November 24, 2007

Protest The Impunity!

Inscribed in chalk on the sidewalks of Telegraph, just down from the University: "Stop the Impunity of UC!". Now there's a protest chant that just rolls off the tongue.... (But it's hard not to sympathise with the sentiments behind it, though, no matter how cumbersome the expression: the University of California at Berkeley is a very rich and powerful state institution that is in every sense above local law here, and often does whatever it feels like to and in the city of Berkeley without a second thought. But what would Berkeley be without the university? Just another pleasant urban suburb, I guess).

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November 20, 2007

Lurking




Sometimes you need just a little hint of (tonal) manipulation before you can show what you really saw... (another of those fleeting urban glimpses with a strong sense of place, a glimpse that'll disappear forever some day soon…

(As always, click on the image above for a much larger version).

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November 16, 2007

St. Herbert

Herbert Muschamp died recently. I can't top Michael Bierut's article on him in Design Observer: he was required reading, but not always for the reasons he wanted to be read, all those "outré movie references, inappropriate sexually-charged metaphors, sweeping incontrovertible declarations, and, of course, the requisite roll call of the moment's hottest names" (as Bierut puts it). I think I've always much preferred Paul Goldberger as an architectural critic.

About the only thing that surprised me in the various obits was Muschamp's age: hardly young (59), but much younger than I'd mentally pegged him as. He seemed to be a holdover from the Europe of the immediate post-War, if not maybe even Weimar; my mental image of him was of some sort of cravatted roue in his eighties or even nineties, holding forth to the entranced younguns about pre-War European Modernist pioneers and artists. Yes, too cruel, I know; but nothing I say here can detract from his overall influence or effect, and hell I enjoyed his writing (if not always his message).

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November 10, 2007

Back To Normal

It's a home game day at Berkeley (a lopsided USC Trojans vs. The Bears game up in the stadium, apparently), and in the Milano some sort of American Modernist classical piece on the radio competes with the Asian drums out on Sproul and the marching band warming up nearby. The effect's like Ives coliding with a gamelan, something Our Charles would approve of, for sure.

Outside, in the drizzle on Telegraph, a young homeless guy asks me for change for coffee. He looks like he'll actually get coffee with it, so I give him four quarters and terse smalltalk, and a minute later he's disappeared into the Mediteranneum. Me, I disappear into Moe's and end up with Luca Frei's "The so-called utopia of the centre beaubourg — An interpretation", a book full of the sort of throwaway apercus like "Sleeping: is that also part of culture?" and "Of all the insults and the accusations that have been thrown at us, that of parasitism fills me with joy [...]" that I suspect will either quickly get very tiresome or will suck me right in (there's a thin line between attitude and ambition)

Back on Telegraph, Mars is now saying "Fabulous clothes for naked people". With Mars it's not so much an ad as a proclamation, or even a command. I wish I could comply. On the other side of the street the coffee guy's sitting on an abandoned doorstep drinking coffee; he sees me and waves. On my side a tall skinny guy in a yellow hoodie under an immaculately-tailored and buttoned-down dark blue Cal sports blazer topping ironed jeans and a pair of docs sweeps by to great effect. I don't have the guts to take his photo.

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November 06, 2007

Around Jingletown

As some of you already know, I've put up a new photo blog, "Around Jingletown", to document the Jingletown (and Oakland and Berkeley and Emeryville and …) Experience, at least in images (and yes, it's under my real name). Some of it will be familiar if you've seen my earlier Tight Sainthood Jingletown piece, but it will definitely be going a lot further than that, and a lot more obsessively, too. Have at it… (or not), but treat it gently: it's not entirely ready for prime time just yet.

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November 05, 2007

In Local News…

Leave it to The Grauniad to do a thorough, unsensationalist piece on the Chauncey Bailey killing, a piece of one of Oakland's dirtier little secrets, a long-running story that too many around here wouldn't touch with a bargepole until there was one death too many….

The talk 'round here, though, is that the OPD botched the initial interrogations and investigations badly enough that there may never be any real convictions in this or the broader cases (or, as the Grauniad piece hints, the OPD are themselves implicated in some way in all this anyway). If that happens, the revenge killings and recriminations won't be pretty, even by Oaktown's standards….

(Not sure how long the Grauniad link will be valid for…).

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November 02, 2007

Home

Long shadows, a pale sun, the container cranes lost in the mist, the estuary like a mirror, the familiar hum and shudder of the Park Street bridge against the soles of my shoes, the line of concrete trucks outside my studio, the noise next door… home, I guess.

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November 01, 2007

A List

Es mi barrio

Angus, Andrew, Ian, Heather, Ursula, Tommy, Phoenix, Stephen, Tracey, Dan, Kim, Harry, Russ, Rick, Caroline, Jacinta, Garry, Lucy, Nicky, Daniel, Krisha, Derek… and a whole bunch of others. Thanks! I had a time…

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