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Berkeley, CA • THURSDAY, MAY 5, 2011 – SUNDAY, MAY 8, 2011

City Budget

Faces of Berkeley

City proposes major cuts to budget Potential cuts include reduced funding to city departments, slashing of 79 full-time positions

Best-selling author finds home in city Check Online

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By Yousur Alhlou | Staff yalhlou@dailycal.org

Watch author Michael Lewis discuss his career as a writer and his life in the city of Berkeley.

By Katie Nelson | Senior Staff knelson@dailycal.org

Amid a grim national, state and local economic recovery forecast, the city of Berkeley will implement drastic cost-saving measures to overcome an overall projected $12.2 million deficit in fiscal year 2012 and $13.3 million deficit in fiscal year 2013. The city expects to balance its biennial budget by eliminating about 79 full-time positions, consolidating public services, increasing parcel taxes and decreasing contributions to pension and health care plans for city employees, as outlined by city Budget Manager Teresa Berkeley-Simmons at the city’s biennial budget workshop Tuesday night. The Berkeley City Council is expected to adopt the biennial budget June 28. In attempting to balance the budget, though, city departments will likely absorb the heaviest impacts. The Mental Health Division will shift away from high-intensity services and toward wellness and recovery services while the Public Health Division will decrease clinic and case management services. The Housing and Community Services Department will terminate its weatherization program, convert the West Berkeley Senior Center into a supportive service center and slash funding to community service agencies. Likewise, the Department of Public Works will overcome a projected $2 million to $3 million deficit in its

Michael Lewis is a best-selling author, and yet he never wrote for fun, never wrote for a school paper and even admitted he was “vain” about things he wrote for school. But leaning back in his desk chair in his studio office at his Berkeley home, Lewis now says he cannot imagine do-

Kevin foote/staff

City Manager Phil Kamlarz speaks regarding the budget proposal at the Berkeley City Council meeting Tuesday. Solid Waste Management Division by deploying 19 one-person solid waste trucks, which will require an initial investment of $1.6 million. “Because Berkeley, like most California cities, continues to struggle towards economic recovery, this biennial budget requires some difficult trade-offs,” Berkeley-Simmons said at the meeting. “We face immediate shortfalls, but we need to avoid short-term solutions that do not resolve the long-term problems.” However, city employees are not immune to harsh economic pressures. Although the city previously mitigated employee costs by freezing vacant positions, it can no longer rely

GSI UNION

on such measures, Berkeley-Simmons said. Though 10 percent of city personnel has decreased between fiscal year 2009 and fiscal year 2011 — accounting for over 130 cuts — the city is set to terminate about 79 additional positions through fiscal year 2013. At the meeting, Councilmembers Gordon Wozniak and Kriss Worthington proposed alternative costsaving measures to job terminations, including salary freezes and decreased payouts, to offset the projected deficit. “It’s like the (alternatives) are not even up for discussion,” Wozniak said at the meeting. “Is the only alternative really just to get rid of people?”

Budget: PAGE 3

In 1912, the Cal men’s gymnastics team held its inaugural season. And after nearly a year of uncertainty, the squad will be able to celebrate its centennial. One of five varsity athletic teams originally cut on Sept. 28, men’s gymnastics was the final sport to be reinstated by the campus on Monday. The program garnered about $2.5 million in donations that, despite not meeting the campus’s fundraising goal of $4 million, should sustain men’s gymnastics in the immediate future. Freshman Donothan Bailey was the first to learn of the reinstatement after a coach let it slip in a candid conversation. Bailey said the members of the team had mixed emotions of relief and excitement when they finally learned they were going to be able to compete again next winter. “They got us around in a little circle and told us,” he said. “(There was) obviously excitement. We were all pretty happy. It’s tough to get something like this taken

ing anything else. Perfectly situated among shelves of neatly placed books and a floor covered in stacks of paper, Lewis, the Berkeleybased author known for works including “The Blind Side” — the novelturned-movie that earned Sandra Bullock an Academy Award — admitted he never planned on being a writer. He said he knew people liked reading letters he wrote them, but other than that he did not have much sense of how to entertain people through the written word. “When I got out of college, I had no idea what I wanted to do,” he said. “The first conscious thought I had about being a writer was how do I replicate being in college all the time in the real world?” Lewis, who grew up in New Orleans, had quite the migration to Berkeley, living everywhere from London to Tokyo before he and his wife settled in what Lewis calls a “community of writers” that houses fellow authors such as Michael Pollan and Michael Chabon. “Everybody is a writer here,” he said. “Michael Pollan lives six or seven blocks up the road. Writers can live anywhere, but Berkeley is the only place other than New Orleans where I have truly felt at home.” Growing up in the South, Lewis said the idea of being a writer was nearly unfathomable. He said his parents had a friend who was supposedly writing a novel, thousands of pages long, that languished in the trunk of the man’s car for years because working on a book was “an outrageous idea.” “Books just materialized out of the ether,” Lewis said. “No one ever thought

gymnastics: PAGE 4

Lewis: PAGE 3

ATHLETICS CUTS

Union to continue Donations allow campus to counting votes in reinstate men’s gymnastics leadership race By Katie Nelson and Ed Yevelev newsdesk@dailycal.org

By Aaida Samad | Staff asamad@dailycal.org Following a contentious decision to halt vote counting in a statewide leadership election and amid outcry and mobilization by members from both competing slates, the elections committee for a union representing academic student employees throughout the UC reconvened Tuesday afternoon, deciding unanimously to resume counting votes. Members of the Elections Committee for the United Auto Workers Local 2865 — which represents nearly 12,000 graduate students, readers and tutors — met via conference call, eventually choosing to continue vote counting Thursday and agreeing on additional policies — including the involvement of a third-party mediator — to avoid some of the setbacks that initially plagued the process. The vote count began Friday but after two days was abruptly halted in a vote by committee members Saturday, following challenges to many ballots from members of both competing slates and multiple breakdowns in the process. The count ended despite the fact that three campuses — UCLA, UC Berkeley and UC Merced — which represent just short of half the votes cast had not

Union: PAGE 3

Anna Hiatt/File

The men’s gymnastics team will be reinstated Monday due to its acquisition of $2.5 million of donations.

Shannon Hamilton/Staff

Best-selling author Michael Lewis travels the world as a speaker and a journalist.


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UNION: Policies to accompany resumption of counting

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From Front

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had no intention of joining The Daily Californian four years ago. I had never written for a newspaper, and I had no interest in journalism. Had it not been for my obsession with music, I wouldn’t have even applied, and when I did, I wanted only to be a critic. Yet here I am now, on page three, writing a column after the conclusion of my term as editor in chief and president of the Daily Cal. When I arrived at Berkeley as a 16-year-old freshman, I wanted a low-key college career, but I never made a better choice in my life than joining the most prominent newspaper in Berkeley. Because of this unforgettable experience, I could talk about numerous topics right now: the amazing people I worked with, the stories I wrote or the seemingly impossible odds this staff has consistently beaten. But instead, I want to talk about the most meaningful lesson I learned at this organization. I want to talk about failure. Over the course of the last year — hell, the last four years — I have failed greatly, in my life, in my work and in my education. In my time as editor in chief, I have run frontpage notes correcting inaccurate information in our newspaper. I have mishandled sensitive situations. I have made wrong calls. But I learned from these errors, and I never let them make me fear failure so much that I lost my will to try. Too often, we view failure as horrendous, something to be embarrassed about. We forget that highprofile fiascoes have positively changed the lives of legends. It didn’t matter in the long run that Kobe Bryant airballed multiple crucial shots against the Jazz in the 1997 playoffs — it marked a turning point in his tireless quest for greatness. It didn’t matter that Pete Townshend never saw his rock opera Lifehouse come to fruition — his next rock opera, Quadrophenia, was an epic. e must recognize that sometimes, failure is simply the result of a risk worth taking. In the competitive atmosphere of UC Berkeley, it can be easy to worry about messing up. Sometimes, you might even spend more time avoiding mistakes than you do searching for success. But a college career without missteps is one without risks, and a college career without risks is one not worth having. We shouldn’t ignore failure, either. Indeed, newspapers write endlessly about errors of others, and readers talk endlessly about the errors of newspapers. An important part of our society is recognizing mishaps. But the possibility of disaster or censure should never be the basis for doing nothing at all.

W

Rajesh Srinivasan rsrinivasan@dailycal.org We should work toward goals, not dodge difficulties. During the first month of my editorship, I called my predecessor, Will Kane, to ask for his advice on a matter. At the end of the conversation, I paused, and then asked him, “Do you ever stop making mistakes?� “No,� he replied. “You just learn to get over them.� ast week, I repeated this statement to Tomer Ovadia, my successor, as I passed control of the organization to him. Tomer has not only been an exemplary reporter and editor but also a great friend, and I know that he will be bold moving forward and never fear taking wrong turns in his search for success. I hope that every one of his employees does the same next year. The Daily Californian has been my life over the last four years, and there are many stories that I could have written about in this column. But no lesson in my life has been more important than this one, and I can rest easy knowing that even if I failed in conveying it to you, at least I tried. *** I owe thanks to: My father, for his wisdom. Evante, for being my XO on this Battlestar. Jill, for her advice, friendship and casual insults. SMLee, for teaching me. Valerie, for her undying support throughout my college experience. John, for his knowledge and for his love of college basketball. Brad, for his humor and creativity and for making crazy ideas come to life. Matt Wilson, for his work ethic and brilliance, and the cups of coffee he bought me. Adam Goldstein, for being the lawyer I aspire to be. James Wagstaffe and Daniel A. Zaheer, for their help. And every editor and reporter at the newspaper, for the care they put into their jobs. Most importantly, I thank every reader. Whether you love us, hate us or fall somewhere in between, we would not exist without you. This is your newspaper, and it always will be.

L

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been counted. “I’m excited to announce that the Election Committee met ... and was able to agree on a process for moving forward and counting all the ballots,� said Travis Knowles, elections committee chair, in a letter to union members. “I want to thank everyone for their patience as we worked with all parties to resolve this challenging, stressful situation.� According to the letter, several policies have been put in place for when counting resumes. A neutral, mutually agreed upon, third-party mediator will be present to “make sure the ballot count is done in a fair and neutral manner.� “I am happy there is a commitment to finish soon, and that there is agreement to bring a mediator to resolve any conflicts efficiently,� said Philippe Marchand, the elections committee member from UC Berkeley, in an email. “I can only assume that everyone realized it wasn’t good for the union as a whole if the controversy surrounding the count continued for a long time.� According to Jennifer Tucker, a UC

The Daily Californian

Berkeley graduate student and union unit chair for the campus, the mobilization of union members, members of Academic Workers for a Democratic Union — a union reform caucus — and other supporters helped put pressure on the elections committee in its decision to resume vote counting. At UC Berkeley on Monday, about 100 union members and supporters rallied at Sather Gate before around 60 people marched to the union office in the Downtown to join a “sit-down� that had begun earlier that morning. While numbers have fluctuated, around 12 or 15 members have remained in the office since 9 a.m. Monday and intend to stay until all votes are counted, Tucker said. In addition, in a letter, more than 50 faculty members and labor scholars from the UC and universities around the nation called for the vote counting to resume, motivated by a “general interest in ensuring the legitimacy and durability of the labor movement.� In a statement Monday, members of United for Social and Economic Justice, a slate affiliated with the union’s

Kakuro By The Mepham Group :0:DA> author traveled around the world LEWIS: Prior to settling in Berkeley, From Front

incumbent leadership, also called for the vote counting to resume, asking that both parties withdraw challenges to ballots. “I’m relieved that the elections committee decided to use some new methods that will hopefully eliminate the shenanigans that we’ve seen so they can do their jobs and count these votes,� said Daraka Larimore-Hall, the current union president who is running for reelection. According to Megan Wachspress, a UC Berkeley graduate student and campus head steward for the union, regardless of the outcome of the election, the widespread mobilization the elections have brought about is beneficial to the union. “Union members have already won because we managed to mobilize and engage so many members in this election,� she said. “When people feel invested in the direction of their union, they will continue to be engaged, and in that way, coming out of this election, as a union we are stronger.� Aaida Samad is the lead higher education reporter.

BUDGET: Increases Leve in pension costs #'# *)&#,#)!)'("(&")! partly to blame ) " "(!$(,'%)&'

that someone actually wrote them.â€? the commissioner for the league’s com- ")!&'"(+(& '((*( From Front Lewis attended Princeton Univer- petitive team this summer. '# )(#"")!&' #*( "& However, Mayor Tom Bates said sity, majoring in art history, and folWalt Gill, the league’s president, said " #+( "&#+" )' at the meeting that the city must lowing graduation worked with a New he did not think much of it when par)' )#+ $&#)'# )( confront its budget woes even if it York art dealer before enrolling at the ents explained that Lewis’ busy schedrequires cutting jobs, adding that $&#) "#&" London School of Economics, where ule was due to the fact that he was a " + “there’s no way we can wish or he went on to graduate with a degree writer. He said it was not until he saw #)&'+'%)&'(,#"+  dream our way out of it.â€? in economics. He then moved back Lewis’ picture in The San Francisco '# )(#"# )"(#(&&(#" Increasing pension and health to New York City to work as a bonds Chronicle that he realized Lewis was a costs contribute largely to #care )(#"(#"',/'$)- salesman for Salomon Brothers, a Wall “well-travelled and famous fella.â€? the city’s budget woes. Rising Street investment bank. “I called him once and I couldn’t rates of CalPERS — the city’s conHowever, Lewis became weary with hear him very well, so I asked where tribution to the statewide pension his work and eventually quit to write he was,â€? Gill said. “Turns out he was in agency — will cost the city about his best-selling book “Liar’s Pokerâ€? and mountains of Greece interviewing the $7 million over the next two fisto become a financial journalist. prime minister.â€? cal years. Health care rates have Lewis and his wife, former MTV UC Berkeley senior Andrei Koalso risen significantly, increasing News reporter Tabitha Soren, moved pelevich said he began reading “Liar’s about 70 percent since fiscal year around the world before both agreed Pokerâ€? after he became interested in 2005. to move to Berkeley to take up teachTo offset skyrocketing expendiing positions at the UC Berkeley Grad- Wall Street politics from another novel he had read. After finishing the novel, tures, the city is also considering uate School of Journalism. several cost-saving alternatives. Since settling in Berkeley, Lewis has Koplevich said he has not only conPotential measures include imposbecome a full-time writer. When he is tinued to read Lewis’s novels but also ing an annual parcel tax of $52 not traveling the world giving speeches Lewis’s articles that are regularly pub— which would yield $2.1 million or cooped up in his office writing books, lished in Vanity Fair Magazine. “(Lewis) is a genius in the way he for park, street and clean water articles or television pilots, Lewis is just describes things,â€? he said. “The stuff he programs annually — and requiranother father, husband and neighbor. ing property owners to share up He currently helps run the Albany talks about is extremely relevant, and to 50 percent of repair costs on Berkeley Girls Softball League, in he makes it really understandable.â€? Katie Nelson is an assistant news . $!&#)$'(&)(,&)"&*' &('&'&* which both of his daughters play. Not sidewalks in front of their proper-   Mhlheo^DZdnkh%rhnfnlm^gm^kZgnf[^k[^mp^^g*Zg]2 only does he coach, but he will also be editor. ties.

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News The Daily Californian

Thursday, May 5, 2011 – Sunday, May 8, 2011

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Dailycal.org Online Exclusives Slideshow: In style in the Bay Area

Obituary

Eugene Lee, Institute of Government Studies director and professor, dies at 86 By Anjuli Sastry | Staff asastry@dailycal.org Education enthusiast, author and former director of the Institute of Governmental Studies and professor of political science Eugene Lee died in his Sonoma home April 27 due to complications from a stroke. He was 86. Described as quiet and unassuming, yet an extremely effective mentor and leader, Lee was a driving force in the

efforts to bring financial endowment, political research programs and a specialized library to the institute while he was director from 1967 until 1988. “He was absolutely instrumental in building IGS, and we would not be where we are today without the foundation that he built,” said Jack Citrin, current director of the institute and professor of political science. “What he did in creating IGS was to make a kind of interdisciplinary forum for research and politics and public policy.” Born Sept. 19, 1924, Lee graduated from UCLA in 1946 and earned his

Ph.D in political science at UC Berkeley before joining the faculty in 1955. Lee began his work at the institute — which provides research on nonpartisan state and federal politics and public policy — as a graduate student at UC Berkeley. Todd La Porte, a professor emeritus of political science and former associate director of the institute, recalled the passion Lee instilled in each of his undergraduate and graduate students, especially with the California Policy

Lee: PAGE 6

city government

City Council votes to delay taxi meeting Amir Moghtaderi/Staff

UC Berkeley alumna refuses to appear in court Sarah Shourd, a UC Berkeley alumna and one of three hikers who had been arrested in Iran in 2009, has refused to appear in court in the country this month, major media outlets reported today. According to a statement from the Free the Hikers organization, Shourd said she is suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by her imprisonment and will not appear for the trial May 11. She received a subpoena last Wednesday, requesting her presence

at the trial. Clinical forensic psychologist Barry Rosenfeld diagnosed Shourd and said in the statement that her symptoms may become worse if she were to return to Iran. “Given the clear link between her capture and incarceration and the emergence of severe psychological symptoms ... there is little doubt that Ms. Shourd’s symptoms would worsen substantially if she were forced to return to Iran and face criminal sanctions,” he said in the statement. ...

By Adelyn Baxter | Staff abaxter@dailycal.org The Berkeley City Council voted to postpone action on the grievances of the Berkeley Taxicab Association at the council’s Tuesday meeting, opting to move discussion to a later meeting in order to allow time for a meeting between city officials and members of the association. The association — comprised of about 12 Berkeley taxi drivers — sent a letter Oct. 4 to City Manager Phil Kamlarz which listed 13 grievances and requested a meeting with city officials. Since that time, the association has been frustrated with the length of time it has taken the city to begin addressing its grievances. After Councilmember Kriss Wor-

thington submitted a request to the city manager’s office for a formal response to the association’s grievances, the issue was presented at the council’s meeting on Tuesday. The council delayed action on the grievances until its May 31 meeting in order to allow time for the association to meet with the city manager. “The gasoline prices are affecting our business very, very badly,” said Said Ali, chairman of the association, at the meeting. “It’s high — almost $5 a gallon.” But Ali said rising gas prices are just one of a number of growing concerns local taxi drivers want to see addressed by the city. Other issues include the problem of illegal taxis, which take business away from permitted taxi drivers. “They are everywhere,” said Sanjay Sharma, vice president of the asso-

ciation. “Every corner, they are there taking up our fare. Nothing has been done in this regard so far. There is no check, there is no control ... The taxis come from as far as Fairfield and Sacramento.” Sharma added that these drivers take away nearly 35 percent of business from permitted drivers in Berkeley. About a dozen taxi drivers were present at the meeting, standing with signs stating facts about the hardships of taxi driving in Berkeley — one sign reading “Stop Illegal Cab Drivers” — while Ali and others from the association spoke to the council members. “We look forward to you guys meeting with the manager and coming back to us — hopefully with a solution,” said Mayor Tom Bates at the meeting.

Protesters gather at International House Workers, union members, community members, UC Berkeley students and passersby gathered today in front of the International House to bring attention to the plight of the campus auxiliary’s food service workers. Picketing on Piedmont Avenue with signs on street corners and medians, protesters - many wearing

the green shade of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 union - asked I-House Chair and UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, who was attending I-House’s 80th annual fundraising gala, to “spend a day in the life of a Berkeley service worker” to experience their workplace struggles. ...

On the blogs The Daily Clog Hey, Here Are Some More Ridiculous Things About Mark Yudof: Because we just can’t get enough of our favorite UC prez. Especially since he continues to tweet the most glorious absurdities. Oh, you weren’t aware? That’s what the Clog is for.

Arts & Entertainment Blog ‘Harry Potter ...’: For those who have been fervently awaiting the final installment in the cinematic series, Michelle Lee offers the trailer for part two of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows” and her various thoughts thereon. The movie promises to be a sob-fest for us all. Dougie with Beyonce: Ms. Lee gives her two cents on Beyonce’s re-envisioning of her former hit “Get Me Bodied” — now titled “Move Your Body” in support of the First Lady’s movement against childhood obesity. If we didn’t already know Michelle Obama’s feelings about healthy eating, her husband’s hilarious jabs during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner made them perfectly clear. Yves Saint-Laurent documentary, “L’amour fou”: Do you have “crazy love” for Saint-Laurent? The renowned designer’s been dead a few years, but his fashionable memory lives on in this new documentary from Pierre Thoretton. Read all about it at Culture Shot, the Arts and Entertainment Blog.

Corrections Monday’s article “Stern has ‘low-key’ year after disputed start” incorrectly stated that the ASUC Attorney General found Stern guilty and issued him four censures. In fact, the ASUC Judicial Council did. Monday’s article “Cal tops Ducks in fifth walk-off win” incorrectly identified Oregon’s reliever as Scott McGough instead of Christian Jones. Jones pitched in the eighth inning while McGough pitched the ninth. The Daily Californian regrets the errors.

GYMNASTICS: Team to resume annual recruitment as well From front away from you. We were all ecstatic, it was a pretty awesome feeling.” The reinstatement agreement comes on the heels of a lengthy fundraising campaign that began early last August. According to senior and team captain Daniel Geri, the campaign to keep the team alive — Cal Gymnastics Forever — collected over 1,000 pledges on its website. The outreach to gain donations included calls to alumni and a partnership outreach program with USA Gymnastics, which helped gather pledges at other gymnasiums around the country. “It was all a collective effort from the entire gymnastic community, so it was really awesome to see the gymnastics community act as a family and raise all that money,” Geri said. Coach Tim McNeill, a UC Berkeley alumnus who began coaching this year after serving as a graduate intern for the team in 2009, said that while there were many challenging points throughout the season, he could not have been happier with how the season went. “I think it would have been really easy to give up at any point, but no one did the entire year,” McNeill said. “It’s incredible that the team stuck together in a really tough situation.” The amount of money collected will be enough to sustain the program for

the next seven to 10 years, but the team will be restricted in its ability to offer financial aid until the $4 million mark is reached, according to Athletic Director Sandy Barbour. The program will have three total scholarships to divide among its returning gymnasts next season — less than half of the NCAA maximum of 6.3 scholarships allowed for men’s gymnastics. However, barring additional funds, incoming gymnasts will not be able to receive a scholarship should they choose to compete for the team. This year, the team divided 4.7 scholarships among nine gymnasts, with the team’s graduating seniors accounting for 1.7 scholarships. ‘‘This is a concession to the timing and to the fact that they have not and are not yet at the $4 million mark,” Barbour said. “There is a step down in financial aid, and as to any other curtailment? We have not contemplated that at this point.” The team will continue fundraising as it enters its 100th season next winter while also resuming recruitment efforts after missing out this year due to the program’s uncertain future. Currently, all 14 members eligible to return plan to do so. McNeill, who will be at this week’s Junior Olympic National Championships to recruit, said he

hopes to stay put at UC Berkeley as well. After guiding the team to a fourthplace NCAA finish in a turbulent first year at the helm, McNeill will be discussing long-term plans with Barbour in the coming weeks. “(McNeill’s) leadership skills, they’re the best of anybody I know,” Geri, who was a former teammate of McNeill’s, said. “He’s told us multiple times that this is his dream job, to be a gymnastics coach at a university. This is what he wants to do.” Bailey said that while the team understands its disadvantage after missing out on the prime recruitment period, the team is confident about its chances next season. The team will be led by a trio of talented All-Arounders in Bailey, junior Glen Ishino and Swiss national team member and sophomore Dennis Mannhart. “With all of the distractions that have been going on this year, with us getting cut, it was just a big roller coaster ride that Sandy (Barbour) and the chancellor were giving us,” Geri said. “We had to deal with that all the time in the gym, and considering the circumstances I think we did awesome ... We still have a very good chance of being a really good competitor at NCAAs.”

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ASUC Auxiliary to solicit potential vendors to fill Bear’s Lair Pub space By Kelsey Clark | Staff kclark@dailycal.org

Kevin Foote/File

ASUC Auxiliary plans to seek potential vendors to fill the space currently occupied by campus pub the Bear’s Lair, which presently operates on a month-to-month lease.

UC Berkeley students exhibit interactive device prototypes % Mankl]Zr%FZr,%+))0 Check Online

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UC Berkeley students showcased interactive computer devices of their own design — such as a personalized virtual closet, a feedback-giving back brace and a transforming wall — on Monday and Wednesday as part of their final projects for a graduate level class at the School of Information. The class — Theory and Practice of Tangible User Interfaces, taught by assistant professor of information Kimiko Ryokai — focuses on technology with which people naturally interact. The final projects were prototypes the students had been developing all semester that would naturally relate to people’s lives and be tested in an interactive environment to see reactions. “It’s graduate-level because we’ve challenged students to design new interactive designs that take advantage of our familiarity with the physical and social world,� Ryokai said. “The technology should be intuitive and natural.� Ryokai said that the students demonstrated their prototypes on two days in order to gain feedback from visitors. Both graduate and undergraduate students that participated came from a

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while the pub’s formal lease is expired. He added that this will allow the board to see proposals from other potential vendors. At the board’s meeting last Friday, Cal Dining Director Shawn LaPean made a presentation detailing the scope of services Cal Dining currently provides the campus. LaPean said the board asked Cal Dining at the meeting if they would consider a partnership with the auxiliary in operating the pub. “We have had little time to research or respond with anything beyond the fact that we are excited by a potential opportunity to further serve the students of UC Berkeley and that we would like

lair: PAGE 8

LEE: Professor was awarded Berkeley Citation in 1999

Research & Ideas

By Kate Randle | Staff krandle@dailycal.org

While the formal lease for the thirdparty vendor operating the Bear’s Lair Pub at UC Berkeley expired in March, the pub is continuing to operate on a month-to-month lease that could be discontinued in the future, leaving room for new third-party vendors to fill the space. The ASUC Auxiliary — which controls the space that the pub occupies and leases it to Jupiter Beverage LLC — is developing a request for proposal in order to solicit potential vendors for the business space and will go through a period of analysis and discussion

with the current vendor before future action is taken, according to ASUC Auxiliary Director Nadesan Permaul. “Our current vendor may be interested in staying, but they haven’t made up their mind yet,� Permaul said. At the Feb. 1 Store Operations Board meeting, the pub provided documentation showing that it had lost a sizable amount of money in the past year. The board decided the pub’s current management would remain in the space until June 30 with a month-to-month lease without paying rent­ — $4,637 a month — for the space. According to Ryan Landis, interim vice-chair of the board, this decision was made in order to continue providing students with the pub’s services

Watch a video of students presenting their interactive computer devices in action.

wide array of majors, varying from mechanical engineering to film studies. A junior architecture major, Kyung Jin Han, said she was inspired by students who sit on the floor while waiting to go to class or to meet with GSIs for office hours. Han created a wall that would sense a person’s presence and adjust itself to form a seat. The “interactive kinetic public space� would be located in the middle of a hallway to create a lounge area for students. Ryokai said she also had to account for the students’ differing levels of computer programming experience by creating basic and advanced tracks and encouraging teamwork. One of the groups that took a collaborative approach created a back brace that alerts wearers if they have bad posture in order to prevent injury when picking up heavy objects. The team — made up of graduate students Alex Kantchelian and Walter Koning and sophomore Erich Hacker, who all come from different academic backgrounds — said the device could be utilized by physical therapists or

PrototypeS: PAGE 8

From Page 4 Seminar conferences. “We worked on a project called the California Policy Seminar, an activity that engaged faculty in different policy areas with the state legislature and agencies in Sacramento,� said La Porte. “This was instrumental in helping crystallize graduate students in political science and was a signature of the institutes’s activities.� Apart from his tenure at the institute, Lee also worked in the UC Office of the President, and served as Vice President–Executive Assistant to former UC President Clark Kerr. He then served as first chairman of the Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy and was made a director of the Trust for Public Land and the Cal-Tax Foundation. “He was very highly regarded, not just in California government circles but inside the University, and he studied the governance of systems of higher education, including the UC system,� said John Cummins, who worked on the California Policy Seminar and was later recommended by Lee to become assistant chancellor in 1980. Beyond his involvement in politics and encouraging research, Lee remained an

academic at heart, taking up teaching and visiting positions everywhere from the University of Puerto Rico to the London School of Economics and Political Science in the 1980s, eventually finishing his career as a professor of political science at UC Berkeley just before his retirement. To recognize his public service and political research, he was awarded the Berkeley Citation in 1999. Joanne Hurley, Lee’s wife of 35 years, said he was a loving husband and father who always thought of himself as a teacher. “He always said ‘I’m a teacher,’ and he really cared about local government and his students,� Hurley said. “After he retired, we had a wonderful life of traveling together to Cuba, Kenya, Russia and New Zealand where he got to play the role of a male spouse.� Lee is survived by his wife, son Douglas Edwin Lee, daughter Nancy Gale Lee, daughter-in-law Susan Gahry, son-in-law Anoush Zebarjadian and grandchildren Alexandra Lee and Morgan Lee. An event in honor of Lee’s life is planned for 4 p.m. May 12 at the Faculty Club.

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Ethan Rarick/Courtesy

Professor Eugene Lee passed away April 27 at the age of 86 in his home due to complications from a stroke.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Sunday, May 8, 2011

PROTOTYPES: One project helps users to understand computer communication From Page 6 everyday workmen who do heavy lifting. Melissa Yu â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a senior electrical engineering and computer science major â&#x20AC;&#x201D; developed an interactive closet that helps coordinate the perfect outfit. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a mirror with a touch screen over it,â&#x20AC;? Yu said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It displays the weather, and you select the occasion. Then you can scan through your options.â&#x20AC;? Graduate students Stuart Gieger, Emily Wagner and Yoon Jeong developed a

way for humans to send information to each other as computers do. People sitting inside a box play a xylophone with notes that correspond to IP code. Participants learn about the Internet while empathizing with the tedious work that computers do instantly. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really uncomfortable, and you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t really know what youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re doing,â&#x20AC;? Geiger said of the experience. â&#x20AC;&#x153;(The manual process) would take six months to send the front page of Wikipedia.â&#x20AC;?

Study suggests score alteration on New York test By Damian Ortellado | Staff dortellado@dailycal.org

A report co-authored by UC Berkeley School of Law Professor Justin McCrary found that teachers in New York manipulated test scores on the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Regents Examinations, which determine whether students can graduate from Justin high school. McCrary The report, drafted in February, used statistical data from exams taken between January 2001 and June 2010, finding that many studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; scores were likely adjusted to meet cutoff graduation requirements. The report also found that the manipulation of Regents scores existed before the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which uses statewide test scores to determine the performance of schools. The exams, which the state began usMa^=Zber<Zeb_hkgbZg ing in 1866, are a requirement for students in New York public high schools â&#x20AC;&#x201D; students must score a minimum of 65 out of 100 on the exam in order to graduate. In the current system, tests are graded at the high schools, which,

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according to Jonah Rockoff, an associ- report found that students with limate professor at the Columbia Graduate ited English proficiency or minority School of Business, contributes to the students might be helped more than manipulation problem. their peers in score manipulation. The abnormally high prevalence of Cleo Palmer-Poroner, a freshman exams scoring at the minimum cutoff at UC Berkeley who went to public compared to the relatively low num- high school in New York, said the reber of exams scoring directly beneath sults were not surprising considering cutoff is evidence that scores were the demographics of inner-city public manipulated to help students pass, high schools. according to Rockoff. The results of â&#x20AC;&#x153;In inner-city New York, if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re the U.S. History and Government above a certain income bracket, you portion of the exam, for example, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t go to public school unless you show that 6,412 students scored at absolutely have to,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Rich 65 while only 395 students received a kids from Manhattan either go to priscore of 64. vate schools ... or their parents move â&#x20AC;&#x153;You can look at (the graphs of the to the suburbs.â&#x20AC;? scores) and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s obvious that someBecause of the lack of funding for thing is going on,â&#x20AC;? Rockoff said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;At a centralized grading system for the some level, scores near the cutoff exams, Rockoff said hiding the cutoff level are being manipulated to help score from teachers grading the exams students pass the test.â&#x20AC;? could help solve the problem. HowevRockoff added that the manipula- er, he said he understands why teachtion of scores could affect studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; ers might manipulate studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; scores. future academic success. Students â&#x20AC;&#x153;A lot of teachers view what theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re able to graduate with sub-par scores doing as morally correct,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If could face a disadvantage when com- youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re the teacher of these kids, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re pared to students who actually pass going to try to give them the biggest the test. benefit of the doubt to help them â&#x20AC;&#x153;What weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re seeing in more recent graduate.â&#x20AC;? analysis ... is that (score manipulaRockoff added that he believes the Mn^l]Zr%CZgnZkr++%+))1 tion) might have long-term implicaresults of the report could also point tions for kids,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an equity to problems outside of the New York issue.â&#x20AC;? public education system. Manipulation near cutoffs was more â&#x20AC;&#x153;I assume some of this manipulalikely to occur in low-income, inner- tion is going on for all kinds of classcity schools, according to Rockoff. The rooms across the country,â&#x20AC;? he said.

to be at the table to see how we can help,â&#x20AC;? LaPean said in an email. According to LaPean, Cal Dining can currently serve alcohol only at catered events and cannot hold a liquor license as a university entity due to state and UC Office of the President policies. LaPean â&#x20AC;&#x201D; who said he has had experience working at Vanderbilt University managing its student

pub â&#x20AC;&#x201D; said this does not exclude the possibility of a partnership with an established bar or restaurant group in order to operate the pub. Cal Dining took a tour of the pub on Wednesday, LaPean said, in order to understand the location and its parameters. He said that the next step for Cal Dining is to seek potential partners and build a business plan to

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E>@:EGHMB<>L Ihlmrhnk:eZf^]Z<hngmrE^`Zelpbmanl' FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT FILE NO. 449194 The name of the business: Search Strategy Solutions, street address 3141 College Ave #8, Berkeley, CA 94705, mailing address 3141 College Ave #8, Berkeley, CA 94705 is hereby registered by the following owners: John Holland, 3141 College Ave #8, Berkeley, CA 94705. This business is conducted by an Individual. This statement was filed with the County Clerk of Alameda County on March 15, 2011. Search Strategy Solutions Publish: 4/14, 4/21, 4/28, 5/5/11 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE FOR CHANGE OF NAME No. RG11571427 In the Matter of the Application of Deana Marie Simar for Change of Name. TO ALL INTERESTED PERSONS: Petitioner Deana Marie Simar filed a

petition with this court for a decree changing names as follows: Deana Marie Simar to Deane Rain Marie. THE COURT ORDERS that all persons interested in this matter shall appear before this court at the hearing indicated below to show cause, if any, why the petition for change of name should not be granted. NOTICE OF HEARING: 6/24/11, at 11:00 AM 201 13th Street, 2nd Floor, Oakland, CA 94612. A copy of this Order to Show Cause shall be published at least once a week for four successive weeks prior to the date set for hearing on the petition in the following newspaper of general circulation, printed, in this county: The Daily Californian in Berkeley, California. Dated: April 18, 2011 Jon R. Rolefson Judge of the Superior Court Publish: 4/21, 4/28, 5/5, 5/12/11 FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT

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FILE NO. 450865 The name of the business: SA Artisan Foods Company, street address 2018 9th Street #F, Berkeley, CA 94710, mailing address 2018 9th Street #F, Berkeley, CA 94710 is hereby registered by the following owners: Diane S. Lee, 2018 9th Street #F, Berkeley, CA 94710. This business is conducted by an Individual. This statement was filed with the County Clerk of Alameda County on April 22, 2011. SA Artisan Foods Company Publish: 4/28, 5/5/, 5/12, 5/19/11 FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT FILE NO. 450669 The name of the business: CafĂŠ Platano Partnership, street address 2042 University Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704, mailing address 2042 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704 is hereby registered by the following owners: Nicolas A. Sanchez, 1460

Jones Ln., Tracy, CA 95377 and Juan F. Sanchez, 1390 Jones Ln., Tracy, CA 95377. This business is conducted by a General Partnership. This statement was filed with the County Clerk of Alameda County on April 19, 2011. CafĂŠ Platano Partnership Publish: 5/5, 5/12, 5/19, 5/26/11 NOTICE OF APPLICATION FOR CHANGE IN OWNERSHIP OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE LICENSE To Whom It May Concern: The Name(s) of the Applicant(s) is/ are: Juan F. Sanchez Nicolas A. Sanchez The applicants listed above are applying to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to sell alcoholic beverages at: 2042 University Avenue Berkeley, CA 94704 Type of license(s) applied for:

41 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; On-Sale Beer and Wine â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Eating Place Date of Filing Application: April 26, 2011 Publish: 5/5/11 FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT FILE NO. 450548 The name of the business: Pranic Connection, street address 6114 La Salle Ave #297, Oakland, CA 94611, mailing address 6114 La Salle Ave #297, Oakland, CA 94611 is hereby registered by the following owners: Kelly Ann Coxe, 6114 La Salle Ave #297, Oakland, CA 94611. This business is conducted by an Individual. The registrant began to transact business under the fictitious business name listed above on 8/30/2010. This statement was filed with the County Clerk of Alameda County on April 15, 2011. Pranic Connection

Publish: 5/5, 5/12, 5/19, 5/26/11 Notice is hereby given that sealed competitive bids will be accepted in the office of the GSA-Purchasing Department, County of Alameda, 1401 Lakeside Drive, 9th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612 MANDATORY PRE-BID SITE VISIT AND MEETING S. County Project #CPPADA10013070A, Hayward Veterans Building ADA Ramp Repair, Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 2:00 p.m., Hayward Veterans Building, 22737 Main Street, Hayward, CA Attendance at the Mandatory PreBid Meeting is required Responses Due by 2:00 pm on June 03, 2011 County Contact: Rahman Batin at (510) 208-3993 or via email: rahman.batin@acgov.org Information regarding the above may be obtained at the Current Contracting Opportunities Internet website at www.acgov.org. 5/5/11 CNS-2091757# DAILY CALIFORNIAN


The Daily Californian ARts & entertainment

Thursday, May 5, 2011 – Sunday, May 8, 2011

film festival

HELPLESSNESS BLUES Fleet Foxes Subpop

A

nyone looking to vacation in the coolbreezed mountains this summer is in luck, because Fleet Foxes’ Helplessness Blues will provide the perfect tunes to whistle. The West Coast folk group has finally reappeared with their much awaited sophomore album after gaining popularity in 2008 for their self titled debut. Lighthearted Appalachian anthems like “White Winter Hymnal” boosted their original country-chorus style into indie fan adoration for three years, building excitement for their return. Foxes fans may have high expectations, but Helplessness Blues will fulfill them with flying colors. The album presents a more mature poeticism, with less abstract descriptions through more effectively meaningful lyrics. An elaborate instrumental composition paired with calmer vocals steer it into a more subdued style. While many of Helplessness’ songs are not as immediately impressive as favorites on Fleet Foxes’ last album, they prove to be long lasting listens. The album’s opening song, “Montezuma,” weaves choral background “oohs” with bluegrass inspired guitar picks and Robin Pecknold’s folk ballad vocals into a simple yet graceful hymn, unconcerned with catchy hooks. This refreshing simplicity continues throughout the album with songs like the instrumental “The Cascades” and re-released “Blue Spotted Tail” that provide a stylistic departure from the rest of the full-bodied album. Meanwhile, “The Shrine/An Argument” departs in the other direction, by with an unexpected experimental jazz solo. Beyond that, Fleet Foxes don’t provide much surprise but, with such a memorable first album, living up to their sound is more of a challenge than reinventing it. Helplessness Blues is nothing new but, it’s familar in the best way possible. ­—Sarah Burke

MOMENT BENDS Architecture in Helsinki Cooperative/Downtown

I

t’s been four years since we’ve last had an album from the hand-clapping Aussie quintent Architecture in Helsinki. Alas, it seems the years away haven’t aged them well. When the band debuted with Fingers Crossed in 2003, they were vivacious, bubbly and numerous. But now that three of the band’s original line-up have departed, it seems those members have taken the creative energy with them. Once infectious and playful, the band’s latest release, Moment Bends, never manages to be anything but disappointingly dull. Unlike the band’s previous hits “Heart it Races” and “the Owls Go” that exuded an organic charm, the tracks on Moment Bends surface as overly-polished and synthesized. Though songs like “Desert Island” and “Everything’s Blue” begin with vibrant pop potential, the auto-tuned vocals and monotonous melodies sound like nothing more than a haphazard melding of Alphaville’s “Forever Young” and the Caribbean beats of fellow countrymen Men At Work. It’s a derivative mess of ’80s homages that rarely captures the exuberance of those aforementioned influences. The only saving grace to the album’s otherwise aimless pursuits is the track “That Beep.” Sandwiched in the middle of the record, its pulsating beats and quirky vocals provide a refreshing punch of pop in an otherwise lackluster work. But “That Beep” was released as a single EP in 2008, making the rest of the album a sorely discouraging follow-up. While songs like “Contact High” and “Denial Style” attempt to re-capture the lively spirit of “That Beep,” their production is too neat, maybe even sterile, to achieve the kind of spontaneous zest Architecture in Helsinki used to be. Like these songs, Moment Bends remains a lifeless shell of what the band used to be. ­—Jessica Pena

sins sasM s A

ade as a tribute to the glory days of Japanese swordplay epics, Takashi Miike’s “13 Assassins” embodies the best of the samurai genre. Loosely based on Eiichi Kudo’s 1963 movie of the same name, Miike’s film begins in 1844, as the sadistic young Lord Naritsugu ascends to the position of political advisor to the Shogun. When a government official realizes the damage that can be done by the immature nobleman, he hires a trusted samurai to gather a group of fighters to assassinate Nartisugu. Similar to Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai,” the film can be divided into two halves. The first part deals with the job of recruiting the crew of warriors, while the last 50 minutes are used for a climax that entails a larger-than-life battle sequence, giving viewers exactly what they want from a San Francisco film society/courtesy samurai epic. With its simple plot and bloody action sequences, “13 Assassins” isn’t that different from most films of this type. But it works so well due to the director’s decision to embrace the cliches of the genre. Although the film has a predictable storyline, Miike’s ability to work within the confines of the style makes for an entertaining two a n y hours. high school —Jawad Qadir coming-of-age stories are modeled upon the tried and tested premise of misfits and jocks, all of which is embedded within sex driven comedy in movies like “Superbad” and “Sex Drive.” Azazel Jacobs’ “Terri” avoids the cheap sex joke while preserving the awkwardness of teenage life with genuine understanding. The film follows the tale of a late blooming giant named Terri. Terri is the kid you find out is cool once you get to know him, but is not someone you want to be seen with outside of class because he wears pajamas all the time. Terri befriends the lovable principal (John C. Reily) who, through his own errors, teaches Terri to live life with a chin up. Naming the films of John Hughes as a major influence growing up, Azazel Jacobs presents moments of honesty, moments where the camera seems almost voyeuristic as shown in an extended scene between Terri and his love interest Heather (Olivia Crocicchia). Through its subtle insight and well placed humor, “Terri” gives us the opportunity to witness teenage life as it slowly happens. —Carlos Monterrey

13

Cd reviews

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san francisco film society/courtesy

This year, Ernst & Young has 31 reasons to celebrate. Thank you University of California at Berkeley.

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10

ArTS & entertainment

Thursday, May 5, 2011 – Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Daily Californian

film festival

Here late?

bearwalk.berkeley.edu

ur o T M

athieu Amalric’s “On Tour” stars New Burlesque dancers shimmying their way throughout the harbor towns of France, bringing fake eyelashes, sass and pasties to the stage. “It’s women doing shows for women,” Dirty Martini explains early on, one of several real-life dancers cast in the film. “On Tour” focuses on the triumphs and trials of a burlesque troupe on the road in France. The most entertaining scenes of the film come as the dancers doll themselves up. Gleeful camaraderie in the dressing room quickly into sultry confidence under the spotlight. Though the women have spectacle and charisma in spades, they struggle when it comes to performing actual dramatic dialogue. The troupe’s manager, played by director and actor Mathieu Amalric, picks up the “acting” slack. He may not have the assets of his costars, but he has his own French-ified Bill Murray san francisco film society/courtesy brand of haven’t-slept-in-weeks sexiness. “On Tour” may not be a fully-fleshed film, but it remains a joy to watch because of its spectacle and the bubbling enthusiasm Director Alison Bagnall’s the burlesque dancers bring to the “The Dish & The Spoon” begins with stage and their roles. beer and donuts. Rose (played by the always —David Getman effervescent Greta Gerwig) has just discovered her husband’s infidelity when we first see her — driving in pajamas, stuffing her mouth with sugar. It’s a raw and curiously absurd moment only to be outdone when she meets a stranded young Englishman (Olly Alexander) in a lighthouse. It’s not exactly a meet-cute, but somehow, the two become confidants and the film follows their fantastical adventures as they come to terms with the pain of reality. While this disillusionment might seem dour, the film is surprisingly light-hearted: Alexander tickles the piano keys as Gerwig improvises a tap dance. The two stage a faux-wedding in one of those Old West photo studios. And like the characters, we too are captivated by the sheer whimsy of it all. But the quirk only goes so far. Though “The Dish & The Spoon” unravels like an endearing romantic comedy, the characters never develop fully. Olly Alexander’s young man remains unnamed and is nearly forgettable. By the end, the film is like its characters’ fantasy: pleasant but fleeting. —Jessica Pena

On

Don’t walk alone.

Dish and e h T the

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5-31-11

san francisco film society/courtesy

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UCB STUDENTS 50% OFF!* Druid The Cripple of Inishmaan

by Martin McDonagh, Directed by Garry Hynes Wed–Fri, May 4–6, 8 pm Sat, May 7, 2 pm & 8 pm Sun, May 8, 3 pm & 8 pm Tue–Fri, May 10–13, 8 pm Sat, May 14, 2 pm & 8 pm Zellerbach Playhouse “One of those rare and enchanted productions that will live in the memory of all who see it for years to come.” —Chicago Sun-Times Famed Irish theater company Druid returns with award-winning playwright (The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Lieutenant of Inishmore) Martin McDonagh’s comic masterpiece. Set in rural Ireland in1934 and directed by Tony Award-winner Garry Hynes, the play depicts the impact of a Hollywood film crew on the local residents when it shows up to document the tiny island of Inishmaan. When young, orphaned “cripple Billy” is selected for a part in the film, his dreams of escape take flight. This production set an attendance record at New York’s Atlantic Theater. Order Now for the Best Seats!

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The Daily Californian ARTS & entertainment

Thursday, May 5, 2011 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Sunday, May 8, 2011

11

Film festival

Cinematic wonders continue

Our writers carry on coverage of San Francisco International Film Festival, as the event enters its third week.

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at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, South Korean writer/director Hong Sang-sooâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hahahaâ&#x20AC;? isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the kind of comedy one would expect from its title. Told in a series of flashbacks, the film details the seemingly unrelated romantic escapades of two men visiting the same seaside town as they relay their experiences to one another. As the story unfolds, the audience realizes that the accounts take place at the same time with the same characters. Although the film contains elements of the romantic-comedy, Hong avoids the simple answers that have become a mainstay for the genre. Instead, he works against the typical romance film in similar fashion to the French New Wave filmmakers of the â&#x20AC;&#x2122;60s by using unexpected directorial techniques. Still images and abrupt camera zooms replace the usual cross-cutting seen during a conversation between characters, creating a fantastic but familiar quality. While exploring the complexities of lovetriangles, Hong retains humor and sweetness with the help of the overriding narration provided by his central characters, delivering a sincere vision of a deceptively simple story. ­ â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Jawad Qadir

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24 Jul 05


A&E

I like mashing two stories that maybe don’t go together in one essay. I think that’s how life naturally works. It doesn’t go perfectly together.” —Sloane Crosley

Thursday, May 5, 2011 – Sunday, May 8, 2011

books

Slouching towards

Sloane

New York-based writer Sloane Crosley takes on bears and the world with her vicious wit. event: what: Sloane Crosley Reading when: Diesel Books, 5433 College Ave. Oakland where: Tuesday, May 10 at 7 p.m.

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By Ryan Lattanzio | Senior Staff rlattanzio@dailycal.org

T

he whole thing is made up,” Sloane Crosley told me over the phone about her book, she in New York and I in Berkeley. “I’m a Japanese midget.” This could be true. The small jacket photo in the back of her second book of essays How Did You Get This Number, published last summer and now in paperback, certainly doesn’t look like a Japanese midget. But Crosley, tall with long hair and discerning eyes, is the type of person (and New Yorker) you might not want to trust. “I like to trick people into thinking they are in a safe happy place,” Crosley said of her work, inspiring me to ask myself: Is this line safe? Are you wearing a wire? How DID you get this number? Despite the 3,000 miles and millions of cell phone radiation waves between us, I took an instant liking to Crosley, an I-can-feel-her-hot-young-New-York-writerbreath-on-my-neck sort of liking. As we passed the banter banana back and forth, I felt her baubles of wit percolating through the tiny holes on the receiving end of my phone and into my receiving ear. I felt in her a kindred spirit. She said she loves Joan Didion — check. She said she cries and eats cereal all day — check. She was once called a racist — check. As a 32year-old writer living in New York, Crosley is living the

dream of a lot of people — people who will undoubtedly never have that dream and instead will live the nightmare of parents’ basements and remaking a venti latte for a WASP-y asshole who said he wanted soy, damn it, soy. Does Crosley, author of two books of essays and a columnist for The Independent, think she’s living the dream that Carrie Bradshaw has incepted into my brain? “When it’s your life,” she said, “you see it as a little more threedimensional than living a specific kind of dream.” Okay, whatever, Crosley, you lucky little thing, you. Crosley’s got a string of pearls on her hands. Her first essay collection, I Was Told There’d Be Cake (doubtless words we’ve all said upon going to a place we didn’t like), was met with acclaim and an eager anticipation for her next work. For jaded New-York-living-essay-loving literary enthusiasts, this was like tenacious tweens camping outside Barnes & Noble for the next Harry Potter installment: Do we really have to wait? And now, How Did You Get This Number has racked up equal praise for Crosley’s wry and absurd take on the seemingly mundane. “There’s so much pressure on essay collections to have a distinct theme,” Crosley said of her transition between books. “I was gunning for having opted out of that requirement, like taking an AP exam in high school.” The topic for this paperback course in Crosley is travel, ranging from personal narratives about apartment hunting and hooker ghosts to New York esoterica (“If you can still see the location from where you hailed the cab,” she writes in one story, “you don’t have to pay when you get out.” Shows what I know. I’ll never make it in that town).

Though she’s a vegetarian, Crosley says these essays are “meatier” and “less dancing monkeys.” When you’re a writer ready to put those dancing rhetorical monkeys back in their pen, it’s a sure sign of maturity. Crosley subscribes to the dictum that the specific is always funnier than the general. Take the first line of her book: “There is only one answer to the question: Would you like to see a three a.m. performance of amateur Portuguese circus clowns?” Despite being spatially challenged — according to one story, she has a condition where she often can’t tell left from right or read the hands of an analog clock — Crosley treads the slippery terrain of memory with flair. “Traveling is much easier in terms of memories because your whole brain is a sponge,” said Crosley. “I don’t want to make it sound totally effortless … I have a good memory but it’s not a Truman Capote kind of memory.” She likes to think of these essays, which find her in places like a back alley in Lisbon chilling with chickens or as a witness to a bear killing in Alaska, as her “unofficial” reports. It keeps her from thinking she’s writing the story of her life, “which would make my skin crawl,” she said. “I’m actually a pretty private person. What I’m trying to do is … entertain people with something we all find funny (without) digging up every emotional core I’ve ever had.” The spongy Crosley is not as self-aware as you’d imagine, considering this is a collection of personal essays. “This sounds … crazy but now I think of these essays as being about me. “At the time, I didn’t think I was writing a book of personal essays” — and it shows. Crosley does especially well with stories that have a narrative, a beginning, a middle and an end. And boy, can she do an ending. While most of the stories are comical and confessional, as Crosley inexplicably finds herself the victim of strange and (often literally) outlandish circumstances, she crafts profound moments out of her bubbling, bauble-y drollery. That wit, like the champagne I will someday roll out of bed to buy every morning with my freelance writer’s paycheck, is acerbic and dizzying. And yet, it goes down deceptively easy while giving you things to think about the morning after.


Daily Cal - Thursday, May 5, 2011