“Berlin ist eine Reise wert”—Berlin is worth a trip. That tepid marketing blurb from the 1950s was meant to lure reluctant tourists to the divided city still recovering from the devastation of World War II. No such encouragement is needed today. Twenty-five years after the destruction of the infamous Berlin Wall, tourism is a leading industry in Germany’s booming capital. Last year alone, more than 11 million people visited.
Arts + Letters
It’s easy to find words to describe Raul Ramirez as a Bay Area journalist—and one of tremendous conviction, courage, and aplomb. Most of them appeared in the obituaries.
Here’s the thing about The Thing: It is almost impossible to define. It’s a periodical, but unlike any magazine you’ve seen before. It’s a piece of art, but it’s nothing you’re going to hang on your wall. It’s a functional object, but possibly one you’ll be reluctant to ever use. Subscribe to The Thing Quarterly, and you’ll receive a plain brown-paper package four times a year, the contents of which will be a mystery until you open it.
The first thing likely to hit viewers of a new photo exhibit on the UC Berkeley campus—given that it features images from some of the most strife-torn places in the world—is the lack of any graphic violence.
Posted on August 27, 2014 - 4:43pm
Math rock fans of the 1990s will remember A Minor Forest, the trio of Bay Area musicians renowned for their aggressive, rhythmically technical style of playing and intense live shows. (Not to mention imaginatively crass song titles like “No One Likes an Old Baby” and “Jacking Off George Lucas.”)
Posted on July 21, 2014 - 5:20pm
In 1956, the artist Jess Collins returned to the Bay Area from Europe with his partner, poet Robert Duncan. He needed money, and Berkeley cineaste-cum-seamstress, cook and part-time copywriter Pauline Kael hired him to execute a series of murals on the walls of her brown-shingled home in Berkeley.
Posted on July 9, 2014 - 3:35pm
David Peterson has never been interested in fantasy films or literature. The 33-year-old dismisses the genre as “fantastical people who do fantastical things.” So it may be surprising to learn that for the past five years, the 2003 Berkeley graduate has been creating languages for the fantastical worlds of TV shows like HBO’s Game of Thrones and movies such as Thor: The Dark World.
Africa has its share of environmental problems, and the Nile River is a prima facie case in point. The longest river in the world, its basin supports about 300 million people. The demands on the Nile and its major tributaries are extreme—for urban water supplies, for agriculture, for hydropower and fisheries—and they are growing. And as the demands grow, the potential for conflict grows with it. Some of the flash points are especially fraught: A dam under construction in Ethiopia on the Blue Nile is the largest hydro project in Africa, and has enraged Egypt.
Posted on June 10, 2014 - 4:06pm
The Professor enters talking, students in tow, his short-brimmed straw hat at a tilt. Windows are thrown open and spring air floods the classroom. The atmosphere is so unstuffy you’d hardly guess the teacher is one of the most influential American playwrights of his generation.
Racks of gowns, manikins, and sewing machines crowd the edges of Cari Borja’s design studio, but a huge dining table occupies the center. It’s where she holds the dinners that resemble the fieldwork of an anthropologist outside the Ivory Tower. For a series of 52 meals—44 already served—she has transformed her studio into a salon where guests, from the famous to the unknown, discover connections and savor a slow meal.
Posted on June 3, 2014 - 5:27pm
It all started 43 years ago. Doug Leen was working as a seasonal ranger at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, and his supervisor told him to clean out a complex of outbuildings south of Jenny Lake. Leen began hauling junk out of a barn when he saw it hanging from a nail: an old cardboard government poster featuring the park’s rugged peaks.
Posted on May 26, 2014 - 10:27am
A war of words—and, indeed, over the future of words—is raging across the Bay Area.
Posted on May 23, 2014 - 8:30am
No, the new Wikipedian-in-chief does not write or edit entries on the world’s biggest collaborative encyclopedia. (If she did she would probably fix the reference to her own birthdate, which has been flagged “better source needed.”)
Posted on May 9, 2014 - 1:13pm
Some early New Orleans jazz trumpeters performed with a handkerchief draped over their fingers, to prevent anyone from stealing their hottest licks. Other musicians more generously shared their hard-won knowledge, but for most of the music’s history, aspiring jazz players picked up information wherever they could, observing more experienced players at work on the bandstand and memorizing solos by wearing out the grooves on treasured recordings.
Posted on May 6, 2014 - 11:26am
It was an early fall day when the gates of San Quentin State Prison clanged shut behind the unusual team of consultants on its way to meet the equally unusual team of clients.
“I was apprehensive,” admits Laura Tilghman, an MBA student at UC Berkeley who had never stepped into a prison before. “It was such different circumstances and territory.”
The clients, most of them serving life sentences, didn’t know what to expect either. Why would students from one of the top business schools in the state want to visit inmates at the state’s oldest prison?
Posted on April 29, 2014 - 1:34pm