Archive for May, 2014

Berkeley’s Last Sprout Spot To Return Soon

Posted in Telegraph Avenue, The Berkeley Scene on May 30th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
May 30, 2014


If a Berkeley Salad war breaks out when Cafe Intermezzo, which had won Salad War1, returns to Telegraph Avenue–the war won’t be the same. The battlefield and the combatants have changed.

Nearby Larry Blakes, a popular salad destination closed once and for all three years ago, after a losing struggle for life. The successor to Blakes is doing Intermezzo’s and Raleigh’s business combined. A small new cafe near the Cody’s Building touts a sprout-heavy salad, copied down to the last Garbanzo from Intermezzo’s, owners say.

The history-rich Caffe Mediterraneum, serves popular salads which don’t hide under a sprout mountain. As recently as last year, an occasional sprout-nut, would seek out intermezzo only to find a pale ghost remaining.

Owners of the wildly popular Raleigh’s Bar and Grill as well as the Cafe Intermezzo, told me, Wednesday, that the “New Sequoia,” Apartments, above the businesses, could be back in a year at best or eighteen months at worst.

Rebuilding Begins. Photo by Ted Friedman.

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Berkeley’s People’s Park Activists Remember

Posted in Med Heads & Cafe Culture, People's Park, The Berkeley Scene on May 26th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
May 25, 2014


A small, but dedicated, circle of friends remembered Gina Sasso, 49 at the time of her death three years ago. They met, Saturday, at Berkeley’s historic Caffe Mediterraneum, a Sasso haunt.

As police and EMTs rallied to the assistance of a disabled homeless man outside the cafe, Saturday, Sasso was honored for her dedication to Berkeley’s disabled and her dedication to nearby People’s Park.

Man Down. Photo by Ted Friedman.

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The Best Journalism Assignment I Ever Had

Posted in The Global Scene Through Berkeleyan Eyes on May 23rd, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
May, 23, 2014

Bob Harris, one of my editors, slapped a pile of clippings on my desk. “Re-write these,” he instructed me. It was 1958, my first summer on my hometown newspaper.

The clippings were fresh from our afternoon paper. We were the morning paper. We were owned by the same company. We stole from ourselves.

My first reaction was astonishment that they would repeat themselves. I worried that I was writing stories I knew nothing about. Maybe this is what my journalism professors meant when thy told me, “you’re working for one of the worst newspapers in the state of Illinois.”

I owe this worst newspaper the best training I ever got. I learned to write, unflinchingly, about that of which I knew nothing and, perhaps better, I learned newspaper form from the thousands of stories I re-wrote. I could write like a reporter but didn’t have a clue how to be one. I learned, as well, to be able to re-write anything in ten minutes or less.

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Street Vendors Slow to React to Sniper Attacks

Posted in Telegraph Avenue, The Berkeley Scene on May 21st, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
May 21, 2014

When a Berkeley BB sniper began firing on Telegraph Avenue street vendors on two successive weekends, beginning May 10, the vendors were slow to react, they admitted to this reporter. Plastic BBs, the size of Tic Tacs, bounced off or whizzed-by them, they said.

BBs, once were copper, heavy, and dangerous. Now they’re plastic light-weights; but still dangerous.

“We didn’t even know what was happening,” on the weekend of the first attack, a vendor told me. “All we knew was that hundreds of BBs buzzed us. We didn’t call police because we didn’t even know where the shots were coming from.”

Another vendor explained, “we didn’t want to ruin some guy’s life.”

Sniper rented room here. Photo by Ted Friedman.

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I Shot the Sheriff, Berkeley-style

Posted in The Berkeley Scene on May 20th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
May, 20, 2014


Berkeley police, assisted by Berkeley High administrators, avoided a replay of a student riot downtown, Friday. Dueling video-cams staged their own riot.

The previous Friday, cops had to play catch-up to control an after-school downtown melee when students inexplicably began rough-housing.

Berkeley cops’ well-planned op may have prevented a riot downtown last week, but brought ‘heat,’ to a perp-rich patch named “Constitution Square,” near Berkeley’s downtown Bay Area Rapid Transit escalator.

Several arrests, unrelated to riot-prevention, occurred, Friday.
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The Elusive Berkeley Obituary

Posted in The Berkeley Scene on May 14th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
May 14, 2014


I’m sweating from all glands as I type the news-obituary of a close friend who was one of Berkeley’s first art-house cinema owners, typing his obit on his own typewriter, a sleek antique. That was 2007. Maybe I was sweating because In the last obit I wrote, in 1958, I killed off the wrong guy, one of two prominent local businessmen with the same first and last names.

A has-been reporter and short story writer, in 2007, I hadn’t written so much as a grocery list in thirty-five years. Some force I can’t explain, drove me. Was I haunted by demons, like those in Exorcist2, a fave of my movie friend, because it is set near his alma mater?

Would I kill off the wrong guy? I hoped so. Or would I get some other detail wrong?

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Berkeley Cop Fear

Posted in Telegraph Avenue, The Berkeley Scene on May 11th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
May 11, 2014

Alejandro Soto-Vigil, a city official, right, tells how he won his lawsuit against Richmond Police; Mansour Id-Deen, President, Berkeley NAACP, left. Photo by Ted Friedman.


Berkeley Cop Fear can cloud men’s minds.

South Berkeley Community leaders, joined, Saturday, at the South Berkeley Library with as many as 150 concerned Berkeley activists, who renewed their opposition to alleged racial profiling, police brutality, and the american way.

Berkeley activists are up in arms over reports of a police clash, recently, between young black Cal graduates and City of Berkeley Police. The scuffle simmered, then erupted near a South Berkeley Whole Foods.

The young people were stopped, last week for what they claimed was jaywalking and began sassing cops until one of them was thrown forcefully to the grass, as recorded in a low-res cell-phone video.

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It’s a Bird; It’s a Plane; It’s a Drone Doing Berkeley?

Posted in The Berkeley Scene on May 6th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
May 6, 2014


I was a drone, Saturday, photographing eight (claimed) events in a few hours. How else could I have done it, but to loft?

At risk for droning on, let me explain. Subjects from one event wandered into another. That happened in the morning when some race runners trotted by an Indian pow-wow at Cal; (2 events). In the afternoon Cal students, painted red from a Holi day frolic in the hills, folicked into People’s Park for a hip–hop fest (2 more).

It would be a lie to inflate my coverage; a lie from anyone but an ad-man. It was a Hitchcock ad-man, who excused such a lie as, “the expedient exaggeration.”

While confessing, I admit also that I’m not really a drone.

I missed some key events, as well. This was just one of those Berzerkeley blowout days with a lot going on. If you read me in Berkeley Reporter or noticed from my Berkeley Daily Planet days, I’m always stumbling onto stories.

Let my photos tell this one.

I stumbled, Thursday, on to this high school immigration-reform exercise in free-speech. Photo by Ted Friedman.

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