Archive | Home Page

Post for the home page belong in this category

42nd Annual KPFA Crafts Fair returns to San Francisco December 8 and 9

 

A beloved holiday tradition, the KPFA Crafts Fair offers an intimate and relaxed bazaar style shopping experience with over 200 artisans offering unique handcrafted gifts under one roof. Original and contemporary handcrafted items in all media from wearable art to art for the home will be featured; leather, glass, textiles, ceramics, jewelry, gourmet food, self-care products and more.

EXHIBITORS

Many artists at the fair have come from a long lineage of craft workers that are passing the trade onto the next generation. Karl Schroen of Sebastopol is a 4th generation blacksmith who makes exquisite knives. He uses tools passed down from his great, great grandfather. Rupam Henery of Rupam’s Apothecary is part of a family lineage of herbalists and pharmacists reaching back 13 generations. She creates quality tinctures, salves and herbal remedies for self care. Niko Culevski from Washington State is the 6th generation of weavers originating from Macedonia. He creates hand-woven wool blankets on a loom just the way his parents taught him, a skill he is now teaching his children. David Giulletti, a fine Jeweler from Berkeley, is teaching his two teenagers his craft in expectation that one will take up the family business some day. Supporting artists such as these insures that their skills will not be lost but can continue for generations to come.

 

Creatively using recycled materials in their work is a popular theme for artists at this year’s fair. At least 25% of the exhibiting artisans use re-purposed materials and are “Up Cycling.” Shoppers who care to keep their carbon footprint light will be pleased to find books bound for the trash bin transformed into safes, clocks and shelves by Denise Jones of Cutten, CA. Paul Loughridge of Morgan Hill, CA transforms what most people would consider junk into one-of-a-kind, surreal, cyber/steam punk assemblage sculptures. Nicole Flood of Flood Clothing in Portland buys previously worn clothes by the pound, deconstructs and re-sews them into her fashionable new designs.

 

SPECIAL EXHIBITIONS

 

KPFA Crafts Fair and ACCI Gallery Proudly announce their second annual Collaborative Exhibition: CreativiTea. This exhibit will showcase artworks incorporating and /or depicting tea, tea leaves, tea bags and artworks crated for or about drinking tea. After the fair, the exhibit will be on display March 9 – April 8, 2013 at the ACCI Gallery in Berkeley.

 

12×12 returns this year! 12 artists make 12 pieces of art in 12 months. The pieces must finish at 12 inches square. What began as a challenge to get back into exploring new ideas and making art a commitment, a group of artists have been meeting monthly this past year to support their goal of creating 12 new works. Come see the end result and become inspired.

 

FOOD & MUSIC

 

The mezzanine overlooking the fair at the Concourse will host tasty fare and festive acoustic music allowing fair goers to relax, refuel and plan the rest of their shopping.

 

TRANSPORTATION

 

The Fair makes it easy to travel to the event in green style by providing complimentary shuttles from the Civic Center BART/MUNI Station, at 8th and Market and from the Caltrain station at 4th and King Streets.

 

ABOUT KPFA

 

KPFA 94.1FM is the nation’s original listener-sponsored, noncommercial, public radio station founded in 1949. The mission of KPFA is to encourage cultural diversity and pluralistic community expression; to contribute to a lasting understanding between individuals of all nations, creeds and colors; to promote freedom of the press and to serve as a forum for various points of view, and to maintain an independent funding base.

 

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS: BART, East Bay Express, SF Weekly, Commonground Magazine.


Continue Reading

Center REPertory Company Presents A Christmas Carol

Just in time to celebrate the season, Center REPertory Company is pleased to present Charles Dickens’s holiday classic, A Christmas Carol. Hailed by critics as “…THE Christmas Carol to see in the Bay Area,” this REP favorite is celebrating its fifteen year, and first with the award winning, Bay Area favorite Mark Anderson Phillips debuting in the role of the miserly, joyless Ebenezer Scrooge. With only 16 performances, tickets are expected to sell fast. The show opens Saturday, December 8th at 7:30 p.m. Center REP Managing Director Scott Denison directs the ensemble of new faces and old pros, from the tragically doomed Jacob Marley to the incurably optimistic Tiny Tim. Ticket prices starting at $41 and can be purchased by calling 925.943.SHOW.


A Christmas Carol is the enduring and inspiring tale of redemption that follows Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation after meeting a series of ghosts one evening. Theatregoers of all ages will enjoy this traditional holiday treat. Returning patrons will remember fondly the outlandish antics of Michael Ray Wisely as Christmas Present and the daunting specter of Jacob Marley, played by Jeff Draper, but more than a few changes and surprises keep the annual production fresh and exciting.  Director Scott Denison says “the advantage of doing this year after year is that on opening night, I’m sitting in the back of the house and thinking “next year, I want to add this, and next year, I want to add that.”

Placed at the helm of one of the most popular and retold Christmas tales, director Scott Denison focuses on keeping his version fresh and familiar simultaneously. The freshness comes from out-of-this world special effects, and familiarity comes through the story and the recurring cast of characters that audiences from around the Bay Area have come to know and love each holiday season.

Joining the cast this year, Director Scott Denison is proud to introduce Mark Anderson Phillips in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge. This will be Phillips 8th production with Center REP.   “Mark will bring a new dynamic to this production,” Denison continues, “When you change a lead it affects all the other characters and will bring a fresh new outlook in telling this wonderful story.”

“It’s not the crotchety mean guy who is hard to portray,” Denison insists, “it’s the reborn man.  It’s so important to the storytelling.  Mark will bring honesty and sincerity.” I think he’s going to excel at it:  he’s a workhorse and a brilliant actor.”

“We have all lost our way at some point, have closed down and shut ourselves off.  Dickens reminds us how amazing and essential it is to open our hearts,” says Phillips, a recipient of three Bay Area Drama Critics’ Circle Awards and a favorite artist at Center REP.

“The audiences leave here ready to give each other a hug.”  Denison claims, noting that special effects and other theatre magic enhance Dickens’ classic story.  “It snows in the Hofmann Theater, after all!” he says, laughing.

A Christmas Carol is sure to warm the wintry heart of even the most hard-nosed Scrooge.

Director Scott Denison has directed and created lighting designs for over 200 productions, including Center REP’s acclaimed The Wizard of Oz, A Christmas Carol, Shirley Valentine and Dear Liar. Denison serves as Managing Director of Center REPertory Company, is the director and co-founder of Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble, and created the Contra Costa County Shellie Awards. He has directed A Christmas Carol every year for the past eight years. “This story is a joy to return to every year for the actors, designers, and staff of Center REP. In the somber days of winter, this timeless tale of moving from darkness to light is certainly worth retelling,” remarks Denison. “The warmth and laughter are infectious.”

 

Featuring: Mark Anderson Phillips*, Michael A. Berg, Evan Boomer, Amanda Denison, Max DeSantis, Jeff Draper, Trevor Gomez, Nicole Helfer, Tim Homsley, Andrew Humann, Heather Kellogg, Britt Lauer, Maggie Mason, Everett Meckler, Robin Melnick, Marty Newton, Jason Pedroza, Jeanine Perasso, Grace Perry, Vince Perry, Barbara Reynolds, Tim Reynolds, Joel Roster, Kristina Schoell, Kerri Shawn, Claire Shepard, Grant Strain, Scott Strain, Molly Thornton, Kyle Valentine, Michael Wiles*, Michael Ray Wisely*, Olivia Wisely, Wendy Wisely, Brady Wright, with Narration by Ken Ruta*

 

The design team features:

Lighting Designer: John Earls, Sound Designer: Jeff Mockus, Casting Director: Jennifer Denison Perry, Scenic Designer: Kelly Tighe, Stage Manager: Jeff Collister*

 

Continue Reading

OSCAR QUALIFIED SHORT, “FOR SPACIOUS SKY” TO SCREEN AT HISTORIC CASTRO THEATRE

 Local Filmmakers Announce November 3 Screening of Film

Shot and Co-Produced in Bay Area

Lobo Production Group, Lucky Dragon Productions – Oscar qualified short film, “For Spacious Sky” is scheduled to make its San Francisco premiere on Saturday, November 3, 2012, at the historic Castro Theatre (429 Castro Street, San Francisco, CA 94114) at 5:30 PM, as part of the Scary Cow Productions Indie Co-Op Festival. Shot in Chico, CA, and co-produced by San Francisco based production company, Lucky Dragon Productions (in association with Lobo Production Group), “For Spacious Sky” tells the true story of three estranged brothers who reunite on November 2, 2008, the day that President Barack Obama was elected to his first term in office.

Inspired by actual events and set on Election Day 2008 against the sweeping landscape of rural America, For Spacious Sky is the inspiring story of three lost brothers finding their way back to each other – one from hate, one from addiction, and one from discrimination. Eli, an ex-con white supremacist struggling to start his life over, and Clay, a gay novelist, must set aside their differences for the day to bring their drug- addicted younger brother, Kevin, to rehab. On this day of our nation’s most important decision, these three estranged brothers find themselves at a similar crossroads and must choose either to remain broken or to change.

Lucky Dragon Productions commented “To bring this piece to the Scary Cow Indie Film Co-op Festival here at the Castro where many of the crew met and honed their craft is an honor. The film, a very human story, is our contribution to the dialog for the Presidential election on November 6th and we are thrilled to engage with a large San Francisco audience three days before the voting begins”

“For Spacious Sky” will open the concluding phase of the 18th annual Scary Cow Productions Indie Co-Op Festival (www.scarycow.com) at the historic Castro Theatre on Friday, November 3, at 5:30 PM. The festival features short films made by Bay Area filmmakers. Following the screening of “For Spacious Sky,” the filmmakers will be available for a Q&A with audience members and will attend an after party at The Castro Theatre immediately following the program where they will be available for further questions and discussion. Lucky Dragon Productions will also be premiering their latest short, “Christian & The Boss” at the festival.

For more information on the Scary Cow Indie Co-Op Festival and to purchase tickets to see “For Spacious Sky,” please visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/287188. For the full festival schedule at the Castro Theatre, please visit http://www.castrotheatre.com/p-list.html.

To learn more about “For Spacious Sky” please go to www.forspaciousskythefilm.com. For more on Lucky Dragon Productions, www.luckydragonproductions.com, and you can learn more about Lobo Productions at www.lobopg.com

Continue Reading

New environmental curriculum corrects plastic bag information Industry trade group had influenced text in 11th-grade teachers’ edition

California Watch reported last year that whole sections of an 11th-grade teachers’ edition guide for a new curriculum had been lifted almost verbatim from comments and suggestions submitted by the American Chemistry Council, the chemical and plastics industry trade group.

That investigation spurred politicians and state regulators to demand an examination into how the controversial text was compiled and changed, and whether industry bias was present.

State schools chief Tom Torlakson issued a statement saying his office would work with Cal/EPA to examine the material and identify areas “where further review may be warranted.”

And state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Santa Monica, also called for an investigation, to which Cal/EPA responded by saying it would review the chapter.

The new text provides more updated statistics on plastic bag consumption and recycling rates, many of which were provided by California Watch in its story on the textbook.

For instance, while the old text used a statistic offered by the American Chemistry Council indicating that 12 percent of Americans recycle plastic shopping bags, the new text notes “recycling rates specific to plastic shopping bags are not currently calculated by state or federal agencies.”

It also refers to a CalRecycle’s estimate, which suggests that recycling rates may be as low as 3 percent.

“This is the final revised version, which will be available to members of the public and teachers for download,” said Bryan Ehlers, assistant secretary of education and quality programs at Cal/EPA.

“We think the curriculum is excellent, and this process gave us the opportunity to go through it with a fine- toothed comb, getting at the same goal of producing a thoughtful and reasoned discussion about the consequences of consumption,” Ehlers said.

In 2003, a state law was enacted requiring environmental concepts and principles be taught to all of California’s K-12 public school students.

Cal/EPA outsourced the development and editing of the curriculum to Gerald Lieberman, director of the State Education and Environment Roundtable. The roundtable is a nonprofit group originally developed by departments of education in 16 states to enhance environmental education in schools.

Lieberman incorporated nearly all of the trade group’s suggestions, including adding a new section to the text called “Advantages of Plastic Shopping Bags.”

The California curriculum covers science, history, social studies and arts and weaves in environmental principles and concepts within 85 units and hundreds of pages. The full-color pages of the curriculum, which can be downloaded from the state’s website, mirror the look of a textbook. Teachers are encouraged to use the materials as handouts in the classroom and as reading assignments for students.

Ehlers, the Cal/EPA official, said that after the revised curriculum was posted for review, the agency received about a half-dozen comments, and none from the American Chemistry Council.

The American Chemistry Council did not reply to a California Watch request to respond to the new revisions.

According to Ehlers, the agency has now trained about 2,000 teachers with the new curriculum, which is likely to reach about 60,000 students in more than 100 school district across the state.

 

By SUSANNE RUST, (from the Bay Citizen)

 

Continue Reading

San Francisco Open Studios Heads Into Final Weekend November 3 & 4

With over 900 artists it is the country’s oldest and largest open studio event

Saturday & Sunday, November 3 & 4: 11am – 6pm

For the past month, San Francisco has come alive with art as ArtSpan (www.artspan.org) continues to present its 37th Annual SF Open Studios – the oldest and largest event of its kind in the country. From Dogpatch to Fort Mason, the Mission to Ocean Beach, each weekend features new neighborhoods to explore as more than 900 emerging and established artists open their studios to show and sell their work during the month-long event. It’s an unrivaled opportunity for art patrons, collectors, and admirers to connect one on one with artists, get a glimpse of the working artist’s life, and to find their next true art love.

This coming weekend is the final chance to experience the 2012 SF Open Studios: Saturday & Sunday, November 3 & 4, from 11am to 6pm.  This weekend features artists working at the Hunters Point Shipyard & Islais Creek Studios.  In addition, the SF Open Studios Exhibition continues this week, through November 4, at the SOMArts Cultural Center, Main Gallery (934 Brannan St. San Francisco): Tuesday – Friday, 12pm – 7pm; Saturday, 11am – 5pm; Sunday, 11am – 3pm

“SF Open Studios absolutely epitomizes the breadth, depth, and diversity of the city itself,” says ArtSpan Executive Director Heather Holt Villyard. “There’s no other event that illuminates the abundance and vibrancy of San Francisco’s arts and culture in the same way.”

About ArtSpan
ArtSpan, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, builds a community by connecting the public to visual arts in San Francisco. Through SF Open Studios, youth and adult education, and art-centric events, ArtSpan creates a platform for artists to thrive, fostering a Bay Area that values the arts.

Continue Reading

Victory for San Bruno, S.F., Ratepayer Advocates Over CPUC, PG&E Scheme to Impose Unilateral Mediation in San Bruno Blast Settlement

Former Sen. George Mitchell his law firm DLA Piper have offered to back out as mediators in talks to determine the fines Pacific Gas & Electric Co. should pay for the deadly San Bruno pipeline blast, the San Francisco Chronicle reported today.

“Sen. Mitchell and his law firm DLA Piper did the right thing by telling the California Public Utilities Commission that he wouldn’t mediate settlement discussions in the San Bruno explosion and fire without all the parties agreeing. We are very pleased and looking forward getting back to direct negotiations with PG&E,” said San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane.

“We hope this decision sends an important message to the CPUC and PG&E. They must immediately return to the negotiation table and offer a real settlement to atone for the safety laws they violated and the people and community they have devastated.

“We thank the City of County of San Francisco, the Division of Ratepayer Advocates, and TURN for standing with us to fight and stand up for fairness and to ensure justice is done in San Bruno and statewide.  We also thank Assemblyman Jerry Hill and the citizens of San Bruno for standing firm and challenging the CPUC and PG&E actions.

“The unilateral announcement this past week by the CPUC that it had selected a mediator without consulting any of the parties is consistent with the cozy and unholy relationship between the CPUC and PG&E.  This action was symbolic of the broken, dysfunctional and dishonest relationship between PG&E and the CPUC, the agency that is supposed to be the watchdog and protector of the public’s interest.

“We call into question the integrity of the entire CPUC process that has occurred over the past two years since our community was ripped apart by the negligent and systematic safety failures of PG&E and the inability of the CPUC to independently protect and represent the interests of the residents of San Bruno and the people of California.

“We look forward to returning to the settlement negotiations to represent the interests of the citizens of San Bruno, the memory of those whose lives were taken by PG&E’s negligence, their families and friends, and equally important, every other city, town and community in the State of California so we can help others prevent what happened to us,” Mayor Ruane concluded.

Continue Reading

THE WARSAW PHILHARMONIC AND CONDUCTOR ANTONI WIT PERFORM TWO CONCERT PROGRAMS AT DAVIES SYMPHONY HALL NOVEMBER 11 AND 12

Both programs feature pianist Yulianna Avdeeva performing concertos by Chopin and Beethoven

The Warsaw Philharmonicand Artistic Director Antoni Witperform two concert programs at Davies Symphony Hall on November 11 and 12.  On November 11, they perform Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with pianist Yulianna Avdeeva and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, Pathetique.  On November 12, they perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor, also with pianist Yulianna Avdeeva, and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8.

Founded in 1901 by a group of financiers and musicians, the Warsaw Philharmonicbecame the most preeminent performing ensemble in Poland.  Following the destruction of its hall during World War II, the Orchestra performed in sports halls and theatres.  After the construction of a new hall in 1955, under the conductor Witold Rowicki the Orchestra modernized and cultivated the work of Polish composers.  Under the direction of current Artistic Directory Antoni Wit, the Orchestra has continued to champion the work of Polish composers, making numerous recordings and winning many awards for its recordings of works by Lutosławski, Szymanowski, and Penderecki, among others.  In July 2012, Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic received a Choc award for their April 2012 album of music by Gorecki, recorded just after the composer’s death in 2010. The Orchestra also hosts the annual Chopin Piano Competition.

In addition to their standard and contemporary orchestra repertoire, the Warsaw Philharmonic is well-known for its work in performing the soundtracks to various anime films.  Its credits include the films Battle Royale and Battle Royale II: Requiem, in addition to performing Square Enix’sscore for Final Fantasy XIII.

Winner of the 2010 Chopin Piano Competition, Yulianna Avdeeva recently debuted with the New York Philharmonic under Music Director Alan Gilbert in Warsaw and New York and also with the NHK Symphony Orchestra under Charles Dutoit in Tokyo.  An avid chamber musician, Avdeeva regularly collaborates with violinist Julia Fischer and with the Philharmonia Quartet, comprised of musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic. In addition to accompanying the Warsaw Philharmonic on their fall 2012 US tour, she debuts this season with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Gaetano D’Espinosa and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin under Marek Janowski.

WARSAW PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA                     Sunday, November 11 at 7 pm
Davies Symphony Hall

Antoni Wit conductor
Yulianna Avdeeva piano
Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra

Lutosławski Little Suite
Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Opus 21
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Opus 74, Pathétique

WARSAW PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA                     Monday, November 12 at 7 pm
Davies Symphony Hall
Antoni Wit conductor
Yulianna Avdeeva piano
Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra

Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Opus 73, Emperor
Dvořák Symphony No. 8 in G major, Opus 88

TICKETS:              $15-$93.  Tickets are available at sfsymphony.org , by phone at 415-864-6000, and at the
Davies Symphony Hall Box Office, on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and
Franklin Street in San Francisco.

CD SIGNINGS:      Yulianna Avdeeva will sign her CDs in the Symphony Store following both performances.

Continue Reading

MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS AND THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY PERFORM THEIR FIRST CONCERT AT THE GREEN MUSIC CENTER AT SONOMA STATE UNIVERSITY THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6 AT 8 PM

Yefim Bronfman performs Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto; program includes world premiere of Pandora,

new work by SFS Assistant Concertmaster Mark Volkert

The Orchestra’s annual four-concert series also includes performances January 31, March 7, and May 23, 2013

Michael Tilson Thomas(MTT) leads the San Francisco Symphony(SFS) in their first performances at Sonoma State University’s recently opened Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall at Green Music Centeron Thursday, December 6 at 8 pm.  On the program is the world premiere of a new work by SFS Assistant Concertmaster Mark Volkert, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor, with pianist Yefim Bronfman, and R. Strauss’Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks.  The SFS’ annual series at the Green Music Center includes four Thursday concerts. In addition to the performance on December 6, they perform with violinist James Ehnes and conductor Charles Dutoit in a program of Ravel, Lalo and Elgar on January 31, 2013. They return March 7 with MTT and pianist Yuja Wang in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, and the Orchestra performs Brahms’ Symphony No. 1. On May 23 conductor David Robertson leads the Orchestra and pianist Marc-André Hamelin in Ravel’s Piano Concerto in D major for the Left Hand and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and Ravel’s La Valse.

Inspired by the acoustical perfection of Tanglewood’s Seiji Ozawa Hall, the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall opened in September with performances by pianist Lang Lang and bluegrass-folk artist Alison Krauss & Union Station. The new building completes Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center. The San Francisco Symphony performs four concerts there in its inaugural season and the hall is the new home of the Santa Rosa Symphony. Weill Hall, Lawn, and Commons join a state-of-the-art music education building, faculty offices, and an elegant restaurant and executive retreat center. Designed by architect William Rawn, working closely with acoustician Lawrence Kirkegaard, the 1,400-seat hall was designed to replicate the intimacy and acoustics of Vienna’s Musikverein and Symphony Hall in Boston.

Assistant Concertmaster of the SFS violin section since 1972, Mark Volkert has previously had two works for orchestra and numerous chamber works performed by the SFS. Based on a chamber trio, Pandora was expanded for orchestra at the suggestion of SFS Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas, who says of Volkert, “He writes with such understanding and brilliance, especially for strings, because he is such a master string player himself.”

A frequent collaborator with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas, Yefim Bronfman also performs chamber music with SFS musicians on December 9 at Davies Symphony Hall.  This season sees a year-long orchestral and chamber residency with the Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchestra and Mariss Jansons, as well as performances with the Vienna Philharmonic and Michael Tilson Thomas in Vienna and London in April 2013. Click here to see a video of Bronfman and MTT .
.

Continue Reading

Winner of International Design Competition Announced for San Francisco’s Rainbow Honor Walk

A jury of artists and cultural leaders from San Francisco has selected the winning submission of the international competition to design plaques for the Rainbow Honor Walk (www.rainbowhonorwalk.org), a tribute to be built in San Francisco’s Castro district to honor historic LGBT figures.

“I am greatly honored to have my work selected, especially by a jury of fellow designers and artists,” said Carlos Casuso of Madrid, Spain. “I look forward to working with the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Department of Public Works to bring this tribute to reality.”

Last year, the first 20 names for The Rainbow Honor Walk were announced. This year, the contest solicited design proposals from around the world.

“Now I understand what being an expectant parent in the waiting room must be like,” said Rainbow Honor Walk Co-Founder and Chair David Perry. “The board was thrilled with the jury’s selection and unanimously approved the selection at our recent board meeting. Now, the real work begins: fundraising, fundraising, fundraising.”

Envisioning the Rainbow Honor Walk, a volunteer committee of community leaders received the unanimous support of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to create the sidewalk monument. Eventually, the Walk will stretch from the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy on 19th Street at Diamond down to Castro. On Castro Street — the LGBT community’s “Main Street” – the walk will continue up to Market Street with additional wings along 18th Street. On Market Street, San Francisco’s main thoroughfare, the Walk will continue to the LGBT Center at Octavia Boulevard.

“The Rainbow Honor Walk will not only be an inspiring educational tool for future generations, but an important, ongoing and permanent part of San Francisco’s cultural landscape,” said Tom DeCaigny, Director of Cultural Affairs for the San Francisco Arts Commission in a statement earlier this year. “We are honored and pleased to support this project, and look forward to assisting in any way we can.”

Now that the design template has been chosen, it will be presented to the San Francisco Arts Commission for their approval, in accordance with San Francisco’s Charter, which requires all structures, placed on public property to be approved by the Arts Commission. When that has been completed and the funds have been raised, the plaques will be fabricated and installed in the sidewalks.

Casuso’s design is for a bronze plaque, divided in four quarters. The honoree’s photo, digitally treated so it can be easily engraved in the bronze, occupies the full plaque while one quarter is reserved for the honoree’s biographical information.

Following are the first 20 names selected for inclusion on the Rainbow Honor Walk:

• Jane Addams (1860-1935), Social worker, first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, 1931.
• James Baldwin (1924-87), American novelist, playwright, essayist, poet, civil rights activist.
• George Choy (1960-93): Activist for Asian & Pacific Islander youth and people with AIDS.
• Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936), Spanish poet, playwright, political activist.
• Allen Ginsberg (1926-97), American poet. San Francisco Beat poet/ Free speech activist.
• Keith Haring (1958-90), American artist and AIDS activist.
• Harry Hay (1912-2002), English born writer, gay rights activist. Founder of The Mattachine Society, 1950.
• Sylvester James (1947-88), American disco star, soul singer, San Francisco performer.
• Christine Jorgensen (1926-89), Pre-eminent American transgender pioneer and advocate.
• Frida Kahlo (1907-54), Mexican artist whose work has been celebrated as emblematic of national and indigenous tradition.
• Del Martin (1921-2008), American feminist, gay rights activist. Founder Daughters of Bilitis.
• Yukio Mishima nee Kimitake Hiraoka (1925-70), Japanese playwright, poet, actor, film director.
• Bayard Rustin (1912-87), American civil rights leader.
• Randy Shilts (1951-94), San Francisco journalist, biographer.
• Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), American novelist, essayist, playwright.
• Alan Turing (1912-54), British scientist who broke the Nazi’s Enigma Code and father of the modern computer, cryptanalyst, logician, mathematician.
• Tom Waddell (1937-87), American athlete, physician, founder of the Gay Games.
• Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Irish playwright, poet, novelist, essayist.
• Tennessee Williams (1911-83), American dramatist, poet, novelist.
• Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), English novelist, essayist, publisher.

Continue Reading

CAL PERFORMANCES PRESENTS ¡MUSICA! A CELEBRATION OF MUSIC FROM LATIN AMERICA WITH SIMÓN BOLÍVAR SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA OF VENEZUELA CONDUCTED BY GUSTAVO DUDAMEL THURSDAY & FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29 & 30, AT ZELLERBACH HALL

Residency activities include a two-day conference on music education plus a master class for

UC Berkeley musicians and a SchoolTime concert for Bay Area school children

Conducting phenomenon Gustavo Dudamel brings the world-celebrated Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela to Berkeley in two concerts Thursday & Friday, November 29 & 30 at 8:00 p.m. The program titled ¡MUSICA! A Celebration of Music from Latin America, a departure from the European orchestral canon, showcases works by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Carlos Chávez, Julián Orbón, Silvestre Revueltas, Esteban Benzecry and Antonio Estévez.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Matías Tarnopolsky, Cal Performances has established a program of great orchestras-in-residence on the UC Berkeley campus, designed to deepen the relationship between the ensembles, the Northern California cultural community and the campus community. In recognition of the crucial importance of music education, Gustavo Dudamel and Matías Tarnopolsky will participate in a two day conference with other esteemed music educators and speakers. The residency also includes performance opportunities for UC Berkeley’s University Chorus and the Pacific Boychoir in addition to a master class with the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra led by Maestro Dudamel.

PROGRAM
On Thursday, November 29, the concert will open with Carlos Chávez’s (1899-1978) Sinfonia india, followed by Tres versiones sinfónicas by Julián Orbón and La noche de los Mayas by Silvestre Revueltas (1899-1940). Chávez and Revueltas were both born in 1899 in Mexico and served as conductors of the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico in the 1930s. Chávez , is one of the most influential figures in the musical life of Mexico, is known for his close contact with indigenous cultures. Sinfonia india, his second symphony, quotes Native American themes and uses Aztec and Indian percussion instruments. Revueltas’ La noche de los Mayas was originally written as a score for a 1939 film and was later arranged into a four-movement suite by José Limantour. Spanish-born Julián Orbón (1925-1991) moved to Cuba at age 15 and began studying composition. Six years later, he received a grant to study with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood. Copland’s influences are evident in Orbón’s three-movement suite Tres versiones sinfónicas.

The music of South America will make up the program on Friday, November 30: Esteban Benzecry’s Rituales Amerindios, II — Chaac (Argentina), Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Chôro No. 10 (Brazil) and Antonio Estévez’s Cantata criolla (Venezuela). Born to Argentine parents in Lisbon in 1970, Esteban Benzecry (1970- ) considered one of South America’s most talented young composers, was raised in Argentina before moving to Paris in 1997, where he studied composition at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris. Commissioned in 2008 by the Goteborg Symphony Orchestra, Rituales Amerindios is a symphonic triptych dedicated to Latin America’s pre-Columbian cultures. The second movement, Chaac, is named for the Mayan water god. Because of his incorporation of Latin American traditions into his music, Benzecry has been referred to as a musical heir to Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959), one of Brazil’s greatest composer. Villa-Lobos is known for reinterpreting European classical techniques using Brazilian traditions. His collection of Chôros was composed throughout the 1920s; Chôro No. 10, sometimes referred to as “Rasga o coraçao” (“It tears out the heart”) is his masterpiece. The University Chorus, led by Marika Kuzma, and the Pacific Boychoir, under the direction of Kevin Fox, will sing in Chôro No. 10. Antonio Estévez (1916-1988) is a source of national pride for Venezuelans. After returning from studying in Europe and the United States in 1948, Estévez began working on his nationalistic Cantata criolla, considered one of his finest compositions. He completed the work in 1954 and it will conclude the concert.

THE RESIDENCY
November is an especially rich time for the Orchestral Residency Program, established by Tarnopolsky in his first year, with opportunities to learn more about both Esa-Pekka Salonen and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra (Nov. 8-11) and Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra. A centerpiece of the Simón Bolívar residency will be Reaching for the Stars: A Forum on Music Education, a two-day conference on music education in Zellerbach Playhouse. Led by award-winning teaching artist Eric Booth, the conference features such renowned panelists as Dr. José Antonio Abreu (founder of the resident orchestra as well as Venezuelan music education program El Sistema), Gillian Moore of London’s Southbank Centre, Leni Boorstin of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Stanford Thompson of Philadelphia’s Play on Philly in addition to Gustavo Dudamel and Matías Tarnopolsky. The conference begins with “The Transformative Power of Music” on Wednesday, November 28, 1:30-6:00 p.m., followed by “Bringing the Work Forward: The Possibilities for a Musical Education” on Thursday, November 29, 12:00-6:00 p.m. The Thursday discussion will culminate in a workshop “What’s Possible: El Sistema and What it Opens For Us.” Registration and further information is available at calperformances.org.

Maestro Dudamel will lead a special master class with the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday, November 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Hertz Hall and is open to the public. Dudamel and  Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra offer a one hour SchoolTime concert on Wednesday, November 28, designed specifically for Bay Area school children. SchoolTime tickets are sold in advance only.

There will be a Sightlines talk on Thursday, November 29 and Friday, November 30, at 7:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall. Sightlines is a continuing program of pre- and post-performance discussions with Cal Performances’ guest artists and scholars, designed to enrich the audience’s experience. This event is free to ticket holders.

THE ARTISTS
Born in 1981, Gustavo Dudamel began his musical journey with the violin, studying under José Francisco del Castillo at the Latin American Academy of Violin. He began studying conducting in 1996, and three years later, he was appointed Musical Director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela where he studied conducting under Dr. Abreu. Dudamel is in his fourth season as Musical Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a post which he will maintain until 2019. A highly decorated conductor, Gustavo Dudamel was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2009 and the Gramophone’s artist of the year in 2011. In February 2012, his recording with the Los Angeles Philharmonic of Brahms Symphony No. 4 won the Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance. He divides his time between Caracas, Venezuela, and Los Angeles, directing his two orchestras.

Founded as a youth orchestra in 1975 by Dr. José Antonio Abreu, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela is the pinnacle ensemble of the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras (a.k.a. El Sistema). Dr. Abreu wanted to ensure music education’s place in the Venezuelan public school system. It is comprised of over a dozen orchestras, choirs and chamber ensembles, with the Simón Bolívar as its flagship. Since 2006, the orchestra has been recording on the Deutsche Grammophon label with Gustavo Dudamel as conductor. They have since produced three albums.

TICKET INFORMATION
Tickets for Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra in ¡MUSICA! A Celebration of Music from Latin America, on Thursday, November 29 and Friday, November 30 in Zellerbach Hall range from $30.00 to $175.00 and are subject to change. Tickets for the Reaching for the Stars: A Forum on Music Education are $15.00 per day. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at www.calperformances.org; and at the door. Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. UC faculty and staff, senior citizens, other students and UC Alumni Association members receive a $5.00 discount (Special Events excluded). For select performances, Cal Performances offers UCB student, faculty and staff, senior, and community rush tickets. For more information about discounts, go to http://calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php or call (510) 642-9988.

#  #  #

Continue Reading

MAYOR LEE & DETROIT MAYOR BING MAKE FRIENDLY MAYORAL WAGER ON 2012 WORLD SERIES

Mayor of Losing City Will Travel to Winning City for Day of Service & Tour of City

Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Detroit Mayor David Bing today agreed to a friendly mayoral wager on the outcome of the 2012 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Detroit Tigers. Game One takes place this evening, October 24th at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Games One and Two will be played Wednesday and Thursday in San Francisco before moving to Detroit’s Comerica Park on Saturday for Game Three, followed by Game Four and, if necessary, Game Five.
The Mayor of the losing city will travel to the winning city for a day of community service and a tour of different companies based in the respective cities. If the San Francisco Giants win, Mayor Bing will come to San Francisco to spend a day playing baseball with young people in the Junior Giants program, and he will have a chance to tour the City so Mayor Lee can show Mayor Bing why San Francisco is the Innovation Capital of the World. If the Tigers win, Mayor Lee will travel to Detroit to tour the Chevy Volt factory – Mayor Lee’s official City vehicle is a Chevy Volt – and learn more about Detroit’s leadership in the electric vehicle market. Mayor Lee will also participate in a day of service benefitting the youth of Detroit.

“San Francisco is completely awash in Giants fever. It seems that everyone in the City is wearing Giants Orange, celebrating the improbable National League champions,” said Mayor Lee. “The San Francisco Giants are truly the comeback kids – this team never quits. With the steel nerves of Romo, Zito, Vogelsong, Cain, Scutaro, Posey, and Pagan, and the managing prowess of Bruce Bochy, this team can stare down the toughest of opponents. The City of Detroit also has a reputation for making an impressive comeback, although I fear I won’t get to see this firsthand, as the Giants are bound to win the World Series.”

“The Detroit Tigers have brought plenty of excitement and a lot of pride to the people of Detroit, the entire metro area and the state of Michigan during this post-season,” said Mayor Bing.  “I am pleased to make this wager with Mayor Lee, because Verlander, Fister, Sanchez and Scherzer are the best pitching rotation in baseball right now, and dominant pitching is always the key to victory in October.  With Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and others swinging big bats, the entire team playing excellent defense, and with a great manager in Jim Leyland, I am extremely confident that the Tigers will prevail.  The Giants have had great success, but we’ve already proven we can handle any team out of the Bay Area.”

The San Francisco Giants are making their second World Series appearance in three years, following come-from-behind victories in consecutive playoff series against the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals. The Giants’ road to the 2012 World Series included six do-or-die elimination games, all of which the Giants won in dramatic fashion.

The Detroit Tigers are fresh off a decisive victory against the New York Yankees, sweeping the American League Championship Series and earning a berth in the World Series for the first time since 2006. The Tigers also beat the Oakland A’s in the first round of the playoffs.

Mayor Lee is urging Giants fans and local businesses to show their pride in the National League Champion team by wearing the Orange & Black or displaying signs, flags or any form of support for the hometown team.

The San Francisco Giants flag will continue to fly over City Hall, and City Hall, Coit Tower, the Ferry Building, the Embarcadero Center, the TransAmerica Pyramid, the War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco International Airport, the City’s Official Tree in front of McLaren Lodge and other San Francisco buildings and landmarks will all be lit in Giants Orange until the end of the World Series.

As the Giants begin the World Series, Mayor Lee and the San Francisco Giants joined Mayor Bing and the Detroit Tigers to urge all fans to treat each other with respect. Wherever fans choose to watch the game – AT&T Park or elsewhere – be safe and practice good sportsmanship. In the end, the World Series celebrates the game of baseball, and rivalries should remain on the field.

### 

 

Continue Reading

CAL PERFORMANCES JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2013 CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Saturday, January 19, 7:00–7:30 p.m.
SIGHTLINES

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour pre-performance talk with Chuy Varela, music director of KCSM radio, and the artists.  Sightlines is a continuing program of pre-performance discussions with artists and scholars, designed to enrich the concertgoer’s experience. These talks are free to event ticketholders.

#  #  #

Saturday, January 19, at 8:00 p.m.

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

Jazz
Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour
Dee Dee Bridgewater, vocalist
Christian McBride, bass
Ambrose Akinmusire, trumpet
Chris Potter, saxophone
Benny Green, piano
Lewis Nash, drums

Program: Celebrating the 55th Anniversary of the Monterey Jazz Festival, members of the Festival bring a line-up of jazz greats, direct from the longest consecutively running jazz festival in the world.

Tickets: Range from $20.00 – $56.00, subject to change, and are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
———————————————————————————————————————–

Thursday, January 24, at 7:00 p.m.

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

Special Event
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Kathryn Stott, piano

Program:
Stravinsky/Suite Italienne
Villa-Lobos, arr. Calandrelli/Alma Brasileira
Piazzolla, arr. Yamamoto/Oblivion
Guarnieri, arr. Calandrelli/Dansa Negra
De Falla/7 Canciones Populares Españolas, G. 40
Messiaen/Louange à l’Eternité de Jésus
Brahms/Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108

Tickets: This performance is sold out. Tickets range from $30.00 – $175.00, subject to change, and may become available from last minute returns through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
———————————————————————————————————————–

Saturday, January 26, 7:00–7:30 p.m.
SIGHTLINES

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

Joffrey Ballet pre-performance talk with dance specialist Kathryn Roszak.  Sightlines is a continuing program of pre-performance discussions with artists and scholars, designed to enrich the concertgoer’s experience. These talks are free to event ticketholders.

#  #  #

Saturday, January 26, at 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, January 27, at 3:00 p.m.

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

Dance
Joffrey Ballet

Program:
The Age of Innocence (2008): music by Philip Glass and Thomas Newman; choreography by Edwaard Liang.
After the Rain (2005): music by Arvo Pärt; choreography by Christopher Wheeldon
The Green Table (1932): music by F. A. Cohen; choreography by Kurt Jooss

Tickets: Range from $30.00 – $92.00, subject to change, and are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
———————————————————————————————————————–

Sunday, January 27, at 3:00 p.m.

Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at College Ave., Berkeley

Recital
Nicolas Hodges, piano

Program:
Debussy/Etudes, Books I and II
Busoni/Study after Mozart
Birtwistle/Gigue Machine (World premiere)
Stravinsky/Three Movements from Pétrouchka

Tickets: Start at $42.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
———————————————————————————————————————–

Friday, February 1, at 11:00 a.m.
SCHOOLTIME PERFORMANCE

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

SchoolTime
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Program:  Hubbard Street Dance Chicago presents a special one-hour performance for school children.

Tickets: $8.00 per student or adult chaperone, available in advance only through Cal Performances at (510) 642-9988.  SchoolTime performances are open to students in kindergarten through grade 12 in Bay Area public and private schools.  Supplemental study guides for the classroom are provided.  For more information about the SchoolTime program, contact the SchoolTime coordinator at Cal Performances by email at eduprograms@calperfs.berkeley.edu or by phone at (510) 642-0212.

#  #  #

Friday & Saturday, February 1 & 2, at 8:00 p.m.

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

Dance
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Program:
Too Beaucoup (2011): music by Ori Lichtik; choreography by Sharon Eyal and Gaï Behar
Little Mortal Jump (2012): music by Philip Glass, Beirut, Andrew Bird, Hans Otte, Max Richter, Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan; choreography by Alejandro Cerrudo
TBD: New work by Alonzo King

Tickets: Range from $30.00 – $68.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.

#  #  #

Saturday, February 2, from 6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
Artist Talk

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

A pre-performance talk with HSDC Artistic Director Glenn Edgerton and dance specialist Kathryn Roszak. This event is free and open to the public.
———————————————————————————————————————–

Sunday, February 3, at 7:00 p.m.

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

World Stage
Kodo
One Earth Tour: Legend

Program: Celebrating the limitless possibilities of the traditional Japanese drum, the taiko, Kodo returns with their awesome drums that mesmerize the audience, including the massive o-daiko, a 900-pound instrument carved from the trunk of a single tree and played by two men.

Tickets: Range from $22.00 – $58.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
———————————————————————————————————————–

Friday, February 8, at 8:00 p.m.

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

World Stage
Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca

Program: Founded in Madrid in 1993 by director Martín Santangelo and his wife Soledad Barrio, Noche Flamenca celebrates the purity, essence and drama of one of the world’s most expressive art forms, flamenco.

Tickets: Range from $22.00 – $58.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
———————————————————————————————————————–

Sunday, February 10, at 3:00 p.m.

Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at College Ave., Berkeley

Recital
Eric Owens, bass-baritone
Warren Jones, piano

Program: “[Commanding] the stage with a warm, sympathetic voice and presence” (Associated Press), bass-baritone Eric Owens makes his Cal Performances debut. Program TBA.

Tickets: Start at $46.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
———————————————————————————————————————–

Sunday, February 10, at 7:00 p.m.

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

Strictly Speaking
Ira Glass

Program: Host and creator of public radio’s This American Life—now heard on more than 500 radio stations each week by over 1.7 million listeners—Ira Glass returns to Cal Performances.

Tickets: Range from $30.00 – $72.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
———————————————————————————————————————–

Tuesday, February 12, at 8:00 p.m.

First Congregational Church
2345 Channing Way, Berkeley

Recital
Christian Tetzlaff, solo violin

Program:
Ysaÿe/Sonata for solo violin in G minor, Op. 27, No. 1 “Joseph Szigeti”
Bach/Sonata for solo violin in C major, No. 3, BWV 1005
Kurtág/“a choice” out of Signs, Games and Messages
Bartók/Sonata for solo violin, Sz 117, BWV 124

Tickets: Start at $52.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
———————————————————————————————————————–

Friday, February 15, at 11:00 a.m.
SCHOOLTIME PERFORMANCE

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

SchoolTime
Circus Oz

Program: Australia’s Circus Oz presents a special one-hour performance for school children.

Tickets: $8.00 per student or adult chaperone, available in advance only through Cal Performances at (510) 642-9988.  SchoolTime performances are open to students in kindergarten through grade 12 in Bay Area public and private schools.  Supplemental study guides for the classroom are provided.  For more information about the SchoolTime program, contact the SchoolTime coordinator at Cal Performances by email at eduprograms@calperfs.berkeley.edu or by phone at (510) 642-0212.

#  #  #

Friday, February 15, at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 16, at 2:00 p.m. [FF]
Sunday, February 17, at 3:00 p.m.

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

World Stage
Circus Oz
From the Ground Up

Program: Australia’s Circus Oz fills the Zellerbach stage with their renowned brand of collective mayhem including fearless aerial artists laughing at gravity, slapstick knockabouts descending into chaos, and live on-stage musicians.

Tickets: Range from $22.00 – $76.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
———————————————————————————————————————–

Sunday, February 17, at 3:00 p.m.

Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at College Ave., Berkeley

Recital
Leonidas Kavakos, violin

Program: Violinist Leonidas Kavakos comes to Cal Performances for the first time.

Tickets: Start at $48.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
———————————————————————————————————————–

Tuesday, February 19, at 8:00 p.m.

First Congregational Church
2345 Channing Way, Berkeley

Recital
Milos, guitar

Program: Montenegro-born guitarist Milos makes his Cal Performances debut.

Tickets: Start at $36.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
———————————————————————————————————————–

Sunday, February 24, 11:00 a.m. & 3:00 p.m.

Wheeler Auditorium, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

First Stage for Families
Kaila Flexer, violin & leader
Oakland Folkharmonic
with Shira Kammen, fiddle
Teslim
with Gari Hegedus, multi-instrumentalist

Program: Kaila Flexer’s Oakland Folkharmonic and Teslim perform music from Greece, Turkey and the Middle East and original compositions in this one hour concert.

Tickets: Start at $20.00 (adults)/$10.00 (children), and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
———————————————————————————————————————–

Sunday, February 24, at 3:00 p.m.

Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at College Ave., Berkeley

Recital
Susanna Phillips, soprano

Program: Soprano Susanna Phillips makes her Cal Performances debut. Program TBA.

Tickets: Start at $46.00 and are subject to change, tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at calperformances.org; and at the door.
———————————————————————————————————————–

TICKETS AND OTHER INFORMATION
Single tickets for the general public are now available for purchase by phone, in person, mail, fax or online. The Family Fare [FF] series offers 50% off single ticket prices for children 16 and younger. Family Fare event for January and February 2013 is Circus Oz (Sat., Feb. 16, at 2:00 p.m.).  Half-price tickets are available for purchase by UCB students for all Cal Performances events. UC Alumni Association members receive a $5.00 discount on all events; UCB faculty and staff, senior citizens and other students receive a $5.00 discount (Special Events excluded).  Subscriptions may be mailed, faxed to Cal Performances’ Ticket Office at (510) 643-2359, or phoned in to (510) 642-9988. For more information, call Cal Performances at 510.642.9988, e-mail a brochure request to Cal Performances at tickets@calperfs.berkeley.edu or visit the Cal Performances web site at www.calperformances.org.
————————————————————————————————————————

Continue Reading

Wayne Harris And Friends A Happy Hour (or two) Of Music, Stories and Shameless Signifyin’ THE MARSH Berkeley Cabaret

November 2 – 30, 2012

Fridays at 6:00 pm

Free And Open to All With A Full Bar & Food!


Wayne Harris and his buddies will be playing jazz, blues and R&B for the Friday Happy Hour crowd at The Marsh Berkeley during November. The shows will be a bit like an urban A Prairie Home Companion, with various musical and storytelling moments. Think Garrison Keillor meets Langston Hughes with a healthy dose of “Yo Mama” jokes. Here are the lineups:

11/2 – Jazz quintet, including pianist Larisa Migachyov and new stories from Wayne Harris

11/9, 11/16 & 11/30 – The Intones (The East Bay’s Best Rock, Blues, R&B and Bugle Band)

11/23 – Jazz quintet, guest pianist and new stories from Wayne Harris

And here are the guest performers: Jeremy Goodwin, Mark Kenward, Steve Ekstrand, Richard Trafford-Owens, Rick Goodwin, Megan Armstrong, Jeff Weinmann, Dennis Aqulina, Terry True…and…who knows who else might show up!

Another not-to-miss, free, TGIF entertainment! This is fast becoming a favorite Marsh Berkeley event!

A full bar offers festive happy-hour discounts including $5 specialty cocktails, and handpicked wine ($4) and beer ($3). There is also great bar food—Portobello Panini’s, Mango Guacamole Salsa, and fresh-baked cookies. It’s free and everyone is welcome; including those getting an early start for our 8:00 pm performances.

Wayne Harris, one of The Marsh’s favorite solo performers, recently won BEST OF SF FRINGE for Tyrone “Shortleg” Johnson And Some White Boys, starring Wayne and his band. 

Continue Reading

MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS AND THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY RELEASE AMERICAN MAVERICKS RECORDING OF MUSIC BY HENRY COWELL, LOU HARRISON AND EDGARD VARÈSE ON NOVEMBER 13, 2012

Digital download of album featuring music performed during the acclaimed

March 2012 Festival available for pre-order from the iTunes Store today

On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Michael Tilson Thomas(MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony(SFS) will release American Mavericks, a hybrid SACD recording featuring rarely recorded works by three American composers, Henry Cowell, Lou Harrison and Edgard Varèse on SFS Media, the Orchestra’s in-house label.  The album includes Henry Cowell’s Synchrony and his Piano Concerto with Jeremy Denk, Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra with Paul Jacobs, and Edgard Varèse’s Amériques.  The performances were all recorded live in concert at Davies Symphony Hall and feature composers and works from the San Francisco Symphony’s American Mavericks festival dedicated to America’s innovative musical heritage of the 20th century. The American Mavericks album can be pre-ordered starting today, October 23, from the iTunes Store and on SACD from the San Francisco Symphony Store at sfsymphony.org/store. American Mavericks will be available for purchase at music retailers everywhere on Tuesday, November 13. A short 6-minute video about American Mavericks featuring concert footage and interviews with Michael Tilson Thomas and soloists Jeremy Denk and Paul Jacobs can be viewed at http://bit.ly/AmMavRecording2012.

The recording opens with Menlo Park native Henry Cowell’s Synchrony, followed by his Piano Concerto featuring soloist Jeremy Denk, who taps into the far-flung imagination of Cowell’s signature forearm tone clusters. MTT says of Cowell’s Piano Concerto, “The piece is fun, swashbuckling, and outrageous, and it takes a very special spirit such as Jeremy Denk to really put this over with the fervor with which it was meant to be played.”

Bay Area composer Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Organ and Percussion featuring soloist Paul Jacobsis a work fusing sounds both rich and brilliant. The 1972 concerto utilizes a variety of percussion instruments from glockenspiel, vibraphone, celesta, and tube chimes to oxygen tanks and wood drums built by Harrison’s partner William Colvig. The solo organ part requires Henry Cowell-style tone clusters played with the palm of the hand and specially-cut wooden slabs. MTT calls this concerto “an overwhelming sonic spectacular!” MTT has a long history of performing Lou Harrison’s works. In the fall of 1995, he opened his inaugural concert as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony with the world premiere of Harrison’s Parade, a composition MTT and the SFS commissioned for the occasion.

French-born American composer Edgard Varèse is revered by musicians as diverse as Frank Zappa and Robert Lamm, keyboardist for the pop group Chicago. Closing the American Mavericks recording, his Amériques requires an enormous 129 piece orchestra and is instantly recognizable for its signature siren and 13-person percussion section. Varèse wrote it three years after his emigration to the US and meant it as “a meditation, or the impression of a stranger who asks himself about the extraordinary possibilities of our civilization.” The work features a battery of percussion and overwhelming orchestral sonics to portray Varèse’s images of his new home. In New York magazine, Justin Davidson enthusiastically described the Orchestra’s performances of Amériques in New York City as “a rigorous evocation of a freak-out.” A longtime favorite of MTT’s, the SFS performed Amériques in both American Mavericks Festivals – in 2000 and 2012.

MTT and the SFS have been praised by critics for innovative programming and for bringing the works of American composers to the forefront. David Littlejohn, in the Wall Street Journal, called MTT, now in his 18th season as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, “an indefatigable champion of American music.”  In his first season as Music Director, Tilson Thomas included an American work on nearly every one of his San Francisco Symphony programs, and ended the season with An American Festival, a groundbreaking two-week celebration of American music and precursor to the 2000 and 2012 American Mavericks festivals. The American Mavericks festival has become an icon of American orchestral music.  In Spring 2012, as part of the San Francisco Symphony’s 2011-2012 Centennial Season, the festival featured, in addition to the works on this release, fully staged performances of John Cage’s Songbooks with Meredith Monk, Jessye Norman, and Joan LaBarbara and four world premieres by composers Mason Bates, John Adams, Meredith Monk, and Morton Subotnick, in performances both in San Francisco and on tour to Ann Arbor, Chicago, and at Carnegie Hall in New York City.  In the New Yorker Alex Ross opined, “Tilson Thomas’s crusade on behalf of what he calls ‘American Mavericks’ tradition is among the finest things that he or any conductor has undertaken in recent years.” Starring the work of composers whose art influenced and changed the face of American music-making, the spirit of the festival is a hallmark of the San Francisco Symphony’s artistic values. Resources about the American Maverick composers is at americanmavericks.org and a blog documenting the 2012 festival can be found at americanmavericks.org /blog. A book about the first American Mavericks festival of 2000 published by the University of California Press is available from the San Francisco Symphony Store.

The San Francisco Symphony’s recording series on SFS Media reflects the artistic identity of its programming, including its commitment to performing the work of maverick composers alongside that of the core classical masterworks. Later this season, MTT and the SFS are scheduled to release a new recording of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 recorded at the close of their Centennial Season in 2012.
All SFS Media recordings are available from the Symphony Store in Davies Symphony Hall and online at sfsymphony.org/store as well as other major retailers. The recordings can also be purchased as downloads from iTunes, Amazon and other digital outlets. SFS Media recordings are distributed by harmonia mundi U.S., SRI in Canada, Avie Records internationally, and by IODA to digital outlets.

 

Continue Reading

Proposition 37, GMO Labeling Mandate, Wins Support Of 100 Celebrity Chefs

California’s GMO labeling ballot initiative Proposition 37 has already attracted lots of emphatic support and dissent from a host of voices, from Michael Pollan to Danny DeVito. But on Monday, a large contingent of people with a lot of credibility on food issues threw their weight behind the proposal: celebrity chefs.

Over 125 chefs, including some of the most famous cooks in America, have co-signed a strongly worded open letter penned by Alice Waters, the famously pro-organic founder of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif. In the letter, Waters argues that “the future of food is at stake,” so “this is the moment when we need to stand together as chefs, restaurateurs, and people who care about food to support Proposition 37.”

Underneath Waters’ own statement is a pledge in support of the bill:

We, the undersigned, endorse California’s Proposition 37 – The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.   As chefs, we are on the frontlines of feeding America and we have an enormous stake in ensuring transparency in our food system. It is our duty to nourish our guests, both in body and soul. However, we can’t prepare the best food we know how when information about the ingredients we purchase is hidden from us with labels that are missing basic facts. This includes foods that are genetically engineered or contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). While Proposition 37 does not require restaurants to label their food as genetically engineered, it provides chefs the ability to knowingly source ingredients made without GMOs.

Fifty countries around the world—representing more than 40 percent of the world’s population—already require GMO labeling, including all of Europe, Japan, India and China. Polls show that more than 90 percent of Americans want to know if their food is genetically engineered.

We demand the right to know what’s in our food and we are adding our collective voices to this movement!

The celebrity chefs who’ve already signed the letter include Mario Batali, Jacques Pepin, Cat Cora, Michelle Bernstein, Bill Telepan, Dan Barber and Floyd Cardoz.

From the Huffington Post

Continue Reading

Francis Xavier “F.X.” Crowley For San Francisco District 7 Supervisor

Editorial: Sentinel Endorses Francis Xavier Crowley for District 7 Supervisor

There is only one candidate that truly represents the west of Twin Peaks neighborhoods and that is F.X. Crowley. We give Crowley our strongest endorsement as the best candidate to succeed outgoing Supervisor Sean Elsbernd and represent District 7.

Crowley is the right leader to represent the District and to ensure public safety by adding more police and fighting crime in our neighborhoods as well as being a voice of fiscal responsibility on the Board of Supervisors.  Having grown up in the District, there is no better candidate to represent D7 than F.X. Crowley.

Crowley is a native San Franciscan who was born and grew up in the District in Miraloma Park–and graduated from St. Ignatius College Preparatory (SI) in 1977. He is a longtime Stagehands union leader who has won the respect of the business community and a highly regarded civic leader, having served as the President of the Public Utilities Commission and a Port Commissioner with distinction.  He fought to rebuild and protect Hetch Hetchy on the PUC and was a strong leader for growth and fiscal responsibility as a member of the Port Commission.

Crowley has won the endorsement of Sen. Diane Feinstein; Lt. Gov. and former Mayor Gavin Newsom; San Francisco Police Officers Association; San Francisco Firefighters; Sen. Leland Yee; Assembly Speaker Pro Temp Fiona Ma; Former Mayor and Police Chief Frank Jordan, Retired Judge and former Senator Quentin Kopp; Planning Commissioner Mike Antonini; Justice Harry W. Low; Thomas “Tippy” Mazzucco, President, San Francisco Police Commission; Diarmuid Philpott, President, United Irish Societies, and retired SFPD Deputy Chief; Joe Russoniello, former United States Attorney; and Kevin Ryan, former United States Attorney.

And he has our endorsement as well.

Crowley’s leadership is in sharp contrast to the other candidates in the race, one of them being Mike Garcia, a retired Louisiana options trader who until recently was a registered Libertarian who expressed his desire to legalize drugs.  Garcia is clearly out of step with the voters of the District who favor strong enforcement of drug laws to prevent home break-ins; and Norman Yee, a left-wing/ Progressive member of the school board and advocate of legalizing prostitution, has demonstrated that he is out of touch with voters. Lastly, there is candidate Joel Engardio, who has at least been honest in admitting he is a carpetbagger who only moved into the district over a year ago to run for this seat.

There is only once choice for District 7 voters and that is district native Francis Xavier Crowley.

Continue Reading

MUMMENSCHANZ AT 40 YEARS COMES TO CAL PERFORMANCES CELEBRATING FOUR DECADES OF MAGIC FRIDAY- SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 23- 25

Mummenschanz returns to Zellerbach Hall for the Thanksgiving weekend with three performances on Friday & Saturday, November 23 & 24, at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday November 25, at 3:00 p.m.  The universally loved theater troupe specializes in transforming inanimate objects like tubes, boxes and toilet paper into living characters in a whimsical show of lights, shadows, masks, and choreography. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Mummenschanz’s founding. The group will be touring internationally with a new program titled 40 Years, which features highlights from past creative endeavors.  The two hour show with intermission will feature over 30 sketches performed by Floriana Frasseto, Philipp Egli, Raffaella Mattioli, and Pietro Montandon.  “Mummenschanz transcends words and culture and cuts straight to the heart of what it is to be human” (Cape Times).

Formed in 1972, Mummenschanz was created by Bernie Schurch, Andress Bossard and current performer Frasseto to create a nonverbal theatrical language that would transcend the traditional barriers of nationality and culture.  The company was successful from its start at the 1972 Avignon Festival.  One of Sweden’s most popular cultural phenomenon, the group has toured the world, including Eastern Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.  The troupe spent three years on Broadway from 1977 – 1980 with a production that contained no words or music.  Their shows are known for the vast number of props in the shape of versatile faces, half-body and whole-body masks, and three-dimensional sculptural heads.  In 1998 the ensemble decided to set up the Mummenschanz Foundation following the death of founding member Bossard to promote originality in theatrical works. For more information, go to their website www.mummenschanz.com/en.

Mummenschanz will give a SchoolTime performance for Bay Area students on Monday, November 26 at 11:00 a.m. at Zellerbach Hall.  Tickets are sold in advance only.

TICKET INFORMATION
Tickets for Mummenschanz on Friday & Saturday, November 23 & 24, at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday November 25, at 3:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall start at $22.00, and are subject to change. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at www.calperformances.org; and at the door.  Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. UC faculty and staff, senior citizens, other students and UC Alumni Association members receive a $5.00 discount (Special Events excluded). For select performances, Cal Performances offers UCB student, faculty and staff, senior, and community rush tickets. For more information about discounts, go to http://calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php or call (510) 642-9988.

#  #  #

Continue Reading

FIVE TIME GRAMMY WINNING VOCALIST ANGÉLIQUE KIDJO RETURNS TO CAL PERFORMANCES ON SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17 AT ZELLERBACH HALL

“Africa’s premier diva” (Time magazine), Angélique Kidjo, brings the party to Zellerbach Hall on Saturday, November 17 at 8:00 p.m., performing selections from her newest album Spirit Rising (2012) as well as other favorites. The album “has an amazing party atmosphere” (Groove Guide), and the audience should be prepared to dance in their seats. A “dynamic and unstoppable” (The New York Times) musician who has performed around the world, Kidjo is known for her unique blend of Afropop, jazz, gospel, Latin and tribal music. Accompanying her for the evening are musicians Dominic James (guitar), Daniel Freedman (drums), Magatte Sow (percussion) and Itaiguara Brandao (bass). In addition to her performing and songwriting, she uses her global renown to advocate for human rights as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and was named one of The Guardian’s Top 100 Most Inspiring Women in the World.

Growing up in the West African nation of Benin, Angélique Kidjo began performing in a band with her eight siblings at age six. She became lead vocalist in the Kidjo Brothers Band at age 11, and soon incorporated influences from many cultures, including rhythm-and-blues, soul and American rock ‘n’ roll into the group’s repertoire. Kidjo’s stage presence and spectacular singing propelled the band to local fame, and success spurred her to begin writing music in her mid-teens. While in school, Kidjo formed a group called Les Sphinx and recorded a solo album, Pretty, which made her a household name throughout West Africa.

The political situation in Benin prompted Kidjo to move to Paris in 1983; there, she studied jazz and began to mix Euro-pop, funk and electronica into her music. She also attended law school and considered a career as a human-rights lawyer. She married composer and bassist Jean Hebrail and moved to New York City in the late 1980s, and she has been based in the United States ever since.

Kidjo newest album Spirit Rising was recorded live in Boston in June 2011 and features collaborations with Dianne Reeves, Branford Marsalis, Christian McBride and Josh Groban, among others; it was released in February 2012. She has won five Grammy Awards in the category of Best Contemporary World Music. In 2010, she was granted an honorary Doctorate from Berklee College of Music and has recently been awarded the prestigious Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the France Ministry of Culture.

She is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and a Live Earth Ambassador for the 2010 Run for Water, a series of 6 K runs that helped increase awareness of the global water crisis. Kidjo formed the Batonga Foundation in 2007 to support education for girls in Africa. The foundation’s website is www.batongafoundation.org. For more information visit http://kidjo.com.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets for the Angélique Kidjo on November 17 at 8:00 p.m. and in Zellerbach Hall start at $22.00, and are subject to change. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at www.calperformances.org; and at the door. Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. UC faculty and staff, senior citizens, other students and UC Alumni Association members receive a $5.00 discount (Special Events excluded). For select performances, Cal Performances offers UCB student, faculty and staff, senior, and community rush tickets. For more information about discounts, go to http://calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php or call (510) 642-9988.

Continue Reading

Legendary Sailing Yacht Returns to SF Bay to Raise Funds in Fight to Cure Leukemia & Lymphoma  

October 21 Regatta pits Dorade’s All-Female Crew led by
JJ Fetter against Ted Turner on Santana

Dorade(www.dorade.org): In 1936 Dorade helped put the Saint Francis Yacht Club on the map, winning the prestigious and demanding TransPacific race to Honolulu.  This weekend she returns to San Francisco to sail under the St Francis burgee once again in the seventh annual Leukemia Cup Regattataking place on Sunday, October 21. JJ Fetter, a four-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, will lead an all-female, all-star crew aboard Dorade, sailing in the invitation-only classic yacht division against another historic racing yacht, Santana,helmed by Ted Turner.

“What a perfect way to bring Dorade home,” said Doradeowner Matt Brooks. “She is the only boat to have ever won, handily, every major ocean race; and even today, she’s still competing and winning in races from Newport to the Caribbean, and now here on San Francisco Bay.”

Dorade was designed by the legendary Olin Stephens, creatorof six out of seven successful America’s Cup defenders between 1958 and 1980. Olin and his brother Rod Stephens designed and built Dorade in 1929.  In 1931 – at the ages of 20 and 22 – they sailed Dorade in the TransAtlantic Race, winning against a fleet of much larger boats and more experienced crews.  That win was followed by an extraordinary series of victories in the Fastnet, Cowles, and Bermuda races.  In 1936 San Francisco’s Jim Flood purchased Dorade and brought her to San Francisco.  Since then, she has changed owners many times, sailing the west coast, Europe, and most recently in Newport, Rhode Island.

In 2010, Brooks and his wife Pam Rorke Levy went to Newport in search of a classic yacht, and were immediately entranced by Dorade’s history and pedigree.  Rather than keep her as a museum piece, however, the pair decided to do something that many thought was impossible: restore her to full ocean-racing capacity.

“We needed to toughen up Dorade herself, but we also needed to develop a stable of crew members with the right skills, chemistry and experience to race a classic boat in trans-oceanic races.” said Brooks. “Races like the Leukemia Cup help us prepare both the boat and our crew for the kind of long-range sailing she hasn’t seen in decades, keeping in mind that while she may be game, she is also an eighty-year-old lady.”

“Our goal is to repeat all of her early ocean races, including Newport-Bermuda which we completed this past this June, the TransPac and Newport-Bermuda next year, and in 2015 the TransAtlantic, Fastnet, and Cowes,” said Dorade owner Pam Rorke Levy. “In her early years, Dorade won all of these ocean races, a record that stands unbeaten today. We are pleased and honored that her return to the Bay begins with the Leukemia Cup Regatta.”

Along with Levy and Fetter, Dorade’s crew for the Leukemia Cup is an all-star team comprised of Liz Baylis, Paige Brooks, Melinda Erkelens, Melissa Purdy Feagin, Laurel Gaudet, Pam Healy, Genny Tulloch  and Sally Lindsay Honey – wife ofAmerica’s Cup technology director Stan Honey.

A native of San Leandro, California, Brooks learned to sail in Monterey Bay as a boy, and went on to race on San Francisco Bay on his first yacht Quarter Pounder, sailing under the St. Francis flag. Brooks is also a well-known mountain guide, and over the past forty years has racked up first ascents in the Sierra and the French alps, established a mountaineering equipment company, and has been honored with a Presidential Gold Medal and a lifetime achievement award from the American Mountain Guides Association. Since soloing as a pilot at age 13, Brooks has also set many world records in the air, including the record time for circumnavigating the globe (westward) and flying westward across the US, all in a specially equipped Citation business jet.  Levy is an Emmy-winning filmmaker and creative director, well known to Bay Area audiences and the arts community for creating and producing such shows as KQED’s arts program Spark.

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ® (LLS):
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ® (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.  Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. www.lls.org

Continue Reading

Planning Commission OKs West Coast’s Largest Phallus

 

The glorious, metal and glass Transbay Tower received final approval from the San Francisco Planning Commission on Thursday, clearing one of the last major hurdles before crews can finally get to work erecting the 1,070-foot icon in the city’s skyline.

When last we heard from the Planning Commission, the architecture team from Pelli Clarke Pelli had presented designs to connect the tower at First and Mission Streets to the new rooftop park next door with an awesome funicular. At yesterday’s meeting, architect Fred Clarke showed off some of the actual metal and glass that will make up the building’s outer skin. The metalwork apparently is thinner at the top, but grows thicker and denser towards the base, which is not really helping all those phallic comparisons. According to Clarke, the metalwork also gives it a “light texture” and an ambient glow.

As if things couldn’t be more awesome now that San Francisco will have a downtown funicular, several of the planning commissioners requested that the developers look in to adding an observation deck on or near the building’s top floor, 61 stories above SoMa. (By comparison, One Rincon Hill has 60 stories, but those views are only accessible to the spendy penthouse owners.) A senior managing director for developer Hines was a little noncommittal, telling a reporter, “I think the request to investigate the observation deck is reasonable and we will certainly work with staff to fully investigate that topic.” As fans of viewing things from above the fog, we’re certainly rooting for it.
Next hurdle: Developer Hines has to buy the land from the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, but those negotiations are already underway.

 

From SFist

Continue Reading

DLA Piper, Sen. Mitchell Tainted by PG&E San Bruno Case: Recusal is the Only Path to Integrity for Law Firm, California Public Utilities Commission

George Mitchell: Reputation at Stake

Editorial

This week’s unilateral announcement by the California Public Utilities Commission to select DLA Piper—a global law firm that has represented the company headed by the current CPUC President Michael Peevy and worked to defend utility companies in major litigation—has sent shock waves throughout California’s legal community, elected leaders, the public and the media.

The fact that none of the parties at the negotiating table–with the exception of the ‘defendant’ in the case, Pacific Gas & Electric Co.–knew of or agreed to mediation nor was a party to the selection of the mediator, has raised ethical and legal questions that stun even the most passive observers in this monumental national public safety case.

The most fundamental basis of mediation is the agreement by all parties that it is necessary, closely followed by the mutual agreement of an unbiased and neutral mediator.  That very principal has been broken in every conceivable fashion by the California Public Utilities Commission and admitted as such to the Associated Press when CPUC Commissioner Mike Florio said in an interview he felt the move to inform PG&E first about the selection of DLA Piper had not been well thought out: “I think we handled this rather poorly. Announcing it before people were brought into it was not a good idea,” Florio said.

In our opinion, it’s beyond not being a ‘good idea,’ it breaks the very foundation of mediation and ruins the integrity of the CPUC process and DLA Piper’s participation.

If DLA Piper and Senator George Mitchell hope to retain any integrity and their reputations in the legal community, they must immediately resign this assignment now they have become aware of the unethical and potentially illegal manner in which they were selected.  We urge them to resign even before the CPUC leadership has the opportunity to rescind their appointment. It is not only the honorable thing to do, but it is the only thing that will preserve their reputation and demonstrate that they are not simply stooges for the utility industry and CPUC President Michael Peevy.

We commend San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera for standing up and demonstrating his leadership in joining the challenge to demand the CPUC decision to unilaterally appoint DLA Piper and Sen. George Mitchell as mediators when they have conflicts not only with their representation of utility companies, but directly with the interests of San Francisco itself.

As always, San Bruno must win praise for being a leader in its attempt to protect public safety and its citizens in opposing this dubious appointment.  And The Utility Reform Network and the California Division of Ratepayers Advocates should be justly proud that they stood up and truly represented the ratepayers in calling attention to this disgraceful appointment of the clearly conflicted DLA Piper and Sen. Mitchell.

We hope for the sake of Sen. George Mitchell and DLA Piper that they resign now that they know their appointment was tainted, their position conflicted, and their very reputation is at stake.

Their integrity is in their hands and their decision.

 

Continue Reading

Opinion: Is City Hall a place for Bike Racers?

Opinion: Will Kane, from the SF Chronicle

The 2012 Dew Tour Toyota City Champions are held at Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco, CA Thursday October 18th, 2012. Photo: Michael Short, Special To The Chronicle / SF

  • The 2012 Dew Tour Toyota City Champions are held at Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco, CA Thursday October 18th, 2012. Photo: Michael Short

 

 The dirt bikers launching off ramps into jaw-dropping flips in front of City Hall this week will bring crowds, money and excitement to town.

That much is clear. But in San Francisco, one person’s sporting event is another’s political hot potato – and it isn’t hard to find people for whom the four-day Dew Tour extreme sports festival also means a surplus of exhaust fumes, dust and nuisance.

“There is a very large mound of dirt right in front of City Hall,” said Supervisor John Avalos. “Is this really the best use of public lands?”

The skateboard, dirt bike and BMX bike competition, called the “America’s Cup of BMX biking” by one city official, started Thursday and will fill the Civic Center area until Sunday. Demolition will take a few more days.

Construction zone

Crews have spent the last week sculpting dirt jumps with small bulldozers and hammering together grandstands and skateboard half-pipes. The plaza, usually a popular hangout for tourists and tired drifters, has been cut off since construction began Oct 8.

“Our parks are places that have general access and general use,” said Avalos, a frequent critic of the city Recreation and Park Department. “If Rec and Park is going to shut down the park for two weeks so we can put on a weekend event, does that make a lot of sense?”

It makes total sense, said Sarah Ballard, a Rec and Park spokeswoman. Parks are supposed to be places that attract a variety of users, she said.

“In this case, we have actually undertaken a concerted effort to bring people to Civic Center,” Ballard said. “This is a continuation of the efforts to bring activity to Civic Center Plaza.”

Try it yourself

And every part of the Dew Tour, save a few ticketed grandstands, is entirely free to the public, she said. On Sunday, hometown amateur skaters will be able to skate the same course the pros do.

“We think it is an exciting opportunity for San Franciscans and it, frankly, allows us to reach a demographic that is hard to reach – the teenage demographic,” Ballard said.

Organizers of the tour, whose main sponsor is the Mountain Dew soda company, paid the lean parks department almost $311,000 to rent the plaza for 17 days, Ballard said. The sponsors of the event have also booked 2,300 combined nights in city hotels. Even more rooms are filled by friends, family and fans.

“I think it is chasing cheap dollars,” Avalos said. “I think a good portion of the public is going to feel that way.”

Soda subsidy

And on top of all that, Avalos asked, why is the city taking money from Mountain Dew owner PepsiCo anyway?

“Rec and Park has a mission to provide recreation; they had a whole campaign to get rid of soft drinks,” Avalos said. “This is an event that is promoting Mountain Dew. Are we really lowering our standards by putting on events like this?”

Phil Ginsburg, head of the parks department, said fans were smart enough to make their own decision.

“There are a lot of sponsors at this event. Every major event has corporate sponsors,” he said. “We don’t believe in kids drinking soda. This event promotes healthy activity.”

View from sidelines

Crowds packed the sun-drenched plaza Thursday afternoon as the skaters warmed up.Paul Wood, 49, a regular in Civic Center Plaza, glowered from the public library.

“Good idea, wrong location,” he said. “It is an infringement of people’s – what do you call them? – civil liberties to have this here, because we don’t have access. They should hold it in Cow Hollow, like the America’s Cup.”

But Gregg Wilson, 43, of San Francisco, said he was stoked to see the skaters.

“I’m here to see what the kids are doing, man,” Wilson said while sitting on his board on the plaza. “I’m 43 years old, I’m retired” – from skating.

“That’s San Francisco for you, someone is always going to complain,” he said when told of Avalos’ objections. “We got naked guys walking around in the Castro. That’s something they should worry about.”

Continue Reading

San Francisco City Attorney Blasts CPUC, PG&E Over DLA Piper Law Firm Selection in San Bruno Blast: Will DLA Piper Recuse Itself?

DLA Piper Law Firm Conflict in CPUC PG&E Case

More Bad News for DLA Piper: Conflict is raised by SF City Attorney. DLA Piper is adverse to S.F. in litigation, claims several utilities among its clients. CPUC Has Refused Comment on Conflict, Call for DLA to Recuse Firm

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera today expressed serious concerns about the California Public Utilities Commission’s unilateral appointment of former U.S. Senator George Mitchell and DLA Piper to mediate a settlement of enforcement actions against Pacific Gas and Electric Company over the deadly September 2010 explosion of its natural gas pipeline in San Bruno, Calif.

Mitchell currently serves as chairman emeritus of DLA Piper LLC, an international law firm that represents multiple parties currently involved in separate litigation against the City and County of San Francisco. The firm’s utility sector clients include Southern California Edison and Exxon Mobil.

“I have the highest regard for U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, and I greatly admire him for a distinguished public service career that includes major diplomatic achievements in Northern Ireland and the Middle East,” said Herrera. “But the legitimacy of an enforcement action involving one of the deadliest gas pipeline catastrophes in California history must be beyond reproach. What’s at stake in these proceedings is the safety of millions of Californians, and they deserve a process untainted by the appearance of utility industry bias. I don’t doubt Sen. Mitchell’s integrity or good intentions.”

Herrera continued “But the fact is, he leads a law firm that is both adverse to San Francisco in litigation, and that represents major gas utilities involved in cases before the CPUC. Moreover, the commission’s decision to unilaterally appoint a mediator raises larger questions about why the CPUC elected to appoint an outside mediator in the first place. It’s possible that mediation could prove helpful. But it is far more important that CPUC live up to its obligations as an industry regulator that protects the public interest.”

Herrera has been sharply critical of the CPUC following revelations from an independent review panel’s 2011 investigation into the San Bruno tragedy, which concluded that the commission’s “culture serves as an impediment to effective regulation,” and which went on to fault state regulators who “did not have the resources to monitor PG&E’s performance in pipeline integrity management adequately or the organizational focus that would have elevated concerns about PG&E’s performance in a meaningful way.” In July 2011, Herrera initiated steps to sue the CPUC along with federal regulators for failing to reasonably enforce federal gas pipeline safety standards as required by the U.S. Pipeline Safety Act. Herrera later elected to omit CPUC as a defendant after the commission showed signs of progress.

DLA Piper LLC contacted Herrera’s office last Friday, before the CPUC announced its appointment of Mitchell to serve as mediator, to inform city lawyers about litigation and other matters in which DLA Piper is currently adverse to the City and County of San Francisco. Those cases include litigation involving hotel chains and airlines.

Continue Reading

San Bruno, Ratepayer Advocates Challenge California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E: Demand CPUC Rescind Appointment of Sen. George Mitchell in Blockbuster PG&E Announcement

A blistering attack by the City of San Bruno, ratepayer advocates and Assemblyman Jerry Hill called into question the California Public Utility’s appointment of Sen. George Mitchell and his law firm DLA Piper as mediators in the PG&E explosion and fire settlement.

Mayor Jim Ruane of San Bruno, Thomas J. Long, Legal Director of consumer advocacy group The Utility Reform Network (TURN), and Karen Paull, Acting Legal Counsel, The Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA) all stood in front of the CPUC this morning and lambasted the “unholy and cozy alliance” between regulator CPUC and the regulated Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

The City of San Bruno and consumer advocates signed a letter demanding the CPUC rescind the appointment of Sen. Mitchell immediately because the CPUC  went behind their backs in appointing the mediator to oversee the talks and presented evidence that CPUC and PG&E had ex-parte contact in making the decision. The groups objected to the choice of mediator and said they should have been consulted before regulator CPUC appointed the mediator.

The California Public Utilities Commission had announced Monday that it had appointed former U.S. Senator George Mitchell to serve as mediator in the talks.

San Bruno City Manager Connie Jackson and attorneys with San Francisco and the consumer groups said the CPUC had notified PG&E before it appointed Mr. Mitchell, but didn’t notify San Bruno, San Francisco, or ratepayer advocates and officials.

“The unilateral announcement by the CPUC Monday that it had selected a mediator without consulting any of the parties at the negotiating table is consistent with the cozy and unholy relationship between the CPUC and PG&E.  This action is symbolic of the broken, dysfunctional and dishonest relationship between PG&E and the CPUC, the agency that is supposed to be the watchdog and protector of the public’s interest,” said Mayor Ruane of San Bruno.

“San Bruno is rightly concerned that the DLA Piper law firm has previously represented utilities–and that the firm was selected unilaterally by the CPUC and PG&E without the participation of any other party, which goes against the fundamental principles of mediation,” said Mayor Ruane at the press conference today.

“It also is of deep concern to us that DLA Piper has a lengthy list of corporate clients, including Southern California Edison, which the current chairman of the CPUC, Michael Peevey, once headed, according to news media reports about the appointment.

“In order for any mediation to succeed, the mediator will have to assure all the parties to our satisfaction that they have no conflicts, that they can be an unbiased mediator, and that the process will be open, transparent and fair,” Mayor Ruane said.

He continued: “We find that there is too much of a coincidence that one week before the announcement of DLA Piper as mediator, we were told that “a mediator with gravitas” is necessary to settle the negotiations, and now, with the unilateral start of mediation, that PG&E shareholders are paying for the mediation. This leads us, we rightly believe, to the conclusion that the CPUC and PG&E have had improper ex-parte contact as part of this process.

“We state unequivocally for the record that no fine or settlement with PG&E will ever be legitimate or credible without the participation of the City of San Bruno.

“We call into question the integrity of the entire CPUC process that has occurred over the past two years since our community was ripped apart by the negligent and systematic safety failures of PG&E and the inability of the CPUC to independently protect and represent the interests of the residents of San Bruno and the people of California.

“The healing process has physical manifestations in the reconstruction of our Crestmoor neighborhood. However, the scars and horrors of the explosion and fire remain. The City committed to its citizens that it would be an active and relentless participant in all of the investigations that followed.

“We remain at the table to represent the interests of the citizens of San Bruno, the memory of those whose lives were taken by PG&E’s negligence, their families and friends, and equally important, every other city, town and community in the State of California so we can help others prevent what happened to us,” Mayor Ruane concluded.

Mayor Ruane and the consumer advocate attorneys said Sen. Mitchell’s previous work for Southern California Edison, a utility where CPUC Chairman Michael Peevey was formerly an executive, made them question whether he would be impartial.

PG&E and CPUC investigators said Friday that they had started fresh talks to settle the investigators’ allegations that the utility violated numerous state and federal safety rules prior to the fatal 2010 pipeline explosion in San Bruno.

The CPUC had been holding public hearings following three investigations investigators completed after a section of the utility’s gas pipeline in San Bruno ruptured on Sept. 9, 2010, igniting a giant fireball that killed eight people and injured 58. The fire destroyed 38 homes and damaged 70 others. The neighborhood where the blast occurred hasn’t been fully rebuilt, although some houses have been rebuilt.

Both federal and state investigators blamed PG&E for the blast and found that defects in the utility’s aging pipeline and inadequate pipeline safety management contributed to the pipe’s rupture.

A CPUC judge suspended those hearings last week, after state investigators, who are employed by the CPUC, asked to stop the hearings to allow time for a fresh round of talks with PG&E.

Members of the CPUC have said they plan to order fines and possibly other penalties against PG&E over the San Bruno disaster.

Continue Reading

UNAPOLOGETICALLY OPINIONATED SOCIAL COMMENTATOR FRAN LEBOWITZ COMES TO ZELLERBACH HALL FOR THE FIRST TIME THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15 AT 8:00 PM

Author and native New Yorker, Fran Lebowitz brings her sardonic wit to Zellerbach Hall for one night only, Thursday, November 15 at 8:00 p.m. as part of Cal Performances’ Strictly Speaking series. Lebowitz has developed a unique place for herself as the voice of the self-proclaimed “Me Generation.” She offers insights on contemporary issues such as gender, race, gay rights and media as well as her own pet peeves, ranging from celebrity culture to tourists and strollers. She will talk about her life experiences and then hold a Q&A with the audience. The Philadelphia City Paper called Lebowitz “the single inheritor to the smart-not-smarmy, sarcastic, cosmopolitan crown left by Dorothy Parker.”

Born in New Jersey, Lebowitz worked many odd jobs before being hired by Andy Warhol as a columnist for Interview.  Her first two book, Metropolitan Life and Social Studies are collections of essays that were later compiled and re-published as The Fran Lebowitz Reader. In 2010, Martin Scorsese directed a documentary about Lebowitz entitled Public Speaking. The film features clips from her speaking engagements and debuted on HBO.  In addition to her speaking tours, Lebowitz is also seen by the public in her reoccurring role as a judge on the popular detective show Law and Order.  She recently broke a ten year writer’s block (which she humorously referred to as “Writer’s Blockade”) and began working on a new novel Exterior Signs of Wealth, which is purportedly about rich people who want to be artists and artists who want to be rich.

TICKET INFORMATION
Tickets for Fran Lebowitz on Thursday, November 15 at 8:00 p.m. at Zellerbach Hall start at $20.00 and are subject to change.  Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at www.calperformances.org; and at the door.  Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. UC faculty and staff, senior citizens, other students and UC Alumni Association members receive a $5.00 discount (Special Events excluded). For select performances, Cal Performances offers UCB student, faculty and staff, senior, and community rush tickets.  For more information about discounts, go to http://calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php or call (510) 642-9988.

Continue Reading