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Issue #2101 :: Thursday, July 17, 2008

Issue #2101 Cover

Top Headlines

City Remembers Dona Spring Gallery
The omnipresent voice that could often be heard advocating in the Berkeley City Council Chambers for the rights of the underdogs, the elderly and the disabled has sounded its final note. Berkeley City Councilmember Dona Spring died Sunday after a longtime battle with rheumatoid arthritis. She was 55.

Thousands Across UC Leave Work For Picket Lines, Basic Campus Services Short-Handed Gallery
Today marks the fourth day of a strike by thousands of UC system employees, leaving the campus unable to perform many of its basic services.

UC Workers' Strike Continues
Democratic California State Assemblymember Ira Ruskin headed towards the picket lines on day four of the UC service workers' strike. But even with the support of a politician like Ruskin, a settlement between the workers' union and the University of California has not yet materialized.

Man Killed by Train
A man was struck and killed by an Amtrak train going about 77 miles per hour early this morning, police said.

News

City Remembers Dona Spring Gallery
The omnipresent voice that could often be heard advocating in the Berkeley City Council Chambers for the rights of the underdogs, the elderly and the disabled has sounded its final note. Berkeley City Councilmember Dona Spring died Sunday after a longtime battle with rheumatoid arthritis. She was 55.

Thousands Across UC Leave Work For Picket Lines, Basic Campus Services Short-Handed Gallery
Today marks the fourth day of a strike by thousands of UC system employees, leaving the campus unable to perform many of its basic services.

Contract Negotiations Between University, Union Halt as Both Sides Cite Failure to Compromise
Negotiations for the contracts of approximately 20,000 employees at the University of California are at a standstill as both sides have not met at the bargaining table since last month.

Cal Dining Plans Price Bump In Response to Rising Costs
Editor's Note: This is the second installment in a four-part series on rising food costs.

Mayor Tom Bates Announces Plans to Run for Re-Election
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates's official announcement of his intention to run for re-election means the city will be in for another round of Shirley Dean versus Bates this November.

Regents Debate Proposal to Alter UC Freshman Admissions Policy
Discussion of a proposal to change the university's freshman admissions policy yielded to confusion and debate at a UC Board of Regents committee meeting yesterday on whether the proposal's adoption would be positive for the UC system.

Lawrence Hall of Science Puts on Ice Cream Day to Get Kids Involved
The Lawrence Hall of Science is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, putting on an ice cream day to get children interested in science.

Man Killed by Train
A man was struck and killed by an Amtrak train going about 77 miles per hour early this morning, police said.

UC Workers' Strike Continues
Democratic California State Assemblymember Ira Ruskin headed towards the picket lines on day four of the UC service workers' strike. But even with the support of a politician like Ruskin, a settlement between the workers' union and the University of California has not yet materialized.


Arts & Entertainment

In Darkest Knight
Calling "The Dark Knight" a superhero movie feels too limited. Sure, there are explosions and capes and nifty gadgets, but grouping it alongside "The Incredible Hulk" and even the critically acclaimed "Iron Man" is somewhat inaccurate. Batman's not really like the others: no super strength, no mystical origins and-unlike Tony Stark-no rocket-powered flight.

New Production of 'Chorus Line' Is Singular Sensation
The unique thing about "A Chorus Line" is that no one is really the star of the show-at least not in the script. The musical follows the nail-biting audition process for a chorus line and throws in an unconventional director who probes into the dancers' personal lives. For most of the time, the dancers remain lined up across the stage while the disembodied voice of the director questions from somewhere in the audience.

'Mamma Mia' is Lively, Sometimes Tone Deaf
The dazzling poster for "Mamma Mia!" boasts the glowing portrait of a young and sprightly Amanda Seyfried, who you might know as the dumb one from "Mean Girls." But this energy boost of a musical is not about the young and the beautiful-if anything, "Mamma Mia!" belongs to the older, seasoned ladies of the cast who eagerly own their roles and aging voices, rendering most of their young and sprightly co-stars utterly forgettable.

Thumb Wars: A weekly forum for pop culture quarrels.
I speak affectionately when I say that ABBA is totally generic.

Things of Import
You know, I don't really hold Britain accountable for much, but I feel like I can blame them for chick lit. You might be thinking that we had it in the United States before Bridget Jones, that we were always a nation of pulp lovers and beach readers, that there's a reason we have so much romance on the shelves and so little in our lives. And I would agree with most of your argument, if it weren't for the fact that Jane Austen was born in 1775, a year before the U.S. was a country.

Album Reviews
A modern ghetto-fab Shakespeare, Nas takes his own spin on the line "a rose by any other name…" with his lyrical kill on the track "Hero": "It doesn't matter what the CD called / I'm unbearable y'all." With this line Nas may convince you that Untitled isn't as ambiguous and generic as the title suggests, but perhaps he forgot that names can also be self-prophetic.

Album Reviews
The Hold Steady is the kind of full-bodied outfit that exposes the rest of today's sorry excuse for "rock bands" as the pathetically skinny, insubstantial hipsters that they are. With Stay Positive, the Brooklyn-based quintet's fourth album in as many years, the Hold Steady continue to deliver straight-up, good old fashioned rock, no artificial flavors added.

Clown-Ridden Production of 'Merry Wives of Windsor' Loses Its Focus
You haven't seen Shakespeare like this and probably won't anywhere outside of Berkeley. Subterranean Shakespeare takes on one of the bard's most frivolous comedies, "The Merry Wives of Windsor," with a circus' zeal and a clown twist (seriously). The production is a sensory overload, from melodrama to bedazzled costumes. While some characters may be looking for love, everyone on stage plays the fool.

Jay Brannan Discusses Life Changes, His Upcoming Show
Singer-songwriter Jay Brannan found fame among the indie set when he made his film debut as Ceth in John Cameron Mitchell's "Shortbus." Since then, he's toured the world and self-released his first album, Goddamned. On July 24, he makes his Bay Area debut in a show at Bottom of the Hill.

Theatrical Version of Stephen King's 'Misery' Fails to Live Up to Source Material
The Eureka Theatre's production of "Misery" is a classic case of an interesting choice of source material that loses its way early on and never quite gets back on track. Disappointing design and execution provide an unfortunate counterweight to its sporadic strengths, leaving viewers with an inescapable feeling of dissatisfaction.

San Francisco Symphony Concert Reinvigorates Rodgers & Hammerstein
When watching a Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, it's almost impossible not to respond with that age-old cliche: "They sure don't make them like they used to."


Opinion

The Best of Times
I've stayed up the entire night working on this column. OK, so that's not entirely true. I stayed up the entire night with a blank Microsoft Word document, desperately trying to find a topic while watching a shameful amount of "Living Lohan" episodes and the "Daily 10" on E! television. Why would I possibly waste away my night on bad television and no productivity in exchange for this panicked scrambling to find immediate brilliance?

White Space