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2009 May June Go Bare


No matter how far Robert Lepage’s characters travel, they never escape vexing questions about the knotty nature of identity. The innovative French-Canadian playwright, actor, and director last collaborated with Cal Performances on The Andersen Project, a slippery, often hilarious, fish-out-of-water tale about Lepage in Paris trying to write a commissioned libretto for a children’s opera […]

Touching Bass with Susan Muscarella

A jazz degree with roots in Cal. When jazz pianist Susan Muscarella told other musicians 13 years ago about her plans for teaching America’s indigenous art form, they were more than a little skeptical. “She called me up very late one night and said, ‘Mimi, I have an idea; I want to open a jazz school,” […]

Essential to Life

Robert Cole reflects on 23 years at the helm of Cal Performances. The 2006 season celebrated 100 years of Cal Performances—a proud fulfillment of the promise in its 1906 inaugural performance by Sarah Bernhardt in Racine’s Phèdre at the Greek Theatre. After the star-studded centenary celebration, Robert Cole announced he would step down as director at […]

The Documentary Eye

How economist Paul S. Taylor pioneered the use of photography as social documentary. As Paul Taylor and I topped Strawberry Canyon and turned west, a pastel sunset spread across the sky. Below us was the San Francisco Bay, with a clear view through the silhouetted Golden Gate Bridge. In the soft, oblique light, Taylor’s face was […]

Above the Influence

New research suggests that power doesn’t always corrupt. He may be the most powerful man in the world, but Barack Obama seems determined not to act like it. Making his official international debut at the G20 summit in London recently, the new president laid out a striking manifesto of modesty. “We exercise our leadership best when […]

The Skinny on School Lunches

How to get kids to eat their vegetables. Elementary students in the Berkeley Unified School District have some strange eating habits. No Pop-Tarts, no cheese-flavored Doritos, not even those little doughnuts with the powdered sugar. They prefer weeditos—their own version of burritos. At recess, the kids run to the garden—all 16 of the schools in the […]

Viagra Falls

Why the market for the little blue pill is softer than expected. In March 1998 when Viagra was first approved, Maryland anesthesiologist Ken Haslam ’56 was 64, single, and dating. “I was meeting lots of women. It was exciting. And for me, new relationships lead to great sex. I heard about Viagra, of course.” But with […]

Here Below

Pristine Edens of soil may be science’s best tool for radically altering earth. Several months ago, as winter had begun darkening the afternoon landscape and we were driving along the rolling fields of central France, my friend Christophe said, “There’s something almost erotic about these bare fields.” “Comment?” I said, as he had made the comment […]

Out of Eden

The fall of Andrew Martinez. The “How Berkeley Can You Be!?” parade and festival—an event local organizers proudly bill as “part question, part challenge, all celebration”—will mark its 14th anniversary this September. Berkeleyans of every stripe will march down Telegraph. Following tradition, some of the marchers may be nude, many will be costumed, and nearly all […]

Tierra del Fuego

Darwin Visited (Near to) Here. Of all the places I visited, Ushuaia, the biggest city in Tierra del Fuego, most aggressively marketed itself as a Charles Darwin destination. Which is how one explains “The Adventure of the Beagle,” the musical, or as it’s called there, “El espectáculo del fin del mundo,” the “show at the end […]