Friday, June 8, 2012

Goodbye, Comedy Off Broadway

by Rachel Swan
Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Sad news came down the pike this morning, as we learned that Oakland's beloved weekly comedy showcase, Comedy Off Broadway, will end its three-year run on June 30. According to the organizers, host venue Miss Pearl's pulled the plug, explaining that the even is no longer financially viable. While we understand that a small showcase can be risky in an area that's not already awash in comedy infrastructure, we'll still mourn the event that helped spawn a nascent scene.

Samson Koletkar
  • Samson Koletkar
During its tenure, Comedy Off Broadway brought respectable headliners like Joe Klocek, Johnny Steele, and Sean Keane to Jack London Square. It garnered fervent accolades from local publications — well, namely, this one — and it became sometime we could all unequivocally champion and praise. Hosts Samson Koletkar and Joe Gleckler even soldiered on after an unexpected tsunami caused Miss Pearl's to shutter for several months. They have a few fabulous lineups in the hopper for June, including features by Klocek and rising local star, Miles K. Come check them out.

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Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 6:38 AM

As Rebecca Black once said, it's Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday. Indeed:

Trailer Trash: A Mini-Movie Extravaganza
There's a scene in William Castle's 1960 cult film 13 Ghosts in which actress Jo Morrow can be seen lying in bed in a negligee, her hands clasped tensely against her chest and her face frozen in terror as she watches a cobwebbed, ghoul-like figure move about her bedroom in the (clearly haunted) mansion left to her family by a late relative. Morrow's horrified visage is precisely what Steve Seid, the video curator at Pacific Film Archive (2575 Bancroft way, Berkeley) hopes to elicit from audience members during a one-off screening of Trailer Trash: A Mini-Movie Extravaganza — going down tonight, Friday, June 8 — a ninety-minute fusillade of forty movie trailers played back-to-back. Culled from the PFA's film collection and tediously whittled down from several hundred trailers from the Fifties and Sixties, Seid's eclectic compilation merges teasers for gaudy thrillers and campy comedies with others for blockbuster films like Stanley Kubrick's Lolita. It might be the only time you'll get to watch in rapid succession Don Knotts declare, as the cringe-worthy Abner Audubon Peacock in The Love God?, "I am cursed with an abnormal sexual magnetism for women"; a sultry Zsa Zsa Gabor imprison hapless male astronauts in The Queen of Outer Space; and the infamous Scream shower scene. Here, it seems, at least one thing is certain: You should definitely arrive in time for the trailers. $5.50-$9.50. 510-642-0808 or BAMPFA.Berkeley.edu. — Cassie McFadden

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

High on Fire's Matt Pike Enters Rehab; Band Pulls Out of Mayhem Festival

by Kathleen Richards
Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 9:56 PM

Just days after playing the Fox Theater with his old band Sleep, Matt Pike of High on Fire is entering treatment for alcohol rehabilitation, the band announced today. That means the Oakland metal band "will put its scheduled touring plans on hold indefinitely as Pike takes the necessary steps towards regaining his health" and thus will not be playing the Mayhem Festival at Shoreline Amphitheatre on July 1.

"High on Fire would like to thank everyone involved with the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival for the opportunity to be a part of this year's tour," said the band in a statement. "We regretfully will have to bow out as our friend and bandmate begins his recovery, but very much appreciate having been asked to be a part of this summer's festival run."

Pike has alluded to his problems with substance abuse before. In a 2007 interview with the Express, he said was exorcising some of his demons, including his "struggle with substance abuse," on the band's then-new album, Death Is This Communion. He also described himself as "a functional alcoholic," but said he was trying to get healthier by practicing meditation and yoga.

According to High on Fire's publicist, drummer Des Kensel relocated to New Orleans in March. Not sure what that means for the band, but let's hope they'll be healthy and back in action soon.

High on Fire: Jeff Matz, Matt Pike, Des Kensel
  • Tom Couture
  • High on Fire: Jeff Matz, Matt Pike, Des Kensel

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Updated: FCC Ratifies Sale of KUSF License, Despite Violations

by Rachel Swan
Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 10:33 AM

After a year and a half of wrangling , the FCC has finally upheld the license transfer of 90.3 FM from the University of San Francisco to Classical Public Radio Network. The decision was a final coup de grace to fans of KUSF, the college radio station that used to broadcast from 90.3 but was relegated to an internet stream following the sale. Fans launched a long and passionate crusade to keep the popular station from going moribund, ultimately enlisting help from a wide swath of Bay Area terrestrial radio listeners, and from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Their fight was symbolic of the movement to preserve college radio at large, even though it ended in disenchantment.


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Photos from Tuesday's Sleep Show at the Fox Theater

by Kathleen Richards
Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 9:54 AM

Sleep played at the Fox Theater on Tuesday night, along with Oxbow and Kowloon Walled City (in case you were wondering what that low-frequency drone emanating from downtown Oakland was). Here are some photos from the night, courtesy of Raymond Ahner.

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Going to Art Murmur Tonight? Come Hang Out with the Express!

by Kathleen Richards
Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Express staffers Ellen Cushing and yours truly will be at First Friday this evening, probably at 23rd and Telegraph. We'll be taking your suggestions and feedback about the paper, and we'll raffle off a gift certificate to a local watering hole. So stop by and say "hi"!

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Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 5:16 AM

Happy June! Here's are five awesome — and, NB, entirely outdoors — ways to ring it in:

The Beach Boys
Few bands celebrate 50 years — hardly anyone can boast that kind of longevity, least of all a group of people trying to make music unified under one name. Granted, The Beach Boys haven't actually been together for that whole time. They've had their ups and downs, and it had been nearly twenty years since the surviving members all stood together on one stage, but 2011 saw wave after wave of rumors that Brian Wilson would rejoin his cousin Mike Love along with Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks. Finally, at this year's Grammy awards of all places, it happened. They might be grandpas, but they can still hit the high notes (mostly), and the current world tour could well be their last. That's Why God Made the Radio, a new reunion album which comes out on June 5, is true to form and unsurprising, but at the very least reflects that the band members have mended fences for the sake of the music. They'll play at The Greek Theatre (2001 Gayley Rd., Berkeley) on Friday, June 1, at 8 p.m., $45-$125, APEconcerts.com — Will Butler

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Makin' Mead
Clever humans have been fermenting honey to make wine for thousands of years. Learn how to do it yourself at "Makin' Mead," a workshop at the UC Botanical Garden (200 Centennial Dr., Berkeley) on Saturday, June 2. Robert MacKimmie of City Bees joins garden staff to demonstrate the basics and to offer advanced recipes for cyser (apple-and-honey wine), along with other treats. Each participant gets to sample the day's products and bring home a gallon jug of mead. 2 p.m., $40-$50. 510-643-2755 or BotanicalGarden.Berkeley.eduAnneli Rufus

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