Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Dark Side of Shopping

by Lauren Gard
Tue, Nov 28, 2006 at 3:24 PM

Beware: Shopping can be dangerous. And not just because of your credit card's sky-high APR. "The nature of retail is that it's a dusty environment," Bruce Paterson, a Walnut Creek allergist, told the CoCo Times in an uber-serious article today. "That can be a significant irritant for some people." He also pointed out that "new clothes are treated with chemicals that retard moths" and that he's treated patients who broke out in rashes after wearing 'em. This is why we at the Express suggest shopping only at Sak's Fifth Avenue, or Neiman Marcus, even if it means going to San Francisco. Moths so don't hang out there.

Shopping's potential damage isn't merely physical. If you shop solely to lift your spirits - well, quit it already. Laying down cash ain't gonna make you happy. "'The important thing is to get centered by consciously recognizing what's going on," Walnut Creek psychologist Lorraine Granit said. After that, she noted, you've got three choices: "Leave the mall, call a friend, maybe even meditate."

Great ideas! But wouldn't it be cool to, like, speed away from the mall in a new Mini , or phone that pal on the pink Juicy Couture T-Mobile Sidekick you bought on eBay ? And meditating definitely requires a cute little meditation outfit, like something from Christy Turlington's lux Nuala line ...

NAACP Complains of Voting Irregularities in Richmond

by Will Harper
Tue, Nov 28, 2006 at 3:24 PM

For some unclear reason, residents in mostly black North Richmond were told they had to vote miles away in mostly white Point Richmond, the CoCo Times reports. Stephen Weir, the county elections chief, says he is investigating why that happened. He speculated it may have had something to do with requirements under the federal Help America Vote Act. Hmmm, doesn't sound like it's helping some Richmonders vote.

The East Bay Today: November 28, 2006

Tue, Nov 28, 2006 at 3:24 PM

Today's Top Event: American Scary at the Parkway Speakeasy Theater in Oakland.

Brainiac: Learn something new every day. Today's lecture: Pediatrician Mel Levine on The Myth of Laziness at Ygnacio Valley Library in Walnut Creek

Is It Lunch Yet? Express food critic John Birdsall recommends: Cafe Raj in Albany.

On the Town: Going out tonight? Wheat-free pizzas and organic coffees are pure bliss at the Prism Cafe.

Hardly Working: You've got time. We know how to waste it. By using the Time Wasting Calculator!

Feed Us: Got an East Bay news tip, photo, video, or link we need to know about? E-mail us.

Monday, November 27, 2006

In a Word ... 2006

by Lauren Gard
Mon, Nov 27, 2006 at 3:24 PM

If you could pick just one word to characterize 2006, what would it be? Don't tell us-tell the folks at Merriam-Webster online, whose annual list of the most searched-for words in the English language is being tweaked this year to allow readers to submit their own ideas. It's our chance to put the East Bay on the map, so think local.

Perhaps a homegrown word like thizzin or hyphy deserves to win. Although with the total number of Oakland homicides at 139 following some gruesome killings over the long holiday weekend- including a trio of family members killed in North Oakland while eating Thanksgiving dinner - it looks like murder may be our best bet.

Unsightly Facial Hair? Scramble The Biplanes.

by Michael Mechanic
Mon, Nov 27, 2006 at 3:24 PM

Star author and B-town adopter Michael Lewis, who profiled Billy Beane and the Oakland A's in Moneyball, and whose latest nonfiction work, The Blind Side, is pretty much impossible to put down, describes his fashion sense as "attenuated" preppy. Among the other tidbits he reveals to Paul Kilduff in a Q&A for December's The Monthly, is his New Orleansian take on the unkempt facial hair of his fellow Berkeleyites. "You don't see much of it in New Orleans," Lewis tells Kilduff. "I do feel that someone with a cropduster should fill it with Nair and fly it across Berkeley."

The East Bay Today: November 27, 2006

Mon, Nov 27, 2006 at 3:24 PM

Today's Top Event: Sing Murphy's pit-bull art at John F. Kennedy University Arts and Consciousness Gallery

Brainiac: Learn something new every day. Today's lecture: Poetry Express gets between the sheets with its annual open mic Between the Holidays Erotic Poetry Night at Berkeley's Priya Indian Cuisine

Is It Lunch Yet? Express food critic John Birdsall recommends: Fishi Cafe in Fremont

On the Town: Going out tonight? Soften your Monday with a Key Lime Pie (a mixture of Stoli Vanilla, Malibu rum, lime juice, and 7-Up) at the Radio Bar in downtown Oakland.

Hardly Working: You've got time. We know how to waste it. Check out Story Line -- famous people reading kids' books.

Feed Us: Got an East Bay news tip, photo, video, or link we need to know about? E-mail us.

Oakland Neighbors: Schools've Gotta Go

by Jonathan Kaminsky
Mon, Nov 27, 2006 at 3:24 PM

Neighbors of two small high schools in the southern Oakland hills are fed up with students - bused in from poor parts of the city - breaking into their houses while they're supposed to be in school, reports MediaNews. And they want them out. "We went from a classic Oakland neighborhood-a very diverse, culturally advanced, peaceful community-to a community that felt under siege," neighbor Stewart Elliot told MediaNews. Youth Empowerment School Principal Maureen Benson acknowledges the issue. " Do some of [the students] hop the fence and skip? Yes, and then we catch them. They just have to know that someone's going to hold them accountable." Wendy Gudalewicz, a district administrator, says that "all options, right now, are open," and that a decision on what to do with the schools is expected in January.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Not Much Going On Today; Might As Well Go Shopping

by Lauren Gard
Sat, Nov 25, 2006 at 3:24 PM

This Week: Avoid lame gifts with Elfster, shopping and drinking go well together, sneaker pimping in Union City, tons of local artists hawking their goods for the holidays, and Jessica Simpson's new line of hair extensions require special ranting.

You have been warned.


Who: Shabnum Norling, 31, of Oakland. Occupation: Works in advertising.

Spotted: Shopping for stiletto boots at Tootsies shoe store on College Ave. Wearing: Vintage black boots, "Love" skinny jeans from Urban Outfitters, purple turtleneck sweater, and olive green puffy vest with fur collar from Forever 21.Favorite places to shop: H&M, Ambiance, Crossroads Trading Co., Forever 21, and Dolce & Gabbana (if she had her wish -- and the cash to make it come true). Her season's must-haves: Stiletto heels, skinny jeans, white items, and gold. Her style: "Miami style," edgy. Fashion icons: Gisele Bundchen, D&G, J-Lo, Lindsay Lohan, Sophia Loren.

Fashion inspiration: InStyle, Vogue, Project Runway, and the Sundance Film Festival for cold-weather fashion ideas. Fashion tips: Have confidence; wear things that fit, only care about what you think, and think out of the box! Faux pas: "I don't like the whole goth look." Also, too tight jeans, too much midriff.

Shop Talk

Late-Night Shopping: We've always dreamed of a place to shop after-hours. You know, stumble out of the bar, head into a store, and try on clothes. Now, our dreams have come true. Well, sort of. Check out "Fourth Friday, Late Night" on San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley. A string of stores, cafes, and galleries stretching from Dwight Way to Ashby Avenue will be open till 9 p.m. every fourth Friday of the month. Stores include Twisters Vintage, Juniper Tree, Evarize, Sea Salt, and Good Vibrations. We're told there will be food, drinks, art, music, fashion, and, our favorite, "special sales."

When: Tonight! Friday, Nov. 24 until 9 p.m. Where: San Pablo Ave. between Dwight Way and Ashby Ave. in Berkeley.

New Items at Afterglow: Afterglow owner Amy Cools (featured in a former installment of Buy Curious), reports some hot new items in her Oakland boutique: jewelry designs from Julie's Glass Imagination and Tapiseria, plaid pocket baby-doll tunics from Camilla Slater Bolland, hoodies for toddlers big and small from Oaklandish, sexy boy-shorts and tunic dresses from Porcelynne, and wooly fingerless gloves from Lindsay Melnyk.

Where: Afterglow, 4233 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Hours: Wed.-Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. noon- 6 p.m.

Sneaker Hawks: Check out this mega sneaker showcase, "Can I Kick It? Sneaker Showcase", in Union City this weekend. Buy, sell, or trade your hottest kicks while DJs Shortkut, Rah2K, and Dynamix work the turntables. Plus exclusive private collections, cash prizes for the best sneaker collection, "Can I Kick It?" models meet-and-greet, gift bag giveaways, and live performances. Call 888-490-7711 for more info. When: Sat., Nov. 25 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel, 32083 Alvarado-Niles Rd., Union City.

Want a Secret Santa? OK, dumb question. We wish our "Secret Santa" was this dude, but in the meantime, we'll settle for Elfster. The Oakland-based Web site is a free service that makes it easy to arrange "Secret Santa" gift exchanges. Co-workers and friends can view your wish list, and ask questions such as shoe size and favorite color anonymously. We haven't tried it yet, but we're willing to do anything to avoid receiving gifts like this.

Sample This: Skip the mall this weekend (c'mon, Macy's is always having a sale) and deck both your halls and your jewelry box with fabulous finds from the twice-yearly San Francisco Design Center sample sale. Billed as a "bargain hunter's paradise," it offers the rare chance to snag impossibly cool stuff that costs way more than you'd ever spend. $6 admission. When: Sat, Nov. 25, 10-5, Sun, Nov. 26, 10-4 Where: Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 8th Street.

Get Crafty

Check out these events selling arts and crafts from local artists.

Berkeley's La Pena Cultural Center hosts their annual Womyn of Color Arts & Crafts Show, chock full of jewelry, textiles, paintings, and sculptures. Free. When: Sat. Nov. 26& Sun. Nov. 27, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Where: 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley.

Oakland artists Bruce Pizzichillo and Dari Gordon will be selling one-of-a-kind glass vases, bowls, and sculptures in their studio. For more info, call 510-832-8380. When: Fri. Nov. 24, Sat. Nov. 25, and Sun. Nov. 26, Sat. Dec. 2 & Sat. Dec. 9, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Where: 2680 Union St., Oakland.

The Berkeley Potters Guild will display the works of 16 local artists. When: Sat. Nov. 25 & Sun. Nov. 26, Sat. Dec. 2 & Sun. Dec. 3, Sat. Dec. 9 & Sun. Dec. 10, Sat. Dec. 16 & Sun. Dec. 17, Mon. Dec. 18-Sun. Dec. 24; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Where: 731 Jones St. at Fourth St. in Berkeley

Buy Spurious

Simpson's HairDo Is a Total Don't Jessica Simpson's line of shoes aren't nearly as nasty as we expected they'd be (we'd even rock a pair or two), but she's crossed the line with her latest business venture. Yes, we're all aware that she's a huge fan of extensions (as are half the women in Hollywood, and no doubt most leading men get help from the hair-growth fairies). But does the world really need HairDo, as the starlet's new collection of hair pieces is so cleverly called? No, it does not.

"A bad hair day is when my hair feels thin and stuck to my head," she explains in Sophisticate's HairStyle Guide December issue. Well, we hate to burst your bubble, Jess, but your hair literally is stuck to your head. In fact, you know what, sweetie? You're selling people your idea of a bad hair day. Ever think about that?

A truly bad hair day in our book is when a shiny mass of our hair falls out in public because attaching it properly without a cosmetology degree and eight years of relevant experience is next to impossible. For a few minutes of amusement, check out the how-to videos, in which Jessica's biz partner and hair slave, Ken Paves, stands by while mute, smiling models who obviously crammed for hours attempt to put on the hairpieces without his help (and without busting a smile, or breaking into tears).

If you still can't resist the notion of bulking up on top, you can shop for the wiglets online or head to Blooming Beauty Supply at the Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton. But come armed with plentiful cash or credit: you'll pay about $90 for a wad of synthetic hair, and $400-$500 for a clean clump of the good old human stuff, made to order.

Every Friday, Buy Curious posts photos of the fashion fabulous of the East Bay, as well as news on store openings, closings, new items, and sales. We want to hear from you! Tips? Send them to us!and Kathleen Richards

Friday, November 24, 2006

Nice Idea, Berkeley, but Cleveland's Eating Mexican Iceberg

by John Birdsall
Fri, Nov 24, 2006 at 3:24 PM

Last week we weighed in on a New York Times rumination (subscription required) about the local foods movement spawned on north Shattuck. Cleveland food writer Michael Ruhlman read the Times piece and opened a big can of Yeah Right on his blog. Eat local may make sense in here in the land of endless spring, he sneers, but it doesn't mean jack in frozen Ohio. Posted comments harsh even heavier on Berkeley, like this one from a reader in the Northeast: "I think a lot of chefs pay lip service to the idea because, like many logically impossible concepts (e.g. "compassionate conservatism," "life after death") it sells." Can't all you haters just live off the veggies you put up in jars over the summer?

The East Bay Today: November 24, 2006

Fri, Nov 24, 2006 at 3:24 PM

Today's Top Event: Trey Lyford and Geoff Sobelle's all wear bowlers at the Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre

Brainiac: Learn something new every day. Today's lecture: F-Word Salon with Melody Berger, editor of F-Word zine and the new anthology We Don't Need Another Wave: Dispatches from the Next Generation of Feminists leads a book discussion and bluegrass jam at AK Press Warehouse

Is It Lunch Yet? Express food critic John Birdsall recommends: Cactus Taqueria in Oakland.

On the Town: Going out tonight? What's a-tweakin' in Puerto Rico? Fint out at Time Out in Concord.

Hardly Working: You've got time. We know how to waste it. Check out Find the Spam.

Feed Us: Got an East Bay news tip, photo, video, or link we need to know about? E-mail us.

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