after 12/14/13 here

our Ben Schrider and friend

after their Saturday win over San Marin

Off to Humbolt state stadium next Saturday December 7th for Division IV NCS Championship.





"Sierra Nevada's Torpedo Room opens in Berkeley" by Paolo Lucchesi in Beer at

"Crucial news for East Bay denizens and Bay Area beer geeks: Sierra Nevada's Torpedo Room opens in Berkeley . . . .

As noted last month, the Torpedo Room is Sierra Nevada's first tasting room outside its Chico headquarters. On offer are 16 taps of Sierra Nevada beers, many which that you probably won't see anywhere other than the brewery. The beers are only available to drink at the Torpedo Room via tasting flights. So, instead of a full pint, you can only get a flight of four 4-ounce glasses; it's educational, you see. Growlers and bottled beers are both available for purchase to drink at home while enjoying/suffering through the holiday season.

So what's on tap . . . ? A few teases, with the Sierra Nevada descriptions:

Barrel-Aged Torpedo Extra IPA: "Hop bomb aged in whiskey barrels with fresh Citra hops has a billowing nose of tropical fruit that precedes coconut and vanilla. Its smoothness belies a double-digit ABV."
Old Chico Crystal Wheat: "Light bodied, refreshing, and drinkable. This filtered beer is brewed with malted wheat and barley and perfectly balanced by unique Crystal hops."
Knightro: A fully Nitrogenated beer designed as our take on the creamy dry stouts of Ireland with a decidedly Sierra Nevada twist. Knightro is black in color but surprisingly light in body with rich caramel and chocolate malty flavors."





"Cost is Only One Factor in How Much We Spend"

"As retailers and shoppers prepare for Black Friday, a new study from UC Berkeley reveals that consumer behavior is fueled by a complicated mix of psychological and social forces.

Amazing, getting the best deal is often not the issue as spending decisions are influenced by fairness, obligation and reciprocity."




"Amazon's secret R&D project aimed at delivering packages to your doorstep by 'octocopter' mini-drones with a mere 30-minute delivery time"

"Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had a big surprise for correspondent Charlie Rose this week. After their 60 Minutes interview, Bezos walked Rose into a mystery room at the Amazon offices and revealed a secret R&D project: 'Octocopter' drones that will fly packages directly to your doorstep in 30 minutes.

It's an audacious plan that Bezos says requires more safety testing and FAA approvals, but he estimates that delivery-by-drone, called Amazon 'Prime Air,' will be available to customers in as soon as 4-5 years'

When Charlie Rose walked in and saw the Prime Air drones sitting on a tabletop for the show-and-tell, he exclaimed 'Oh, my God!' It was a genuine reaction-- Rose and the 60 Minutes team weren't in on the secret beforehand. The story had been in the works for months before the Amazon representatives started hinting that a new project might be revealed to 60 Minutes."






"Bitcoin Enabled Mobile App for Wearable Point-Of-View (POV) "

"Pimovi, Inc., a 61%-owned subsidiary of The Chancellor Group CHAG 0.00% , announces it has released a new Bitcoin enabled mobile app named CamFusion that has been submitted to Apple's App store for downloading. Consumers, music fans, sports fans and others will be able to make purchases and interact with wearable live & real-time POV (Point Of View) video & personalized content through the mobile apps. Integration includes Bitcoin transaction support, in collaboration with, for in-app payments including a marketplace for exclusive content, merchandise & products. "

"Buy bitcoins with cash in US Dollar (USD)"








"UC Berkeley Student Club Hosts Inaugural Entrepreneurship Week"

"The University of California at Berkeley welcomed dozens of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists last week as part of the inaugural Berkeley Entrepreneurship Week. Organized by Startup@Berkeley, an interdisciplinary campus club, the event was designed to help inspire students from throughout the university to pursue entrepreneurial careers."






"Lithium-Sulfur Battery Lab Tests Show High Energy Density" by Antony Ingram,

"The month wouldn't be complete without another battery technology breakthrough, and this time it's the turn of lithium-sulfur technology.

Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are experimenting with a lithium-sulfur battery design with twice the specific energy of lithium-ion batteries, and a usefully long life under repeated charging and discharging cycles.

According to Green Car Congress, such batteries would also be cheaper and safer than lithium-ion designs--without the overheating and fire issues that have made the news over the last few years."






"The great methane miscalculation. U.S. spewing 50% more than EPA estimates, study shows"

The United States is spewing 50 percent more methane ­ a potent heat-trapping gas ­ than the federal government estimates, a new comprehensive scientific study says. Much of it is coming from just three states: Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas."




Wareham has razed their 740 Heinz building. Now just rubble, lets hope its replacement will be a well-built, good--looking, and profitable structure.
















an on going series


The Top Five Types of Workplace Hazards
Definition of Workplace Hazards
How to Recognize Hazards in the Workplace
What Determines Initial Hazards in the Workplace?


"Workplace Hazards in Glass Blowing"

"Glass blowers use a high-temperature furnace to transform glass and other materials into art pieces or scientific glassware. An accomplished glass blower can carve out a career producing intricate artwork sold from his own studio or through carefully selected galleries. He may also teach the craft at specialized art schools. Glass blowers face considerable workplace hazards along with these rewards, but proper preparation and constant vigilance can help reduce the risks.

Respiratory Hazards

Glass blowers face respiratory hazards from the materials used to make the glass. Hazards can take the form of fumes or inhaled particulates. For example, dirty glass and quartz produce harmful fumes when heated. Asbestos tapes present a particulate risk, while some minerals that give the glass its beautiful color are highly toxic no matter how they are ingested. While a glass blower's canopy hood may capture heat and very light gases, the hood does not offer protection against most fume and particulate inhalation hazards.

A glass blower can minimize his risks with a ventilation system that blows air through his work area and out of the room. Ventilating the work space with a window at each end, along with exhaust fans that suck out the contaminated air, are often reasonably effective. Wearing a respirator will further reduce inhalation risks when glass blowing. A respirator offers further protection against potentially toxic dust stirred up when he cleans his work area.


Heat represents an obvious glass blowing hazard, as glass blowers work around extremely hot furnaces and superheated glass. Even surfaces not directly in contact with the furnace or glass, such as metal work bench rails, can absorb enough heat to make them dangerous to touch. Equipment surface temperatures of several hundred degrees are common, meaning a glass blower must use proper protective gear and extreme caution at all times.

Burns and Cut

A glass blower can easily suffer first-degree burns, which cause skin reddening and a burning sensation, from lingering too long near the furnace. Second-degree burns produce skin blisters, while extremely serious third-degree burns result in skin charring and shock. Serious burns often occur when a glass blower accidentally picks up or brushes against a very hot glass piece. Prompt medical treatment is essential to help prevent further damage and potential infection.

Glass cuts also represent an occupational hazard for glass blowers. Cold glass exhibits very sharp edges that can easily slice a body part. A glass blower can help protect himself by wearing sturdy leather gloves, or, ideally, long padded welder's gloves. Welder's gloves must be replaced periodically as they harden from the heat. Gloves made with Kevlar or other dense material help minimize the risk that a glass cut would penetrate through to the hands. Gloves with rubber dots enable a glass blower to hold the glass more securely."

Ergonomic Hazards

Glass blowing requires precision work, meaning the glass blower may experience physical stress from working in uncomfortable positions for extended periods. An incorrectly adjusted work table or chair can lead to repetitive injuries, and sitting for too long can cause circulatory issues. Adjusting the table or chair height helps alleviate these problems. A glass blower should replace poor lighting that may cause eye strain and distort the glass's colors.

additional reading: Workplace Hazards for female glass blowers






Definition of Workplace Hazards

Hazardous Exposures

Workplaces can expose employees to hazardous materials or chemicals, some of which can be immediately harmful, while others can have destructive effects years later. Health care and scientific research jobs may expose employees to hazardous radiation, for example, just as construction jobs in the 20th century often exposed workers to asbestos, which was partially banned in 1989 after it was determined to be a carcinogen.

Even jobs that would not normally be classified as hazardous can involve dangerous exposures. Facilities maintenance positions, for example, may expose employees to a range of artificial chemicals that can be harmful over time.

Hazardous Working Conditions

The working conditions of certain jobs, including the layout of work spaces and the duties involved in the job, can present distinct hazards. Workplaces with occasionally wet floors, for example, can present serious risks, even when maintenance employees set up "wet floor" warning signs. Jobs that require frequent heavy lifting can lead to lifetime injuries without proper safety procedures and policies.

Repetitive motion on the job and improper setup of work areas can lead to injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis. Never assume that your employees are not exposed to hazards just because they sit at a desk all day. Repetitive motion injuries can seriously affect employees' quality of life and can lead to costly legal action against your company. Keep a catalog of ergonomic equipment at your office, and allow any employee to request a special purchase for individual needs, such as an ergonomic chair, computer screen or keyboard.

Biological Hazards

Workplace settings can introduce biological hazards, as well, which can be more dangerous than most others. Working in health-care settings can expose employees to viruses, bacteria and diseases, for example. Some employees work directly with deadly animals, such as venomous snakes, while others are exposed to such threats indirectly. Insects can present distinct dangers as well, as they can be carriers for disease.




What Determines Initial Hazards in the Workplace?

Initial workplace hazards are determined through property and job risk analyses.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines a hazard as the potential for harm that is associated with a workplace condition or activity, which if left uncorrected, may result in injury or illness to employees or customers. Employers have an obligation to provide a safe workplace by taking the necessary steps to identify and address potential hazards. Initial hazards are identified through workplace and job analyses.

The first step in hazard identification involves a survey of the work site, both the building and the surrounding property. Management and safety specialists conduct a survey of the property looking for structural damage and checking building access, such as walking paths, ramps, loading docks, fences, parking and traffic flow. As potential hazards are identified, they may be addressed by taking actions, such as making necessary repairs, posting signs and establishing parking and traffic flow rules as needed.

Workspace Survey

Management and safety specialists continue their initial hazard survey inside the building, checking emergency lights and exit signs and surveying storage areas to ensure that supplies and equipment are stored properly and that employees can move about safely. A survey also involves looking for areas where employees may slip, trip and fall and taking corrective action, such as putting down slip-proof mats or posting signs in the approaches to stairs or platforms. The internal inspection also includes evaluating fire risks and electrical hazards, and taking the necessary steps to correct hazardous situations, including installing proper fire extinguishers and alarms and training employees.

Some employees are exposed to more hazards than others due to the nature of their work. Conducting a job hazard analysis is an integral part of initial hazard determination. A hazard analysis is conducted for jobs with high injury or illness rates or those most likely to cause severe injury or illness. In the analysis, management reviews the incident and accident history for the jobs. They interview employees to identify possible problems. A safety specialist observes employees performing potentially hazardous tasks to identify opportunities for safety improvement, such as installing machine guards or using protective gear. The observer gives each task three scores, one each for the likelihood that an injury or illness will occur; the potential serious nature of the resulting injury or illness; and how often the worker does the task. The total of the three scores determines the seriousness of the hazard. Management addresses the tasks with the highest scores first.

Hazard Management

Using the information collected from the external and internal property surveys and the job hazard analysis, management determines which initial hazards are the most dangerous and most likely to occur. These are addressed immediately. Other hazards are prioritized based on their severity. Management leads hazard reduction efforts by committing the necessary resources and staff to address the problems. Many companies appoint a chief safety officer. The safety officer is responsible for identifying and correcting hazards, developing safety policies and procedures, educating employees about workplace safety and conducting an ongoing safety awareness program.

to be continued












"Buttercup Bakery and Suze Orman" at does not ring fully true.

"I recently read a book that was attacking the investment planning industry. The author was generally correct in her criticisms but she is an ignoramus who has no idea what the underlying problem is nor what might constitute sensible investment planning advice. (See my Simple Living Investment Advice for Old Age.)

One of the chapters was devoted to attacking Suze Orman. The author is a mean-spirited person and after mentioning that Suze got her business start working for Buttercup Bakery in Berkeley, the author found someone to say that Buttercup was not particularly good.


Buttercup was great and beloved. Buttercup was the first modern retail eatery in America. It was the source of Chez Panisse and the Berkeley gourmet extravaganza. And the whole explosion of interesting hippie generated food that follwed.

Buttercup served elegant and imaginative homemade breads, pastries and served all its dishes with a wide variety of fresh ingredients and imaginative spices. Buttercup was a member of the Briarpatch and I visited it several times during its early years. It was widely loved in the neighborhood.

More than a decade later the two owners invited me back for an urgent consultation.

The owners, in an effort to expand their kitchen and ovens, had borrowed money with onerous terms.

My visit was in February. The loan came due at the end of May and required an instant repayment with no renewal if specific revenue targets had not been met. The revenue in the previous months had been more than 10% below the target.

It was my job to figure out how to dramatically increase revenues in the coming three months without additional investment.

And the two owners followed my advice. First I had them offer free coffee to the drivers of all the buses that stopped in front of the bakery. The goal was to make the bus passengers aware of the widespread love of the bakery and smell the baking aromas.

The second thing I had them do was create and distribute a flyer to all the residences within a half a mile radius. One side of the flyer offered two jobs in the bakery. It was a period of economic slow down in Berkeley.

The other side explained the wonderful smells wafting over the neighborhood that were due to the new ovens. There was an explanation of the wood fired ovens.

The purpose of the flyer was simply to remind people of the bakery that they all loved.

Revenues immediately grew by more than 15%. The loan was extended.

At this point, one of the most common things about small business, occurred. The owners sold the business and went to Mexico."

Actually in the end nothing worked and the Buttercup was sized by the IRS--certainly, in part, it was a political act. RP



















"Buttercup Bakery and Suze Orman" was sent by a reader in New England--also see 12/4/13 post. Early this week, two retired University of Vermont colleagues found themselves reminiscing about their separate visits to Berkeley in the 1970s and 80s. Both fondly remembered The Buttercup. This link to a somewhat skewed memory is a result of their Google search.



The Buttercup and The California Breakfast is one of my versions

And just what is The California Breakfast that Richards and Mike Haley invented? Well, it's most likely the eggs-breakfast that you now have when you eat out. (But, as breakfast is the lowly meal, you probably haven't even thought about that.)

Yet, it's important to remember that Richards and Mike Haley not only developed The California Breakfast but they made breakfast a proper and respectable meal out.

Mike, as long as I can remember, loved his morning meal best. When we lived together on Carl Street in San Francisco in the '50s, Mike would sometimes make breakfast for both of us, and I too came to love this meal.

Years later, when Mike and Richards lived together, Richards would make Mike's favorite, adding her own Georgian touch. An excellent cook from the South, Richards was well aware of the hearty country breakfast.

So in the '70s, when they bought the Buttercup Bakery and Coffee Shop on College Avenue and made it into a bakery and restaurant, it was only natural for them to make it into a breakfast-restaurant. (Understand, at that time there were coffee-shops and diners but not proper breakfast restaurants.) Simply, Richards knew about the Southern country breakfast and Mike loved breakfast best. This was the start.

If there was an exact moment when The California Breakfast Out came into being I suppose it was when Richard's started making Michael's favorites for the restaurant: Fresh-eggs, quality meats, home-fries with onions and sour cream, and a good toasted-bread were part of Michael's morning meal at home. (Occasionally I was at their house at breakfast time and it was always a treat.)

Then, I suppose if you own a bakery-restaurant it's natural to offer fresh baked-goods with the meal: And early-on you could substitute a pastry for toast. Bagels and croissants were also offered, but bagels and croissants were still popularly thought of as foreign food and breakfast is a very American meal. Also, it is important to remember that at this time breakfast out was pretty much a meal you had--often rushed--before your day's work. It was not so much a special meal--and social event--as it was just a way to get food before working. Kruse Plumbing was then down the street, and I remember some of the original customers were plumbers having breakfast before going to a job. There were also truck drivers who stopped before their run as well as milkmen taking their break.

(Perhaps the fruit garnish was added when it became apparent to all that breakfast was now social, even special.)

So there you have it; The California Breakfast Out. Was this just a variation of the country breakfast that, through good-timing, people found pleasure in eating in a restaurant? Is California Cuisine just fish and under-cooked vegetables?

Of course not.

Many people, other than Mike and Richards, were involved in making the Buttercup. Moe Moskowitz lent money and support, Mary Guenther provided heart and soul, Karl Mullis provided color and was a hard worker, Suze Orman found-herself and brought loyal customers, and Nancy Lawrence at Wells Fargo Elmwood was simply indispensable. She was always there. (Oh, Nick Victor, with failing health and eyesight, and preoccupied with his business and building two large warehouses, took time to give sound, solid business advice. ) Me? It was a place to hang out.


Richards and Michael Haley

before they found the Buttercup







"Nancy Skinner preparing workplace protection bill for unpaid interns"

"Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, announced Tuesday that she plans to introduce a bill in January protecting unpaid interns from workplace discrimination, including sexual harassment.

The legislation aims to close a gap in workplace protections for those who do not receive wages. Both California and federal laws on the subject currently extend only to those considered paid employees.





"Parents know little about funding law but want to get involved, EdSource survey finds" by Susan Frey,

"A new statewide survey by EdSource suggests that parents are eager to get involved in school district spending decisions, but underscores the need for districts to actively engage parents if they are to fulfill their new role under the state's Local Control Funding Formula.

Across the board, parents are generally satisfied with their children's schools, but the survey revealed differences between high- and low-income parents. The survey suggests that districts will need to make extra efforts to connect to low-income parents, who reported a higher degree of dissatisfaction with their child's school than parents with higher incomes. Lower-income parents were also more likely to feel that only a small group of parents are engaged in decision-making opportunities at their child's school.

The survey of 1,003 parents across California is the first to look at how connected and involved parents are with their children's schools."







"Berkeley's Lutheran seminary gets new boss after merger" San Francisco Business Times.

"The Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, tucked high in the hills above Berkeley, will get a new dean in January after its merger with California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks is complete.

The Rev. Karen Bloomquist will become dean and chief administrative officer of the seminary Jan. 6. She was named to the post by the California Lutheran University, of which PLTS is becoming a part Jan. 1."





"Less Dense Student District Wins Berkeley Council Approval"

"Facing a choice of two alternative student-heavy districts in its once-a-decade redrawing of council districts, a split Berkeley City Council Tuesday night opted for one with 86 percent of college-age residents over one with 90 percent."









"Gerding Edlen breaks ground on first Berkeley project"

Developer Gerding Edlen kicked off construction on its first Berkeley project - a 98-unit apartment building dubbed the Higby.

The Portland-based developer looked for sites in Berkeley for several years before buying the property at 3015 San Pablo from Berkely-based development firm CityCentric.
'There's a lot of similar sensibilities in Berkeley and Portland: community, sustainability,' said Brent Gau'ke, who manages California developments for Gerding Edlen. 'Berkeley is a supply-constrained market."

The $40 million-plus project consists of five stories of studios, one bedrooms and two bedrooms with 6,500 square feet of ground floor retail and sits at the corner of two main arteries, San Pablo and Ashby avenues. The roughly one-acre site has been vacant for years and previously had a gas station on it. The Higby was designed by MBH Architects and is being built by Balfour Beatty.



















Soon at SE&L ,. . .  The Buttercup, we did the heavy lifting in the 1970s Berkeley New Food Movement! 




our Regan's son Zander is an artist

NOT Zander, . . . but one of his oils

for more check out his website





our Councilman Capitelli emails a link to his particularly good newsletter

A Note from the Councilmember
Downtown Tree Lighting
Toys for Tots
Shop Berkeley
Holiday Toy Drive
Snow? In Berkeley?
Santa on Solano Avenue
Youth Clipper Card
City Contacts and Resources






"Berkeley City Council reviews ordinance proposing new zoning plans for homeless shelters" Adrianna Dinolfo at

Berkeley City Council took the first of two votes to pass an ordinance that proposes new standards and zoning amendments for homeless shelters at its meeting Tuesday.

The ordinance is an implementation of Senate Bill 2, a California state bill passed in 2007 that requires all cities in California to allow the establishment of year-round homeless shelters in the city. Compliance with SB 2 by 2014 is necessary for the city to remain eligible for certain state grants, according to a staff report released in June.

Ultimately, the goal is to make the creation of seasonal and permanent housing easier in California, said Councilmember Kriss Worthington."




















Harvey Hayashida stopped by to say hello Thursday. Harvey was our mail carrier after Dave and before Janice. He joined the postal service after being wounded in Veitnam and leaving the military. "I'm a Grandpa" exclaimed Harvey as I opened the door for him Thursday. (Harvey' s son Brett and wife just had a son.) Brett will become the owner of Car Care Service in January 2014. Car Care Service is located in Alameda at 1639 Park.



our Steve Donaldson emails

I recently uncovered an old photo of my Dad, Alex Donaldson at Mare Island Shipyard in 1942. I also have an original print. My grandfather was a tool and die maker there. My Dad was 19 years old in the picture, and apprentice machinist at the time. The guy leaning over and looking up with his arms crossed is Alex Donaldson.

What they are looking at is a Japanese mini-sub one of two captured when they beached outside of Pearl Harbor the day of the attack. They were sent to Mare Island in Vallejo to be cleaned up and promoted as our "first success".  When the war broke out my Dad and everyone else in his class graduated in January of 1942 and most joined either the Navy or the Coast Guard. My Dad eventually flew as a navigator and radio operator on a PBY 5A in the Atlantic.

By the way, my Dad was born at Alta Bates in 1923 and lived in Berkeley till 1931 when his Dad got a job at Mare Island Shipyard. 























The Recording of Paris 1917-1938

by Harold Lawrence

"Apart from the percussion, we should have no special problems with Parade." So Antal Dorati assured me a few days before we began to record. There was no reason to doubt him. The music in question was a ballet score by Erik Satie ( 1866-1925), the eccentric French composer who dressed in grey velvet from head to toes, lived in a poor workingman's suburb of Paris, and represented for composers like Ravel and others the new post-impressionist movement in French Music. Satie's ballet is 'easy' to perform. The-15-minute work, composed for Diaghilev in 1917, moves along at an unvarying metronomic rate of 76; the thematic material is uncomplicated to the point of naivete; and the orchestration is lean, despite the large forces involved. In fact, for some players in the London Symphony, it was perhaps too easy. Remarked Barry Tuckwell, the orchestra's superb first hornist: "When are you going to give us some semi-quavers to play?"

But James Holland, the principal percussionist, was not so complacent. It was his job to assemble a battery of seventeen instruments, most of which belonged to the traditional percussion family. They included snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, tam-tam, tambourine, woodblocks, small drum, lottery wheel, xylophone, triangle, sirens ( high- and low-pitched ), revolver, faques sonores, and bouteillophone. First, Holland tackled the bouteillophone.

As its name implies, the bouteillophone consists of tuned bottles, fifteen of them whose range extends from D above middle C upwards for two octaves - a typical Satiesque 'instrument ."I've never heard of bottles actually being used in a performance of this score," explained Holland. "The vibraphone is ,the closest we percussionists can come to the sound of tuned bottles. But we'll try."

The manager of the Watford supermarket began to fill two "shells" (English for "cases" ) with empty ginger-beer bottles.

"What do you plan to do with these?" he said as he lifted them into the counter. "Why, I'm going to 'prepare' them for a recording session," Holland replied; and he placed his strange purchase in the trunk compartment of his car and drove to the Town Hall. In the kitchen, he and his assistant poured varying quantities of water into the bottles, carried them into the auditorium, and began hitting them with mallets.

With the vibraphone standing by, Holland began to 'build' the required scale. He tapped, listened, poured off water from one bottle, added some to another. Finally, the percussionist had to admit defeat. Standing in a puddle and grasping his wet mallet, he reported that the bottles could not encompass the entire range. The vibraphone was rolled into position and the bottles put back in their shells.

For the second time, water was to spell frustration for the percussion section. In the movement, Prestidigitateur Chinois ( Chinese Conjurer ), Satie scored a brief ~passage for "flaques sonores" ( literally translated: "resonant puddles" ), which are written to resound 15 times. When asked which instrument he planned to use for this, Dorati skirted the puddle and asked me to conduct an investigation into the exact nature of the composer's 'instrument.'

I first discussed the problem with Felix Aprahamian, music critic of the Sunday Times and an expert in French music. "I haven't the slightest idea of what Satie could have had in mind," he protested. "But why don't you contact Rollo Myers. He's written a book on Satie. He's your man." I phoned Myers in Sussex. "Plaques sonores! ( Pause ) Probably one of Satie's jokes." He liked to invent instruments, you know." Editions Salabert, Satie's publisher, was no more helpful. Apparently the choice of instrument is left to the percussion player, I was informed.

Holland and I put our heads together. What would most resemble a resonant puddle? "A small cymbal might do it," Holland said, whereupon he jangled through his trunk of small percussion instruments and came up with a cymbal which he struck several times. The sound of metal was too dominant. "Choke it this time and use a different stick," I said. After some experimentation, Holland achieved exactly the right fortissimo splash.

On hearing it, Dorati agreed that the effect was correct, but he said: "Look, gentlemen, why don't we try to simulate the sound of a real puddle? We have nothing to lose; if it doesn't work, we'll return to the cymbal."

Within minutes, a large roasting pan was located in the Town Hall kitchen, filled with water, and brought into the auditorium. While the recording staff listened in the control room upstairs, the percussionist slammed his cymbal into the "puddle." The sound of water being agitated was plain, but no splash. Dorati suddenly hopped off the podium, rolled up his sleeves, and, his eyes gleaming with boyish delight, slapped the water vigorously. A dozen first violinists were instantly splattered with the flaque. Over the microphones it sounded as if someone had plunged into a large bath tub. Much laughter. It was decided unanimously that, in this case, imitation of life was preferable to the real thing.

The bottles and roasting pan were put aside, leaving the percussionist free to devote himself to a 'dry' Parade. He turned his attention to the six revolver shots in Petite Fille Americaine, the second and third of which were to be fired in rapid succession. After several ear-splitting rehearsals, Holland discovered that the trigger mechanism of his revolver would not allow him to fire off the two shots rapidly enough. He therefore assigned the third shot to an assistant. "Bang . . . Bang-Bang . . . Bang . . . Bang . . . Bang." Perfect!

Typewriters were now required for the same scene. A pair of office machines had been.transported from the headquarters of the London Symphony early on the morning of the first Parade session, along with two typists, male and female. The typewriters were placed on a table near the first violinists, much to the distraction of the players (all male) who kept stealing glances at Sarah Park, the attractive young London Symphony secretary. Feeling that the typing should sound purposeful, Dorati instructed the typists to copy items from daily newspapers, preferably one which they had not yet read. Miss Park, however, alternated between the obituary page and a remembered lesson from typing school: '"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party Cremation private no flowers please now is the time to come to the hospital but no flowers please, etc." The typewriters were to sound continuously for 16 bars, with a precise start and finish.

The other percussion effects posed no unusual problems, and the section as a whole was deployed in the following manner: bass drum,tambourine, snare drum, and cymbals were placed slightly to the right of center, between the woodwinds and trumpets; lottery wheel, tam-tam, revolver, xylophone, vibraphone, sirens, triangle, and woodblocks were arrayed along the outskirts of the violin sections from left to center; and typewriters and faques sonores were located left of the podium.

As Satie's gently amusing score unwinds with clocklike regularity in the completed recording, with each percussion effect turning up at the appointed second, it all must seem so effortless to the listener. The chief percussionist, however, will always remember it as the time he was as busy as the sound-effects in a Gangbusters radio serial.

copyright Harold Lawrence, RECOLLECTIONS

Paris 1917-1938 is Mercury Living Presence MG 50435/SR 90435 and was recorded on August 4, 5 and 6, 1965 in Watford Town Hall, London.




















"Cal students led move toward divestment- In the spring of 1985, students at UC Berkeley led a protest that would bring change to South Africa"

"The city of Berkeley had already taken action against the South African government, so a few students thought it was time for their university to follow. They did and so did other universities.

The year was 1985. California Assm. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, was the leader of the student divestment committee. "  






"Philharmonia Baroque spotlights three Handel contemporaries" Georgia Rowe,

"Come December, music director Nicholas McGegan often leads the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in one of Handel's large-scale works; the early-music ensemble will present the composer's evergreen 'Messiah' next weekend at various locations, beginning Dec. 14 with Cal Performances on the UC Berkeley campus.

Now, though, McGegan is taking a small but intriguing detour into the music of three of Handel's contemporaries -- the 18th century English composers William Boyce, John Stanley and William Croft.

The central work on Friday's opening concert at the SFJazz Center was Boyce's 'Solomon, a serenata.' Stanley's Concerto for Strings in B minor, Op. 2, No. 2, and Croft's 'The Burial Service' completed the program, which repeats through Tuesday in Berkeley and Palo Alto."





Bernstein in London, a Personal Memoir

the Verdi Requiem and more

by Harold Lawrence

Lawrence's association with Leonard Bemstein began in 1967, after Lawrence was appointed general manager of the London Symphony Orchestra. It continued in New York when Lawrence became manager of the New York Philhannonic in 1973.

In January 1968, a few weeks after I had taken over as general manager of the London Symphony, I phoned Leonard Bernstein. The LSO was without a principal conductor and it was my job to help the orchestra find a successor. A number of conductors were being approached, musicians with whom the LSO had a special relationship. One of these was Leonard Bernstein, whose association with the orchestra included highly successful concerts and recordings.

"I'm deeply honored," Bernstein said. "But I've promised myself that when I retire from the Philharmonic after next season, I will not accept any more titular positions. Please tell the boys how touched I am. (The London Symphony was then an all-male ensemble.) "But we'll be working together again, hopefully in '69," he added.

One of the projects we talked about for his next visit was the Verdi Requiem. It took the following twenty months to make the arrangements for the visit, which turned out to be a multi-media extravaganza, including concerts, a CBS recording, and a television production. Fitting the dates into Bernstein's schedule was like solving a jigsaw puzzle. Lining up world-star singers was even more difficult.

The great day finally came. On February 18, 1970, Bernstein arrived at London's Heathrow Airport with his charming wife, Felicia Montealegre. It was the start of a momentous ten-day whirlwind visit. After settling into the Savoy Hotel, Bernstein held a press conference at the Royal Festival Hall, directly across the Thames from his hotel suite. After the expected queries about his London musical plans, reporters barraged the conductor with questions about the Black Panthers party that had taken place in his home a few days before he left for England. Characteristically flamboyant and passionate on every subject he turned his attention to, Bemstein was deeply concerned about social issues. The Black Panther party had caused the American writer, Tom Wolfe, to describe the Bernstein New York lifestyle as "Radical Chic." In a flash, the clever phrase had crossed the Atlantic. The newspeople's questions and the maestro's answers were still flying around the room when I called a halt and escorted Bernstein to the first of seven scheduled rehearsals for the Verdi Requiem.

The session took place at St. Pancras Town Hall, an unattractive building with reasonably adequate acoustics. Bernstein embraced "old friends," including one of his favorites, soprano Martina Arroyo, greeted the orchestra, and got down to business. It was apparent from the start that tenor Franco Corelli was not in his best form. During a break, Bernstein commented privately that the Metropolitan Opera superstar didn't really seem comfortable with his part. It was a sign of things to come.

Corelli walked out before the rehearsal was over-and never returned. His manager phoned us the following day to say that the tenor had taken ill. Bernstein and I met in his smoke-filled dressing room to review our position. We already had been informed that Placido Domingo was available for the CBS recording sessions. But who could we get for the rehearsals and the concert at such short notice?

With Bernstein standing by, smoking in more ways than one, I phoned singers' representatives around London, checking off names on Bernstein's approved list, and recormmending others to the conductor.

Our hopes lifted when we learned that Tenor 1, high on Bernstein's list, was across the Channel in Belgium, actually performing the Requiem. The trouble was that the concert was scheduled on the very same evening of our own performance. Tenor 2 had "lost his voice...hadn't sung for a month." Tenor 3 was in Italy, could fly to London for the dress rehearsal, but couldn't make the concert. (Of course, he would be available for the CBS recording.) Tenor 4 was somewhere in the Bahamas, unreachable. Tenors 5, 6 and 7 were unavailable. Even Peter Pears, Benjamin Britten's friend and Aldeburgh Festival collaborator, was called. He laughed when I phoned, saying he hadn't sung the Requiem in 20 years.

Tenor Robert Tear wasavailable and said he would be happy to stand by. "But we need you now, Bob," I said. Tear explained that he was speaking to me from Kingsway Hall, where he was in the middle of a recording session. He would drive directly to Hammersmith after the session, but would miss the start of the rehearsal.

Meanwhile, Bernstein announced that he had lost his score. "Of course, I can manage without it. But I've scribbled down all of the thoughts I ever had on the Verdi Requiem over I don't know how many years!" At the Savoy earlier that morning, he had hunted everywhere for it before heading for the rehearsal. Felicia even crawled under the bed to look for it, but without success.

As our previous rehearsal had taken place at St. Pancras, we phoned the hall janitor. "You're in luck," he said. One of the cleaning women remembered finding a score after the musicians had left. She'd put it away behind the footlights, along with a lone music stand. But there was a snag. A Labour Party conference was in progress and the British Prime Minister was standing just in front of the score. We persuaded the janitor to retrieve it somehow, which he did. Then we asked him to describe it. Bernstein confirmed it was his, and his chauffeur drove us down there. When we returned, Bernstein was overjoyed, rewarded us with bear hugs and kisses.

About forty minutes into the rehearsal, Tear arrived at the hall with a screech of brakes. Bernstein called a break and spent spent twenty minutes with Tear in private rehearsal before going back into the hall.

On the night of the concert, 7,000 people crowded into the Royal Albert Hall: 6,000 in their seats and 1,000 standees. The hall had been sold out within two days after the concert was announced. Bernstein, the soloists, and the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus received a sustained, ear-splitting standing ovation.

CBS had chosen the Royal Albert Hall as the site for the recording-an unusual choice. Record producers avoided working there. One English engineer described it as "a big old barn." Bernstein was not unhappy. He had grown accustomed to the acoustics and to the placement of the musical forces. A staff CBS producer was dispatched from New York for the quadraphonic recording. ("Quad" was enjoying a brief fling, resulting in some misguided audio productions, of which the Requiem was an unhappy example.)

Bernstein was in exuberant spirits. His conducting was emotional but under firm artistic control. He lavished meticulous attention on every measure of the score, mouthing the words to the chorus, opening his eyes wide for a brass attack, clutching his baton two-handed in "Dies Irae" like a musical Jimmy Connors. He spent twenty minutes rehearsing the opening bars of the the first movement while the producer nervously watched the clock. I had never heard the muted cellos played with such quiet, hushed intensity.

CBS had converted the Artists Bar of the Royal Albert Hall into a control room, shoe-horning its massive electronic gear into the small space. During a break, Edward Heath made an unexpected appearance. Leader of the Royal Opposition, member of the Board of Trustees of the London Symphony, and future Prime Minister, Heath was an accomplished pianist and organist. Heath and Bernstein were good friends. The conductor greeted his guest with "Tedward! Would you like to hear a playback of 'Dies Irae?"

After the final take, champagne was served all around. But it was Bernstein who really provided the effervescence. He lingered on the podium, creating an orgy of affection. He seemed to want to draw in everyone in sight who had any connection with the recording. He wanted to love and be loved. Everyone in that hall felt swept away. He made that kind of magic.

In mock derision, Felicia called her husband "The Love Machine."

A few days after his Albert Hall triumph, Bernstein conducted a special performance of the Requiem at St. Paul's Cathedral for an invited audience. London Weekend Television produced the event as a TV spectacular.

On February 27th, the Bernsteins flew to Paris, leaving behind an exhausted but exhilarated LSO general manager, orchestra and staff. His visit was like a shot of adrenalin. But it was no different from any one of the hundreds of appearances he made all over the world during the couse of his extraordinary career.

Nearly twenty years after Bernstein vowed never again to accept a titular position with an orchestra, he agreed to become the London Symphony's president. Outside of his beloved New York Philharmonic, there probably was no orchestra he felt closer to than this cooperative, self-governing orchestra.

One LSO player recalled his first concert with Bernstein: "I expected something pretty personal, and that's exactly what I got. I found the experience deeply moving and spiritual." I was not an intimate friend of Leonard Bernstein. But, like all those who had the great fortune of working with this musical giant, I felt embraced in a spiritual sense by this profound and generous human being.

copyright Harold Lawrence, RECOLLECTIONS

There is a DVD of Bernstein and the London Symphony performing the Requiem.


















Recording in Russia

by Harold Lawrence

In 1986, Sheffield Lab, the Santa Barbara recording firm, produced a series of recordings in Moscow, of U.S. and Russian orchestral music. The recording event marked the first time an American conductor had recorded with a Soviet orchestra. After two years of negotiations, Sheffield producer Lincoln Mayorga transported recording equipment from Southern California to Moscow for the sessions.

Twenty-four years earlier, another American record label, Mercury, had blazed trails for Western record companies when it became the first U.S. company to produce recordings of any kind inside the U.S.S.R. with its own musical and technical crew and equipment. A product of the "thaw" (the precursor of glasnost ), this project was four years in the making. Negotiations for it began in 1958, the year Van Cliburn won the Tchaikovsky Competition and became a star of Beatles proportions in the Soviet Union.

Engineer C. Robert Fine, who developed the Mercury Living Presence recording technique, selected the Great Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Music in Moscow as the site for the project - one of the label's most ambitious recording expeditions. As with all other Mercury on-location recordings, Fine arranged for his famous maroon-colored studio on wheels to be shipped from New York to Moscow.

It almost didn't make it. And along with it, the project.

The van had been shipped first from New York to Rotterdam. There a giant crane lifted it aboard a waiting Soviet freighter while representatives of Mercury and Philips (Mercury's European affiliate) observed the transfer from the dock. Next stop was the Soviet port of Vyborg, near Leningrad, where a Mercury recording engineer watched the truck nearly fall into the harbor after teetering for an agonizing few seconds on two wheels down the runway. The truck then traveled by rail to Moscow, eventually landing in the Moscow Customs Department in the heart of the Soviet capital where our team obtained clearance. Fine drove the van past the swirling domes of St. Basil's Cathedral, where we were questioned by a curious Moscow policeman puzzled by the Tomkins Cove license plate on the vehicle.

The arrival of the mobile recording unit at the stage entrance of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory immediately attracted onlookers. Word had obviously gotten around in audio, film and broadcasting circles. Muscovites peered inside the van door, looking at the foreign equipment: Ampex half-inch three-track tape machines, Westrex 35 mm magnetic film equipment, banks of amplifiers, monitor loudspeakers, and other strange-looking electronic gear.

Leader of the Moscow expedition was Wilma Cozart, Mercury's vice president in charge of the classical division. The U.S.S.R. project was one of a long list of news-making ventures for which she was responsible. During the previous eleven years, she had signed exclusive contracts with major U.S. symphony orchestras in Detroit, Chicago and Minneapolis; with conductors Antal Dorati, Howard Hanson and Frederick Fennell; with violinist Henryk Szeryng, harpsichordist Rafael Puyana, the Romeros, Gina Bachauer and Byron Janis; and with the Eastman School of Music's Eastman Rochester Orchestra and Eastman Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

In 1956 (the year I left WQXR to join Mercury Records as music director) Cozart produced the label's first overseas recordings. Wherever Cozart went, Bob Fine's mobile recording unit was sure to be there. (Bob Fine and Wilma Cozart were married in 1957.)

Cozart's plans for Moscow were enterprising. They ranged from orchestral recordings by the Moscow Philharmonic and Moscow Radio Symphony conducted by Kyril Kondrashin and Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, the Borodin String Quartet, the 80-piece Osipov Balalaika Orchestra, and a piano recital by Byron Janis, who was on tour in the Soviet Union at the time.

The sessions took place in the Great Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory. Three microphones set to an omni-directional pattern were placed along the apron of the stage. Cables ran from the concert hall to the recording truck parked in the driveway of the Conservatory, where Bob Fine and his assistant engineer, Robert Eberenz, presided. Another set of cables threaded their way to the fourth floor of the building, where a practice room had been converted to a control room equipped with three powerful Altec Voice of the Theater monitor speakers.

The Soviets provided the Mercury team with the help of several experienced audio personnel, including Raïsa, daughter of the legendary film director, Sergei Eisenstein. (When Fine attempted to help Raïsa move a heavy boom along the auditorium floor, she removed his hand firmly and said in English: "In Russia, women are equal!")

Unlike many other halls used by Mercury for its orchestral recordings, the seats in the Great Hall were nailed permanently to the floor. The musical forces therefore had to be deployed on the stage. But this posed no problem for the recording crew: the largest score to be recorded (Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto) fit easily into the space.

Recording began the evening of June 8, 1962 and continued through the early morning of June 17.

We took time off between sessions to visit the headquarters of the U.S.S.R. recording industry on Kachalova Street, halfway between Moscow State University and the Tchaikovsky Conservatory. From this center flowed the decisions that resulted (in 1962) in an annual output of 1,200 new LP releases and more than 100 million records. In view of these impressive figures, one would not be surprised to see the offices of Fsyesayuznaya Studia Gramzapici bustling with activity. The activity was there all right, but in muted tones. Following the receptionist through the studios, we passed a trio of technicians surrounding an Ortofon cutter and exchanging whispered comments. In another, we caught a glimpse of a young woman in a white smock reading the meters of a Bruel and Kjaer Spectrum recorder. And we looked in on a quality-control worker gently lowering the pickup on a metal part.

The artist and repertory chief of the state recording industry was B.D. Vladimirsky, affable, soft-spoken, and, unlike most of his Western A & R counterparts, calm. He had every right to be. His roster included some of the world's top recording artists - Sviatoslav Richter, Emil Gilels, David Oistrakh, Mstislav Rostropovich, the Leningrad Philharmonic, and every Soviet artist and musical group of any importance on the world's classical record market - and Vladimirsky had no competition inside the Soviet Union.

A & R decisions were made in Moscow, in keeping with the centralized nature of the Soviet economy. In the fields of pop and folk music, however, local distributors made recommendations to Moscow Central for repertory and artists and often recorded special material on their own. As Russia is only one of 15 Soviet republics, a wide variety of non-Russian music was taped throughout the U.S.S.R., from Outer Mongolia to the Ukraine.

Stereo had not yet made much headway in the Soviet Union in 1962 and the state record industry had only recently manufactured its first consumer stereo player. Vladimirsky was unable to demonstrate - no cartridge.

The chief engineer of the U.S.S.R. Gramophone Recording Studios was A. I. Archinov, a gentle, balding, bespectacled man who spoke English fluently. For a man in charge of audio for the entire Soviet recording industry, it was surprising to learn that Archinov had visited the United States only once - in 1937! He was naturally eager to learn firsthand about the four and a half tons of audio equipment brought to Moscow in the recording truck.

Despite Archinov's travel restrictions, he and his colleagues were surprisingly well acquainted with the latest developments in the world of audio, as their many questions revealed. The authorities permitted him to make frequent trips to France, Denmark, West Germany and England, where he purchased quantities of new equipment for his studios. He also announced that the Soviets had now produced their own professional tape recorder, of which only 30 existed.

Conspicuous by its absence was equipment made in the U.S.A. The only American product we spotted was a roll of Scotch brand splicing tape. (Some Soviet tape editors still used ordinary cellophane tape!)

Most classical orchestral recording was then done in four cities: Moscow, Leningrad, Odessa and Riga. The best known halls, Moscow's Tchaikovsky Conservatory and Leningrad's Philharmonic Hall, have high reputations. Archinov singled out a recording site in Riga which he and his team discovered. When we met him, he was planning to record Bach's Mass in B Minor in a spacious cathedral in the Latvian capital.

Soviet engineers at the time employed the MS system for their stereo recordings. Tape-to-disc transfers were made on Ortofon equipment, with 60 watts per channel driving the cutting mechanism. Two speaker systems were in operation: "ML" (Hungarian) and Pathé Marconi (French). disc playback amplifiers were 15 watts per channel.

Two artificial reverberation systems were used: one made in West Germany (an E.M.T. sheet reverberator) and a magnetic reverberator made in the SovietUnion.

The Soviet Union's entire output of classical records was pressed in four cities; Moscow, Leningrad, Odessa and Riga.

It would be interesting to me to compare the primitive state of audio in the U.S.S.R. when the Mercury recording truck first invaded the Soviet capital, with today's.

copyright by Harold Lawrence, RECOLLECTIONS, Ron Penndorf


The Byron Janis Prokofiev/Rachmaninoff is available on CD




















"Bob Fine's Recording Truck : 1951 ­ 1966" by Tom Fine at

"In a previous article, we offered a thorough treatment of Fine Recording, INC. (hf. "FRI"), the NYC recording studio that pioneered high-fidelity music recording in the 1950s and 60s.  FRI principal Bob Fine also built and maintained a high-fidelity remote recording truck beginning in 1951.  This recording truck was used to create master recordings for dozens of albums for the Mercury Living Presence and Command Classics labels.  Perhaps most remarkably, the truck saw thousands of hours of action not only throughout the United States, but on several European tours as well.  In 1962, it was the first American recording unit to be allowed into the Soviet Union to record Russian musicians.  PS dot com contributor Tom Fine, son of Bob Fine, has provided us with some rare period documentation of the truck along with many never-before-published photographs of the operation in action.  Here's the story of Bob Fine's remote truck as told to us by Tom Fine."




















Pierre Monteux, Maître

by John Canarina

Canarina writes of The Rite of Spring premier in 1913 "In his admirably detailed biography of Stravinsky, Stephen Walsh speaks of 'a sense of unease' before the first performance (as opposed to the public dress rehearsal the night before, which had passed without incident), 'due partly to the complexity of the score, partly to a feeling that Nijinsky and his dancers were not wholly at one with the music or each other, partly perhaps to Diaghilev's own instinct that trouble was in the air' (Walsh 1999, 203). The dress rehearsal, which was only for The Rite of Spring, had been attended by musicians (including Debussy and Ravel), critics, and other cognoscenti. At the actual performance, which was part of a subscription series, The Rite was preceded by Les sylphides and followed by Le spectre de la rose and the Polovtzian Dances from Prince Igor, all traditional ballets that never failed to please an audience. In the midst of these, The Rite (subtitled Pictures of Pagan Russia) could not fail to provoke. Also, advance word was, according to Walsh, that 'the new ballet was difficult, violent, and incomprehensible.' He quotes the composer Florent Schmitt as saying, 'These so-called 'society' people, unable to see, hear and feel for themselves, these grown-up children . . . could only respond to these splendors, so immeasurably remote from their feeble understanding, with the stupid hilarity of infants" (Walsh 1999, 203-4). Murmurs of discontent could be heard soon after the start of the piece, that high-pitched, strained, and tortuous bassoon solo. (Stravinsky once said that if he had known how easy that solo would become for bassoonists, every ten years he would have raised it half a step.) Soon catcalls and other imprecations were heard along with the voices of those trying to quell the disturbance, each side fueling the other. It was a case of the elegant inhabitants of the stalls and the boxes versus the more enthusiastic crowd in the balconies. Shouts were heard of 'A bas les greus du 16eme!' ('Down with the bitches of the sixteenth district!'-the wealthy and fashionable area of Paris). Punches were thrown, and cards were exchanged so that duels could be fought the next day. Complete mayhem reigned. Through all this turmoil Monteux continued to conduct the orchestra, even though at times he could not hear the music at all. Stravinsky later recalled:

I was sitting in the fourth or fifth row on the right and the image of Monteux's back is more vivid in my mind today than the picture of the stage. He stood there apparently impervious and as nerveless as a crocodile. It is still almost incredible to me that he actually brought the orchestra through to the end. I left my seat when the heavy noises began-light noise had started from the very beginning-and went backstage behind Nijinsky in the right wing. Nijinsky stood on a chair, just out of view of the audience, shouting numbers to the dancers. I wondered what on earth these numbers had to do with the music, for there are no 'thirteens' and 'seventeens' in the metrical scheme of the score. (Stravinsky and Craft 1959, 47-48; 2002, 91)

Diaghilev was actually delighted with the chaos, stating that it was exactly what he wanted. (Cynics thought he himself had staged the riot.) According to Monteux the public reaction was the same at each performance, which surprised him, for Parisians usually think of themselves as genuine connoisseurs of the arts . . . " From John Canarina's Pierre Monteux, Maître.




"Monteux related an amusing episode in his personal life at the time that would not be out of place in a Charlie Chaplin film. He lived uptown [Manhattan] and thought it would be convenient to have a car to take him to and from the Opera House, as many of his colleagues did, rather than rely on public transportation. Accordingly, he bought a Ford touring car for $300. Always early for rehearsals, he would be the first to park his car behind the theater. Next would come Caruso in a handsome chauffeur-driven Pierce-Arrow, then usually Gatti-Casazza's equally impressive vehicle, followed by those of other high-ranking members of the company. In the presence of these luxurious behemoths Monteux's car 'looked like an insignificant baby-carriage,' and he was not unaware of the disdainful looks of chauffeurs as he cranked the Ford himself. One day, as he was driving along Eighth Avenue, there was a gasp from the engine, then a small explosion, after which the car stopped completely near the curb. Monteux got out, politely tipped his hat to it, and walked away, never to return for it (D. Monteux 1965, 108)" This happened in the Nineteen-teens when Monteux was conducting the Met. From John Canarina's Pierre Monteux, Maître.




In his Pierre Monteux, Maître, John Canarina writes about one of the many "suitable dates" in our history that were never found "Also of interest is a program that did not take place. During his Los Angeles visit, Monteux became acquainted with the work of the African American tap dancer Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson, well known through his many motion picture appearances. So impressed was Monteux with Robinson's artistry and agility that he proposed an appearance for him with the Los Angeles Philharmonic if a suitable date could be found-otherwise he would perform in San Francisco. As quoted in the Pasadena Post of 8 December 1935, Monteux said of Robinson, 'He expresses as much beauty with his feet as a singer does with his voice. I am happy to be the one to introduce him as a classical artist.'

The prospect of Robinson's tap dancing to the great works of the masters brought a great deal of apprehension to the traditionalists among Los Angeles music lovers, but Isabel Morse Jones praised the idea in the Los Angeles Times of 15 December 1935. Her article emphasized the importance of rhythm in music and went on to say that a few years earlier, Maud Allan had managed to dance aimlessly to Tchaikovsky's 'Pathetique' Symphony with no attention whatsoever to the work's rhythm, and that the public accepted it because it was thought to be highbrow art. She continued that Monteux believed rhythm was an important factor in American life and was impressed with the possibility of experimentation involving music and dance. Besides, Jones wrote, Robinson's sense of humor was something everyone could appreciate, and that combination of humor and rhythm was something the Philharmonic could use a little more of. She further felt that such a program could be beneficial in bringing about a better relationship between the Philharmonic and the general public. As might be expected, however, a suitable date could not be found for this program." From John Canarina's Pierre Monteux, Maître.


Much more about Monteux here

















The Civil War

by Harold Lawrence

In publicizing its eleven-hour series, The Civil War, PBS pointed out that producer Ken Burns used hundreds of archival photographs, period paintings, lithographs, posters and other historical visual materials to tell the story of the war. Critic Harry F. Waters gave due credit to the impressive pictorial coverage in his review of the epic documentary. He noted, however, that "ironically, it's the sounds rather than the images that strike most movingly." Waters referred specifically to the authentic-sounding artillery cannonades accompanying the chilling pictures of major battles.

But like most reviewers, he overlooked the fact that the authentic sounds of Civil War weapons, as well as much of the music heard in the series, were taken from the four-LP audio documentary recorded by Mercury Records in 1960 to mark the Civil War Centennial.

In many ways, The Civil War - Its Music and Its Sounds, Mercury Living Presence LP2S 202 (1961-62) was the sonic precursor of the immensely popular PBS TV documentary.

Like Burns, Frederick Fennell was obsessed with authenticity. Founder and director of the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Fennell was determined to create a sonic documentation of the music of the Civil War. "I felt it my vital responsibility," he wrote in 1960, "to seek only that music which was known to have actually been played by the musicians of those (Union and Confederate) regiments . . . on the authentic and unique over-the-shoulder brass instruments for which the music was written, thus to afford the listener a faithful representation of the music of the period in its true and long-forgotten medium of expression."

Fennell was ahead of his time. Today's conductors are unearthing neglected scores and painstakingly re-creating the way music of past centuries really sounded when performed on period instruments.

When Fennell first dreamed of bringing to life the band sounds of mid-19th century America, Civil War music in movies, recordings and television was performed on modern instruments in contemporary arrangements, including the well-intentioned Bales-Columbia album on music of the period.

The idea for the Mercury project was born in a hotel room in Gettysburg in 1956. Along with hundreds of other visitors, Frederick Fennell, had made the pilgrimage to the battlefield and was reading himself to sleep with W.C. Storrick's "The Battle of Gettysburg" when he came across this entry from the diary of Lt. Col. Arthur J. L. Fremantle, a British observer with Lee's forces: "When the cannonade was at its height, a Confederate band of music, between the cemetery and ourselves, began to play polkas and waltzes, which sounded very curious, accompanied by the hissing and bursting of the shells."

At these words, Fennell leaped from bed, dressed and went out into the moonlit field to try to locate the exact spot where the Confederate band had played. As he sat on one of General Longstreet's cannons, his mind raced with the speed of a solid-shot projectile. Why not recreate the music of Civil bands using authentic period instruments?

Fennell approached Howard Hanson, director of the Eastman School of Music and the artistic supervisor of the Eastman School/Mercury Living Presence American Music series, with his idea. Hanson enthusiastically endorsed their project and Fennell plunged ahead.

full story here



















"Good Earth Energy Conservation Receives Purchase Order From City of Berkeley California for the Electric Firefly ESV"

"Good Earth Energy Conservation, Inc., a subsidiary of Numbeer, Inc. (otcqb:NUMB) and provider of electric fleet vehicles for the essential services market, announced today it has received a purchase order for one Firefly(R) Essential Service Vehicle (ESV) from the City of Berkeley, California.

The made-in-the-USA 3-wheeled energy efficient Firefly(R) is scheduled for delivery to Berkeley in the first quarter of 2014. This marks the first Firefly(R) purchase by the City of Berkeley, which will use the electric vehicle for parking enforcement. Berkeley currently has approximately 50 vehicles in its parking enforcement fleet. "




"Community Right-to-Know and File Reviews"

"The City of Berkeley Toxics Management Division maintains documents related to the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA).  EPCRA was designed to improved community access to information about chemical hazards and to facilitate the development of chemical emergency response plans by state/tribe and local governments. The reporting requirements established under Community Right-To-Know laws provide the public with important information on chemicals that can be hazardous in their communities.  Being aware of chemical hazards within a community will help facilitate emergency planning and public disclosure of toxic chemicals."  






"The Bay Area Needs Affordable Housing" Robert Gammon,

"A new study co-authored by a UC Berkeley researcher reveals that economic segregation is not only getting worse, but making it tougher for low-income families to succeed.

When Governor Jerry Brown killed redevelopment two years ago, he cited the need to divert property tax revenues to education and other social programs. And while funding such services is essential to the state's economic well-being, the governor's decision also had a major downside: It choked off the ability of cities to finance affordable housing. "







"Property Crime Rise Linked to State Prison Releases, Study Says--Berkeley, like California as whole, saw a rise in property crimes following the state's prison early-release program" Charles Burress,

Researchers have found 'robust evidence' suggesting that property crime in California increased because thousands of prisoners who had been locked in state prisons transferred to the laxer custody of county officials in a process known as realignment.




"Several Robberies Near Berkeley Border Monday Morning"

"Several armed robberies were reported in North Oakland near the Berkeley border Monday morning, according to Oakland police. They all appear to have been committed by the same two suspects in a car that was carjacked Sunday, police said."





"Filmmaker brings 'Fruitvale Station' to Berkeley High" by Judith Scherr,

"Ryan Cooglar didn't create the award-winning film 'Fruitvale Station' to entertain. He wanted to start a conversation around the killing of Oscar Grant III by a BART police officer on Jan. 1, 2009.

That conversation -- about film, life, justice and love -- flowed at Berkeley High School on Dec. 4 during a question-and-answer session a screening of the film for several hundred students and their teachers in the Florence Schwimley Little Theater."






The Boolie Jacket and the Hoodie.

Understand I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconson in the upstairs of a house with no real heating--there was an oil burner in the dinning room. The bathroom was as far away from the oil burner as possible in the small upstairs and so taking a whiz on a sub zero winter day . . .

Now Boolie was a Korean War vet at UW on the GI Bill . . .

to be continued




















(While rummaging through Harold Lawrence's papers I came across a clipping of an article from an unknown source by an unknown author. I take it to be from the mid-1960s. It is an interview with Harold and well captures the man. )

The Art of Classical Recording

Harold Lawrence on left

Too frequently we tend to lose sight of the fact (if, indeed, we were ever eonsciously aware of it) that the physical act of recording music is an art form unto itself. As such, it has quietly introduced us in the past fifteen years to a new breed of artists peculiar to the recording industry-called by a variety of names, ranging from "producer for records," "music director," "a. & r. man" or simply "recording supervisor." It is, of course, a matter of conjecture and debate whether these men (or women) are artists or artisans. But, if it is conceded that they are artisans, then Harold Lawrence, musical director for the classical division of Mercury Records, is an artist among artisans.

A summary of Lawrence's responsibilities at Mercury would send the most ambitious and egotistical of success-mongers to the nearest clinic for a barrel of tranquilizers and anteeid aids. But instead Lawrence is a picture of the well adjusted, wise professor, who is not easily harassed nor intimidated, and probably has tenure to boot. He is extremely softspoken, mild mannered and conservative -yet his demeanor suggests he pretty much gets what he is after.

At Mercury, Lawrence is personally responsible for from forty to seventy album releases per year. Of these, between forty and fifty are newly recorded performances, and the others are repackagings of previously issued material. Lawrence's involvement is complete with each album. He is the consultant with the artist on programming, attends and supervises the sessions, edits tapes, commissions and approves cover art and liner notes, and is involved in the sales, promotion and advertising aspects as well. "I thrive on it," he says. "If I didn't it would be pretty grueling. I've made my commitment to it, and I'm a very happy man."

"Working for Mercury has advantages other .companies don't afford. Sure, I'm involved in a lot of work, but being involved with the product from conception to realization has tremendous advantages. Then the job is a truly creative one, and you feel you've accomplished a goal."

When Lawrence came to Mercury in 1956 (he had previously been director of recorded music at radio station WQXR in New York for seven years) the catalog consisted primarily of works in the symphonic repertoire.

Represented on the label were such prominent orchestras and conductors as the Minneapolis Symphony (Dorati), Eastman-Rochester (Hanson) the Detroit (Paray) and the Eastman Wind Ensemble (Fennell).

Since then, and particularly in the past couple of years, Mercury has acquired the exclusive recording services of a select handful of illustrious instrumental soloists (Byron Janis, Janos Starker, Rafael Puyana, Gina Bachauer, and Henryk Szeryng). With these soloists Lawrence has established a warm personal relationship, which he finds necessary to successfully transfer their talents to the indifferent medium of electrical impulses.

"You must remember at all times," observes Lawrence," that an artist is his worst critic. And most important, he needs an audience. Without one, he may not give his best efforts. The recording studio is a totally unnatural setting to achieve spontaneous performance. It's my job to instill some measure of urgency in the studio. Without it, a performance is dull.

"The most important thing is that the artist trusts you, as a musician and a critic. In the studio I virtually become the artist's 'other ear'-his alter ego. If that relationship isn't there, the product suffers.

"In a session, you have to sense when the artist has done his best (at least for that moment). Sometimes, even an excellent take can be the next-to-best. Often, when we think we've succeeded, I'll have a hunch, and suggest just one more, for good measure. That'll often turn out to be the best.

"I must say, the worst thing you can ever say to an artist is that he is 'just great.' An artist can always do better, and if you want to maintain his trust you've got to be honest or he'll lose faith in you."

"Even more important perhaps is a problem which arises long before you get to the studio-the delicate question of program. I personally do not hold with the current industry mania for catalog completeness. There is this great thing about 'first recorded performance.' I don't buy it. The important thing for the record and for the artist is that you record them in the area they excel in. What have you accomplished by adding to the catalog if you wind up with a bad or indifferent performance? I fail to see the logic.

"This doesn't mean we haven't added to the catalog, but only where it was appropriate and mutually agreed upon."

On the technical side, Lawrence's main concern is with re-creating, as closely as posible, the sound as one would hear it in the concert hall. For classical programs, he prefers that the pick-up be done by one microphone per track, as opposed to multiple-mike pick-up. "We do this for purely musical reasons," says Lawrence. "The dynamic range is more realistic this way. And, I might add, that it is much more difficult finding the best possible placement of the single mike than the other way. Once we've found the spot and tested the level with all the orchestral and solo sections, it stays there throughout the entire performance. For semi-classics and 'pop concert' recordings, we revert to the multiple mikes, strictly for convenience."

For many years, Mercury's "sound" has been trade-marked "Living Presence." This distinction was explained by Lawrence. "Several years ago, in the monaural days, Rafael Kubelik recorded "Pictures at an Exhibition" for Mercury with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. At the time, 1951, Mercury had a pretty insignificant classical catalog. The recording was picked up by the single mike technique, and critic Howard Taubman of the New York Times in reviewing the recording, said 'one feeis one is listening to the living presence of the orchestra.' The term was adopted, and remains to this day."

Lawrence is currently in England, where he'll be for the next six weeks. But he's not there on vacation. When he returns, he'll be carrying in his overweight luggage, enough tapes for ten more albums for Mercury.


Mercury Living Presence Discography is here and a good selection of Living Presence CDs is here.

(In his later years Harold became a good friend and some years before he passed gave me much of his business correspondence.)






Distinguished classical producer Harold Lawrence died; he was 88

By Janko Tietz, Oakland Tribune, 9/03/2011

There are not many people in Oakland who had such an illustrious circle of friends and colleagues from around the world as Harold Lawrence.

Known as one of the world's most important classical music producers, Lawrence worked with conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, Polish-born pianist Arthur Rubinstein, Russian-born piano-virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz and Berlin-born pianist and conductor Andre Previn, to name a few.

Lawrence died Aug. 22 from a blood disorder. He was 88.

One of his last productions before his retirement in 1987 was managing the Oakland Symphony Orchestra and the Oakland Youth Orchestra.

"Harold Lawrence made many contributions to the symphony and the youth orchestra over the years, but the greatest was his vision," said Michael Morgan, music director of Oakland East Bay Symphony. "Having worked with such large orchestras and with so many great artists, he brought a larger world perspective to all of our discussions."

Lawrence was born Oct. 22, 1923, to French-Algerian father Nathan Levine and Russian mother Lila Karsenty Nathan Levine. He was raised by foster parents in New York and attended New York City College.

Lawrence always wanted to be a pianist but started "too late" at age 15, said his goddaughter Libby Schaaf, an Oakland city councilmember.

After his first job at the Gramophone Shop annex across from the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, he soon became director of Recorded Music for radio station WQXR, the radio station of the New York Times. That is where he met the head of the classical division of Mercury Records, innovators of the "Living Presence" recording technology. In September 1956, Lawrence joined Mercury as music director. Among his duties was editing recordings, then done by a careful ear and even more careful hand by physically cutting out tiny bits of tape containing offending notes and hand-splicing the reel back together.

"As a trained musician, I could read orchestral scores," Lawrence once told Schaaf. "I knew, too, how to operate a tape machine. But laying razor blade to tape was at first an intimidating experience."

Known as Mercury's "golden age," Harold's recordings are legendary among music aficionados and collectors for their unsurpassed technical and artistic excellence.

In 1963, he married Mary Morris, one of the first female news photographers at Associated Press.

Four years later, Lawrence became the first American general manager of the London Symphony Orchestra, the most recorded orchestra in the world. In London, he hired the 38-year-old Previn as the principal conductor.

He then returned to his hometown to manage the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for four years.

It was in New York where Edgar Kaiser persuaded Lawrence to come to Oakland as president and general manager of the Oakland Symphony. Again, Lawrence recruited a young, dynamic conductor and musical director, Calvin J. Simmons, the first African-American conductor of an American orchestra.

Firmly settled in Oakland, Lawrence and Morris played an important role in the Bay Area's cultural life for more than three decades.

"He loved Oakland," Schaaf said. "That's the reason he started his final career here in Oakland, when he established a successful video production company from 1987 to 2009."

Lawrence was a member of Oakland Rotary Club and the Lake Merritt Breakfast Club, where he was instrumental in restoring the Necklace of Lights around Lake Merritt.

"He will be remembered for his smooth announcer's voice, his kind spirit and his active community involvement in organizations like the Oakland Youth Orchestra and the Oakland Symphony," said Lorna Padia-Markus, president of the Rotary Club. "He had many friends in Rotary and will be missed."

"Harold and his wife Mary were 'connectors.' They made it their business to make sure that creative people and people of good will knew of one another, so that they could work together for the benefit of Oakland," said Robert Kidd, president-elect of the Rotary Club.

Lawrence continued his dedication to music by serving on the board of the Oakland Youth Orchestra until his death.

In recent years, although receiving regular transfusions because of his blood disease, Lawrence was able to continue to pursue his hobbies, including his great passion for tennis.

Mary Morris Lawrence died two years ago; the couple had no children.

Harold Lawrence is survived by two nephews and his stepdaughter, Antonia Steiner, of New York.











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12/2/13--8:-05 AM--irritant in warehouse front, burning dry dirty air, burning eyes, throat, over ride HEPA filters. 10:57 AM--similar. 6:00 PM--similar. 8:15 PM--similar.

12/3/13--3:15 AM--dry dirty air IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, mucus membrane irritation. 5:26 AM--similar. 11:11 AM--similar. 2:10 PM--similar, SERIOUS. 9:20 PM--irritant in warehouse front, burning dry dirty air, burning eyes, over rides HEPA filters. 11:17 PM--similar. 6:45 PM--similar.

12/5/13 3:13 AM--irritant in warehouse front, burning dry dirty air, STRONG fresh brewing coffee smell, over rides HEPA filters. 10:05 PM--similar.

12/6/13--6:17 AM--irritant in warehouse front, burning dry dirty air, over rides HEPA filters. 12:13 PM-similar. 4:45 PM--similar, VERY SERIOUS. 6:30 PM-VERY SERIOUS irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, burning dry dirty air, burning eyes throat, overrides HEPA filters. 8:35 PM--similar. 9:35 PM--similar. 11:35 PM--similar, SERIOUS.

12/7/13--8:51 AM--SERIOUS irritant in warehouse front, burning dry dirty air, burning eyes, itchy skin, over rides HEPA filters. 10:35 AM--similar, wear respirator. 10:25 PM--similar. 11:00 PM--dry dirty air IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, mucus membrane irritation.

12/8/13--8:24 PM--similar.

12/9/13--11:50 PM---irritant in warehouse front, burning dry dirty air, over rides HEPA filters.

12/10/13--8:10 AM--SERIOUS irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, burning dry dirty air, overrides HEPA filters. 9:15 AM--similar, VERY SERIOUS 9:35 AM--irritant in warehouse front, burning dry dirty air, burning eyes, itchy skin, over rides HEPA filters, wear respirator. 9:15 PM--similar. 10:11 PM similar, VERY SERIOUS.

12/11/13--2:00AM--similar. 4:01 AM-similar with loud whining noise at warehouse rear. Off-and on all AM, similar.

12/12/13--5:17 AM--irritant in warehouse front, burning dry dirty air. Off-and-on all AM, similar, burning eyes, throat. Off-and-on all afternoon--irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, dry dirty air often with "hot metal" odor. 8:11 PM--similar SERIOUS. 9:43 PM--similar, VERY SERIOUS, burning air.

12/13/13--9:51 AM--VERY SERIOUS irritant in warehouse front, burning dry dirty air. 7:15 PM--similar. 8:25 PM--similar.

12/14/13--7:05 AM-- irritant in warehouse front, burning dry dirty air, overrides HEPA filters, wear respirator. 7:17 AM--similar, SERIOUS. 8:40 AM--strong "smokey odor", Spare the Air day. 10:05 AM--irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehuse, burning dry dirty air, overrides HEPA filters, wear respirator. 2:05 PM--similar. 2:25 PM--Marsha cough attack.








eternally useful links


You can find more information about our current weather conditions than is good for you at

Want to see weather coming in, going out, beautiful sunsets, and much, much more? Check out This very hip site was in an email from reader and contributor, Tony Almeida. Read Tony's Jimi Hendrix story on the only page that routinely gets more hits than Scrambled Eggs.



Richmond Ramblers' motorcycle club member, Cliff Miller emails a very

useful link

If you ever need to get a human being on the phone at a credit card company or bank, etc., this site tells you how to defeat their automated system and get you to a human being within a few seconds.



Best gas prices in 94710, as well as all of US and Canada, are here at

Kimar finds Costco routinely has the lowest price.



Bay Area home prices from

Bay Area foreclosures from


Our City Council update is here.

Our Planning Commision update is here




Our City of Berkeley Boards and Commissions page is here--redone and friendly.



All reports of crime-in-progress should first go to Berkeley PD dispatch--911 or non-emergency, 981-5900. THEN make sure you notify EACH of these City people.

The contacts are below:

Our Area Coordinator, Berkeley PD - 981-5774.

Ryan Lau, aid to Darryl Moore - 981-7120

Darryl Moore, City Councilman

AND check out BPD feature "Who are these Suspects."


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