JUNE 2008

after 6/7 here & after 6/23 here




a painting by ex-husband-in-law, Michael Beck

Michael now has a new gallery. Check out Artzone 461 here.





There was a Berkeley PD police action yesterday on 8th just north of Heinz at around 1:30 PM with four patrol cars, as many officers and the Crime Scene Unit.




"Berkeley Early Music Festival and Exhibition Begins June 3" writes Ira Steingroot in the Planet

"When I first became a jazz fan (short for fanatic) in high school, I saw European classical music as the enemy. The 19th century composers were easily characterized as a pack of pretentious, highfalutin, hoity-toity, high-hat, pompous, stuffy, overstuffed, snobby, snooty, effete and elitist fuddy-duds, not to mention being middlebrow,
bourgeois, sententious and musically platitudinous, to boot; instigators of gargantuan aggregations of performers intoning their vast musical stories full of profound meanings, all of which reeked of the academy and salon and smelled of the lamp.

Then I found out there were more flavors than vanilla at the classical soda fountain. Which brings us to this year's Berkeley Festival and Exhibition, a celebration of the music of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries in Spain, Italy, Germany, England and Bohemia as composed by Biber, Corelli, Bach, Lawes, Byrd and Monteverdi for such
diverse instruments as the shawm, sackbut, krumhorn, viola da gamba and theorbo.

If you think you have slid into a parallel musical dimension, you have. This music is not only beautiful in itself, but also pre- classical and post-modern, a wonderful corrective to the narrow way we usually perceive the music of Europe. Early music will clean out your ears and, should you ever choose to return to the 19th century,
you will find it not only both larger and smaller than you had thought but also stranger and refreshed."

Our Janine emails

The Berkeley Early Music Festival approaches, along with all the concerts and recitals.  I am just writing to let you know about a harpsichord recital I am giving on Sunday, June 8th at 2 PM, Trinity Chapel - 2320 Dana Street. between Bancroft Way & Durant Avenue­(one block from the U.C. Berkeley) 
I'm playing on John Phillips' sparkling "Florentine" harpsichord, and am having the most fun choosing a program!  It is all music from Spain, and is most colorful and evocative. The tentative  program is below. It is approximately an hour long, with no intermission, so those who need to rush off to another concert have a chance to get there!
Tickets: $15 general, $12 SFEMS, WEKA and SEHKS members, $10 seniors/students/disabled. No one is turned away for lack of funds. 
Information: trinitychamberconcerts.com, 510-549-1520
Sonata #73 in D major, Allegro...........................................Padre Antonio Soler
Sonata #74 in D major, Andante............................................................A. Soler
Sonata K. 476 in g minor, Allegro.........................................Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata K. 477 in G major,  Allegrissimo............................................D. Scarlatti
Sonata #4 in g minor Adagio and Allegro ...................Manuel Blasco de Nebra
Fuga # 5 in g minor......................................................................... Juan Sessé
Sonata K. 532 in a minor...................................................................D. Scarlatti
Sonata K. 533 in A major...................................................................D. Scarlatti
Sonata # 5 in f# minor, Adagio and Presto...........................M. Blasco de Nebra
Sonata K. 499 in A major....................................................................D. Scarlatti
Sonata K. 599 in A major....................................................................D. Scarlatti




Today is the French School's Bon Marché. It starts at 11:00 AM and it's FREE. Check it out at the 9th Street campus.There is music all day! Foggy Gulch plays at 1:00PM.


And, "Greetings Foggy Gulch Fans" emails Eric Hughes
 We are delighted to announce that four new songs are available on our myspace page at here.
"California Stars" is our first recording with the new members of the band John Milton (bass) and Becky Bart (fiddle). Some think this song is the best tune written by Woodie Guthrie you've never heard (apologies to Wilco fans).  It will be featured on a new 4-song EP we'll finish in the next month or so.
"Love Reunited," "Uncle Pen," and "Brand New Heartache" are from our first album, Fogged In , available here.
(our next show is at Julie's Coffee and Tea Garden in Alameda on June 17th)
Eric Hughes
Foggy Gulch Band



Kubik emails

The Regan designed condo at 919 Pardee is for sale at $849,000.  Open house . . . Sunday.  Two bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, very minimalist design, high quality, but rather small...



"Man fatally shot is 6th homicide of year" reports the Chronicle's Henry K. Lee.

"A man shot and killed in Berkeley was identified by police Friday as 29-year-old Anthony 'Tony' Beamon.

Beamon, who lived in Berkeley, was found mortally wounded about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday in front of 1536 Tyler St., near Ashby Avenue and Sacramento Street at the south end of town, police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said.

Beamon was taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland, where he was pronounced dead.

Bullets from the shooting hit a home and parked car, but no other victims were found, Kusmiss said.

No arrests have been made and no motive has been established in the slaying, Berkeley's sixth homicide this year."










"Beyond Repair" has worked on my cars and trucks for over 30 years. I believe Mike and his crew are among the best, if not THE best, independent shops for Japanese vehicles in the Bay Area. I can't say enough for his honesty, knowledge and top notch service. "Beyond Repair" is at 2147 San Pablo and their phone is 510-845-7700. DEFINITELY check them out!


"twomile wines" is a Potter Creek winery. Check out their website here.


The owners of Sea Salt are opening a pizza place on San Pablo Avenue next to Sea Salt.



Learned a lot with ole friend WD through the years

Read his The music was more impressive than the sound in I learned to love records.

And, he just sent me a copy of "Sunshine State."

It's a movie in which real estate development in Florida is a background for stories just about people. It is a small film about black folks, white folks, . . . life.

Or, according to imbd,

"A woman and her new husband returns to her hometown roots in coastal northern Florida, and must deal with family, business, and encroaching real estate development."



And, check out the new CD, "Peace, Love & BBQ" by East-Texas singer, Marcia Ball.



Bob Kubik emails a quote from Allen Lacy

"Gardening is not a hobby, and only non-gardeners would describe it as such.  There is nothing wrong with having hobbies, but most hobbies are intellectually limited and make no reference to the larger world.  By contrast, being wholeheartedly involved with gardens is involvement with life itself in the deepest sense.  Indeed.  For could it ever be said about, say, bridge that the way you play a hand has implications for the environment, American cuisine, biological diversity, drug policy, and national identity, not to mention the nature of time and the meaning of place?  A garden, whether we know it or not connects us to the world in many strange and wonderful ways"









Foggy Gulch played at Sunday's École Bilingue Bon Marché

La Place du Marché



As of the end of May, Berkeley has had seven murders, not 6 or 8 as reported elsewhere.

All last year we had five.



Irrtant in warehouse off-and-on from mid-afternoon Sunday through Tuesday morning--sometimes SERIOUS.

(hack, hack, cough)




Oakland Port Rail Proposal Impacts May Hit Berkeley Landscape, Traffic" reports Richard Brenneman in our Planet.

"Is Berkeley being railroaded?

That's the question that was raised at the last Planning Commission meeting, by both supporters and potential foes of a plan to upgrade and increase rail service through the West Berkeley.

Some Richmond residents are also feeling that they're on the other side of the tracks because of proposed routing of more mile-long trains through their city, disrupting access to neighborhoods like Marina Bay.

Concerns in Berkeley were raised by an April 10 decision by the California Transportation Commission awarding the Port of Oakland $74 million to begin the process of upgrading a 37-mile stretch of Union Pacific Rail lines between Oakland and Martinez.

That sum was part of a larger $456 million allocation of port-requested backing for rail upgrades reaching from the Tehachapi Mountains in the south to Donner Summit in the east-all designed to speed the move of goods through Northern California's premier seaport." 


Way ahead of "the news," Tak Nakamoto hipped us all to this last December. On 12/7/07 he emailed this thoughful observation


I wanted to alert you and others of us living and or working in West
Berkeley to pay attention to discussions now ongoing at the
Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the California Transportation
Commission and the State Legislature regarding the upgrading of the
capacity of Northern California's railroad network to carry more
containers. All my info comes from newspapers. But from what I can
glean from them, this is the story.

The shipping, freight companies and the Port of Oakland have applied
to the State Transportation Commission for a large allocation of
funds from the recently passed state transportation bond initiative
to upgrade the rail system from Oakland all the way through the
Sierras to carry more container cargo. The physical projects include
increasing the height of tunnels through the mountains to allow
passage of double stacked containers and also additional trackage
between Richmond and Martinez. These projects would be 50% funded
through the state bond pot and 50% by the various rail companies and
private interests. There is discussion that this might result in
doubling the amount of rail capacity in this corridor. The
discussions are now at the level of the "Big Five" (Guv, Senate Pres,
Assembly leader, minority leaders) as they arm wrestle for
allocations pitting Northern California vs. Southern California
interests. The amount of funding is in the hundreds of millions of

What does this mean for West Berkeley? Certainly this will mean more
trains will be passing through Berkeley on the Union Pacific
(formerly SP) tracks that border our neighborhood. Both UP and Santa
Fe Railroads run freight on these tracks as well as Amtrak. This will
mean more diesel smoke from locomotives, more noise and more frequent
stopping of traffic at rail crossings. But upgrading the rail system
might also reduce the number of diesel burning trucks carrying
containers on I-80, which might be beneficial to our neighborhoods.
Trains are much more energy efficient than trucks and so emit less
pollution even running on the same type of fuel. The Union Pacific
right of way has space for up to five sets of tracks through most of
Berkeley. Only two sets of tracks are now active.

Heavier rail traffic might affect our access to Aquatic Park and our
level of enjoyment of the park once we're there. Its an open secret
that many of us use an unauthorized crossing at Heinz Street to walk
into the park. With heavier rail traffic this may become less safe.
Even at the official rail crossing on Bancroft, Addison and others
crossing will become more difficult.

Since this is a partly publicly funded project, the opportunities for
pressing for mitigation of negative impacts will emerge at some
point. Those of us who live here might want to start thinking about
what kinds of things we might want to press for when the time comes
for public input. I keep thing that we need another pedestrian/
bicycle point of access to Aquatic Park and the Bay beyond at around
Ashby Avenue. I'm sure all the imaginative minds in this area can
come up with others.

It is not too early to start to think and talk about this issue.

Tak Nakamoto



Janine emails

I told Charles Sherman I'd send a notice to everyone on my email list regarding a  concert a group of his is giving [this] Wednesday night.  They scheduled early, before the Festival events were set, and are in conflict with one, hence no listing at the SFEMS web site.  In case you decided not to go to Wed. night's concert, but really love Rameau's Piece de Clavecin en Concert, here is your chance to hear what is sure to be a fabulous performance of all of them.  The group, Ensemble Indiscrete, consists of the following players:

Charles Sherman, harpsichord
Anthony Martin, violin
Stephen Schultz, flute
Josh Lee, viola da gamba

The concert is being held at Trinity Chapel, Dana at Durant, 8PM, Wed., June 4.
Hope to see you there (and at mine on Sunday the 8th!)  Best wishes,




Da Boz emails

1. Carbon Fee ­ First of its Kind!
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District's board of directors on Wednesday approved new rules to charge businesses a fee for the pollution they emit. As a board member of BAAQMD, I first proposed the idea of a carbon fee last September. These unprecedented new rules will impose fees on factories, power plants, oil refineries and other businesses that emit carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases. The agency, which regulates air pollution in the nine-county Bay Area, will be the first in the country to charge companies a fee based on their greenhouse gas emissions. The new rules will take effect July 1.


2. State of the City Address
On May 13th I delivered the State of the City address at West Berkeley's Meyer Sound Pearson Theater.  This year, I wanted to highlight a homegrown Berkeley company. Meyer Sound, an internationally recognized leader in sound systems, manufactures and hires locally and generously supports the arts in our community. In the State of the City, I addressed the challenges we face as a city as well as the bright future that lies ahead.  I also thanked some of the key partnerships that have made this city so vibrant.  The address has aired on Berkeley's BETV (Comcast channel 33) twice a day since May 14.  The speech was also streamed lived on KPFB and can be downloaded from their archives.
3. Berkeley High School's Student Recognition Awards
Each year I ask teachers and staff at Berkeley High School, B-Tech and Independent Study to nominate students for their extraordinary efforts.  With so many amazing youth in Berkeley's public schools this event grows each year.  In the past four years we outgrew the DoubleTree Hotel at the Marina, and then Hs. Lordships.  This year we will honor over 225 high school students and thanks to the generous co-sponsorship of UC Berkeley, we are hosting the event in the Pauley Ballroom on campus on June 4.
4. One Year Anniversary of Berkeley's Hypertension Clinic
The High Blood Pressure Drop-In Clinic at LifeLong Medical Care's Over 60's Center marked its one-year anniversary this month.  The clinic provides an opportunity for uninsured Berkeley residents with high blood pressure to receive free primary care by enrolling them into the LifeLong Medical Care system. Clients are offered follow-up care and medications, as needed. These services are available at no charge for Berkeley residents regardless of whether or not they have insurance. The High Blood Pressure Drop-In Clinic is a partnership between the City of Berkeley and Lifelong Medical Care, Inc. in response to the alarming statistics of heart disease among South and West Berkeley residents compared to other neighborhoods within Berkeley.
5. Arpeggio Ground Breaking
The long awaited Arpeggio project is now under construction.  When completed the Arpeggio will supply 143 new residential units, 5800 square feet of ground floor retail space, 13,000 square feet of cultural arts space, and 160 subterranean parking spaces.  The anticipated completion date is Spring 2010.

 6. Important Community News ­ Fire Season Begins
This year's fire warnings are coming early because of the second-driest March and April on record. There are a lot of things residents can do to protect their property - start with this Fire Department press release for some basic tips and information about the City's free pick-up of trimmed vegetation and limbs, and for more information, visit the Vegetation Management page. 
 7. Important Community News ­ Drought Management
The East Bay Municipal Utility District Board of Directors have implemented a Drought Management Program to stretch the District's water supply on the heels of two consecutive dry years.  The District is seeking a 15 percent reduction in water use overall.  Single-family residential customers are being asked to cut back 19 percent.





Celia's razing hits a snag--a Steve Smith photo







Our Carol Whitman is a Grand-Mother--details to follow.



Our Ryan Lau, aid to our Councilman, Darryl Moore, emails


10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday, June 7
Civic Center Park adjacent to the Center Street Farmers' Market
Berkeley Councilmembers Darryl Moore and Laurie Capitelli commemorate their eight-month public journey of exercise and healthy eating as part of the fifth annual Farmers' Market  "Family Fun Festival."    Co-sponsored by Parents' Press, Bananas, and the Downtown Berkeley YMCA, the "Family Fun Festival" will bring to the downtown a variety of performances, hands-on activities, and informational booths. The Councilmembers will be available at the Be Fit Berkeley booth with free Be Fit Berkeley T-shirts, health snacks and raffle prizes for Be Fit participants.  Staff members from the City's Public Health Department will join them to provide diabetes and hypertension screenings free to the public.
For more information about the campaign, visit the website here.  For more information about the Farmers' Market "Family Fun Day" and to see a schedule of events and performers, go here.

Summer Programs 2008
We are publishing a list of all of the programming that we are aware of for this summer that will be updated regularly.  If you are aware of a summer program that you would like to publicize, please let us know.  If the link does not work immediately, please check back.  It takes a little bit of time to get up and running with our new web content management system.
Update on the Take Over Robberies
Unfortunately, there have been four more take over robberies recently that seem to be perpetrated by the same individual who has been committing the series on San Pablo.  The police can use all the help they can get in apprehending this individual.  So if you see an individual fitting the physical description and exhibiting suspicious behavior, please call the police at 9-1-1 on a land line or (510) 981-5911 on a cell phone. 
Berkeley Youth Alternatives' Steps to Success Program
Berkeley Youth Alternatives is currently recruiting low income Berkeley young adults 18-21 for Workforce Investment Act services in our Steps to Success Program.  This funding is the only type of its kind north of Oakland dedicated specifically to this age group.  For more information, please contact Mark Gambala at

City Council Hot Topics ­ June 10th, 2008
Six-Month Citywide Moratorium on Cell Phone Antennas
Possible Ballot Measures for the November 4, 2008 General Municipal Election
ZAB Appeal: 2130 Center Street (former Act 1 & 2 Theater)
FY 2009 Biennial Budget Update - Public Hearing #2



6/4/08--7:48 AM--cough, hack, sneeze--time to go










"Susan Brooks Open Studio" is part of ProArts East Bay Open Studios

June 7-8 & 14-15, Weekends 11-6PM
Event website: proartsgallery.org

The Sawtooth Building, 2547 Eighth Street #24a, Berkeley
Please join me at my studio for ProArts East Bay Open Studios.
I'll be showing lots of new work, jewelry and works on paper.

25 other artists will be open in The Sawtooth Building, so plan on
spending some time in the neighborhood.

Hope to see you


Also, ActivSpace--7th, between Pardee and Carleton-- will have 14 studios open as part of ProArts East Bay Open Studios

Avoid the 7th and Ashby intersection these days. Lanes are closed before Ashby, south on 7th and after 7th, west on Ashby.



Rick Ballard emails

In store news--storewide sale

Groove Yard was just named the Best Grassroots Jazz Resource in the current issue of Oakland Magazine. It is their Best of Oakland and the East Bay 2008. You can find this issue at local newstands or go to their website at www.oaklandmagazine.com . To celebrate this and Groove Yards' 16th Anniversary, I am having a storewide sale beginning this Saturday, June 7 and running through Sunday, June 15.


"Berkeley mural will get a face-lift" reports the Tribune's Kristin Bender

"She's not very old - about 30 - but she's cracking a bit around the edges.

There's obvious signs of wear and tear and a little bit of sagging. But this beauty, which goes by the name Song of Unity or La Cancion de la Unidad in Spanish, is about to get a face-lift. It probably won't be an extreme makeover, but she'll be looking fine when a team of experts is done with her.

Rescue Public Murals, a national project to save community murals, has selected La Pena Cultural Center's Song of Unity, a mural of acrylic paint on Masonite, paper mache, ceramics and fiberglass sculpture, as the first Bay Area mural to be restored under the group's new project.

'It's wonderful to know that this mural is going to be around for many more years. We've been worried about it,' said Osha Neumann, one of the original artists along with ceramicist Anna de Leon and painters Ray Patlan, and O'Brien Thiele."



Morgan says Merryll's project should by done in about two months.


Pete Hurney is now recording the KALX promos for his Radio Theater.


Kubik emails an Einstein quote

"Brief is this existance, as a fleeting visit in a
strange house. 

The path to be pursued is poorly lit
by a flickering consciousness".


And, the Mayor of Birmingham Alabama says of our recent past, "The U.S. has been Stuck on Stupid."


The beautiful Danielle has returned to Kruse, after almost a year off for child care--see 8/10/07.


John Phillips recommends Alessandro Strigggio's Mass for five choirs, Missa Sopra Ecco Sì Beato Giorno in 40 and 60 parts which will be performed on Saturday, June 7, 8 p.m., and Sunday, June 8, 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church as part of our Berkeley Early Music Festival.

Check out sfems.org/ fringe2008.htm for all the Early Music Festival events.


John is also involved in an early music recording at Skywalker Ranch, with instrument tuning AND music production.



"Laughing Sal presides over new Playland museum" writes Carolyn Jones in the Chronicle.

"Laughing Sal is cackling once more.

The gap-toothed, red-haired, plaster icon who terrified generations of kids at San Francisco's defunct Playland-at-the-Beach has resurfaced - maniacal laugh and all - in El Cerrito.

Laughing Sal and thousands of other Playland relics are part of a new museum, opening today, that pays tribute to the exhilarating, seedy world of carnivals, circuses, haunted houses, arcades and bygone amusement parks.

The museum, a nonprofit called Playland-Not-at-the-Beach, is part history exhibit and part fun house. Visitors will be able to play 80-year-old pinball machines, watch a century-old penny arcade called 'Knotty Peek,' and see authentic side-show attractions such as a two-headed duckling, a mermaid and a carp exposed to a bit too much radiation."


"$15,000 reward in fatal shooting" reports Henry K. Lee of the Chronicle.

"The city of Berkeley offered a $15,000 reward Tuesday for information leading to the conviction of the person who'killed a man last week.

Anthony "Tony' Beamon, 29, of Berkeley was shot about 11:30 p.m. last Wednesday on the 1500 block of Tyler Street, near Ashby Avenue and Sacramento Street in south Berkeley. Bullets from the shooting hit a home and parked car, but no other victims were found, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call homicide investigators at (510) 981-5741."



"Hancock, Skinner seen as big winners" reports Carolyn Jones of the Chronicle.

"Loni Hancock emerged as a big winner in the East Bay on Tuesday night, winning a tight state Senate race by 13 percentage points and seeing her hand-picked successor claim a victory in an Assembly race.

Hancock, who is being termed out of the Assembly, defeated former Assemblywoman Wilma Chan and is all but guaranteed to take over State Sen. President Pro Tem Don Perata's seat in the heavily Democratic Ninth Senate District after the November general election.

Nancy Skinner, an East Bay park district director who was Hancock's pick to succeed her in the 14th Assembly District, was also a winner Tuesday, receiving 46.8 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary, all but guaranteeing a victory in November."


West-Berkeley movers and shakers, Norheim and Yost held a Skinner Fund Raiser last month, I'm told.


"Airlines raise nonstop fares sharply for summer" reports the AP's David Koenig.

"If you're taking a nonstop flight to summer vacation, better pony up a lot more money or start unpacking.
In many cases, major carriers have more than doubled or even tripled their cheapest U.S. fares from last summer's fares. That's on top of the new fees for checking luggage and other services."



6/4/08--EARLY AM, see above. 9:04 AM--irritant in front room, light head, leave. 10:17 AM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, wear mask. 2:13 PM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, wear mask. 5:14 PM--irritant in front room. 5:46PM--same.



Geez, . . . I forgot


got their dinner permit!









The École Bilingue annual

La Place du Marché

a photo essay








Carol forwards and email from her son and daughter with her own comments

Susan and Max Lesser
are overjoyed with the arrival
of their son
Nathan Miles
May 31st 5:17pm
6 pounds, 10 ounces
19 inches long

He is the cutest of course, and I'm not just saying that because I'm
his grandmother! His naming ceremony is tomorrow at Max and Susan's
house in LA.

Sigh...this is the best.



"Special Olympics Returns to Berkeley" reports Riya Bhattacharjee of our Planet.

"It's time for bocce ball once again. And some volleyball, swimming and tennis as well.

UC Berkeley is all set to host the 2008 Special Olympics Summer Games this weekend, which are expected to draw more than 900 athletes, 300 coaches and 1,300 volunteers from all over Northern California."



Patrick Kennedy and his young staff had a loooong lunch at 900 Thursday. When asked about any new project, he replied directly and courteously,

"Top Secret!"

My favorite Irish developer is lookin' reeeeally good these days.


And, Dave Kruse and his wife had lunch at 900 yesterday. Dave has been commuting to work on his Vespa a lot on these warm Spring days. He mentioned that, actually, his wife was the first to scooter and that she introduced him to scootering.

Well, Ok then!

Kimar had a Vespa in The Day.



"Outside groups spent $10 million in California to sway elections" writes Steven Harmon in our Times.

"Berkeley Assemblywoman Loni Hancock was one of the lucky few to survive campaigns mounted by outside political groups, which spent more than $10 million in legislative races during the just-concluded primaries.

But, while she called her win a triumph for democracy, outside money won out in most races. Of the 18 open primaries that received substantial independent expenditures, 12 resulted in victories for candidates who had more support from independent groups than their opponents, according to a MediaNews analysis.

Of those who overcame the outside campaigns, none faced as concerted an effort to defeat her as Hancock. Several political groups spent more than $500,000 against Hancock or on behalf of her opponent, former Assemblywoman Wilma Chan, as the two vied for the seat Senate Leader Don Perata, D-Oakland, will vacate at the end of the year. In comparison, groups spent $133,740 for Hancock or against Chan."


It is interesting to speculate how much of the outside opposition to our Loni Hancock is the aftermath of our "Marine recruiting incident."



Our Janine emails

Well, we now have program notes [by our John Phillips] for my June 8th concert!  Whether you can attend or not, I think they are quite interesting to read. Janine

Scarlatti and Spain

No one casts a larger shadow over 18th century Spanish keyboard music than the Italian Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757). Although he was renowned as a keyboard virtuoso from a young age (the contest with Handel occurred when both young men were twenty-two), that he would end up in a musically remote corner of Europe would have seemed improbable from the outset.

Domenico Scarlatti must have seemed destined for the musical theater. He was the musically gifted son of Alessandro Scarlatti, the leading composer of Neapolitan opera of the day.  He had two operas produced in Naples before he was twenty and within a few years was enjoying success in Rome, first in the service of the exiled Queen Maria Casmira of Poland and later as maestro of the Cappella Giulia in the Vatican. In 1719, at the age of 34, he suddenly abandoned his promising Roman career for a position as mestre de capela at the Portuguese court in distant Lisbon. Here, his duties included both the composition of sacred music and the musical instruction of the King's brother, Don Antonio, and daughter, the infanta Maria Barbara. When Maria Barbara was married to the Spanish infante in 1729, Scarlatti accompanied her to Spain where he remained as her music master (and spy for her father?) for the rest of his life. Once in Spain he apparently left the theater and any sort of what we would think of as public musical life behind. Instead, he seems to have concentrated mainly on chamber cantatas, perhaps often written for his friend and esteemed colleague, the castrato Farinelli, and hundreds of keyboard sonatas, certainly written for his royal pupil. It is on the latter that his fame rests.

Scarlatti had already found inspiration in the native song and dance of the Iberian Peninsula during his decade in Lisbon. After Maria Barbara's marriage the usually peripatetic Spanish court spent several years at the Alcázar in Seville. The musical impact of the flamenco and gypsy music of Andalucía on the Italian Scarlatti was profound. As Charles Burney noted, Scarlatti "imitated the melody of tunes sung by carriers, muleteers and common people". The sonatas written after 1729 are full of imitations of the Spanish guitar and often literal use of folk tunes and dances with their distinctive rhythms, phrygian harmonies and sudden shifts between major and minor. The enigmatic nature of Scarlatti's genius is that his music preserves the visceral intensity of its provincial elements while raising them to the level of high art.  He easily conjures musical imagery from beyond the confines of his instrument. The literal images are often fleeting; a single suggestive phrase or gesture is often all that is needed. It is in the musical staging of the imagery that Scarlatti's greatness lies. Each sonata is in fact a miniature piece of musical theater in which Scarlatti introduces, develops and closes his material with all the instincts of a skilled musical dramatist.

Although Scarlatti's musical activities in Spain were largely confined to Maria Barbara's inner circle, his musical influence on Spanish musicians was remarkable. Before Scarlatti, Spanish keyboard composers mostly concentrated on the contrapuntal tradition, inherited from Cabézon and Cabanilles; the great diferencías and tientos for the organ. Certain aspects of Spanish folk music ­hints of rhythms and harmony and a certain intensity of spirit­ were always present, but rarely was it literally stated. After Scarlatti, there is a notable change in the keyboard style, away from the church and the organ, becoming unabashedly secular. The spinning out of contrapuntal material or the sets of variations were abandoned for the Scarlatti model sonata in binary form and often arranged in sets of two or three by key.

Two of the most remarkable Spanish keyboard composers of the generation after Scarlatti are Padre Antonio Soler (1727-1783) and Manuel Blasco de Nebra (1750-1784). A native of Catalonia, Soler spent most of his adult life as a Hieronymite monk at the great monastery and palace of El Escorial near Madrid.  Like Scarlatti, Soler enjoyed the patronage of a gifted royal pupil, the infante Don Gabriel. The Spanish court spent three months every year at Philip II's somber monument to counter-reformation piety. There is no doubt that Soler had some contact with Scarlatti during these visits. Soler may be the copyist of some volumes of the surviving Scarlatti sonatas and may even have studied with the older man. In any case, Scarlatti's influence was profound. 

Soler's keyboard sonatas incorporate many of the same folk elements as Scarlatti's and use the similar compositional techniques of repetition of small figures and remarkable juxtapositions of harmonies. However Soler is clearly a creature of the younger generation. His phrases are more regular and his keyboard technique even more fluid and virtuoso. Elements of the modern galant and pre-classical styles are juxtaposed with purely flamenco figurations. The flamenco figurations also tend to be literal rather than merely allusions. Soler's sonatas are usually longer and more symmetrical than Scarlatti's. What are apparently later works (the chronology of Soler's sonatas in even more problematic than Scarlatti's) are often multi-movement. Above all in Soler's music there is a sense of the sheer joy and ease of its virtuosity.

Manuel Blasco de Nebra (1750-1784) came from a prominent musical family. He succeeded his father, José, as organist of the Seville cathedral, first as his assistant in 1768, then as organist in 1778. Until recently the only known keyboard works were his Seis Sonatas para clave y fuerte-piano, opus 1 (Madrid 1780). Blasco de Nebra's sonatas are all two movement slow-fast works, codifying the Scarlatti's pair-wise arrangement. The flamenco guitar allusions are even more literal than Soler's, contrasting with other motivic material which could easily have been lifted from contemporary Italian opera. Like both Soler and Scarlatti, Blasco de Nebra revels in the washes of instrumental sound and his virtuosity.

The music of Juan Sessé (1736-1801) represents the sort of Spanish keyboard music that escaped the influence of Domenico Scarlatti. Born in Aragon in the north of Spain, Sessé moved to Madrid as a young man and held several church organ posts, eventually winning that of second organist at the Capilla Real. His Seis Fugas para Organo y Clave, Obran1, was published in Madrid in 1773. These fugues are clearly rooted in the traditional contrapuntal style of the previous century, but with classical-sounding harmonies. There is nothing of the guitar to be heard.
If Scarlatti was an agent for change in the keyboard music of Spain, he seems also a vector bringing changes in the keyboard instruments themselves. His arrival in Lisbon in 1719 coincides with the appearance there of Florentine pianos. Recent research by John Koster and others has shown that Florentine harpsichords were also imported and the two types of instruments were used side by side with the pianos until very late in the 18th century. Eventually the local builders adapted this style of building ­heavy cased, single manual instruments, with two unison registers strung in brass­ to their native traditions. A number of Portuguese instruments survive which are native interpretations of Florentine designs. Unfortunately no Spanish harpsichords in this Florentine-based style survive, although there is ample evidence of their existence through invoices, inventories, and the music itself. 
The harpsichord used this afternoon was built by John Phillips in 1993 and is based on mid-18th century Florentine models, the cousins of the lost Spanish originals. There is one manual with 63 notes, FF-g3; enough for all the sonatas of Scarlatti, Blasco de Nebra, and virtually all the works of Soler. 

John Phillips



Jennifer emails fron Riva Cucina

A Toast to Summer at Riva Cucina!
Please join us in celebrating the arrival of summer at our first ever
winemaker dinner. We will be pairing 2007 Azur Sauvignon Blanc and
Rose', the perfect summer wines, with a four course menu featuring
the season's freshest and local ingredients. Winemaker Julien Fayard
and chef Massimiliano Boldrini will be on hand to discuss the wines
and menu.
When: 2008 Summer Solstice // Friday, June 20th at 7pm
Where: Riva Cucina // 800 Heinz Avenue, Berkeley
RSVP: 510 841 7482 // jennifer@rivacucina.com

Gamberoni all'Arrabbiata
Grilled jumbo prawns over cannellini beans, crispy pancetta and
tomato peperoncino puree' with rosemary-infused olive oil
Ravioli di Melanzane e Burrata
Roasted eggplant and Parmigiano ravioli, fresh tomato, basil, cream
filled fresh mozzarella
Filetto alle Cigliege
Roasted Niman Ranch pork tenderloin stuffed with cherries, butter and
sage, roasted potato, sautéed bell peppers, balsamic reduction
Sorbetto e Panna Cotta
Azur Rosé and raspberry sorbet paired with traditional Italian
"cooked creme"
2007 AZUR ROSE': This first vintage of rosé is delicately layered
with flavors of grapefruit, honeydew, and tropical fruit. Balanced
with a crisp, refreshing minerality and dry finish, this wine is a
versatile accompaniment to any summer fare. 200 cases produced.

2007 AZUR SAUVIGNON BLANC: This first vintage has a tantalizing nose
of Muscat and jasmine. A mosaic of melon and lychee fruit fills the
palate, with a crisp and refreshing acidity. 50 cases produced.
Event Price: $75 for four-course meal and Azur wine pairings.
Tax and gratuity is not included.



"Classic cuisine" is a report on fine dining in the St Petersburg Times by Matt Brown.


"Seen one palace, seen 'em all? St. Petersburg can be like that.

After the Bolshevik coup in 1917, the terrorists rubbed their hands with glee and stole hundreds of the city's grandest residences and put them to better use. One of the most notorious of these 'expropriations' concerned the Nabokov Mansion on Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa, the house where author Vladimir Nabokov was born in 1899. In
his autobiography written in the 1950s, Nabokov wrote bitterly, not of the theft of mere bricks and mortar but of a past despoiled by the thuggery of the Soviet state.

But St. Petersburg's palaces are now being returned to something of their former splendor if not to their former owners or their ancestors. The Nabokov House survived being made into offices and even a laundry and now houses a fascinating museum about the writer.

And the Polovtsev Mansion, on the other side of the street from the Nabokov Mansion, once the residence of a courtier to Tsar Alexander III, became Dom Arkhitektura (House of Architects) under the Soviets. It remains the HQ for the city's architects but also houses a restaurant that attempts to recapture an Imperial idyll.

Polovtsev Mansion // 52 Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa. Tel: 571 5900. // www.polovtsev.restoran.ru // Open from noon through 11 p.m. // Dinner for two without alcohol 1,850 rubles ($75)"





"Under water" writes George Avalos in our Times.

"Under water. Upside down. Negative equity. No matter the terminology to describe the erosion of home equity in the East Bay, the conclusion is inescapable: A local housing sector that once was remarkable for how high it could soar has plunged into the depths.

About two out of three East Bay homes that were bought since 2005 are now worth less than the mortgages on the houses, according to a Zillow.com study. The research by Zillow, an online real estate service, portrays a fresh set of woes for a sinking residential real estate market.

Zillow's survey determined that, on average, 59 percent of the houses bought in Alameda County in 2005, 2006, and 2007 now have negative equity. That means the amount of the mortgage exceeded the value of
the house. In Contra Costa County, an average of 76 percent of the homes bought during those years now suffer from negative equity.

San Joaquin County and Solano County fared much worse. In San Joaquin, an average of 93 percent of the homes bought in the same three years are worth less than their mortgages. In Solano County, 85
percent of the homes bought during the 2005 through 2007 period are under water."




Eternally useful links

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

Want to see weather coming in, going out, beautiful sunsets, and much, much more? Check out http://sv.berkeley.edu/view/ 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.


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

Kimar finds Costco routinely has the lowest price.


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.



Markets is not just a reference for Berkeley-Hills radicals with 1.5 mil homes and considerable portfolios.


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


Our Berkeley PD Site with crime statistics and more is here.

Crime Log for 94710 is here

This site is NOT affiliated with Berkeley PD.
Take time to report crime!

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 new Area Coordinator is Officer Karen Buckheit, Berkeley PD - 981-5774 kbuckheit@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Angela Gallegos-Castillo, City Mgr Off - 981-2491 agallegos-castillo@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Ryan Lau, aid to Darryl Moore - 981-7120 rlau@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Darryl Moore, City Councilman dmoore@ci.berkeley.ca.us


More Scrambled Eggs & Lox, here


Stories about Berkeley and stories about recorded-music

are at

Journal of Recorded Music 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11



The original owner of all scanned material retains copyright. The material is used only to illustrate