‘Upstream Color’: a metaphysical rabbit hole

Early twentieth century Russian filmmaker Dziga Vertov once observed that “everybody who cares for his art seeks the essence of his own technique.” Director Shane Carruth’s sophomore effort, the new film “Upstream Color,” strikes directly at this exploration; it is a sprawling, emotionally wrought movie whose abstract plot seems less
Read More…

Kurzweil reveals secret to immortality

Thinker and inventor Ray Kurzweil discusses his visions for the future

Ray Kurzweil has always had an eye for solving problems, whether it was with his reading machine for the blind or his Kurzweil K250 synthesizer. Now he is dedicated to solving humankind’s greatest problem — the advent of death. This was the topic of his lecture Saturday night in Wheeler
Read More…

BareStage play spells its way to laughter

‘Spelling Bee’ performance is uproarious

Here’s how to put on a disturbingly hilarious and outrageously entertaining musical in a confined basement-slash-student-theater: Take six socially awkward and sensationally idiosyncratic elementary school students, give them each a Red Bull or two and have them battle it out in a local spelling bee put on by equally strange
Read More…

Falling in Love

UC Berkeley student and rapper Kaila Love dishes on her background and inspirations

“It’s all about energy; when you catch a flow, you’re maybe starting out with a couple words and a contact or a rhyme but you literally catch it. You can feel the energy building,” Kaila Love said when asked if one could learn freestyle. Like her response, her energy caught
Read More…

Berkeley student engineers success

Software developer and EECS student Michael Bao makes a name for himself in video games

Michael Bao’s friends call him Mikey, and on the weekends, they all play Mario games on the Wii. Bao, a second-year EECS major at Cal, is known for not being particularly good at Super Mario Bros. — but when it comes to making games, Bao’s friends turn to him for
Read More…

Jay-Z’s audio engineer visits Berkeley

Young Guru stops in Berkeley as part of educational tour for students interested in audio engineering

Those behind the scenes in music rarely get properly recognized. This isn’t the case for Grammy Award-winning audio engineer Young Guru, who has engineered and mixed seven of Jay-Z’s 11 solo albums, as well as music from several other high-profile musicians. Guru kept mum about Jay-Z’s forthcoming album. “I can’t
Read More…

Samuel Avishay’s Picks of the Week

Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown There are only three remaining Japantowns in the United States, and we are lucky to have one in San Francisco. Every year, in each of the three Japantowns, the blooming of the Japanese cherry blossoms, the “sakura,” is celebrated with a festival that attracts hundreds
Read More…

Syd tha Kyd at The New Parish

This past weekend welcomed the month’s First Friday festivities, and, as usual, hundreds of Bay Area socialites came out to celebrate art, music and good vibes throughout downtown Oakland. One of the city’s very own arts and culture magazines, Wine & Bowties, brought Syd tha Kyd to The New Parish
Read More…

The Knife: Shaking the Habitual

Following seven years of relative dormancy, the Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer have released Shaking the Habitual, an explicitly political record that forces listeners to adapt to its uncompromising, unconventional and seemingly inaccessible terms. The dense, sprawling work, with its politicized lyrics, industrial sounds and chilling ambience, is
Read More…

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Mosquito

If there’s one problem plaguing the creative output of NYC trio Yeah Yeah Yeahs (and rest assured, there is likely more than one problem), it’s that they don’t have much to prove anymore. After ascending to notoriety with their gritty, minimalist debut Fever to Tell, they managed to conjure up
Read More…