Cal Culture

Huge Hand-Crafted Holiday Display Outlives Its El Cerrito Creator—a Sikh Immigrant

 

 

On Saturday morning, El Cerrito firefighters working on their own time will haul scores of handmade stucco and plaster statues uphill from their storage site to the corner of Moeser and Seaview. There, Boy Scouts from Troop 104 will arrange them to create a massive tableau of Bethlehem: Wise Men, goats, donkeys, camels, camel drivers, more than 60 sheep tended by shepherds and sheep dogs, village people, and the village itself, including 110 hand-painted buildings, minarets and domes. Read more about Huge Hand-Crafted Holiday Display Outlives Its El Cerrito Creator—a Sikh Immigrant »

Pet Therapy: Students Increasingly Bringing “Emotional Support” Animals to College

Americans have not only embraced the Shultz dictum that happiness is a warm puppy: They’re applying it to warm rabbits, kangaroo rats, pot-bellied pigs, cockatiels and ferrets. And for that matter, to decidedly tepid ball pythons, Cuban rock iguanas and Chilean rose hair tarantulas. The issue here isn’t the type of beastie; it’s that animals equate to happiness, whether you’re at home, in the workplace, or in the stressful milieu that is the modern academy. An increasing number of students believe they benefit from having pets for emotional support or comfort. Read more about Pet Therapy: Students Increasingly Bringing "Emotional Support" Animals to College »

His Castles Outlive Their Kings: How Cal’s Architect Shaped and Scraped the Skyline

Think of the San Francisco skyline. You’re probably imagining a series of gradual boxes punctuated with a single pointed pyramid. If you’re thinking more expansively, or perhaps you have regular access to a helicopter, you would include the bridges at the bay and the Golden Gate. Read more about His Castles Outlive Their Kings: How Cal's Architect Shaped and Scraped the Skyline »

The Selfless Quarterback: Cancer Intercepted Joe Roth’s Career, Not His Enduring Legacy

In 1975, two years before Tom Brady was born, another Golden Boy burst upon the football scene. He was a Cal quarterback named Joe Roth, and he had it all: looks (6-foot-4, with wavy blond hair and, in the words of his girlfriend, Tracy Lagos McAllister, “a super-cute smile”), brains, and an abiding Catholic faith that led him to take the Golden Rule seriously. Read more about The Selfless Quarterback: Cancer Intercepted Joe Roth's Career, Not His Enduring Legacy »

Biographer in the Bancroft: Writer Pursues Clues to Ms. Didion, in the Library, With a Pen

In 1976, Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner tapped Joan Didion to cover the Patty Hearst trial. What a match-up. What a saga. California royalty caught in surreal counterculture chaos, narrated by a star of the New Journalism, herself a daughter of the Golden West.

Didion signed on, and announced that she wouldn’t be spending much time in the courtroom. Read more about Biographer in the Bancroft: Writer Pursues Clues to Ms. Didion, in the Library, With a Pen »

Bowles of Yore’s Coming Back—With Wi-Fi, a Co-Ed Drinking Song and a Funky Monkey Tiki

The re-birth of Bowles Hall is so far proceeding on schedule and on budget. And might include a monkey tiki.

The $40 million renovation of the iconic, 1929 dormitory has been moving forward at a rapid clip since UC Berkeley OK’d the project in July, transferring its ownership to a non-profit run by Bowles alumni. Scaffolding now covers the castle-like exterior, and work crews are busy restoring the ornate dining commons, grand staircase and more than 110 student rooms. Read more about Bowles of Yore's Coming Back—With Wi-Fi, a Co-Ed Drinking Song and a Funky Monkey Tiki »

Preludes and Fugues: Choreographer Twyla Tharp Still Laying Down Her Legacy

“I had to become the greatest choreographer of my time,” Twyla Tharp has declared. “That was my mission, and that’s what I set out to do.”

With a reputation as a workaholic and perfectionist, Tharp has indeed become a world-renowned choreographer and is currently marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of her dance company with a 10-week, 17-city tour. But this is no mere retrospective—at age 74, Tharpis determined to keep expanding her oeuvre and laying down her legacy. Read more about Preludes and Fugues: Choreographer Twyla Tharp Still Laying Down Her Legacy »

After Star Prof Resigns, UC President Calls for Rethinking Sexual Harassment Policies

In the wake of astronomy professor Geoff Marcy’s resignation—after a campus finding that he had been sexually harassing female students for years—University of California President Janet Napolitano says there’s an “urgent need to review University policies that may have inadvertently made the investigation and resolution of this case more difficult.” Read more about After Star Prof Resigns, UC President Calls for Rethinking Sexual Harassment Policies »

Crammed into Berkeley’s Housing Zone, Students Get Creative—and Desperate

The stereotypical student has long had a meager existence—subsisting on rice and pasta, living on the cheap in order to binge on swanky textbooks later. But for students in Berkeley, the most expensive U.S. college town according to Realtor.com, finding a place to live in a highly competitive rental market requires particular creativity. Read more about Crammed into Berkeley's Housing Zone, Students Get Creative—and Desperate »

Innate or Learned Prejudice? Turns Out Even the Blind Aren’t Color Blind on Race

Stephen Colbert’s assertion notwithstanding, none of us is color blind. Not even the blind, it turns out. That’s according to the work of Osagie Obasogie, law professor at UC Hastings who earned his doctorate in sociology from UC Berkeley. In 2005, he began interviewing more than a hundred people who had been blind since birth, asking how they understood race. Were they conscious of it? Did it shape how they interacted with people? Could blind people, in fact, be racist? Read more about Innate or Learned Prejudice? Turns Out Even the Blind Aren't Color Blind on Race »

From the Fall 2015 Questions of Race issue of California.

Buried Past: Cemetery Tour Of Cal Notables Offers Window Over to the “Other Side”

Coming up this weekend: an unusual 3-hour stroll through Cal’s 147-year history. But you’d better whistle while you walk, because it’s a walk through a graveyard—namely, Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland. On Saturday it will present its annual “Founders and Faculty of UC Berkeley” tour, led by docents Jane Leroe and Ron Bachman. Both are dedicated taphophiles—lovers of old cemeteries—and loyal Old Blues. (He got his bachelor’s from UC Berkeley in 1959; she got her hers in 1968 and her J.D. in 1971.) Read more about Buried Past: Cemetery Tour Of Cal Notables Offers Window Over to the "Other Side" »

Totally Radical: A New Initiative from Cal Performances Aims to Gather New Audiences.

Venezuela’s Gustavo Dudamel, conductor of two international orchestras at just 34 years old, is often called the poster child for how early exposure to music and the arts can nourish and lift one toward a better life. Growing up with musician parents likely helped shape his career path, but Dudamel credits much of his success to El Sistema, a Venezuelan program started in 1975 that offers musical access to all. Read more about Totally Radical: A New Initiative from Cal Performances Aims to Gather New Audiences. »

From the Fall 2015 Questions of Race issue of California.

‘Bout That Action: How Marshawn Lynch Threw the Sports Media for a Loop

Marshawn Lynch is a jerk. And he’s also a hero. He’s ungrateful, immature, and stupid. And he’s a genius with a heart of gold. Lynch, star running back of the Seattle Seahawks and former UC Berkeley phenom, is all of these things and more—if the various media portrayals are to be believed. Just don’t ask Lynch himself if any of it is true, because he’s not talking. Read more about 'Bout That Action: How Marshawn Lynch Threw the Sports Media for a Loop »

From the Fall 2015 Questions of Race issue of California.

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