Berkeley Cools, then Heats Up–Thankfully

by Steed Dropout
Nov. 28, 2014

Telegraph Ave. Thanksgiving.Photo by Ted Friedman.

Thanksgiving Berkeley-style basked in balmy unseasonable weather, the warmest Thanksgiving in years, according to temperature averages. Although Riots ran rampant next-door in Oakland, rioters failed to march their well-trod route up Telegraph to Berkeley.

Some disappointed Berkeleyans mused that perhaps Berkeley was slipping as second Demo City in the USA, but the slippage was probably the absence of student demonstrators–who were gone for Thanksgiving.

In search of award-winning Thanksgiving Berkeley photos, this photographer promised an editor “something dramatically different.”


Lost in his gear on Thanksgiving. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Something dramatically different is a line from Hitchcock’s Rear Window in which action photographer, Jeff Jeffries (J. Stewart) resides in a body cast from a run-in with a race car. “You wanted something dramatically different,” Jeffries tells his editor. The editor: “Well, you got it!”

I didn’t want to get it that way, but at one point on my photo peregrinations into People’s Park, I thought the jinx was on.

Thanksgiving Day, People's Park. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Although careful to get their permission to shoot a band of park transients, I was confronted by one park regular (in the shot and known for violence); she followed me out of the park, complaining. “You’re complaining I shot you in a mask?” I retorted. As I envisioned the size of my cast, I regretted promising shots dramatically different. A shot of campers in People’s Park was neither dramatic nor different, unless I shoot someone punching me out.

Where could I fulfill my promise of something dramatically different? Perhaps if I stepped into traffic, but the streets were empty. And what would be dramatically different in thrill-a-minute-Berkeley?

Ho-hum Thanksgiving alongside People's Park. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Perhaps the editor would not remember my vow.

Perhaps a depopulated Telegraph Avenue was dramatically different. But only if a Telegraph fair is announced and no one shows. The block between Bancroft Way and Durant Avenue was hardly deserted. Several businesses were open and two street vendors set-up; Noah’s Bagels was open–signs of street life.

I got a few oddity shots, but nothing dramatically different from hundreds of other such shots.

Now that I recall, the most dramatically different shots, ever, were of a Vietnamese monk self-immolated and JFK’s assassination head shots. “Dramatically different” may have worked for Hitchcock but he was pre-internet. Now nothing is different.

Going down to Berkeley-by-the-bay was a good move. It was there I discovered that dramatically different was a quaint weather story about a record-setting balmy Berkeley Thanksgiving.

Balmy Thanksgiving by the bay. Photo by Ted Friedman.
Thanksgiving art-shot on (moonlight?) bay. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Maybe it was dramatically different to be warm going into December.

More shots at

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