurism.
And here’s some more news. Bacheeso’s has been open on Grand Avenue for a few weeks with a patio carved from the facade of a derilict liquor store. Speaking of patios, Oasis is closed for remodeling following a long back-and-forth with the city over code issues.
Meanwhile, Levende East has a new cocktail menu to match the warm nights, including the Fresa (La Fresa in Spanish), Purple Haze, French 69, Chipotle Fizz, Red Chile Caipirinha and the gloriously named Miss Piggy. They’re also serving Sangria and a late-night weekend menu for night owls like us. On the other side of town, comes this news: 3830 (“3832”) MacArthur Blvd. (APN: 030 -1912-014-00) Proposal: To establish a 2,054 square-foot restaurant (“Rico’s Grill) with a 690-square-foot dining room. The restaurant would serve beer & wine and close no later than 10:00PM. The full staff report has more info.
So I was wandering around Downtown and Lake Merritt last night and heard all out the grand plans for Uptown Unveiled, June 18. It’s going to be quite a show. Or, carnival, if Peter Van Kleef is done with his share of the debutante ball for the area’s community benefit district and celebration of the wild success brought to you by The Fox, Flora, Van Kleef’s, Uptown Lounge, Somar and other existing and soon-to-be places like the second outpost of Bench and Bar. The club is taking over the old @17th lounge and the London Studios Gallery (I think was the name) is also new. Not far away, Town Hall is going in where Sweet Jimmie’s used to be along with the Hibiscus restaurant, from what I heard. (Their hearing with the Planning Commission is scheduled for May 20. I can’t seem to find Bench and Bar’s online.) As for the Uptown Unveiled event…it’s going to be something to remember with four stages along five or six blocks of Telegraph and the area. “Lovers, hookers, muggers and thieves,” as Peter put it. He was joking about the hookers. He hired Shred Zeppelin and the Unauthorized Rolling Stones to play. (In the meantime, Van Kleef’s is offering lunch, a drink and massage for $25 — the massage for a limited time only.)
NIMBY Gallery and the Crucible will be working their magic. The ice skating rink will be open to all gratis and a skatepark will be outside along with K Dub and his gear. The plans are still being finalized but I’ll be putting out a full rundown June 5.
As many of you know, Speakeasy Theaters has been experiencing extreme financial difficulty since opening the Cerrito Theater. We learned much from the closing of the Parkway. Of most importance, we learned that our patrons would have preferred more warning of its impending closure. The El Cerrito City Council is meeting on Monday, May 18th to discuss the fate of the Cerrito Theater. Speakeasy Theaters has already agreed to leave as operators and we have offered to locate and train a new operator.
If any of this is of interest to you, I suggest that you attend the meeting.
Due to our present financial difficulties, the theater will no longer be opened Mondays and Tuesdays. Sorry for any inconvenience to you.
Thank you for your support.
Kyle and Catherine
City Council Information
The City Council meets at 7:30 the first and third Mondays of each month. When Monday is a holiday, the council meets on Tuesday.
Council meetings are normally held in the Council Chambers in the new City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Aveune (between Schmidt & Manila).
The restaurant anyway. The cafe is staying open but the restaurant is history, a victim of a bad economy at least the owners say. A swank pizzaiola kind of place is going in, word has it. I just hope it’s not another one of the generic places like Sidebar that packs in tables and could be anywhere — Oakland, NY, Kansas, Cleveland…
I can’t make the festival this year (I’m just too busy!) but if you happen to be in Cannes next week, you can catch a benefit to honor the earthquake victims in Abruzzo, Italy consisting of a powerful film presentation with musical performance and cocktail reception. It will take place on 20 May 2009 at 3pm at the 2009 Cannes International Film Festival.
Members of the film industry, artists and citizens of the world will gather at the benefit for the world premiere of the film and musical concert “CANTO 6409“, a 22′ film that was created and directed by Dino Viani, an independent filmmaker who participated in festivals around the year, including the Biennale of Venice last year. The film will be accompanied by a live performance by contemporary music composer Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta, who collaborated with John Cage between 1986 and 1992 and remains as composer for Merce Cunningham in New York City.