About Me

Credit: David Lance Goines

I've lived in Berkeley for over 20 years: I'm the girl in shabby black clothes who is always carrying a book. Hmm, that could describe half of Berkeley.


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Old BerkeleyOne summer a good friend fled wildfires in Big Sur and crashed at my place in Berkeley. As we hunted blogs for news of the fire, we got a chuckle out of the adventures of a guy who only stopped to save his teapot and his flute. This remark perfectly captures the cultural spirit of Berkeley, where there’s a Guanyin statue or a rustic tea house lurking in every nook and cranny.

Berkeley is one of those rare communities that emanates a quasi-sacred sense of place. My friend grew up in Berkeley during the bohemian 50s and radical 60s, and he worked for Pauline Kael (film critic for The New Yorker) at the Berkeley Cinema Guild. Over the years he worked as a librarian, an editor, an architect, and an amateur playwright: he became part of the tapestry of  the local culturati. For years I’ve been begging him to write a book about Berkeley’s unique flavor.

The last wafting vapors of the Free Speech Movement attracted me to Berkeley as a student, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. During that time I’ve worked for various creative folk, taken classes with founders of the Berkeley Film Festival, enjoyed plenty of theater and jazz, and have generally wandered around appreciating all the beautiful things in Berkeley. While I occasionally fantasize about living at Normandy Village, I’m still lucky enough to  live across the street from the famous Thai Temple Brunch, one block away from The Shotgun Players, four blocks away from NaNoWriMo’s Office of Letters and Light, and just a couple blocks away from Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles, La Pena Cultural Center, and the Artist and Craftsman Supply Store (in a landmark building that once held art studios of Richard Diebenkorn and members of the Bay Area Figurative Movement). On a good day I can spot a member of The Grotto or see awesome indy productions in the park. San Francisco is three rock skips across the bay, where I’ve met people from Mother Jones, Wired, and Industrial Light and Magic. Berkeley is also right next door to Oakland, which has been conjuring it’s own kind of cultural renaissance (notably, The Crucible).

I now realize that I’ve been drifting around Berkeley long enough to investigate its culture(s) myself. On this web site I will post interviews with Berkeley artists and writers to map out Berkeley’s myriad cultural communities. I hope to discover connections and resources that nourish creative endeavors for the benefit of local struggling artists and for other places that aspire to become a great cultural mecca like Berkeley.