News & Opinion

East Bay Tramp: Charlie Chaplin took over Niles and then the world

In 1869 Niles was a sleepy agricultural town situated some 20 miles south of Oakland and 20 miles north of San Jose, almost in the shadow of Mission Peak. Then the train arrived, and Niles became one of the last links in the transcontinental railroad connecting the East and the West coasts. Surveyors had concluded that picturesque Niles Canyon offered the best route through the East Bay Hills and into the San Francisco Bay Area, so it was through there that the first Central Pacific railroad rolled into the Bay Area on Sept. 6, 1869. Some 43 years later, in 1912, Gilbert “Bronco Billy” Anderson, cowboy star and director, decamped the train into Niles, the junction point linking Oakland, Stockton and Sacramento. Anderson liked what he saw—the rushing stream and steep ravines of Niles Canyon...

The Story of Plastic: The evolution of an eco pirate on capitalism’s amoral seas

  Activist and filmmaker Stiv Wilson isn’t fighting to end plastic pollution. He’s fighting to end a system dependent on plastic. Can decades of work and a noteworthy cache of film awards make a drop of difference in an ocean of disposable everything? A Ticket to the Show. If you’ve ever been to the sagging Skates on the Bay restaurant in Berkeley, you know it’s a writer’s dream of a watering hole: A classic cocktail joint (of types both liquid and crustacean) on the waterfront, where the prices are Chicago-steakhouse comical, the service is more nostalgic than competent and the hipsters are in mercifully short supply. A few pebble skips away is the Berkeley Yacht Club and its members-only honor bar, reliably populated with colorful old salts downing rum drinks long after the barkeep ...

The Oakland in Me

Harris got into politics at a young age and at 13 she and her sister staged a protest regarding children being allowed to play on the lawn.

Joel Bernstein sees the light

Acclaimed rock ’n’ roll photographer and longtime Rockridge resident Joel Bernstein was still a teen when he asked Neil Young if he could play with Young’s new mother-of-pearl-inlaid Martin D-45 backstage. After a few minutes, when Young was called to go onstage, Bernstein quickly tuned the instrument and handed it back. Three years later, Young remembered the perfect tuning and asked Bernstein to be his guitar tech. Bernstein continued carrying his camera as he toured with Young, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Prince, documenting both iconic moments and quiet, reflective ones from a vantage most fans never see.  Bernstein also captured images from the biggest stadium tour since the Beatles—Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s 1974 sweep—which became a blueprint for the 1970s model th...


AUTHOR Charlie Jane Anders, one of We Love Bookstores’ organizers, is most recently the author of ‘The City in the Middle of the Night.

The Silver Stream

Courtesy of Zeitgeist Films Come on, admit it, you miss going to the movies. The $15 ticket price on a Saturday night, the $8.75 bag of popcorn, the enormous plastic cups of soda that invariably get spilled and the resulting sticky floors. The blaring pre-event “feature,” usually an infomercial for pre-teen-favorite websites and TV shows, blasting at top volume. Followed by endless coming-attractions trailers (Tom Cruise! Margot Robbie! Those adorable Trolls!). And finally, the feature film itself. Summertime at the multiplex wouldn’t be the same without SpongeBob Squarepants 3, Top Gun: Maverick, or My Spy, with the delightful Dave Bautista.  See what we’ve been missing out on? Of course, there are other options for stuck-at-home, movie-loving audiences bewildered by conflicting shel...


‘I was determined to rebuild my brain to become a writer. I was aware my brain was building new neural paths and demonstrating neuroplasticity, and that what I did would affect the building of those new pathways.’ —Christine Lee


Photo by Cottonbro. SICK OF IT Does she or doesn’t she … have the coronavirus? A ‘Presumed Positive’ Story By Katherine Butler Day One: It’s allergies. You wake up and stare at the bright morning sun. Are you awake? Have you slipped through the multiverse into an alternate time frame with a pandemic and a living sock monster as president? It’s hard to tell, because your head feels like it’s been filled with balloons and rainwater. Your six-year-old calls out to ask if he can watch Pokémon before homeschooling, even though this will cause him to behave like he’s been on a bender with an English punk rock band from the 1980s. You say, “Yes” and sit up. You’re an underwater sea creature who has flopped onto the beach, and now you’re going to dry out in the sand for a bit. Shit, your allergies...

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