The “Berkeley Bullfighting” sign at 2125 5th St. The “Berkeley Bullfighting” sign at 2125 5th St. The first indication that something quirky be here is the “Berkeley Bullfighting Academy” sign on the front of Stan Humcilman’s house at 2125 5th St. between Allston Way and Addison Street. It is a remnant from the “How Berkeley […]
Freelancer Tom Dalzell has lived in Berkeley since 1984. After working for Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers for 10 years as a legal worker and then lawyer, he went to work for another labor union in 1981 and has been there since, first as an attorney, and, since 2006, as its elected leader. In his free time he walks the streets of Berkeley, street by street and block by block, recording and photographing the quirky material culture that he finds. Dalzell, who is an expert on slang, writes the Quirky Berkeley blog and contributes to Berkeleyside about his finds, both in the present tense and with an occasional foray into Berkeley’s non-conformist past.
How Quirky is Berkeley? The fence of doors on Ashby Ave
2910 Ashby Ave. Photo: John Storey Ashby Avenue above College is not exactly where one would expect a major manifestation of quirky material culture. The houses are large, stately, well-heeled, and well-landscaped. But, after all, we are Berkeley, and quirk can and is anywhere and everywhere. Michael and Becky O’Malley have lived at 2910 Ashby […]
How Quirky is Berkeley? Buldan Seka’s ceramic friends
Buldan Seka. Photo: John Storey Buldan Seka’s giant, brightly painted, freakish ceramic sculptures have caught the eye and attention of drivers and bikers and walkers on upper Spruce Street in Berkeley for years. Her front yard is a stunning gallery of her large, ceramic works. Seka was born in Macedonia to Turkish-Yugoslavian family that moved […]
Quirky art wall stripped bare at request of UC Berkeley
The found-object ‘art wall’ in an alley west of Euclid before it was stripped bare. Photo: Colleen Neff The found-object ‘art wall’ in an alley west of Euclid before it was stripped bare. Photo: Colleen Neff A striking Berkeley chain-link fence covered in found objects, including teddy bears and bras, was recently stripped bare, two days […]
How Quirky is Berkeley? Double V at 360 Vassar St.
360 Vassar Avenue. Photo: John Storey When Randi and Steve Herman moved into their home on Vassar Street 25 years ago, they had taken a chance with marriage and set out to create a garden that would make them smile when they came home. In front of the home are two large, bright yellow V’s, salvaged […]
How Quirky is Berkeley? The west-of-Euclid alley
Alley west of Euclid Avenue. Photo: Colleen Neff A narrow alley runs between Ridge Road and Hearst Avenue behind the stores on the west side of Euclid Avenue. On business days it is filled with parked cars, some pointed south, some north. There are many overflowing trash cans. There are often homeless people camping or […]
How Quirky is Berkeley? Marcia Donahue’s amazing world
Marcia Donahue in front her house on Wheeler Street. Photo: John Storey Marcia Donahue has lived at 3017 Wheeler St. for 37 years. She has gardened there for 37 years, exquisitely and creatively, favoring lush and jungle-like plantings that change with the changing sunlight of the day. She has created art there for 37 years. […]
How Quirky is Berkeley? Julie Partos Clark raises the quirky bar on Webster Street
2634 Webster St. Photo: Andy Partos At 2634 Webster St., just west of College, there is a regularly changing themed sidewalk art installation. “Regularly” might not be the perfect adverb there, though, because there is no schedule for changes, no plan for changes, not sketches for the next one – just changes when the moment is […]
How Quirky is Berkeley? Doug Heine’s Gate 13 art
813 Page St. Photo: John Storey When telling someone how to find Doug Heine’s studio at 813 Page St., it seems logical to mention the airplane tail protruding from the roof; that seems to me to be a significant marker of a quirky nature. When Doug Heine is telling people how to find his studio, he mentions […]
How Quirky is Berkeley? Peace now!
Peace sign at 1301 Henry St., Berryman Street side of house. Photo: John Storey As befits our city’s political past, Berkeley today is a bastion of peace iconography. The peace sign on the outside of the Hog Farm compound on Berryman shown above is only one of hundreds of signs, flags, and poles declaring our […]
Family to hold sale of art from famed sculptor Izzy Sher
Backyard of 1312 Virginia St. Photo: John Storey On Saturday April 18 and Sunday April 19, Zalman Sher is opening his backyard at 1312 Virginia Street in Berkeley for a cash-and-carry sale of art created by his father, the late Emil “Izzy” Sher (1912-1999), a renowned sculptor who came to the United States from the […]
How Quirky is Berkeley? Benches!
Bench at 1748 Marin Ave. Photo: John Storey Conny Bleul-Gohlke’s Marin Avenue bench honoring her parents on their 50th wedding anniversary is an exceptional example of an almost-only-in-Berkeley tradition – benches placed in front of houses for pedestrians to sit on. It is a charming feature of life in Berkeley, and one that is not […]