Saturday, March 31, 2007

First Days of Freedom for Eddy Zheng

by Kara Platoni
Sat, Mar 31, 2007 at 4:53 PM

In 2005, we reported on The Last Stand of Eddy Zheng, the bizarre legal saga of the Chinese immigrant to Oakland who has spent his entire adult life trying to repay a crime of his youth. As a sixteen-year-old, Zheng participated in an armed robbery and was sentenced to seven years to life in prison, although he was expected to serve only eight or nine of those years. Instead, despite becoming a model prisoner who wrote poetry, published zines, and worked with youth programs from inside San Quentin, Zheng served more than nineteen, rousing massive support from Bay Area progressive leaders and Asian-American organizers who felt he had been punished more than enough and had become an exemplary member of the community. Zheng was finally paroled in 2005, but instead of being released, because of errors made by his defense attorneys when he was a teenager, Zheng was placed in immigration detention pending deportation to China. After nearly two more years of legal wrangling, Anmol Chaddha, who runs Zheng's Web site tells us that his friend -- now 37 -- has finally been released from detention. However, Chaddha points out, his deportation is still pending despite a legal challenge to it. Nevertheless, for Eddy Zheng, it is his first taste of the outside world in 21 years.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The East Bay Today: March 30. 2007

Fri, Mar 30, 2007 at 4:53 PM


Today's Top Event: Stand-up comics Brent Weinbach and Moshe Kasher cohost Friday’s Return of Smug Shift at Oakland's Stork Club. 

Brainiac: Learn something new every day.  Today's lecture: Vertical Pool presents The Greater Circulation, Antero Alli's film about the pain and suffering that Rainer Maria Rilke experienced while writing the classic poem "Requiem for a Friend" at the Grace North Church in Berkeley. 

Is It Lunch Yet?Express food critic John Birdsall recommends: Guerilla Cafe in Berkeley. 

On the Town: Going out tonight? Try a Belgian beer at the Bistro while Bad Boy Bruce & the Mob lay down some blues. 

Hardly Working: You've got time.  We know how to waste it.  Check  out Shorpy, the 100-Year-Old Photo Blog. 

Feed Us: Got an East Bay news tip, photo, video, or link  we need to know about? E-mail us.

Buy Curious: Dance, Swap, Shop Local (Online)... and Jump Him, Already!

Fri, Mar 30, 2007 at 12:04 AM

Sales aren't much fun at this time of year - sure, you were lusting over that cashmere hoodie last month, but do you really want it now, even at half-price? Still, Buy Curious has found plenty to keep you busy. Tonight, kick up your heels with Vivienne Westwood (in spirit). Tomorrow, score an entire spring wardrobe for $5! Homebound? We spill the URL to the best site for shopping up an incredible array of goodies by indie designers. And, of course, there's Buy Clueless, here to solve your fishnet body stocking quandaries, once and for all... STYLE FILE Boogie Down at the de Young (But Skip the Stomach Suck-In)

The de Young museum boasts that at tonight's relaunch of their Friday night festivities, "In honor of the corsetry of Vivienne Westwood [currently featured in an exhibit], Autumn Adamme of Dark Garden, San Francisco's premiere corset atelier, brings more than 50 corsets for visitors to try on." We're not sure we like the idea of squeezing into corsets (don't they, ah, have a little something to do with women's disempowerment? and aren't they painful?). Nor do we believe that Dark Garden has much competition for the title of "San Francisco's premier corset atelier." (Correct us if we're wrong.) Yet ringing in the weekend at the de Young by taking in the Vivienne Westwood show and dancing however one might deign to dance to a band called the Shotgun Wedding Hip-Hop Symphony sounds like a whole heck of a lot of fun. The kicker? $10 admission--$5 less than the usual price. When: Fri, Mar. 30, 5 p.m. - 8:45 p.m. Where: De Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

Show Your Skivvies for Charity... ...and leave with something new to cover 'em up. A massive clothing swap hits San Francisco Saturday. Toss that miniskirt you can't believe you ever wore and those pain-inducing heels into a bag - or, guys, those pleating pants we're always bitching about - and head to what just might be the biggest clothing swap the city has ever seen. For $5 bucks (assuming you bring clothes; $10, if not) you'll get to sip sangria while trying on other people's cast-offs, which volunteers will collect and organize (and which are hopefully way cooler than yours). Walk away with anything you like - and the fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing your cash will benefit various SF AIDS organization. Warning: There won't be dressing rooms, so this is not the time to pull a Brittany/Paris/Lindsay. When: Sat., Mar. 31, Noon - 3 p.m. Where: The Phritzery, 170-172 Clara St., San Francisco

SHOP TALK Be Less Hollow Ever feel like shopping online is a hollow task? And that, when you glance at the clock after doing it, you can't imagine how you wasted so much time with practically nothing (not today, anyhow) to show for it? And your back kind of aches from slouching? And your eyes are kind of bleary? And your boyfriend has once again accused you of being an addict, which is really starting to piss you off? Well, cheer up! There's a way to make the experience a little less hollow. (Sorry, we can't help you with all of your other issues. Maybe buy a comfy chair, get glasses and dump the jerk?) Head to, where you'll find gorgeous homemade clothing, accessories and goodies for your place crafted by a well-curated collection of genius indie designers. (By "homemade" we don't mean gum wrapper wallets stitched together with dental floss - this stuff is truly top of the line.) Most of the designers - like Berkeley's Josh Jakus - have little bios on the pages displaying their wares, too, so by the time you click "buy now" you'll feel almost like you've made a new friend. For animated proof of just how skillful our boy Jakus is, click on his home page.

Wear Your Cat Geekiness On Your Sleeve (or Close to It, Anyway) We admit it: If one of us hadn't recently adopted two kittens, morphing instantly into the kind of cat person she'd always sworn not to become ("I can't meet for drinks tonight because [insert non-cat related excuse for wanting to stay home with cats]"), we wouldn't give this bag a second glance. But really--how damn cute is it? At only $36 bucks, including shipping, it's what, the cost of three yoga classes? One night of heavy drinking? Plus, we've been fans of Gama-Go since the once scrappy San Francisco brand launched in 2001. (Back then, we scored one of their sweet and silly messenger bags at a sample sale for one-third the price it costs now - pays to buy early, folks!) Their bags, wallets, t-shirts, hoodies and boxer-briefs can now be found at more than 200 stores, including plenty in the Bay Area. Where, you ask? Take a peak here.

FASHIONALYSIS Several East Bay designers made it onto SF Chronicle writer Sylvia Rubin's list of the top five Bay Area up-and-comers, published Thursday: Oakland's Stephanie Verrières and Kimie Sako, whose line, Verrieres & Sako, made its Academy Awards debut this year on the body of Jack Black's wife; Erin Mahoney, whose flirty Berkeley-based namesake line is geared toward flirty, fiery women; and Berkeley's Mandalyn Begay, one-third of Oda, a SF-based label that might be described as fairytale meets modern day Tokyo.

BUY CLUELESS Fear of Fishnet Holding You Back? Dear Buy Curious: I bought a crotchless fishnet body stocking the day before Valentine's Day, as you'd advised, hoping my husband would find it the sexiest thing on the planet. Thing is, it's still in my sweater drawer, stuffed beneath the sparkly gold sweater I wear maybe once a year. It's not that I'm too shy to have him see me in it - I'm totally comfortable with my body. But I bought it on a whim - I never wear this kind of stuff. I'm afraid he'll laugh, and kill the mood completely. Which would be fine if we had sex every day, or even every week, but I mean, we've been married quite a while now, and opportunities simply don't come up that often. (By the time we're done reading an article or two in The New Yorker in bed at night, we're primed to sleep, not fuck.) When the miracle of mutual arousal does occur, I feel like I have to seize the moment. Were I to run and pull on my crotchless fishnet body stocking, I worry that he'd find it hilarious - my usual sex gear consists of drawstring yoga pants and a tank top - and then I'd laugh, too, but I'd very quickly become annoyed by his reaction, and wham - no sex for another long stretch. Advice? Yours, Body Stocking Virgin

Dear B.S.V., Drink a glass of exceptionally fine wine while he brushes his teeth. Wait until he's just crawled into bed. Put the damn thing on. Rip the New Yorker out of his hands. If he laughs, kiss him. He'll stop laughing. If you feel the urge, take the damn thing off. Commence lovemaking. If this doesn't work, or you simply can't get up the nerve, slip the crotchless fishnet body stocking into his workbag one morning. We guarantee you'll have a good night - whether or not you ever put it on. Best of Luck! Buy Curious

Every Friday, Buy Curious dishes on the best sales, hottest new trends, and juiciest fashion news in the East Bay - and we want to hear from you! Tips? Plugs for favorite local shops? Questions for Buy Clueless, our tried-and-true advice column? Write us at:

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Live Locally, Cheer Globally

by Eric Simons
Thu, Mar 29, 2007 at 4:53 PM

Good coverage from the dailies on yesterday's spectacular Mexico-Ecuador soccer game at the Oakland Coliseum. Chronicle reporter David White met some great people in the crowd and led with it - befitting the biggest sporting event in the Bay Area so far this year. The Chron also ran two stories yesterday, including Jim Herron Zamora's interesting look at how Mexican Americans fit into the Bay Area sports scene. The Tribune ran a good crowd story off the front, with a cool online multimedia feature, and also a fairly straightforward game story in the sports section. That story featured a bizarre quote from A's owner Lew Wolff, who said the game "showed us the quality of the MLS. It showed us the quality of our own people."

Not sure exactly what Wolff means by that, since not a single one of the players who took the field - even with liberal substitutions - currently plays in the MLS. Mexican goal-scorer Juan Francisco Palencia did play with Chivas USA in Los Angeles for one year (he's now with Pumas in Mexico City). But that's pretty much it. The other players play all over the world, mostly in Mexico's and Ecuador's domestic leagues, but also in England, Belgium, Serbia, even Qatar.

And for the final silly media note: For whatever reason, only the Mexican soccer federation seems to have the photos of a smiling Barry Bonds wearing a Mexico scarf and, for once, watching the game instead of playing in it.

The East Bay Today: March 29, 2007

Thu, Mar 29, 2007 at 4:53 PM

Today's Top Event:  San Francisco’s Slow Poisoner, aka Andrew Goldfarb, performs at Oakland’s Stork Club. 

Brainiac:  Learn something new every day.  Today's lecture: Berkeley's Ecology Center screens the documentary film Fight in the Fields and holds a discussion of current campaigns to protect farmworkers and the environment in commemoration of Cesar Chavez.


Is It Lunch Yet? Express food critic John Birdsall recommends: Manzanita in Emeryville. 

On the Town:  Going out tonight? Spring break is here! Celebrate right at "College Night" -- an exclusive club night for college students only at Blake's on Telegraph. 

Hardly Working: You've got time.  We know how to waste it.  Check out the Speech Accent Archive.  

Feed Us: Got an East Bay news tip, photo, video, or link  we need to know about? 92510 [at] eastbayexpress [dot] com.

Our Bad: Tribune Had the Story

Thu, Mar 29, 2007 at 4:53 PM

An earlier post incorrectly asserted that the Oakland Tribune had mostly taken a powder on coverage of an international soccer match at the Coliseum between Mexico and Ecuador. In fact, the Trib had the story on A-1. The corrected story is above. Apologies to our fellow ink- (and byte-) stained wretches. -- The Editors

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Grease Trap: Food Section Feature? Ah, Skip It

by John Birdsall
Wed, Mar 28, 2007 at 4:53 PM

We love MediaNews food staffer Jolene Thym's no-nonsense style, even when she reveals more than she should. In today's Oakland Trib/CoCo Times cover story, Thym gets to the bottom of floppy silicone bakeware. The author gets opinions from a couple of professional bakers, but at some point, well -- she just runs out of time. "Facing a story deadline and still wondering why people would add this kind of bakeware to their kitchen at all," she writes, "I decided it was time to stop playing around with this silicone ware." Thym whips up some brownies and muffins and calls it a day. Bless her brutally honest heart: 1,300 words into it, she just loses patience with the whole damn story. That's funny -- so did we.

Oy! The Epiphany AlreadyStacy Finzs Passover piece on macaroons in the Chron may stray from kosher, but it leads right to what have to be among the planets best confections: the almond macaroons from Berkeleys Phoenix Pastificio. Vaguely star-shaped and less fiercely sugary than most, Phoenixs Sicilian-style cookies have stoked more than one almond-scented epiphany. Get em at the Berkeley farmers markets, and sometimes from the pastry case at 900 Grayson.



The East Bay Today: March 28, 2007

Wed, Mar 28, 2007 at 4:53 PM

Today's Top Event: Trumpeter Roy Hargrove puts a new spin on hardbop at Yoshi's in Oakland.

Brainiac: Learn something new every day. Today's lecture: Las Positas College Celebration of César Chávez and Migrant Farm Workers at the Los Positas Community College library in Livermore.

Is It Lunch Yet? Express food critic John Birdsall recommends: Long Life Vegi House in Berkeley.  

On the Town: Going out tonight? Kickin' the Mule plays old-school blues at Pat's Bar in Oakland.  

Hardly Working: You've got time. We know how to waste it. Check out the Droodle Archive.

Feed Us: Got an East Bay news tip, photo, video, or link we need to know about? E-mail us.

You Write Too Long: This Week's Cover Story Bite-Sized

by Kelly Vance
Wed, Mar 28, 2007 at 4:53 PM

This Week, "Raising Pagans": Now that it's safe, relatively speaking, to go around identifying yourself as a Witch, all of a sudden proudly Pagan kids and their families are popping up all over. They do most of the things that, say, people in Roman Catholic, or Mormon, or Buddhist, or ancestor-worshipping communities do - wear amulets, join societies (like the SpiralScouts, the Pagan alternative to Boy and Girl Scouts), etc. And their kids worry about being accepted at school. But they're no longer afraid, explains writer Kathleen Richards. And that's a good thing. As one Pagan notes, they'e finally out of the Broom Closet.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Update: Gas Cans Found at Site of Peralta Blaze

by Michael Mechanic
Tue, Mar 27, 2007 at 4:53 PM

Last night's fire at Oakland’s Peralta Elementary was clearly a case of arson. According to observers at the scene, fire officials found gas cans, as well as a broken window to the school's office from its inner hallway, a possible sign the perpetrators may have gained entry to that space, or attempted to. Peralta this afternoon was a sad but determined scene, with workmen cleaning up the charred mess around the school’s now-cleared courtyard garden, and installing a temporary front door out of plywood. Missing walls revealed charred wooden studs, and portions of the already-crowded school’s kindergarten area were out of commission. TV news crews pulled aside and interviewed concerned parents and others who came by to survey the damage. Today, ironically, was to be the debut of a weekly after-school produce stand, where kids and parents will sell local farm produce to benefit the Peralta Parent Teacher Group. That money will certainly come in handy now.

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