Berkeley’s Protest Lifestyle

Posted in Occupy Berkeley, The Berkeley Scene on May 16th, 2016 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
May 16, 2016

Mario Savio, a founder of Free Speech Movement, back at Sproul; his spirit trickle’s down to a new generation of Berkeley protesters. Photo by Ted Friedman.


We’re sick of all your flak.
Push us, we push back
Yakety yak we talk back

While Berkeley’s hotel industry-sponsored visitor’s bureau touts: “come for the culture, stay for the food,” it might more realistically suggest, ‘come for the food, stay for the demo!’

Or, ‘Come for the political action, and bite it.’
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Why We Punks Do It

Posted in The Global Scene Through Berkeleyan Eyes on May 14th, 2016 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
May 13, 2016

Photo by Ted Friedman.

Ray showed me the tree-trunk fissure that spontaneously appeared in everyone’s favorite Peoples Park tree, leaving the gnarly appendage with its seam hanging out.

The fissure, reportedly, occurred (miraculously) overnight. It was two days before anyone noticed the miracle of the spontaneous branch-split.

Maybe this fissure in the park was a sign.

Ray Gibson, an adept park philosopher and a root of wisdom, was lounging on the fissured limb. I joined him—out on the limb.

Gibson had recently witnessed a number of violent Southside attacks.
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Southside Perps Get Royal Treatment

Posted in People's Park, Telegraph Avenue, The Berkeley Scene on May 7th, 2016 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
May 6, 2016


Home-run head-dent averted. Photo by Ted Friedman.

The sentence “Southside perps get royal treatment” needs some treatment itself. Perps is a cheap shot, and royal treatment an exaggeration.

Yet, in scores of my photos of Southside arrests, there is a theme: our cops treat crime suspects kindly and with protectiveness to match their mottos, “Protect and Serve.” I can’t count the times they yelled at me, “get out of the street.”

Two recent Southside incidents make my case.
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Decline of Hip

Posted in The Berkeley Scene, The Global Scene Through Berkeleyan Eyes on April 27th, 2016 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
April 26, 2016



A joint with Jesus. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Funky Nixons were smoking a joint with Jesus.*
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Sexually Harassed by Cal Clowns

Posted in The Berkeley Scene on April 22nd, 2016 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
April 21, 2016


Stephanie Nicolle Garcia, right, surviving. Photo by Ted Friedman.

As U.C. Berkeley belatedly curtails sexual harassment, with forced resignations, firings, and other sanctions, the radical group, “By Any Means Necessary, (BAMN)” could claim a victory, of sorts.

And BAMN claimed such a victory to me, this week in Sproul Plaza, where I ran into one its most effective spokespersons, Stephanie Nicole Garcia at the BAMN table.
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Cody’s Books Mad Comeback

Posted in Telegraph Avenue, The Berkeley Scene on April 14th, 2016 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
April, 14, 2016

New sign blows smoke. Photo by Ted Friedman.


Cody’s Books is sort-of-back, after a nearly twenty year Rip-Van-Winkle.

Cody’s Books, deceased 2008, has stood empty ever since–a big chunk of a blighted block at Telegraph/Haste. With nearby Moe’s Books, and the Caffe Mediterraneum, Cody’s formed an historic triangle harking back to Berkeley in the fifties.

The Bally-hooed book and author-talks center could re-open (softly) by week’s end, as a used books and records store.

Whether the opening is timely depends on what the Cody Building owner Ken Sarachan’s staff call’s ‘Ken time,’ a timing system of starts,stops, and reversals. “I can do something Ken wanted only to have him change it,” says a staffer.
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Guide for the Pooplexed

Posted in People's Park, Telegraph Avenue, The Berkeley Scene on April 10th, 2016 by admin – Be the first to comment

By Steed Dropout
April 9, 2016


Former Berkeley Art Museum. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Let’s say you’re Southside, seeking restrooms. Yelp is no help.

We have held off our restroom recommendations for decades, not wanting to cause a stampede at our favorite piss destination.
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America’s Asshole, Trump: a Literary Analysis

Posted in The Global Scene Through Berkeleyan Eyes on April 4th, 2016 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
April 3, 2016


Trump’s Tower, by Ed Monroe.

America’s romance with assholes begins in the Bible (Cain) and ends with Donald Trump (Cain’s Kin).

Trump also owes Charlie Sheen, Dabney Coleman, Hulk Hogan, and Jack Nicholson, actors who burnished the asshole persona.

Novelist John Barth noted, a half-century ago, that it was impossible to depict a villain in the age of the anti-hero.

The lives of scores of actors and politicians have proven Barth right. (Yearly books on Hitler and John Wilkes Booth are in the hundreds). Now comes Trump, an anti-hero to end all anti-heroes.
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At UC Berkeley: He called Me A Fucking Cunt

Posted in The Berkeley Scene on March 25th, 2016 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
March, 24, 2016

By Any Means Necessary. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Her face turned red, as we conferred on the Caffe Mediterraneum mezzanine, a few years ago.

She had been caressed, hugged, and pressed, without consent, by her professor, whom she assisted. Only I couldn’t write about it.

She said she didn’t want her name “dragged through the mud.”

I appealed to her altruism and argued she could do some good for others if she would come forward.

All the while, I was thinking what a big fish I had on the line—one of the all-time top men in his field.
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Art, Love, and Death on Berkeley’s Telegraph

Posted in Med Heads & Cafe Culture, The Berkeley Scene on March 4th, 2016 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Mar. 3, 2016

The Med’s lordly flies [a fly infestation] have choked, but construction noise from a project next door is at a dull roar. The construction noise comes in like a low-flying B-29, or a base-note dentist’s drill.

Perhaps this is the price we pay for the new mural on the block. The mural, entitled, “Wired,” and named by Steed Dropout, replaced a bare pressboard construction barrier, which had acquired the usual tags that Telegraph is heir to.

Before. Photo by Ted Friedman.
After. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Before it was a mural, it was Shakeaspere’s books, a 50 year Telegraph landmark. Med owner Craig Becker says the mural is hurting his business.

We asked Becker how the honkingly high artwork could hurt business. “Because one-fourth of the block is closed,” he told me. “It’s depressing,” to pass by this void,” Becker said.

Business, at the Med, has ground to a halt; the ear-shattering coffee grinding can still clench teeth. Becker blames the new student union late night hours for a slump at the Med, noting that student union campers once were frequent night flyers at the Med.

A community college student, who worked at the Med in kitchen prep, killed himself a few weeks ago, but he was not well known because he was out of sight at night and an introvert.

Owner Craig Becker learned of the death from the suicide’s father, who was trying to find his son.

From the Med’s resident philosopher, we learned that the dead Med head was one of our resident depressives. We recognize each other’s fears and tremblings.

Dropout’s last words from his psycho-therapist were, “do you own a gun (no)?” And “be sure to call 9-11.”

A Cal student jumped to her death from the third floor of the Carlton Hotel, recently.

Nothing by way of a motive has emerged for the jumper’s death, but the jumper inspired an unusually tasteful memorial of fresh flowers and a few encomiums, including notes attempting to explain. The notes tell us that although she was–like the dead Med head–unknown, she mattered somehow.

Missed. Photo by Ted Friedman.

For all its charm, the floral memorial is now tattered, and talk of the dead Med head has subsided. Dropout was the only one asking questions, anyway.

There is much to live for here, what with the openings within months of a books/records store where the famous Cody books earned its international chops, joined by whatever adventuresome retailers will occupy the gutted Shakeaspere’s.

A popular corner spot, burned down five years ago, is racing towards completion. This should provide more bodies for the new chairs at the Med and if Amoeba music, also at the corner gets permission to purvey pot, the corner at Haste/Telegraph will…will…go blooey.

Blooey trumps phooey.

More photos: