The Smoothie Man

Berkeley smoothie store owner watches the war back home in Syria from afar

Jamal, owner and operator of both Banana Sam’s and Hummingbird Cafe on Euclid Avenue, emigrated from Syria to the United States in 1985 at the age of 24. Jamal left Syria to study in the United States and escape the country’s escalating violence, but was unable to return for 20 years.
Anya Schultz/Senior Staff
Jamal, owner and operator of both Banana Sam’s and Hummingbird Cafe on Euclid Avenue, emigrated from Syria to the United States in 1985 at the age of 24. Jamal left Syria to study in the United States and escape the country’s escalating violence, but was unable to return for 20 years.

Editor’s Note: Jamal’s last name has been removed from this story in the interest of his family’s safety.  By the time the customers start arriving in the morning, Jamal has been up for hours. He woke at 5 a.m. and drove from his home in Richmond to an Oakland wholesaler Read More…

ALVH-060 - Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) makes an historic speech.

Lincoln brings fresh blood to cliche vampire films

At first sight, previews for “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” spurred the only thought that could overshadow the blatant absurdity of its title: “Do we really need more vampire movies?” The answer to that question, of course, is no. Interestingly enough this film succeeds in not only separating itself from much of today’s vampire rage. Read More…

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TV Land: Something completely different

The late ’90s were trying times for all of us. It was clear the apocalypse was near as Y2K was imminent, the first “Star Wars” prequel was released and some sadistic son of a bitch decided bleached tips were an attractive quality for pre-adolescent boys. For better or worse, Lance Read More…