Perspectives

Berkeley Restaurants Struggle to Survive Amid Virus Constraints

LADAN SANJANI CAN BARELY FOCUS ON TODAY let alone tomorrow. She and her husband, Farhad Jalali, own Pasta Bene, an Italian restaurant on Telegraph Avenue, just blocks from the campus their son attended. Now they are struggling to keep the lights on in the face of a crisis that seems to have darkened every corner of the globe.

The Happiest Intern on Earth

My earliest memory of Disneyland was going on Splash Mountain when I was 3. It was upsetting and wonderful all at the same time.

The theory behind Disneyland is what drew people by the millions year-round to experience something, and it was that something I really wanted to get to know psycho­logi­cally, architecturally.

From the Spring 2020 issue of California.

He’d Lost Faith in Journalism. Then He Started Teaching in Prison.

In 2012, William Drummond had begun to lose faith in journalism. A changing media landscape in the age of the Internet had led to what he saw as an abandonment of the fundamentals. So when the Berkeley journalism professor was invited to teach a class at the San Quentin State Prison and become an advisor at the San Quentin News, the renowned paper published by inmates, he saw an opportunity to do something meaningful and decided to put his students to work at the paper as well.

From the Spring 2020 issue of California.

Greetings From Atascadero: A Reporter Confronts His Facebook Foes

This is the third installment in our series, Greetings from California, in which intrepid writers file dispatches exploring the untrodden, unappreciated, or just unusual corners of the Golden State. Last year, frequent contributor Glen Martin faced the ghosts of his past when he returned to his hometown of Atascadero, California.

Back to the Land: Giving Thanks, Ohlone-Style

Once upon a time, Berkeley wasn’t Berkeley at all—but the sacred, uncolonized land of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. This week, as families around the country gather to cook and consume great feasts, share stories and bicker over politics, we decided to return to California’s native roots and ask two local Ohlone people about their Thanksgiving traditions. Vincent Medina and Louis Trevino, the latter a graduate of UC Berkeley’s linguistics program, are the cofounders and owners of Cafe Ohlone, a pop-up behind University Press Books that specializes in pre-colonial cuisine.

It Was the Best Day of His Life. Then Everything Changed.

The Big Game of 2010 didn’t start off well for Cal fullback Eric Stevens. The Bears lost to Stanford, 48–14.

But on his way back to his apartment he ran into Amanda Glass. They stopped and started talking. And talking. And they discovered they had a lot in common, including sports. She was a defender on the women’s soccer team, and, like Eric, she had a reputation as a tough competitor.

“He invited me to a party that night,” she remembers. “And the rest is history.”

From the Winter 2019 issue of California.

‘Tisn’t the Season

Newcomers to the Golden State (of which Berkeley has many, the student body now representing 74 countries and all 50 states) are quickly disabused of the beachy, bikini-clad stereotype of California sold to them in song lyrics. Instead, they find themselves immersed in Berkeley’s funky, foggy, nonlinear climate. In fall, while much of the nation is snuggling into sweaters and snarfing down pumpkin spice what-have-you, Bay Area folks are pulling the popsicles from the freezer for the first time, September usually being the hottest month of the year.

From the Winter 2019 issue of California.

D.A. by Day, Drag Queen by Night

I was doing drag on the weekends when I was working as a prosecutor at Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. It was a very schizophrenic lifestyle. I was considered one of the best trial lawyers in the D.A.’s office. And then I would shift gears on Friday night and go up to San Francisco and do drag shows.

From the Winter 2019 issue of California.

Greetings from Willow Creek, Bigfoot Capital of the World

Last year, Krissy Eliot attended the annual Bigfoot Daze Festival in Willow Creek, California, a town known as the “Bigfoot capital of the world.” As we gear up for the 59th annual Bigfoot Daze Festival this Labor Day weekend, we bring you this collection of letters, the first in a series exploring the untrodden, unappreciated, or just unusual corners of California.

Living with Delusions: Navigating Mental Illness at Cal

I am susceptible to believing, with complete conviction, things that aren’t true.

All my adult life I have resided on the psychotic spectrum, a set of serious mental disorders that interfere with properly interpreting stimuli, resulting in social, emotional, and cognitive difficulties—what I call my “thought problems.” When I was 21, I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, later re-diagnosed to schizoaffective disorder and, eventually and more firmly, to delusional disorder, persecutory type.

From the Fall 2019 issue of California.

Attention Everyone: That Manhole Is Now a Maintenance Hole

In Berkeley, even construction sites are woke. Last month, the Berkeley City Council approved an ordinance to change the language in the city’s municipal code to be gender neutral. That’s not a manhole over there, it’s now a maintenance hole. And that policeman? They are a police officer. Speaking of “they;” the pronouns “they” and “them” will be used in place of gendered language, including when referencing a single individual. You think that vase was man-made? Wrong again—it was human-made. Unless of course it was machine-made.

Editor’s Note: Up in Smoke

One day, California will fall into the sea. That’s what we used to say, anyway.

It’s an idea that goes back to huckster-clairvoyant Edgar Cayce. It had nothing to it, of course, but has kept circulating. I suppose that’s partly because so many people are jealous of California—from the beginning an imagined paradise, the domain of Queen Calafia—but also because the state really is a dangerous place, given to flooding and drought, eruptions and landslides, earthquakes and fire.

From the Spring 2019 issue of California.

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