Flies on the Wall

Posted in Med Heads & Cafe Culture, The Berkeley Scene on February 13th, 2016 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Feb. 13, 2016

Caffe Med Shoo Fly; if the fly won't shoo, wear it.
    [Editor’s Note: Awaiting the call from the SF Chronicle to fill columnist Jon Carroll’s vacant column-seat (our application was received by them in December), we have promoted our senior reporter, Steed Dropout, to columnist. After a meteoric five-year rise from obituarist to commentator to reporter at the Berkeley Daily Planet, and Southside tales at Berkeley Times — Dropout has written his way to the top. His debut column for Berkeley Reporter follows.]

MORE NEWS FROM LAKE MEDHEADSVILLE, MY HOME SWAMP.

Our Facebook contest to complete the phrase, a cappuccino at the Med is not__________ (whatever)–seems to have failed. The inspiration for this contest comes from a 70s poem, “A cappuccino at the Med is not a hot-tub in Marin,” whatever that means.

That free frosty class of ice water, courtesy of the Caffe Mediterraneum, has gone the way of lost amenities. Medheads are still trying to understand how come the free filtered, deliciously cold water could suddenly dry up, just as rain has brought some drought relief.

Those flies on the wall…turned out not to be CIA bugs, but real flies on the walls and in our faces. If you see a Medhead flagellating himself, he’s just whacking some fly. We spend our time singing, “Shoo fly don’t bother me,” while seeming to slap ourselves about the torso.

When the flies flew elsewhere the other day, Med Heads wondered why. “You complained about the flies, but now you miss them?” Med owner, Craig Becker ribbed, adding,”you just can’t please some people.”

“At least there were no charges for the flies. Some places might have charged,” Becker quipped.

Damage from the hole in the wall alongside the Dustin Hoffman chair, at the Hoffman alcove has been contained but not repaired. Hoffman, in a 1967 photograph posted on the Med wall, as he looked out the Med window (in “the Graduate,” 1967) across the street to Moe’s books, will remain only as long as the Med wall and the movie. Even if the Med crumbles, it will live on in film.

Meanwhile, Becker awaits an angel/investor (someone who eschews profit for the good of the show) to pay for the Med’s capital improvements, like ridding the flies and fixing the hole in the wall.

As Mead Heads drop dead waiting for Godot at the Med, they cannot be sure the Med will out last them.

And that contest mentioned above, “A cappuccino at the Med is not….(whatever). The winner is: A cappuccino at the Med is not forever.


Follow Berkeley in Berkeley Reporter’s photo stream: Bike bash in Willard, Wine-sip in Gourmet Ghetto: https://www.flickr.com/photos/berkboy/

Telegraph Avenue’s Desolation Row

Posted in Telegraph Avenue on January 29th, 2016 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Jan. 28, 2016

Desolation Row. Photo by Ted Friedman

It’s been called lower Telegraph, the Fourth Block, and all around shit-hole.

While vacancies dot the length of Berkeley’s Telegraph, Avenue, the desolate
state of Block Four is ridickelis (sic.).

First, Shakespeare’s books, a Telegraph Ave. 55 year landmark closed, as the building hosting it was about to be renovated. The owner retired.
Continue reading “Telegraph Avenue’s Desolation Row” »

Berkeley Fire Site Survives 2nd Burn

Posted in Telegraph Avenue, The Berkeley Scene on January 20th, 2016 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Jan. 19, 2016

A SOUTHSIDE TALE

Fire on the site. Photo by Ted Friedman

November 2011, Sequoia Apartments was destroyed by fire, a major blow to Berkeley’s once vital intersection at Telegraph/Haste. Yesterday, the New Sequoia—nearing completion by year’s end—dodged flames to its rear while reconstruction continued up front.
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Berkeley Student Revolt Revives

Posted in The Berkeley Scene on January 9th, 2016 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Jan. 8, 2016

BERKELEY’S NEW WAVE DEMOS

Protestors head for city council to protest latest homeless street regs, Dec.1.
Photo by Ted Friedman

Continue reading “Berkeley Student Revolt Revives” »

Berkeley Fair to Remember

Posted in Telegraph Avenue, The Berkeley Scene on December 30th, 2015 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Dec. 29, 2015

Hail Solar: hail hitting the tent. Photo by Ted Friedman

There’s something about Berkeley’s annual Holiday street fair. Our job is to finger that something.

You can assist. We’ll do a sing along. Follow the bouncing finger from C.B. deMile’s the Greatest Show on Earth.”

“…so take today and make it gay
For there are too many tears along the way….”

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Bad Luck Block

Posted in Telegraph Avenue, The Berkeley Scene on December 14th, 2015 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Dec. 13, 2015

HARD LUCK BERKELEY BLOCK

Hard Luck Block hailed on, hit by 50 mph winds, at Holiday Fair.
Photo by Ted Friedman

A series of bad luck breaks makes Telegraph’s Block Four a hard luck block.

I’m talking about the block of which I often write, four blocks South of Bancroft. Or one block South from Haste to Dwight.

I write from the Dustin Hoffman table (beneath “the Graduate” photo of Hoffman at the Caffe Mediterraneum film shoot, 1967). A grey, wintry mood engulfs the avenue.

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Clowning Around at Cal

Posted in The Berkeley Scene on December 9th, 2015 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Dec. 7, 2015

STONEY BURKE UP TO OLD TRICKS

Stoney Burke, Back @ U.C. Berkeley. Photo by Ted Friedman

They should make Steed Dropout emeritus at U.C. Berkeley. Dropout’s been on campus daily for 40 odd years, looking for odd.
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Trump Assassination Risk, Real or Reel?

Posted in Film Reviews, The Global Scene Through Berkeleyan Eyes on November 30th, 2015 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Nov. 29, 2015

TRUMP TRUMPS BEALE, ET AL.

Howard Beale, left.

I don’t know what to do about…the economy and the Russians and the crime in the street.

All I know is that first, you’ve got to get mad.

You’ve gotta say, “I’m a human being, goddammit! My life has value!”
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Bad Berkeley Fire Fails to Fell
Telegraph Ave. Apartments

Posted in Telegraph Avenue, The Berkeley Scene on November 25th, 2015 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Nov. 24, 2015

IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE

Photo by Ted Friedman.

“It could have been worse,” said Stu Baker, of a two-alarm fire at Berkeley’s Chandler Apts. Baker is the voice of Telegraph Avenue businessmen.

Ranked by Berkeley Fire a “full assignment” fire, the blaze brought four fire trucks, a command vehicle, seventeen firefighters, paramedic vans and hoses pumping 400 gallons per minute—a real blast.
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Of Columnists and Contests

Posted in Med Heads & Cafe Culture, The Berkeley Scene on November 21st, 2015 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Nov. 20, 2015

I’m posting from Berkeley’s
Caffe Mediterraneum

Dustin Hoffman is looking over my shoulder. I don’t need to turn around to verify that. But when I do, I see that he’s not looking at me at all. He’s looking at Moe’s books.

Hoffman is trapped in a picture frame at the Med in “the Graduate,” 1967.

Hoffmann seems riveted to his view of Telegraph, which is Westward, but the best window view is Northward—where a stream of converging Southsiders and weekend slum- tourists from the burbs stumbles steadily nearer, like characters from “Night of the Living Dead.”
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