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Court rejects AB 540 appeal After nearly six years of petitions and appeals, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal on Monday that challenged a state law allowing undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at California universities and colleges. The plaintiffs — 42 former UC, CSU and California Community College students who each paid out-of-state tuition — took issue with California Assembly Bill 540, which was passed in October 2001 and grants in-state tuition for higher education, regardless of citizenship or residency, to students who graduate from a California high school, among other requirements. The group of students — all of whom are U.S. citizens — filed a formal request Feb. 14 to take their case Martinez et al. v. UC Board of Regents et al. before the Supreme Court. The plaintiffs contend the board owes them damages equal to the difference between residential and nonresidential tuition and that AB 540 unconstitutionally affords illegal immigrants a financial edge over citizens. The students claimed AB 540 violated the federal Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, which requires states to provide in-state tuition benefits to all U.S. citizens if such benefits are given to illegal immigrants. However, the California Supreme Court upheld AB 540 in November, overturning a previous decision. After the lawsuit was filed in December 2005, the case went through nearly six years in the legal system before this week’s final decision. In 2006, the Yolo County Superior Court ruled in favor of the board. However, that decision was overturned unanimously on Sept. 15,
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2008, through the California Court of Appeals 3rd District in Sacramento. In November 2010, the case was brought to the California Supreme Court, where AB 540 was upheld. The plaintiffs then filed a petition for a writ of certiorari — an appeal to a higher court to take up a case — with the U.S. Supreme Court in February. “We also are gratified that students who have attended and graduated from high school in
Some ancient philosopher, probably misattributed and misquoted through the centuries, once said that the rough road leads to the height of greatness. Maybe this isn’t the height; maybe there are greater things left to achieve for a team that, not long ago, had no future. But this must be close. Centuries ago, it seems, the Cal baseball team lost its first game of the Houston Regional. Pinned firmly against the wall, the Bears turned around and beat Alcorn State, then 1-seed Rice, then Baylor. Then, with everything on the line on Monday night at Reckling Park, they collapsed. Playing for a spot in the Super Regionals, Baylor battered the Bears for six runs in the fourth inning — followed by a run apiece in the sixth and ninth innings for insurance. Cal protested meekly a few times. The Bears strung together a few singles to score twice in the sixth, and first baseman Devon Rodriguez blasted a two-run shot to right in the eighth but, down 8-5 going into the bottom of the ninth, it looked like the Bears would still make the red eye out of Texas that night. The inning began with a murmur: a single by right fielder Chad Bunting. That elicited some movement in the Baylor bullpen, but with Logan Verrett on the mound, coach Steve Smith was willing to let his ace
UC retirees who worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory were left to consider an appeal May 26 after the Alameda County Superior Court ruled in favor of the UC Board of Regents after a nine-month petition process revolving around retirement health benefits. The UC Livermore Retiree Group — whose health benefits were altered in September 2008 after the lab’s management was taken over by Lawrence Livermore National Security LLC — sued the board over claims that the UC allowed premiums and co-payments to be raised in 2008. The retiree group will have 60 days from the filing of the final court judgment to enter an appeal. Joe Requa, president of the group and a petitioner in the case, worked for the lab for roughly 40 years and said he believes health benefits were compromised after the UC transferred ownership in 2007 from the U.S. Department of Energy to the Lawrence Livermore National Security, a government consortium of private companies that now includes the UC. “All we want is the same benefits that other UC retirees are getting — in court, we believe we are being mistreated because we are being singled out from the other retirees,” Requa said. “Secondly, if the UC does in fact owe us something, it seems odd that they make changes to our medical policy.” The retiree group has already spent over $150,000 for the lawsuit and will have to raise an additional $75,000 to afford to file an appeal to the Alameda County Superior Court, which sustained the regents’ demurrer — a legal attack that is essentially a request to throw out a case — allowing the UC to win the case and disallowing the group to reopen it without the appeal. “My view is that the law is not what is reflected in this trial court’s order,” said Dov Grunschlag, an attorney for the plaintiffs. “The petition that we filed sufficiently states the claim for continued health benefits for UC retirees that worked at this lab for a period of retirement under whatever medical insurance plans that the UC provides to all its retirees.” Though the retiree group is still unsure of whether to take action, Charles Robinson, the UC’s vice president and general counsel for legal affairs, said the board is satisfied with the lawsuit’s outcome. Similarly, Lawrence Livermore National Security maintains that medical care was still offered during the entirety of the lawsuit and has not stopped as a result of the original transfer. “As part of the requirement by the contract transferred from the Department of Energy, the (Lawrence Livermore National Security) was required to sponsor all medical benefits and had to be similar to the benefits offered by UC — these benefits never discontinued during the lawsuit,” said Lynda Seaver, a spokesperson for Lawrence Livermore National Security. However, most retirees said they are still frustrated with the university’s bureaucracy and still believe the
baseball: PAGE 4
retirees: PAGE 2
California and who have achieved the academic accomplishments to qualify for UC will continue to have access to affordable higher education opportunities, irrespective of their immigration status,” said Charles Robinson, the UC’s general counsel and vice president for legal affairs, in a statement. Ethan Schulman, a lawyer who worked on
lawsuit: PAGE 2
Some speak Survivors: Cal wins Houston out against Regional with stunning rally possible cuts to programs By Katie Dowd | Senior Staff email@example.com
By Katie Nelson | Senior Staff firstname.lastname@example.org State legislators and local businesses are beginning to speak out against Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to suspend roughly $3.5 million in federal funding for two programs meant to better track student achievement over time, more accurately calculate graduation and dropout rates and help local school districts learn about the best practices from elsewhere in the state. The California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System — also known as CALPADS — and the California Longitudinal Teacher Integrated Data Education System — its sister program, also known as CALTIDES — were created to track student and teacher performance, respectively, and have been developed throughout the past decade. But like his predecessor, former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Brown has been critical of CALPADS, which is a year behind schedule in implementation due to technical glitches. Bay Area businesses, including Oakland-based Education Trust-West, said
System: PAGE 2
UC retirees may appeal court ruling on benefits
First baseman Devon Rodriguez and the Cal Baseball team will be hosting Dallas Baptist in Santa Clara this weekend for the Super Regionals.
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From front they were “deeply concerned” about the suspension of funding for the system, according to major media outlets. “The program is generally a good concept,” said Jay Nitschke, Berkeley Unified School District’s director of technology. “It just fell short in some areas, though I do not think that the cut will go through.” Nitschke added that with 6.4 million students enrolled in public schools, tracking each student was something that needed to be developed over time and that the program — which was created with IBM — does not include the ability to track students who transfer from private to public schools or from students who transfer into California public schools from other states. “While most students just tend to shift between schools within California, not all the data needed for the system was available or put into the system,” Nitschke said. In 2002, state legislators approved spending $6 million to fund CALPADS, which also tracks student performance on standardized tests over time. But its
Online Exclusives Campus bikers ride to raise HIV/AIDS awareness Saturday, is run by the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and involves bicyclists from 11 countries and nearly every state. This year marks the 10th annual journey of the event, AIDS/LifeCycle, and also a record high amount of funds raised, totaling about $13 million. ...
Twenty-eight members of a team from the UC Berkeley community are currently among about 2,350 other participants in the midst of a sevenday bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise funds and awareness about HIV and AIDS. The 545-mile journey, which began last Sunday and will end on
Creatively I ndependent STUDENT LIVING Newly renovated! “The location on the corner of Telegraph and Channing Way is one of the best perks of living at Telegraph Commons. It’s located only 2 short blocks from the UC Berkeley campus, and a short 15 minute walk from just about anywhere in Berkeley, I love it.”
There will be blood in ‘Titus Andronicus’ The audience is welcomed into the action early on — we, clearly, are Romans, addressed directly by the actors. We’re probably supposed to feel a bit guilty about these tragic happenings, even as we sit and sip hot chocolate wrapped in one of Cal Shakes’ almost-warm blankets. Despite the chill of late-spring evenings, it’s probably for the best that the whole ordeal of “Titus” takes place outdoors in the Bruns amphitheater. The smell of stage blood would surely overwhelm an enclosed space. ...
friday april 15, 10am to 5pm saturday april 16, 9am to 5pm sunday april 17, 10am to 4 pm california shakespeare theater/courtesy
Sleigh Bells dazzled fans at Rickshaw Stop beats and heavy riffs of their studio efforts threatened to explode your speakers, then they would be no match for the volume of a live Sleigh Bells rendition. Rhythm was the primary focus of the show, whether it stemmed from the hip hop vibe of “Infinity Guitars” or the charming syncopation of “Kids.” The amps and drums galore managed to turn Sleigh Bells’ gritty cacophony into a clean mix of crisp poundings and tight synths. ...
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Her magnetic onstage personality perfectly complimented Sleigh Bell’s thrashing sound. If the deafening
Previously, scientists believed the auditory system was not as active when people hear themselves speak, according to Adeen Flinker, who is conducting the research. However, through his work he said he found that the system is more intricate, with subregions that are specific to what a person hears. ...
On the blogs The Daily Clog DINOSAUR FUN TIMES: If a real-life Jurassic Park sounds like your idea of a fantastic time (and really, why wouldn’t it?), then you’ll be thrilled to know that there’s one right in Berkeley’s backyard. Check out Christina Kowalski’s post for the deets.
Arts & Entertainment Blog FOSTER THE PEOPLE CREATE TRIBAL SYNTH: In case you missed Foster the People’s “short but ecstatic” jam sesh at Amoeba Records earlier this week, Ian Birnam’s got you covered.
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university has not been able to provide proper health care benefits. “We trusted the integrity of the university, and we were there because we felt it was a worthwhile mission,” said Wendell Moen, a lab retiree and a plaintiff in the case. “As an older person, in the long run, risks will be higher and costs will be higher, and frankly, I don’t think they did treat us right.” Going forward, retirees said they will look to their group’s members to decide if raising additional fees
is feasible in order to file an appeal. Should they find that they are able to raise enough money, they will make a decision in the coming month regarding further litigation. “I think the one thing that is important from a policy and fairness perspective is that if their coverage can be terminated by UC, then no UC retiree is safe from this kind of treatment, and everyone is at risk of having insurance terminated or drastically modified,” Grunschlag said.
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Study finds greater complexity in auditory system A UC Berkeley graduate student’s ongoing research on the human auditory system has given more insight into how the system is wired — that it is made of a network of volume settings that can selectively silence and amplify the sounds people make and hear.
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implementation was delayed because of disagreements among state agencies regarding fund distribution, among other factors in the process. In 2009, legislators also voted to allow school districts to include student test score data in teacher evaluations — a move that made the state eligible for a competitive federal grant, which it did not ultimately win. Brown’s administration proposed suspending the funding for the programs while looking at possible reforms, including reducing the amount of time devoted to state testing in schools and restoring power to local school districts, teachers and parents. Currently, California spends about $60 billion a year on K-12 education, and some state legislators have said cutting the programs could jeopardize California’s receipt of federal dollars because President Barack Obama’s administration made reporting graduation rates a key criterion for receiving federal funds for education. Katie Nelson is an assistant news editor.
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behalf of the defense, said he was pleased with the outcome and that the Supreme Court’s decision to not review the case will allow AB 540 to continue being implemented by state universities and colleges. “It recognizes the importance of an affordable college education to California high school graduates, including undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country by their parents as children illegally and are entitled to the same opportunities as other high school graduates,” he said. However, Michael Brady, a lawyer
who represented the plaintiffs, said the ruling was not fair to U.S. citizens. “The thing that shocks most people when they hear about the case is they can understand why sometimes illegal immigrants and American citizens should be treated equally,” Brady said. “They cannot understand how an American citizen can be treated 400 percent worse than an illegal immigrant — because an American citizen has to pay tuition 400 percent higher than an illegal immigrant ... That doesn’t seem fair.” Allie Bidwell is the news editor.
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Bursting the food bubble
y last grocery bill totaled about $35, a budget that naturally excludes the likes of King Pin runs. Intended for two weeks worth of ten-minute dinners, quick orange juice and banana breakfasts, trail mix laced with too much chocolate snacks, and other such indulgent necessities, my grocery list lacks the luster of a well-balanced diet. It’s just too easy to eat like a neglected carefree five-year-old, chewing those sugarcoated doughy squares like there’s a box of them, when there is. The desire to eat nutritionally void delicacies is a thoughtless impulse when a box of them costs less than a real meal. But costs less than what exactly? Time, money or both? I ran out the door the other day with a pop-tart in my hand, happily knowing that it was cheaper than buying a sandwich on campus, and that it would give me enough sustenance for class. Though I held on with the burst of sugar in my bloodstream for the first hour, the sugar crash lulled my attention-span into a restless and dreamy five-year-old’s for the next two. I should’ve grabbed a banana and some milk — or even better, I could have made time to make breakfast instead of dreaming about it. Although Berkeley is stocked with supermarkets that cater to healthy lifestyles that echo the notorious “Berkeley Bubble”, we are also invited to partake in the reality of cheap and fast food with tight college budgets and distracted daily routines. While Berkeley’s hill-residing elite and educated blow out its Bubble of organic consumption with hidden farmers markets and standard nauseatingly green fashion, the cashstrapped and credit loaded middleclass scour the streets for a delightfully cheap and delicious meal. When life hands me lemons ... why should I squeeze them myself, when I can buy a bottle of it instead? Even when there are fresh lemons, the powdered and concentrated alternatives seem just as refreshing when you can save time (which is money) without putting in any physical or mental effort. imilar to the periodic self-induced food comas in my academic haze, consuming a diet that saves time and money leaves one momentarily satisfied, only to want more blubberchurning carbohydrates to feed one’s insatiable hunger. We are ashamed of wasting commercially good food, but shameless of how we eat it. Although puritanical hypocrites use shame to justify traditionally backwards morals, we should be ashamed of how we eat because the traditional way of home-cooking has almost evolved to the habitual action of pill-popping. Canned food and frozen vegetables are the only choices people outside
Pilar Huerta email@example.com the Bubble seem to have. Although a significant amount of people do not have the means to share the same budget and diet of the Bubble’s organic consumers, the average Joe can eat just as well as one of Trader Joe’s working-class “food snobs.” s the not-so-secret ingredient of many three-star Chinese restaurants, MSG tricks your brain into thinking you’re full when you only need a break from hypnotically chowing down chowmein. Cheaper prices often make us want to buy more of something, even if it ends up in waste, and if we don’t want it. A Chinese restaurant nearby sells a plate of steamy white rice and sticky orange chicken for a little over three dollars, and some days, they even have coupons for a free soda with the meal. Three dollars goes an efficiently long way when the appetite is immediately satisfied. But how long did it take the chefs in the back kitchen to make this meal? They made it in batches, hour after hour, waiting for the perfect deep-frying temperature each time. While three bucks gives the freedom to do what your heart desires, your heart could instead avoid an attack. Would walking to butcher shops and fruit stands help trim the fat around our hearts, instead of driving to and fro supermarkets every other week? When our daily routines are fixed into blocks of time, getting from point A to point B, we only want to spend our money on making our lives easier. But what is ease if not a lack of consciousness? While my consciousness floats a mile away with every bite of a King Pin donut, it is worth the dollar I spend and the variable number of blocks trespassed to get there. Although eating a King Pin donut is as easy as it is heavenly, its consumption is also just as special. As new things are gradually taken for granted, the abundance of ice cream cakes and meat pies has pervaded diets in lands of milk and honey, putting consumers into selfinduced food comas that heart failure and diabetes seem to follow. Instead of surrendering to the sugarcoated fate of mindless consumption, refresh your tastebuds instead, and delay gratification.
Locally created walking aid to sell next year By J.D. Morris | Staff firstname.lastname@example.org Patients from Pennsylvania to Hawaii who were previously unable to use their legs will be able to test a Berkeley-developed exoskeleton, which enables them to walk, as the product prepares to hit the market sometime early next year. The Exoskeleton Lower Extremity Gait System (eLEGS) was created by Berkeley Bionics, which announced Tuesday its partnership with 10 physical rehabilitation centers across the country to further develop and test the product. Founded in 2005 by UC Berkeley professor of mechanical engineering Homayoon Kazerooni, the company on Oct. 7, 2010, unveiled eLEGS — an external device worn over a patients’ clothing which makes use of sensors feeding off manually operated hand crutches to anticipate patients’ movements and provide them with the ability to walk. According to Beverly Millson, who manages the company’s public relations, the rehabilitation centers participating in the study will eventually become eLEGS centers — meaning they will be among the first to offer the
product to their patients. “The goal is to conduct investigational studies, share and reciprocate information and ultimately these rehabilitation centers ... will become eLEGS centers,” Millson said. Millson added that the partnership constitutes only the first 10 eLEGS centers and that the company will also seek to offer the product outside the boundaries of the United States. The company had first aimed to have eLEGS ready for widespread use by the end of this year but is now working for release in early 2012, she said. “We just want to be real sure everything is spot-on and everything is running,” Millson said. Additionally, the product is in a constant state of change as developers continue to add new features, Millson said. She said the aesthetics will be different than the current prototype. Though he is no longer involved in the daily business of Berkeley Bionics, Kazerooni said the partnership will be good for eLEGS and should provide valuable information as the product continues to develop under medical supervision. “The entire community will learn from feedback they will receive from patients, and that will push the technology further,” Kazerooni said. “That is a good thing for the company and for the com-
munity interested in spinal cord injury.” Joy Alexiou, spokesperson for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, said the center currently has two outpatients who use eLEGS as part of their physical therapy. She said the center has already been working with eLEGS for a few months. “There’s a lot going in to figure out what changes may be made or what works or doesn’t work so that the product can be developed further,” Alexiou said. But eLEGS is not the only technology of its kind. At UC Berkeley’s graduation last month, alumnus Austin Whitney, who has been paraplegic for nearly four years as the result of a car accident, used a different exoskeleton to stand upright and walk across the stage to shake the hand of Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. However, Kazerooni, who was involved in developing the technology Whitney used, said it is different from eLEGS. “Austin’s project is really not a product at this time — it’s a showcase of a different type of technology ... for personal use,” Kazerooni said. “eLEGS is designed and built for rehabilitation centers.” J.D. Morris is an assistant news editor.
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Group traps antiatoms for over 16 minutes By Anny Dow and Aaida Samad firstname.lastname@example.org A group of physicists, including several at UC Berkeley, announced Sunday that they have been able to trap antimatter atoms for as long as 1,000 seconds — nearly four orders of magnitude longer than they had previously been able to achieve. Published online in the journal Nature Physics, the study — which is a collaborative effort by campus researchers as well as scientists from 14 other universities — shows that the scientists were able to trap antihydrogen atoms in larger quantities and for longer periods of time than ever before. This in turn has provided them with the means to further investigate the antiatoms’ specific properties as well as the composition of the universe. The research comes from Antihydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus, an international collaboration that started in 2004. The group’s focus has been to stabilize the trapping of antihydrogen particles to further study the symmetries between matter and antimatter. Scientists believe that for every particle of matter, there should also exist a particle of antimatter. However, they have observed that there is less antimatter in the world. In November 2010, the group was able to trap 38 antihydrogen atoms for more than one-tenth of a second each — the first time these antiatoms had ever been contained. Marcelo Baquero-Ruiz, a campus graduate student and one of the paper’s 38 authors, said that the significance of being able to trap the antihydrogen atoms for so long — in this case for more than 16 minutes — is that further research can be done on the specific internal structure of the atoms. “If we can hold these antiatoms for
Two students work on the apparatus at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, where physicists trapped antimatter atoms for as long as 1,000 seconds.
Anny Dow explains how trapping antiatoms may change the way scientists look at the universe.
longer, we can study them now, and we can study them with a high precision,” Baquero-Ruiz said. With the ability to trap hydrogen antiatoms for longer, researchers are now hoping use microwaves and eventually lasers to study them further, he added. “Our ultimate goal here has been to measure the spectra of antihydrogen and compare it to the spectra of hydrogen as a test of fundamental physical theories and so on and so forth,” said Steven Chapman, a campus graduate student who has been involved with the project. The recently published research is just the beginning in understanding properties of the captured antiatoms, according to Francis Robicheaux, a professor of physics at Auburn University and a co-author of the study. “These are the first steps in a long
campaign,” Robicheaux said in an email. “We are trying to measure fundamental properties of the antihydrogen atom. The impact will be on the most basic, fundamental theories of physics.” According to Alex Povilus, a campus graduate student working on the project, studying the antiatoms will also help scientists to understand the symmetry of the universe. “We’ve noticed that everything appears to be made out of matter as opposed to antimatter, and we don’t know why,” Povilus said. “Hopefully this will help shed some light on that.” While the Big Bang theory suggests that there should be equal amounts of matter and antimatter in the universe, that is not what scientists have actually been able to see, said Joel Fajans, a campus professor of physics and a co-author of the study. “This is a basic physics issue,” Fajans said. “This (research) could have profound consequences on the way we think we understand the universe.”
From front pitch. Verrett was calm as center fielder Darrel Matthews stepped to the plate. Matthews bounced a slow grounder to Steve DalPorto at second base — a sure-fire double play ball. DalPorto watched it roll through his legs. Runners at the corners, no outs. “We have come back from the dead so often this year,” Cal coach David Esquer said. “We’ve never died, we’ve never stopped playing.” The next batter, freshman pinch hitter Michael Theofanopoulos, hit the ball sharply to short, where Matthews was forced out. Suddenly, everyone noticed Bunting breaking from third. “That’s not a planned play,” Esquer said. Bunting was in a rundown. Green Baylor jerseys charged him from every angle. There was a flurry at third. Bunting saw daylight. No one was covering home. He slid head first. “That’s not in our playbook,” Esquer said. Bunting was safe. It was 8-6. Maybe Verrett was a bit shaken. He hit the next batter, left fielder Austin Booker, bringing Pac-10 Player of the Year Tony Renda up to bat. The second baseman, as scrappy and methodical as ever, drove a single to right to score another run. 8-7. “It was one of those moments where you watch the energy of the moment take on a life of its own,” Esquer said. Catcher Chadd Krist took four straight balls from Verrett to load the bases. There was still only one out, and shortstop Marcus Semien, who was 4-for-4 on the night, was at the plate. He fouled off the first offering, face tense but body loose. Verrett worked the count to 2-2. The two players stared at each other across the void,
the only two people left on Earth. Semien swung at a pitch sinking deep into the dirt. Strikeout. As he walked back to the dugout, he turned to the next batter, Devon Rodriguez. “I told Devon, ‘Pick me up,’” Semien said. Rodriguez came out swinging. He fouled off two pitches before taking a ball. The Bears were down to their final strike, the pro-Baylor crowd on its feet, clapping and howling for Verrett to finish Rodriguez off. Rodriguez leaned back in his stance, waiting, praying for a changeup. He got one. As his bat arched across the deep night sky, everyone held their breath. By the time the ball landed softly in the right field grass, Booker and Renda were already being swarmed by their teammates in gold. They were the eighth and ninth runs. The tying and the winning runs. “I don’t have the words to describe it,” Rodriguez said. Six months ago, the Cal baseball team was preparing for the worst. Cut from the athletic department due to a deepening financial crisis, the players and coaches knew that this could be the last season of baseball played in Berkeley. With nothing to lose, they played for each other. Halfway through the year, the Bears learned that they would, in fact, be reinstated. Still, they felt they had a story to finish. Many times in the last four days, the word “end” was almost written on the page. With Monday’s 9-8 win over Baylor, the Bears delay that moment another day. They give themselves a new beginning. Katie Dowd covers baseball.
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No Man’s Land
Amelia Taylor Hochberg firstname.lastname@example.org
n 2009, Heathrow airport in London instated a “writer in residence.” Alain de Botton, a writer of philosophically flavored texts on the everyday, including “The Art of Travel” (2002), was allowed total access to all crannies of the airport and encouraged to speak to anyone. It is an incredible luxury to be able to dwell in a space of change long enough to see its trends and flaws, a constant in a construction for movement. Conceptual fascination with airports is rarely expressed while being patted down by security. Usually the procedural impasses associated with transit from A to B become harried and frustrating, blindsiding the travelers to the absolute absurdity occurring around them: A baby throws up on itself next to a Chili’s, a man surreptitiously eyes the nudie magazines at the duty-free shop and fleets of garish pencil-skirted attendants clack their way along the linoleum in insanely high heels. The airport may be the holding ground for passengers heading to international cities, but it is an urban cross-section in itself, uninhibited by ethnicity or nature. Recently, I traveled from San Francisco to Copenhagen with layovers in London airports Heathrow and Stansted. Departing at San Francisco
arts & entertainment
album reviews International Airport, I was gently deposited from BART into the tram to various terminals. Ascending the staircase to the tram platform, the passengers are surrounded by a flowing wall of shimmering metal scales that change color with the reflecting light and are sculpted by the wind passing through. “Wind Portal,” designed by Sebastopol artist Ned Kahn in 2003, surrounds the passageway between the outside world and that of the airport, signaling entrance into an alternate zone of perpetual fluctuation. The piece links two alternate urbanities, one of BART and the natural world and the other of climate-controlled lounges and prayer rooms. Los Angeles International Airport has its giant glass pylons, lit with a sequence of colored LEDs and growing from 20 to 65 feet toward the airport, nodding to the gradual rise of a plane during take-off. Ushered by these giant columns, the passengers follow signs to the departure terminal and arrive within the borders of the airport. What becomes immediately apparent in the airport-city is its likeness to a mall. Granted, this city has its suburbs of check-in stations and zones for toddlers or smokers at play, but the bulk of the area is a meticulously planned downtown devoted to commerce. Having to accommodate for any given person transitioning from any given time zone, international airports offer sundries to a remarkable variety of economic subjects — one gets breakfast at the Burger King, another indulges in a Coach handbag, a third relaxes with a Garra Fish pedicure. Effectively catering to a trapped clientele, the shops appear to both aggravate and offer relief to travelers, exasperating but appeasing them with four-dollar bottles of water. Public art and commercial retail aside, the interior passageways of airports become giant freeway interchanges. Absurd volumes of people pass through each day and without the crutch of common language must be directed to their destinations. A combination of insistent airport symbology and a type of interior-landscape design sift people
through the right sieves, fanning them out to the correct gate or providing a resting place. Of course such transit is never independent; at every point, the passenger is being guided forcefully through a one-way passageway. Security often forbids doubling back. Without chewing on the gravel of airport security procedures, especially in the United States, authority in airports displays a tenacious legal and cultural identity. By mode of comparison, Stanford University conducted a controversial psychological experiment in 1971 in which participants became either guards or prisoners in a simulated prison. The study yielded a glimpse at the transformative properties of authority: those who played the role of “guard” began to institute arbitrary forms of assumed power, including random punishments and abuse. First, I am incredibly grateful and respectful of TSA authorities for doing a job that would suffocate me. However, at points it felt as if the security personnel saw me as a walking meat sack stuffed with explosives, prevented from harming civilians by the careful application of a plastic sandwich baggie. The cultural form of authority is much less serious and takes the form of in-flight entertainment. During my flight from San Francisco to London, Virgin Atlantic offered a variety of movies, TV shows and game. This in itself is not entirely remarkable of the cheapest Trans-Atlantic flight with a commercial airline, but what Virgin Atlantic offered was not only variety but a style. The animated emergency landing video boasted a hip, cheeky swagger and shine with crest-of-thewave graphics, including a passenger resembling Kanye West demonstrating the use of a life preserver. Suddenly, a transportation device is a tastemaker. Arriving in Copenhagen a full 48 hours after I left Berkeley, the time spent in airports already resembled a meager stay in a foreign country. Without exiting a humidified interior, I passed through cultural and commercial outposts, where the common language may be exchanged at a currency booth.
Arctic Monkeys SUCK IT AND SEE [Domino]
t has been two years since the Arctic Monkeys released the dark and brooding Humbug, and they have clearly spent their time wisely, with their latest album being the proof of better quality. Suck It and See reveals their swaying croon-tunes to be just as pleasing as their mosh-worthy rock. Alex Turner proves his writing genius to still be thriving, reinventing cliched phrases to strengthen his songs. He juxtaposes formulaic prose with lines of disjointed poetry: “Jigsaw women with hollow movie blue shoes / Be cruel to me ‘cause I’m a fool for you.” Turner still questions human intentions, but with irony colored with aged hindsight. The tracks that stand out are not necessarily the ones most resembling the experimental dissonance of Humbug or even the driving angst of Whatever People Say I Am… but instead contain whimsical and melodic pop chord progressions. But those that do harken back to the Monkeys’ smashing, crashing music of yore hold their ground and remind listeners of where the band started from. Another striking difference is Matt Helders’ drumming – controlled and not as literally ground-shaking as exhibited in Favourite Worst Nightmare. Even the rhythmic-styling changes mirror the band’s chameleonic talent, able to dole out lighter shades of musical art. The Arctic Monkeys are proving that they’re the masters of their own music with the balanced control of the album’s emotional trajectory. In Suck It and See they prove how much emotion pop rock can still retain, even in a day of digital facades and recycled music hooks. — Dominique Brillon
Battles GLOSS DROP [Warp]
t’s a shame that the “Twilight” movies completely blow, because their soundtracks continually prove themselves as outstanding anthologies of contemporary music. In particular, their inclusion of New Yorkbased Battles stands above the rest. Fusing the more calculated, sciencechic sounds of prog or electronica with a more hard-edged rock, Battles’ first studio album, Mirrored, was revelatory. But now, as their leading man Tyondai Braxton has departed, Battles’ sophomore album, Gloss Drop, feels similarly lacking in direction. This is not to say that their sophomore album is a failed follow-up. It continues the impressive variety of Mirrored with tracks ranging from reggae-influenced “Ice Cream” to the more techno-inspired “My Machines” (featuring the sultan of synthesizers Gary Numan). But, unlike their first album, which seemed to flawlessly merge these seemingly disparate genres, Gloss Drop remains disjointed. One minute, the beguiling beats of “Africastle” evoke an almost sinister sound, but that darker tone is immediately eclipsed by the light-hearted, almost Latin pop vibes of “Ice Cream.” Both songs may be flawlessly executed and complex in this composition, but together, they sound like two different bands. The majority of the album indulges in a kind of innovative, beat-heavy instrumentation that has made Battles stand out amongst other experimental groups. However, while their attempts at pop-driven songs are successful, they don’t gel with the rest of the group’s more instrumental orientation. — Jessica Pena
arts & entertainment & legals The Daily Californian The Daily Californian LEGALS, COMICS & PUZZLES
Thursday, June 9, 2011 - Sunday, June 12, 2011 Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The Postelles bring cheery tunes in their debut album This New York-bred band attract listeners with their ’60s boy Post your Alameda County Legals with us. PHONE: 510-548-8300 FAX: 510-849-2803 EMAIL:email@example.com band sound and will be performing at Rickshaw Stop on 6/23. By Cynthia Kang | Senior Staff firstname.lastname@example.org
eviving the sound of the music industry’s innocent beginnings, the Postelles delight ears with their jaunty guitar riffs and handclapping beats. This New York-based group harbor a particular fondness for the good ol’ bubblegum pop of ’60s, a liking that becomes quite apparent within a few seconds of blasting their tracks. Their self-titled debut brims with short yet incredibly lively pieces. Though their sound is derivative rather than idiosyncratic, the Postelles delivers the best of both worlds, meshing traditional rock roots with a modern edge. Frontman Daniel Balk and David Dargahi met during Spanish class back in their Manhattan high school, bonding through their shared taste in music. “(Dan) was the other guy in the grade that worshipped The Beatles,” said Dargahi. With the addition of two other fellow classmates (Billy Cadden and John Speyer), the Postelles were born, using their name as homage to the Motown era. Despite their heavy resemblance to classic boy bands, the Postelles has never pinpointed a specific genre to follow. “If we feel punk and a song comes out that way, it’s completely spontaneous. Another song may have a more motown feel. It’s all in the moment,” said Balk. Perhaps the assortment of styles can also be attributed to the group’s diverse interests. “We have the bands and artists that inspire us embedded into us, so it kind of just comes out naturally,” said Balk, citing influences from Brit-pop to Hemingway to Woody Allen. All of theses elements come together in The Postelles, produced by Albert Hammond Jr. of the Strokes fame. Clocking in at a little over 35
minutes, the album throws out short pieces that still make an impact regardless of their length. Refreshingly devoid of frills, the band relies on the traditional drums-guitar-vocal ensemble. This simplicity results in a hopeless catchiness whether it’s due to the bubbly hooks or bouncy beats. It becomes impossible to resist the upbeat chords of their single “White Night” or subtle melancholy of “Sleep on the Dance Floor.” But the cutesy rhythm and soul that make the album entertaining also acts as its pitfall. There are only so many two-to-three minute numbers that listeners can enjoy before it becomes repetitive. What was initially bright and uplifting inevitably turns dull and hackneyed by the end of the album, aided by lackluster lyrics. When translated to a live performance, however, the same beats and riffs that overloaded the album quickly turn into infectious melodies. The Postelles provide the ideal soundtrack for jittery audiences. “We really love shows when the crowd is right on top of us. We really pride ourselves on our live show and want people to go nuts,” said Balk. “Feel free to run on stage and do whatever you’d like.” With the launch of their debut, The Postelles are making a name for themselves through a sound that, albeit borrowed from the great rock stars of the past, still manages to strike the dancing chord in listeners. Blissfully uplifting, the band deliver an alluring dose of dazzling hooks and will be showcasing their sunny tracks at Rickshaw Stop on Thursday, June 23. “People these days tend to have more fake instruments on their album than real, so we want to bring back the authenticity that music (once) had,” said Balk. “We want to show that rock music is still around.” Cynthia Kang is the arts editor.
The Postelles’ debut album is dance floor ready, filled with energetic beats and uplifting guitar hooks.
LEGAL NOTICES Post your Alameda County Legals with us.
FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT FILE NO. 450533-34 The name of the businesses: (1) Sugar Mama Bakery and (2) Sugarmama Bakery, street address 4847 Hopyard Rd. Suite 4-109, Pleasanton, CA 94588, mailing address 4847 Hopyard Rd. Suite 4-109, Pleasanton, CA 94588 is hereby registered by the following owners: Thomason Investments, LLC, 4847 Hopyard Rd., Suite 4-109, Pleasanton, CA 94588. This business is conducted by a Limited liability company. The registrant began to transact business under the fictitious business name(s) listed above on 4/14/2011. This statement was filed with the County Clerk of Alameda County on April 14, 2011. Sugar Mama Bakery Sugarmama Bakery Publish: 5/26, 6/2, 6/9, 6/16/11 NOTICE OF TRUSTEE'S SALE TSG No.: 09 8 433952 TS No.: 20099077400542 FHA/VA/PMI No.: APN:056 1968 007 YOU ARE IN DEFAULT UNDER A DEED OF TRUST, DATED 06/07/07. UNLESS YOU TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY, IT MAY BE SOLD AT A PUBLIC SALE. IF YOU NEED AN EXPLANATION OF THE NATURE OF THE PROCEEDING AGAINST YOU, YOU SHOULD CONTACT A LAWYER. On June 16, 2011 at 12:00 PM, First American Trustee Servicing Solutions, LLC, as duly appointed Trustee under and pursuant to Deed of Trust recorded 06/13/07, as Instrument No. 2007220312, in book , page , of Official Records in the Office of the County Recorder of ALAMEDA County, State of California. Executed by: TARANEH NOURIAN,. WILL SELL AT PUBLIC AUCTION TO HIGHEST BIDDER FOR CASH, CASHIER'S CHECK/CASH EQUIVALENT or other form of payment authorized by 2924h(b), (Payable at time of sale in lawful money of the United States) At the Fallon Street emergency exit to the Alameda County Courthouse, 1225 Fallon St., Oakland, CA. All right, title and interest conveyed to and now held by it under said Deed of Trust in the property situated in said County and State described as: AS MORE FULLY DESCRIBED IN THE ABOVE MENTIONED DEED OF TRUST APN# 056 1968 007. The street address and other common
designation, if any, of the real property described above is purported to be: 2112 8TH STREET, BERKELEY, CA 94710. The undersigned Trustee disclaims any liability for any incorrectness of the street address and other common designation, if any, shown herein. Said sale will be made, but without covenant or warranty, expressed or implied, regarding title, possession, or encumbrances, to pay the remaining principal sum of the note(s) secured by said Deed of Trust, with interest thereon, as provided in said note(s), advances, under the terms of said Deed of Trust, fees, charges and expenses of the Trustee and of the trusts created by said Deed of Trust. The total amount of the unpaid balance of the obligation secured by the property to be sold and reasonable estimated costs, expenses and advances at the time of the initial publication of the Notice of Sale is $532,535.78. The beneficiary under said Deed of Trust heretofore executed and delivered to the undersigned a written Declaration of Default and Demand for Sale, and a written Notice of Default and Election to Sell. The undersigned caused said Notice of Default and Election to Sell to be recorded in the County where the real property is located. If the sale is set aside for any reason, the Purchaser at the sale shall be entitled only to a return of the deposit paid. The Purchaser shall have no further recourse against the Mortgagor, the Mortgagee or the Mortgagee's Trustee. The beneficiary or servicing agent declares that it has obtained from the Commissioner of Corporations a final or temporary order of exemption pursuant to California Civil Code Section 2923.53 that is current and valid on the date the Notice of Sale is filed and/or The timeframe for giving Notice of Sale specified in subdivision (s) of California Civil Code Section 2923.52 applies and has been provided or the loan is exempt from the requirements. Date: 05/19/11, First American Trustee Servicing Solutions, LLC 6 Campus Circle, 2nd Floor Westlake, TX 76262 Original document signed by Authorized Agent, Chet Sconyers -FOR TRUSTEE'S SALE INFORMATION PLEASE CALL (916) 939-0772. First American Trustee Servicing Solutions, LLC May be Acting as a Debt Collector Attempting to Collect a Debt. Any Information obtained may be used for that purpose. NPP0181723 05/26/11, 06/02/11, 06/9/11
ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE FOR CHANGE OF NAME No. RG11578171 In the Matter of the Application of Norma Leticia Caldera for Change of Name. TO ALL INTERESTED PERSONS: Petitioner Norma Leticia Caldera filed a petition with this court for a decree changing names as follows: Norma Leticia Caldera to Norma Letizia Palmero. 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: 7/22/11, at 11:00 AM in Dept. #31, at US Post Office, 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: May 31, 2011 Jon R. Rolefson Judge of the Superior Court Publish: 6/2, 6/9, 6/16, 6/23/11 NOTICE OF TRUSTEE'S SALE Trustee Sale No.: 20100159901942 Title Order No.: 100314596 FHA/ VA/PMI No.: YOU ARE IN DEFAULT UNDER A DEED OF TRUST, DATED 09/05/06. UNLESS YOU TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY, IT MAY BE SOLD AT A PUBLIC SALE. IF YOU NEED AN EXPLANATION OF THE NATURE OF THE PROCEEDING AGAINST YOU, YOU SHOULD CONTACT A LAWYER. NDEx West, LLC, as duly appointed Trustee under and pursuant to Deed of Trust Recorded on 09/13/06, as Instrument No. 2006347616 of official records in the office of the County Recorder of ALAMEDA County, State of California. EXECUTED BY: CAROLENE ROSS, WILL SELL AT PUBLIC AUCTION TO HIGHEST BIDDER FOR CASH, CASHIER'S CHECK/CASH EQUIVALENT or other form of payment authorized by 2924h(b), (payable at time of sale in lawful money of the United States) DATE OF SALE: June 29, 2011 TIME OF SALE: 12:00 PM PLACE OF SALE: At the Fallon Street emer-
gency exit to the Alameda County Courthouse, 1225 Fallon St., Oakland, CA STREET ADDRESS and other common designation, if any, of the real property described above is purported to be: 1634 63RD STREET, BERKELEY, CA 94703. APN# 052 1523 027 The undersigned Trustee disclaims any liability for any incorrectness of the street address and other common designation, if any, shown herein. Said sale will be made, but without covenant or warranty, expressed or implied, regarding title, possession, or encumbrances, to pay the remaining principal sum of the note(s) secured by said Deed of Trust, with interest thereon, as provided in said note(s), advances, under the terms of said Deed of Trust, fees, charges and expenses of the Trustee and of the trusts created by said Deed of Trust. The total amount of the unpaid balance of the obligation secured by the property to be sold and reasonable estimated costs, expenses and advances at the time of the initial publication of the Notice of Sale is $825,728.81. The beneficiary under said Deed of Trust heretofore executed and delivered to the undersigned a written Declaration of Default and Demand for Sale, and a written Notice of Default and Election to Sell. The undersigned caused said Notice of Default and Election to Sell to be recorded in the county where the real property is located. FOR TRUSTEE SALE INFORMATION PLEASE CALL: NATIONWIDE POSTING & PUBLICATION, INC. 5005 WINDPLAY DRIVE, SUITE 1, EL DORADO HILLS, CA 95762-9334 916-939-0772, www.nationwideposting.com NDEx West L.L.C. MAY BE ACTING AS A DEBT COLLECTOR ATTEMPTING TO COLLECT A DEBT. ANY INFORMATION OBTAINED WILL BE USED FOR THAT PURPOSE. NDEx West, L.L.C. as Trustee, BY: Ric Juarez Dated: 05/31/11 NPP0182128 06/09/11, 06/16/11, 06/23/11 Notice Inviting Bids 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, Suite 907, Oakland, CA 94612 NETWORKING/ SOUTH COUNTY BIDDERS CONFERENCE RFQ #900731 for Drug Testing Kits and Laboratory Services, Thursday, June 16, 2011, 2:00 p.m. – Castro Valley Library,
3600 Norbridge Avenue, Canyon Room, Castro Valley, CA NETWORKING/NORTH COUNTY BIDDERS CONFERENCE RFQ #900731 for Drug Testing Kits and Laboratory Services, Friday, June 17, 2011, 10:00 a.m. – GSA Lakeside Plaza Building, 1401 Lakeside Drive, Room 1107, 11thFloor, Oakland, CA Responses Due by 2:00 p.m. on July 19, 2011 County Contact: Jennifer Chan Ngo (510) 208-9604 or via email: email@example.com Attendance at Networking Conference is Non-mandatory. Specifications regarding the above may be obtained at the Alameda County GSA Current Contracting Opportunities Internet website at www.acgov.org. 6/9/11 CNS-2114315# DAILY CALIFORNIAN NOTICE OF TRUSTEE'S SALE TSG No.: 4043731 TS No.: 20099070804610 FHA/VA/PMI No.: APN:060 2411 001 02 YOU ARE IN DEFAULT UNDER A DEED OF TRUST, DATED 06/25/07. UNLESS YOU TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY, IT MAY BE SOLD AT A PUBLIC SALE. IF YOU NEED AN EXPLANATION OF THE NATURE OF THE PROCEEDING AGAINST YOU, YOU SHOULD CONTACT A LAWYER. On June 29, 2011 at 12:00 PM, First American Trustee Servicing Solutions, LLC, as duly appointed Trustee under and pursuant to Deed of Trust recorded 07/03/07, as Instrument No. 2007245167, in book , page , of Official Records in the Office of the County Recorder of ALAMEDA County, State of California. Executed by: THOMAS FORBES,. WILL SELL AT PUBLIC AUCTION TO HIGHEST BIDDER FOR CASH, CASHIER'S CHECK/CASH EQUIVALENT or other form of payment authorized by 2924h(b), (Payable at time of sale in lawful money of the United States) At the Fallon Street emergency exit to the Alameda County Courthouse, 1225 Fallon St., Oakland, CA. All right, title and interest conveyed to and now held by it under said Deed of Trust in the property situated in said County and State described as: AS MORE FULLY DESCRIBED IN THE ABOVE MENTIONED DEED OF TRUST APN# 060 2411 001 02. The street address and other common designation, if any, of the real property described above is purported to be: 1209 SANTE FE
AVENUE, BERKELEY, CA 94706. The undersigned Trustee disclaims any liability for any incorrectness of the street address and other common designation, if any, shown herein. Said sale will be made, but without covenant or warranty, expressed or implied, regarding title, possession, or encumbrances, to pay the remaining principal sum of the note(s) secured by said Deed of Trust, with interest thereon, as provided in said note(s), advances, under the terms of said Deed of Trust, fees, charges and expenses of the Trustee and of the trusts created by said Deed of Trust. The total amount of the unpaid balance of the obligation secured by the property to be sold and reasonable estimated costs, expenses and advances at the time of the initial publication of the Notice of Sale is $636,632.76. The beneficiary under said Deed of Trust heretofore executed and delivered to the undersigned a written Declaration of Default and Demand for Sale, and a written Notice of Default and Election to Sell. The undersigned caused said Notice of Default and Election to Sell to be recorded in the County where the real property is located. If the sale is set aside for any reason, the Purchaser at the sale shall be entitled only to a return of the deposit paid. The Purchaser shall have no further recourse against the Mortgagor, the Mortgagee or the Mortgagee's Trustee. The beneficiary or servicing agent declares that it has obtained from the Commissioner of Corporations a final or temporary order of exemption pursuant to California Civil Code Section 2923.53 that is current and valid on the date the Notice of Sale is filed and/or The timeframe for giving Notice of Sale specified in subdivision(s) of California Civil Code Section 2923.52 applies and has been provided or the loan is exempt from the requirements. Date: 06/01/11, First American Title Insurance Company First American Trustee Servicing Solutions, LLC 3 First American Way, Santa Ana, CA 92707 Original document signed by Authorized Agent, Chet Sconyers -FOR TRUSTEE'S SALE INFORMATION PLEASE CALL (916) 939-0772. First American Trustee Servicing Solutions, LLC May be Acting as a Debt Collector Attempting to Collect a Debt. Any Information obtained may be used for that purpose. NPP0182249 06/09/11, 06/16/11, 06/23/11
Thursday, June 9, 2011 - Sunday, June 12, 2011
arts & entertainment
The Daily Californian
â€˜Super 8â€™ brims with hackneyed plot lines and cliches From J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg come another tired sci-fi flick. Mankl]Zr%FZr,%+))0
By Ian Birnam |Ma^=Zber<Zeb_hkgbZg Staff 3D<<H firstname.lastname@example.org
fter much viral hype and speculation, the J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg alien epic â€œSuper 8â€? has now landed in theaters. With a similar setup that Abrams used in â€œCloverfield,â€? the film depicts a mystery-shrouded, violent alien and its encounters with Earthâ€™s inhabitants. The story centers around a group of small boys in Lillian, Ohio, who narrowly escape a train crash. This leads to a series of strange occurrences, from dog disappearances to a top secret project involving the military, air force and â€” gasp! â€” an Area 51 specimen. Sadly, the film doesnâ€™t live up to its galactic hype, as it quickly becomes your typical â€™70s-era interstellar encounters flick. No amount of special effects and colossal crashes can make up for the droll storytelling and a cookie-cutter plot. The movie feels too familiar, a been-there-done-that type of ordeal. A small, Midwest town with its own personal troubles becomes the center of something much greater. The lead characters start out as timid children, but rise up and take on the mysterious forces Ââ€” it all sounds so predictable. And it is. The hackneyed, dysfunctional father-son relationship between Deputy Jackson Lamb (Kyle Chandler) and the protagonist, his son Joe (Joel V. EASY Courtney), is a textbook example of â€œyou donâ€™t get meâ€? and â€œI donâ€™t know how to be a fatherâ€? attitudes, with a V.love EASY dead mother/wife to boot. Joeâ€™s
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introduce anything new besides updated effects. As the credits roll, the film doesnâ€™t leave you wanting more, nor does it showcase a fresh take on an old-school genre. If the â€œSuper 8â€? is meant to be a tribute to the intergalactic features that came before it, then it wildly succeeds, as it captures all the elements of those same movies with an Abrams/Spielberg flair. However â€œSuper 8â€? falls short of its hyped-up promotion, as the film is â€” at best â€” a decent alien-encounter movie that B missed R I inEthe barrage Mcould A easily be E LofS A upcoming Y blockbusters. T E summer O K E L
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A&E Golden Gays and Disco
Look, if you can deal with your sexuality, you’re gonna get screwed, but good in this town.”
Thursday, June 9, 2011 - Sunday, June 12, 2011
—Connie Bradshaw, “Tales of the City”
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Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” delights San Francisco audiences with a rollicking portrait of their city in 1976.
By Hannah Jewell | Senior Staff email@example.com
n the heart of San Francisco, American Conservatory Theater gives us “Tales of the City,” a new musical based on Armistead Maupin’s newspaper-column-turned-novel-series of San Francisco’s stories and personalities. Directed by Jason Moore, “Tales of the City” is a musical that is part funny, part touching, part raunchy and part weird — and although it fits perfectly here in San Francisco with its Bay Area in-jokes and fierce local pride, it’s hard to imagine it translating well to another city. But for now, at least, San Francisco has a highly entertaining musical all of its own, one that touches on this city’s history with issues of gender and sexuality without becoming “Milk: The Musical.” “Tales of the City” does offer a few universal ingredi-
ents of the all-American musical, namely the bubbling blonde, arrived from some vanilla Midwestern city (in this case, Cleveland) to make it on her own in San Francisco, 1976. Betsy Wolfe plays this musical’s blondie, Mary Ann Singleton — a wide-eyed, innocent beauty who makes perfect prey for the slimy douchebag office adulterer character, Beauchamp (Andrew Samonsky). Beauchamp’s unfortunate wife, Dede (Kathleen Elizabeth Monteleone), provides some of the biggest laughs of the show. (A side note — any parents who name their son Beauchamp should expect nothing less than a slimy douchebag office adulterer for a son.) Mary Ann finds a new home at 28 Barbary Lane, as well as a family of characters whose struggles spawn the other tales of “Tales.” The adorable Michael “Mouse” (Wesley Taylor) is unlucky in love — and in hiding his homosexuality from his parents — and Mona (Mary Birdsong ... please let that be a stage name) struggles with drugs and family. Tying them all together is the 28 Barbaray Lane landlady, Anna Magrigal, played by Tony Award-Winner Judy Kaye. Kaye is the sort of Broadway diva who merits applause just by appearing on stage for the first time. But boy, does she appear on stage for the first time like a pro
— not to mention her spectacular voice. The music (by Jake Shears and John Garden) sometimes feels like “Rent,” sometimes like “Hair,” and a lot of the time like disco. Some of the most crowd-pleasing numbers fall in the latter category, with disco moves choreographed by Larry Keigwin worth remembering for your next '70s theme party. Other favorites were big chorus numbers steeped in epic harmonies and, of course, any time Kaye opened her mouth. Though the songs are catchy and fun, the show’s incessant marijuana jokes get a little tired after the first few scenes. There should be a quota for winks to weed per San Francisco-themed play or musical. We get it. It’s 1976 and you’re in San Francisco and you’re smoking a joint, and the ex-hippies present in the audience are omitting a collective chuckle of nostalgia. “Tales” deals with some tough issues but remains lighthearted. Until, that is, a bizarre plot twist toward the end, when all of a sudden — without giving away the action — things get a little perverted. Librettist Jeff Whitty might rethink this plot move if this musical makes it out of San Francisco. It adds more discomfort than shock value. Despite this one moment of weirdness and the occasional cornball joke, this musical manages to achieve what any musical must: to entertain, to warm hearts, and to plant a desire for flamboyant dancing. For us at least, who can titter self-consciously at Mary Ann’s mispronunciations of San Franciscan street names — how Cleveland of her! — this musical is certainly a charmer to ring in the summer in San Francisco.
Published on Jun 8, 2011