Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The East Bay Today: July 31, 2007

Tue, Jul 31, 2007 at 4:56 PM

Today's Top Event: Karaoke Tuesdays at the Union Jack.

Brainiac: Learn something new every day. Today's lecture: Matt Johanson. Discussing his book Giants (Game of My Life) at the Castro Valley Library.

Is It Lunch Yet? Express food critic John Birdsall recommends: The Cheese Board Pizza Collective in Berkeley.

On the Town: Going out tonight? Stir up a brain storm at Pyramid Alehouse's Brainstormer Pub Quiz, in both Walnut Creek and Berkeley.

Hardly Working: You've got time. We know how to waste it. Check out this list of cool movie robots.

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

Monday, July 30, 2007

Latin Mass Revival in Oakland

by Kathleen Richards
Mon, Jul 30, 2007 at 4:56 PM

The Chron published an interesting Q&A with Father Michael Wiener, a priest at St. Margaret Mary Church in Oakland who's been practicing the Latin Mass since 1999. The Catholic Church has seen renewed interest in the Latin Mass lately, thanks in part to Pope Benedict XVI's recent decision to remove the requirement that priests get permission from a bishop to practice the old-style Mass, also called the Tridentine Mass. Some are concerned this revival may cause a rift in the Church, while others are denouncing a reinstated prayer that asks God to convert the Jewish people, as well as "atheists, pagans, heretics and schismatics and all people who are not Christian," according to Wiener. The Latin Mass is characterized by its series of symbolic gestures, the fact that the priest faces the altar rather than the congregation, elaborate vestments, Gregorian chants, and of course, the fact that it's conducted in Latin. Wiener says he's had several requests from other priests in the Bay Area who want to learn the 1,500-year-old ritual, which was widely practiced until 1965 when the Vatican opened the mass to improvisation.

The East Bay Today: July 30, 2007

Mon, Jul 30, 2007 at 4:56 PM

Today's Top Event: Crazy Train to the Land of Pure Imagination at Blank Space Gallery in Oakland.

Brainiac: Learn something new every day. Today's lecture: ClutterLess. Self-help workshop for obsessive pack rats and the organizationally challenged at Pleasanton Presbyterian Church.

Is It Lunch Yet? Express food critic John Birdsall recommends: The Cheese Board Pizza Collective in Berkeley.

On the Town: Going out tonight? It's Mayhem Monday at the hesher-friendly Bourbon Street. Sounds promising.

Hardly Working: You've got time. We know how to waste it. Check out how reporters in Africa use cell phones to report the news.

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

Giant Stinky Corpse Flower to ... Flower

by Kathleen Richards
Mon, Jul 30, 2007 at 12:12 AM

In the mood for something stinky? Staff at UC Botanical Garden expects its rare, giant titan arum, or "corpse flower," to bloom this week. And when it does, it'll unleash its putrid smell. "It really does smell like there's a dead body in the room," Garden Director Paul Licht was quoted in this UC Berkeley press release. Apparently, the odor helps the plant attract insects to carry its pollen. Nicknamed "Titania," the plant currently stands at over five feet tall. When it blooms, it'll open to a diameter of three to four feet. It's the garden's second corpse plant to bloom. The first, "Trudy," blossomed around this time two years ago. About two days before blooming, the plant's green pleated skirt turns a purplish hue. Staff says the plant will bloom within the next two or three days. Click here for more information.

It's a "Jungle" Out There

by Kathleen Richards
Mon, Jul 30, 2007 at 12:12 AM

The blog Claycord.com -- which covers Concord, Clayton, and Contra Costa County, is run by a guy who calls himself "The Mayor," and openly states his postings may be inaccurate or erroneous -- did cough up some hard proof of a potentially dangerous situation at a kids' entertainment facility. While visiting the Jungle in Concord, which bills itself as "the West's premier indoor family entertainment center," the Mayor shot photos of some hard-to-believe hazards: including exposed electrical outlets in the baby area, broken glass on the floor, and a coin-operated ride with a broken and exposed sharp object. Click on the link and scroll down to see the pictures.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Buy Curious: Fashionable Flicks, Fresh-Air Styles, & Dropping Stylish Slang

Sat, Jul 28, 2007 at 4:56 PM

Got the mid-summer blues? Stuck in your cubicle while colleagues lounge in tropical locales? This week, it's all about regaining inspiration, and we've got plenty of happenings this weekend to spark your imagination -- whether you're flying kites at the Berkeley Marina, watching movies in the Castro, or perusing the the World Wide Web for high-brow lingo. And if that doesn't unhinge you from your funk, try one of a half-dozen sales.


fayedunaway.jpg Swooning for Celluloid There's nothing we love more than watching classic movies featuring wardrobes to die for. Back in the day, studios embraced the whole concept of movies as a means of escaping everyday woes, and high fashion went a long way in this regard. But, by and large, modern movies seem to have abandoned this great tradition. Some of our all-time favorites include Vertigo (Kim Novak's little black dress, chiffon scarf, and white coat ensemble, not to mention the infamous gray suit), Bonnie & Clyde (costume designer Theadora Van Runkle earned an Academy Award nomination for dressing Faye Dunaway - makes us wish we lived during the Great Depression!), The Graduate (Mrs. Robinson may have been freaky, but she had amazing outfits; her daughter wasn't half-bad either), The Godfather I & II (why can't all men wear tailored Italian suits all the time?), Cousins (Isabella Rossellini actually made '80s fashion sophisticated), In the Mood for Love (Maggie Cheung's endless gorgeous cheongsams), and, of course, the ultimate queen of chic: Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's and Roman Holiday. (Yes, we have a slight vintage fetish. Can you tell?). The Castro Theatre proffers its own fashion faves of the silver screen with its weeklong series, "Fabulous Fashion in Film." Check out screenings of The Women, Blonde Venus, Barbarella, Dreamgirls, Mahogany, My Fair Lady, the must-see Paris Is Burning, and more. Click here for the complete schedule. When: Fri. July 27 - Fri. Aug. 3 Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., San Francisco How much it'll set you back: $6-$9 kites.jpg Go Buy a Kite! Yes, you can fly a kite in heels! (We do recommend sneakers, though.) Head to Berkeley's annual kite festival this weekend to check out some of the coolest kite flying in the world. Lest you lack a flyer of your own, head to the tent run by festival sponsor Highline Kites of Berkeley to select one from a dizzying selection. Where: Cesar E. Chavez Park, Berkeley Marina When: Sat. July 28 & Sun. July 29th 2007, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Fresh Air + Fashion + Free = Why Not? We're not sure exactly what to expect Saturday afternoon as the fourth annual Fashion on the Square event kicks off in San Francisco's Union Square. (Participating designers at the self-described "largest outdoor fashion show on the west coast" include Oligo Tissew, Brooks College, Victor Tung, Azzure, Indigo Red, Andew Drew 2 and Dollhouse. We've heard of... none of them.) But hey, if it sucks, at least there are a dozen stellar stores within a three-block radius. And we've been meaning to stock up on sumptuous Honey I Washed the Kids soap at fabulous Lush for ages... Where: Union Square, San Francisco When: Sat, July 28, all day. Runway show starts at 3 p.m. Sales Sales Sales It's mid-season, meaning there are more sales than we know what to do with. Stores are clearing their racks for fall - so take this opportunity to snag a last-minute frock for that upcoming barbecue, items you can layer with for fall, and that uber hot dress you were eyeing but couldn't afford a few months ago. You'll be the envy of all your friends. ** Iniam This Rockridge boutique is still clearing its racks. Take 60 to 75 percent off all sale items, including denim. When: Now! Store hours: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. noon-5 p.m. Where: 5902 College Ave, Oakland ** Afterglow One-Year Anniversary Party Owner Amy Cools has been through a lot during her first year (including two break-ins), but still she's managed to go forward in the name of independent fashion. Help support her and her featured designers at her one-year anniversary sale. Enjoy drinks, snacks, art, and a storewide sale. Click here for more info. When: Sat., July 28, 1 p.m.-9 p.m. Where: 4233 Telegraph Ave., Oakland * Modern Economy Sample Sale Take up to 75 percent off mod home décor. When: Sat., July 28, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Where: Fort Mason Center, Conference center, Building A, San Francisco goldenbleu.jpg ** Goldenbleu Blowout Snag highly coveted and discontinued purses and shoes on sale. Don't have to tell us twice! When: Fri. July 27, 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Where: 111 Minna St., San Francisco ** Tobi From the folks who brought you Azalea in San Francisco comes this online boutique with a focus on customer service. Take up to 70 percent off looks from Graham & Spencer, J. Brand, Dolce Vita, Theory, Plenty by Tracy Reese, and much more. Where: Here! **My Roommate's Closet Boutique Outlet Enjoy 50 percent off items by AG Jeans, Alice + Olivia , Alvin Valley, Chaiken, Chip & Pepper Jeans, Development, DVF, Grey Ant, Lily McNeal, Mint, Paul & Joe, Rebecca Taylor, Sass & Bide, Theory, and more. Find shoes by Ashley Dearborn, Giuseppe Zanotti, Hollywould, Sigerson Morrison, Vera Wang, and more. When: Now, through August 15. Store hours: Tues.-Fri. 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. noon-5 p.m. Where: 3044 Fillmore St., San Francisco ** Sarah Shaw Boutique Take up to 70 percent off looks from as Alice + Olivia, Beth Bowley, Catherine Malandrino, Chaiken, DVF, Robert Rodriguez, Tibi, Tom K. Nguyen, and more. When: Now, through July 31 Store hours: Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. noon-5 p.m. Where: 3095 Sacramento St., San Francisco

FASHANALYSIS: Style News & Views

Banish Summer Boredom with Fancy Fashion Words (*New Blog Alert!) It's here: that midsummer slump that threatens to send you (a devoted workaholic with a tear-jerking two weeks of vacation gobbled up by visits home at Christmas and for your parents' Important Birthdays) over the edge. Each day you arrive at work to see yet another empty cubicle featuring yet another neon "On Vacation!!" post-it stuck to a dusty monitor. You picture your (lazy) colleagues frolicking on Caribbean beaches, UsWeekly style, or hiking up Tibetan hillsides (a flock of tent-toting Sherpas trailing behind), or drifting atop sherbet-colored rafts in a five-star infinity pool in an exotic foreign locale you can't pronounce. You spend your increasingly ample downtime scanning Go Fug Yourself, rolling your eyes at Perez Hilton, and digesting the new kid on the block, Fashionista. Still, you're left with vast stretches of afternoon to fill. What to do? C'mon, kiddo - it's not that tough!
Instead of boring yourself with mind numbing details of Lindsay's arresting fashion sense (and latest arrest), boost your fashion IQ with daily doses of New York Times writer Cathy Horyn's new blog, Runway. (We previously reported on Runway's Q&A with fashion-democrat Sarah Jessica Parker). Read it, learn her highbrow vocab and the references you don't know, then sprinkle these gems liberally in your next cocktail conversation. For instance, Horyn recently observed that, "One of the pleasures and privileges of covering the haute couture collections is visiting the ateliers of the houses." Know what an "atelier" is? Yeah? Well, how do you pronounce it? (It's a fancy term for a designer's workshop or studio; say, "ah-tell-eee-ay.) Or, how about this line, from a trip to Paris: "Around 9:30, I went over to Lagerfeld's for a party he was having with Dom Perignon." Dom Perignon. Right. So this lucky writer, uh, at a party sponsored by a champagne brand? Or is Dom a living, breathing person? There's only one way to find out... google it. (Okay, okay, according to Wikipedia, our man Dom Pierre Pérignon (circa 1638 - 1715) was a Benedictine monk frequently credited with the invention of champagne.) Every Friday, Buy Curious dishes on the hottest fashion trends, news, and sales in the East Bay and beyond. If you've got suggestions for shops or Web site to feature, comments on the blog, or a burning style question you'd like us to answer in our occasional column, Buy Clueless, send them our way! BuyCurious[at]EastBayExpress[dot]com

Friday, July 27, 2007

The East Bay Today: July 27, 2007

Fri, Jul 27, 2007 at 4:56 PM

Today's Top Event: Edgetone Music Fest at 21 Grand.

Brainiac: Learn something new every day. Today's event: Youth Writing Festival Public Reading. Featuring poetry, stories, and essays generated as part of the Mentoring for Academic Success Youth Writing Festival at Cody's Books.

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

On the Town: Going out tonight? Spud's Pizza has just the thing: the Pizza and Love Comedy Showcase, featuring delicious pizza and local stand-up comics to help you laugh it off.

Hardly Working: You've got time. We know how to waste it. Check out container ship casualties.

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

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The East Bay Today: July 26, 2007

Thu, Jul 26, 2007 at 4:56 PM

Today's Top Event: Exotic, Nostalgic, Bizarre: Jewish Food in the Eyes of American and European Food Writers at the Judah L. Magnes Museum.

Brainiac: Learn something new every day. Today's class: Beginning and Intermediate Latin American Guitar. With instructor Rafael Manríquez at La Peña Cultural Center. E-mail rafael@rafaelmanriquez.com for details.

Is It Lunch Yet? Express food critic John Birdsall recommends: El Tapatio in Richmond.

On the Town: Going out tonight? Upset the weekend's still a day away? Drown your sorrows in two-dollar brews at Pee Wee Muldoon's.

Hardly Working: You've got time. We know how to waste it. Check out Urban Typography.

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

Union Busting at the Oakland Tribune?

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Jul 26, 2007 at 4:56 PM

Union members at the Oakland Tribune and its sister papers were worried Thursday that the owners of their newspaper chain will attempt to disband the union that includes reporters, photographers, and copy editors. The concerns came in the wake of an announcement Wednesday afternoon that the Trib and the non-union Contra Costa Times would fully merge on August 13, under the new banner, Bay Area News Group-East Bay, or BANG-EB, for short. MediaNews Group, the owners of the Trib, purchased the CC Times and the San Jose Mercury News last summer from the McClatchy newspaper chain. But while the Trib and the CC Times have shared news stories and some resources over the past twelve months, their newsrooms have remained separate - until now. Under BANG-EB, the Trib, and its sister papers (formerly known as ANG), the Hayward Daily Review, the Fremont Argus, the Alameda Times-Star, and the Tri-Valley Herald, effectively will become one large newspaper with CC Times, and its sister papers, the West County Times and the Valley Times. Also included in BANG-EB are the former Hills newspapers, including the Alameda Journal, the Montclarion, and the Berkeley Voice. BANG-EB will continue to publish each newspaper, but all operations, including the newsrooms, will merge. The two main newsdesks will be at the Trib's new headquarters on Oakport Street across from the Oakland Coliseum and the CC Times' headquarters in Walnut Creek. MediaNews already has consolidated it business-side operations, including advertising and circulation, at its new facility in San Ramon. Leaders of the Northern California Media Workers Guild, the union that represents ANG reporters, photographers, and copy editors, met Thursday afternoon with MediaNews officials to discuss the merger's ramifications for the union. Paul Rosynsky, chair of the ANG bargaining unit, said company officials said they were examining whether there were more ANG newsroom employees than CC Times and Hills newspapers newsroom employees. The issue is pivotal because if there are more CC Times and Hills employees, Media News likely will attempt to decertify the union because it represents less than half of the combined operation. Rosysnky refused to discuss the union's plans should that happen, but it's a safe bet that the union would file unfair labor practices charges with the National Labor Relations Board. "We don't understand why the company would want to take away protections that people have chosen and fought for," Rosynsky said. "This could be a kick-ass organization. We look forward to working with our friends at the CC Times. We could be a great newspaper, one of the best in the state." Kevin Keane, who will head up all newsroom operations for BANG-EB, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. But another ANG employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said MediaNews has been downsizing the Trib and its ANG sister papers through attrition in the past twelve months. The downsizing may have tipped scales against the union, so that there are now more CC Times and Hills employees than ANG, the employee said. MediaNews, which has a long history of anti-union activities, also plans to transfer twenty ANG employees to Walnut Creek or other CC Times operations, Rosynsky said. However, it was unclear Thursday if this would affect the employee headcount to determine the union's viability. MediaNews officials also revealed Thursday that they plan to close the Tri-Valley Herald offices in Pleasanton and transfer employees to the Valley Times offices a few miles away. The merger also may result in some layoffs, but it's unclear how many. Here is the complete text of the Wednesday afternoon e-mail from John Armstrong, publisher of BANG-EB to all ANG and CC Times employees: FROM: John Armstrong RE: Newsroom Consolidation I write to let you know we are taking the final step in our consolidation of the operations of Contra Costa/Hills Newspapers and ANG Newspapers by bringing together all newsrooms under the umbrella of the Bay Area News Group-East Bay (BANG-EB). This change follows the consolidation of the Contra Costa/Hills and ANG advertising, circulation and production operations and the migration of finance, information technology (IT), human resources, targeted publications and interactive regional operations to the headquarters of the California Newspapers Partnership in San Ramon. Effective August 13, all employees of our East Bay newspapers and affiliated products and services work under the umbrella of BANG-EB. This means consolidated payroll processing, common human resources oversight, common byline style for reporters and a new email domain (bayareanewsgroup.com), among other things. Kevin Keane, executive editor of the Contra Costa Times and vice president/news of BANG-EB, will be the executive editor of BANG-EB. Pete Wevurski, who had been editor of ANG Newspapers, will be managing editor of BANG-EB. We are making this change, which integrates three entities into a single operation, to allow us to maximize our East Bay news gathering capabilities, eliminate wasteful redundancies, streamline management and redirect staff and resources to our interactive services and other priorities, such as watchdog journalism. Under Kevin and Pete, the sports, features, business, photography, graphics, editorial pages, online and copy editing/page design operations each will be consolidated under a single assistant managing editor (AME). Completion of the copy editing/page design and graphics consolidations, which move all of that work to Walnut Creek, is tied to installation of a new electronic front-end system, now scheduled for early 2008. The AMEs of the regional departments: Regional/Local News - Carolyn McMillan, Martin Reynolds and Kat Rowlands Sports - Tom Barnidge Features - Lisa Wrenn Business - Drew Voros Editorial Pages - Dan Hatfield, whose title will remain editorial page editor Interactive - Ari Soglin Copy Editing/Page Design - Bob Nishizaki. Production editors Kerry Young and Al Fields report to Bob. Bob also has oversight of photography, directed by Nick Lammers, and graphics, directed by Chuck Todd and Chris Walker. Mike Oliver, former special projects editor at ANG Newspapers, will assume similar responsibilities for BANG-EB, and Kari Hulac, former ANG features editor, will oversee expanded arts and entertainment content in our interactive services. Former ANG sports editor Jon Becker joins the regional sports team. Local news reporting will continue to be supervised directly by editors at each of the BANG-EB newspapers. Other changes in duties and responsibilities will be announced over the next few weeks. In the new organization, our interactive content will receive special attention. We will form two breaking news desks - one in Oakport, the other in Walnut Creek - to funnel news to our online sites 24/7. These desks will have dedicated staffs. As noted above, Ari Soglin will oversee the East Bay online department, in which Kathleen Kirkwood and Ray Saint Germain will assume leadership roles. Working closely with the Web producers, the East Bay online team will include reporters and photographers interested in developing multimedia projects. Some staffers already have made the jump to multimedia full time, and we expect other opportunities along that line in the months ahead. Concurrent with consolidation of news operations, we also are consolidating labor/human resources functions under Laurie Fox, assisted by Karen Austin. These functions previously were separate for Contra Costa/Hills under Laurie and for ANG under Karen. There will be no reductions or adverse changes to the pay of employees due to this consolidation. In any consolidation of this size, involving hundreds of employees, some inequities in pay are inevitable, and they will be addressed. As we eliminate duplication of effort in our newsrooms, we will reduce the size of the editorial staff. It is our hope attrition will cover this reduction, but there is no guarantee that layoffs can be avoided. Kevin Keane, Pete Wevurski and I will hold informational meetings tomorrow and Friday at the following locations: THURSDAY 10:30 a.m. - Oakport Office, Oakland 1 p.m. - Hayward Office 3:30 p.m. - Walnut Creek Office, newsroom FRIDAY 2 p.m. - Spring Street Office, Pleasanton 4 p.m. - Willow Street Office, Pleasanton In addition, Kevin and Pete will endeavor to visit all newsrooms in BANG-EB over the next few weeks. As always, I welcome your questions and comments.
Full Disclosure: I am a former union officer at ANG and Rosynsky is my friend.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The East Bay Today: July 25, 2007

Wed, Jul 25, 2007 at 4:56 PM

Today's Top Event: "Wild Wednesdays" at Cafe Temescal.

Brainiac: Learn something new every day. Today's event: Bridges to Sakai. Art exhibit at the Berkeley Art Center.

Is It Lunch Yet? Express food critic John Birdsall recommends: Downtown Restaurant in Berkeley.

On the Town: Going out tonight? Why not try your luck at Texas Hold 'Em in Oaks Card Clubs' limit and no-limit tournaments.

Hardly Working: You've got time. We know how to waste it. Check out scary pics from a ventriloquism museum.

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

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