Weeks of Troubles and MTV on Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue Ends in Disaster.

by Steed Dropout
June 9, 2013
Berkeley, CA


First there were a slew of troubles on Teley.

There was an O.D. in nearby People’s Park and Purple was slashed outside the Med.

Although the city of Berkeley seems to be doing everything it can to rescue the avenue from decline, its latest effort on behalf of Teley merchants is being called a disaster.

It was no more than a week ago that MTV shot at Moe’s in a throwback to the filming of “The Graduate” at the Med in 1967. Hopes for Teley are high because several projects to revive a blighted area at Telegraph/Haste are on the move.

Diverting traffic from Teley on Sundays was to have been the first step towards reviving the avenue. But a funny thing happned on the way to what Moe’s books called a “special event.”

No one showed up.

Not so special event. Photo by Ted Friedman.

It was spooky lonely on the streets. The weather was typical summer — cold, windy, foggy mdash; and one guy just curled up in a blanket in a doorway on the usually most busy block on the avenue.

Eddie Monroe, founder of Berkeley Street Vendors Assn. said Sunday, “Was just the first step” towards a revival, but a local businessman who doesn’t want to be named told me that he’d had “the worst business day in memory.”

So cold, so windy, so foggy, so alone. The busiest block on Telegraph Ave. Sunday as traffic diversion fails. Photo by Ted Friedman.

“Drivers were disoriented by detours,” he said. “The whole thing was a big mess.”

For me it was an adventure.

I met two charismatic TV journalists and one of them interviewed me for air-time. The other was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met, but I’m crazy about blondes and I’m old, so I can say this. Right?

Maureen Kelly Ch. 4. Reporting a non-story, we covered each other.
Photo by Ted Friedman.

The mayor, his chief aide, and someone with economic development (Berkeley has a lot of departments) showed up to paint a wall for an historic head shop which is “dildo-friendly.” Hey, it’s still Berkeley below all the layers of crap.

That was the money shot and I shot it from the second floor of Rasputin Music, with permission. This was a glimpse into the workings of the vast 12 store chain. I interviewed one of the employees. These are Rasputin employees you don’t usually meet.

Berkeley mayor emerges, after an eternity, from oldest East-Bay head shop. He was there to promote the traffic diversion program that ate Teley.
Photo by Ted Friedman.

Back on the street it was lonely.

On the way back to my nearby apartment, I grabbed a few shots of cars being detoured.

A driver, interrupted my photographing. “What’s going on?” he asked.

The views expressed here in no way represent the views of publications in which my work appears.

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