Archive for the ‘East Bay’ Category

How to tell when someone has been watching too many movies

Batman no. 1SF Gate: An Oakland man was locked out of his apartment, so he made it up to the roof and then, using a “cord,” tried to rappel down to his window. This happened about 1:30 in the morning, if you want a clue.

He fell four stories and is now in Highland Hospital with two broken ankles, among other injuries.

East Bay neon — photo exhibit

ivy_roomIf you’ve ever driven on San Pablo Avenue in the East bay through Albany and El Cerrito, you’ve noticed a plethora of old neon signs on the bars, restaurants and stores (Pictured at left: the sign in front of the Ivy Room on San Pablo and Solano in nearby Albany.)

Courtesy Thomas Hawk — The work of five East Bay photographers appears in a show of pictures of East Bay neon signs at the Fingado Art Gallery in El Cerrito. The opening reception is Friday, July 10 from 7-9.

‘Moneyball’ film cancelled by nervous studio

The film of the Michael Lewis book Moneyball, which is about the machinations of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, has been cancelled just days before shooting was to begin. The New York Times reported that the cancellation is a sign of a new level of nervousness in Hollywood; in this case even the casting of Brad Pitt to play the baseball brainiac, much less the fact that over $10 million had been spent on development, location scouting, costumes and other preparations, was not enough to keep the project going.

Previously: Book on A’s GM to lens; Brad Pitt will play Billy Beane

Oakland hopes street fair attracts the right people to downtown


Oakland businesses and city agencies will hold an event tomorrow called the Uptown Unveiled Street Fair to draw attention to the north side of downtown, an area including the renovated Fox Theatre, arts school, ice rink and other attractions. Among other events, the new branch of the Piedmont Piano Company will be open 5-10 pm with free music, food and drink.

Click here to see the above poster full-sized. CLick here for a PDF map of the event.

Albany Little League parade rings in springtime

This morning I was sleepily reading in the recently opened and very nice Café Sainte Honoré on the corner of San Pablo and Solano in Albany (for those not familiar with the East Bay, that’s just north of Berkeley) when I was roused by police sirens. Through the windows I could see a large crowd at least two blocks long coming down Solano, led by police and fire vehicles. They were proceeding at such a funereal pace that I thought at first it had something to do with yesterday’s huge funeral of four Oakland police officers.

But as the crowd — demonstration? religious rite? — grew closer, I saw all the kids. And then I realized it was the town’s Little League parade.
More after the jump

‘Propaganda’ suggests Mixon is ‘greatest cop killer of all time,’ among other things

A posting on propagandapress.orgwhoever they are — about Lovelle Mixon, the Oakland parolee who gunned down four Oakland cops, includes a fake URL that suggests, among other things, that Mixon is the “greatest cop killer of all time” and is “getting his dick sucked by virgins” in some unspecified hereafter. Click the thumbnail for a full view. The URL is, of course, non-existent; the post explains that it was “was removed from the web for being too offensive to big.whitey.”


Recycling, in Berkeley

berkeley farms

From Foster’s Freeze on University. Note label: at least it’s Berkeley’s own Berkeley Farms milk!

New Harrison St. offramp to open Monday

CalTrans will reopen a brand-new Harrison St. offramp from the Bay Bridge to the South Beach district at 5:00 a.m. Monday morning, three and a half years after the original exit closed in 2005. For drivers new to the area, the exit is a left exit off the bridge, half a mile before the left-hand Fifth St. exit.

The new ramp is another milestone in the multi-year project to earthquake-retrofit the bridge, the biggest piece of which will replace the eastern span (the part between Yerba Buena Island and Oakland) with a new suspension structure due to open, oh, seven or eight years from now.

Book on A’s GM to lens; Brad Pitt will play Billy Beane

Five years ago, the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis looked at the career of Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane and how he consistently managed to field a competitive team in one of the smallest team markets by drafting for certain types of impact players, as measured by statistics.

Now Stephen Soderburgh has signed to direct a film of the book, and Brad Pitt has signed to play the A’s GM.

Here’s Beane on the left, the other guy on the right:

IndieFest 11 Brings a Cornucopia of Indie Film to 16th Street & Beyond


[R to L: festival poster, Super Happy Fun Monkeybash!, and Abraham Obama.]

It’s hard to know where to start with an event as huge and as rich as the 11th Annual San Francisco Independent Film Festival, better known as IndieFest, which brings 15 days of first-rate independent film to the Roxie & the Victoria on 16th Street here, and the Shattuck Cinema in Berkeley. Over one hundred features and shorts are on offer, and every single one of them was independently produced. And if that’s not enough for you, there are at least four official parties you can attend as well (see below).

The festival opens at the Victoria tonight with Somers Town (at 7:15), a gritty but humorous black-and-white drama from acclaimed British director Shane Meadows. It’s a story about Tomo (played by Thomas Turgoose), a 16-year old runaway from the Midlands who ends up in the London suburb the film is named for. There he encounters another equally lonely boy, Marek (Piotr Jagiello): a Polish transplant who has just arrived in town with his hard-drinking father. The film is about the bond these two boys form, and the acting is such that both kids won Best Actor prizes at last year’s Tribeca film festival.

No opening night would be complete without a good party after the screening, and this one is being held at CellSpace (Bryant at 18th) with live performances from the Extra Action Marching Band and Live Evil. Admission is free with your ticket stub. Otherwise it’s $10 — $5 in costume. While you’re on that page, check out the other IndieFest parties CellSpace will be hosting, including the Grease-themed wrap party — it’s a sock hop! — a Big Lebowski party, and a Roller Disco party.

But if all that partying sounds too exhausting for you, tonight you can stay put at the Victoria for another film: Fanboys, a madcap story about a group of friends who hatch a plot to break into Skywalker Ranch in order to steal a print of the (then-unreleased) Star Wars: Episode 1. It features cameos by Carrie Fisher, The Shatner, and many, many others. Check out the trailer behind that link for a good idea of what the film’s like.

Closing night, which is on February 22nd at the Shattuck Cinema, features the Cronenberg-eqsue Deadgirl, which proves that no coming-of-age story should be considered complete without a gorgeous undead babe to shake things up. Actually, it looks pretty creepy; watch the trailer behind that link!

In between there are many other highlights, some of which I’ll be writing more about in the days to come: Abraham Obama, the story of Ron English’s famous wheatpaste; Let Them Know, the story of Youth Brigade and BYO Records; Harrison Montgomery, a drama set in the Tenderloin; Super Happy Fun Monkeybash!, a 90–minute compilation of Japanese TV zaniness; and The Achievers, which does for fans of The Big Lebowski what Trekkies did for — well — Trekkies.

And I expect to write about some films that I haven’t even mentioned yet. The festival is just that packed.


Festival website here. Ticket prices: opening night $20 (including party); most events $10 in advance, $11 at the box office. Five-film passes $45, ten-film passes $85. Festival pass good for all films and parties, $200. Most shows are at either the Roxie or Victoria Theatres, each within two blocks of the 16 Street Mission BART station; the Shattuck Cinema is one block south of the Downtown Berkeley BART station.

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