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Friday, Jul 13, 2001
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Issue #367 :: Friday, July 13, 2001

Top Headlines

Exotic Encounters
I'm always surprised by the feedback I get from my column. Many a time on Dwinelle Plaza people ask me if I'm "that guy from the Daily Cal." Some appreciate what I have to say, while others express grievances and give advice. But usually, everyone seems to ask what I might write about in the future. And though I am a lowly summer columnist and always surprised to see my irreverent rantings in print every Friday, I allow myself some vanity in receiving this attention.

Final Fantasy Flops
Don't believe the hype. The marketing blitz for Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within promises it to be a seemingly unprecedented entertainment experience we all feel obligated to take part in. But the only thing unprecedented about this $137 million mistake is the depth to which it can bore a living audience. There's no character development and nothing worth paying attention to by way of a story-Final Fantasy is at best a digital animation exercise that's still waiting to be made into a good movie.

State Universities' Deal May Ease Energy Woes
UC could be protected from spiraling electricity costs affecting the rest of the state for three more years, after energy provider Enron Corp. pledged to restore direct energy service to the state's public universities.

Revelling in Folk Fanhood
Ani DiFranco owned the anticipation hanging in the air at UC Berkeley's Greek Theatre on Friday, July 6. Whether it was due to the legion of devoted fans eagerly awaiting her arrival onstage or the sluggishly lackluster set of opener Sekou Sundiata, the start of DiFranco's set struck many concertgoers like an overdue exhalation.

News

UC Berkeley Researchers Discover Fossils in Ethiopia
A team led by UC Berkeley researchers in Ethiopia has unearthed fossils more than 5 million years old, believed to be the oldest known remains of the earliest human ancestors.

Page 2 Interview -- Tony Thomas, Blondie's Pizza Employee
Q: What's your favorite part of working here?

City Limits on Watercraft Intended To Curb Noise, Pollution in Marina
The Berkeley City Council, city commissions and industry attorneys are butting heads over the right to use Jet Skis in the Berkeley Marina.

State Universities' Deal May Ease Energy Woes
UC could be protected from spiraling electricity costs affecting the rest of the state for three more years, after energy provider Enron Corp. pledged to restore direct energy service to the state's public universities.

News in Brief: Nonprofit Group Files Suit Against Taxi Service, Alleging Discrimination
A Berkeley-based nonprofit group sued an Oakland taxi company Wednesday, charging that the cab service discriminates against blind passengers who use guide dogs.

Berkeley Officials Address Public Housing Problems
Inside her South Berkeley home, which is one of Berkeley's public housing units, Lynetta Taylor stands in her kitchen surveying the water damage caused by months of flooding, frustrated by unreturned calls asking for repair.

Residents Critical of University's Plans for Campus Expansion
Berkeley residents and watchdogs are criticizing UC Berkeley's planned expansion and renovation of six structures on the north side of campus, worried about the lack of public comment and the loss of community tennis courts.


Arts & Entertainment

Final Fantasy Flops
Don't believe the hype. The marketing blitz for Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within promises it to be a seemingly unprecedented entertainment experience we all feel obligated to take part in. But the only thing unprecedented about this $137 million mistake is the depth to which it can bore a living audience. There's no character development and nothing worth paying attention to by way of a story-Final Fantasy is at best a digital animation exercise that's still waiting to be made into a good movie.

Revelling in Folk Fanhood
Ani DiFranco owned the anticipation hanging in the air at UC Berkeley's Greek Theatre on Friday, July 6. Whether it was due to the legion of devoted fans eagerly awaiting her arrival onstage or the sluggishly lackluster set of opener Sekou Sundiata, the start of DiFranco's set struck many concertgoers like an overdue exhalation.

Simone Casts Spells
In 1977 Nina Simone visited Berkeley to record "Four Women," a potent historical vignette chronicling the experiences of four women in the South. Decades later, just as the 68-year-old Simone reemerges to claim her irrevocable place in the spotlight, a generation of artists sings her praises. Talib Kweli pays homage in his stunning "For Women," Alicia Keys lauds her as a major artistic influence, and LL Cool J names his baby daughter after her. But the famous don't have dibs on Nina. A sobbing man sitting behind me at her Oakland concert on Wednesday, July 11, shouted, "You saved my life, Nina." Halfway through the show, another man got to his feet and exclaimed, "You made me understand women."

Chris Whitley
Everything Dave Matthews touches seems to turn to gold. Happily, that maxim applies to the label he created last year, ATO Records, whose first signing, David Gray, achieved long, long overdue recognition. Let's hope ATO can do the same for Chris Whitley.


Opinion

Exotic Encounters
I'm always surprised by the feedback I get from my column. Many a time on Dwinelle Plaza people ask me if I'm "that guy from the Daily Cal." Some appreciate what I have to say, while others express grievances and give advice. But usually, everyone seems to ask what I might write about in the future. And though I am a lowly summer columnist and always surprised to see my irreverent rantings in print every Friday, I allow myself some vanity in receiving this attention.

White Space