Saturday, July 14, 2007


I went up to Berkley, and here's some of the things I saw. I went to the farmer's market Saturday in downtown Berkeley, and then was walking up Addison, and saw inside a building a demonstration of the Brazilian martial art/dance capoeira. My cousin David in San Francisco has been studying capoeira for years, and at his wedding last August in San Francisco his capoeira friends towards the end of the wedding joined in a circle and chanted while one or two people got in the center of the circle to dance or spar.

This trip I was staying on the northside in the area called the gourmet ghetto because it has a lot of pricey restaurants, flower shops, and boutiques, but I was struck by the green business called the Elephant Pharmacy which had free yoga and pilates as well as a $6 tweezer--very overpriced. I went to the steering committee meeting of the California Studies Association, and also picked up the xerxoes of my writer friend Carol Tarlin's collected poems and collected short stories. Tarlen died three years ago, but I much enjoyed sitting in the coffeehouses on the northside and downtown Berkeley reading her wonderful writing and walking on the Berkeley campus where I was an undergraduate. Actually, downtown Berkeley is within blocks of the northside, and both have cafes and coffeehouses. The street above is downtown Berkeley between the BART (subway) station and the university. The city of Berkeley has made a a good effort to fix up downtown, putting in benches, many shade trees, and also encouraging sidewalk cafes.

When you go east from downtown, you run into the campus, and I was struck by both the wonderful trees and the sculptures just off Oxford Street on the side of the campus near the biology and botany buildings. When I went to Berkeley it was mostly a science school, but at least now it has some modern sculpture and a
the Berkeley Art museum/Pacific Film Archives. The visual arts have definitely improved at Berkeley in the last decades.
While I was there the Pacific Film Archives showed a film by the Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiraostani which I missed, but I did get to see the two fine photo shows the museum had. David Goldblatt's "Intersections" show are superb. documentary photos of contemporary South Africa while Abbgas Kiarosani's "Imagemaker" was a wonderful photos of snow, trees, and roads
in rural Iran. These were two spectacularly good photo shows. And the museum cafe had good food.
The Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archives is just off-campus on Hearst, but if as I walked onto the campus itself , I discovered this old brick building to the right with the wonderful mosaic murals on it. A campus policeman told me that the old building is used to store the bikes of the campus police so its called the bike building--and one with gorgeous murals!

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