As students here, the midterm season and academic grind in general have surely worn us down. We all need something new to stimulate the senses once and awhile. So if you’re in the mood for some free (free, FREE) local art and entertainment, the Berkeley Art Museum is the place to be. This fall, the BAM (an apt acronym) is putting on a variety of different events, most notably the severely underrated [email protected] Friday Nights concert series hosted in the heart of the Barry McGee art exhibition. And to top that off, it’s absolutely free to students with Cal ID! Here’s some trivia: did you know the series is in its third year? We had no idea. This could be one of Berkeley’s best kept secrets.

We got a peek at local printmaker and graffiti artist Barry McGee’s art installation, which spans three floors of the BAM. Here are some of our favorite pieces of the exhibit, to give you a taste of his distinct style:


In your face!

Is this a real dude? You'll have to visit to find out... *wink wink*

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So it’s finals season again, and the best students are studying. But you aren’t, and why should you? After all, you’ve got your Anoncon, TV to catch up on, and the like. So how about going to see a documentary about the Mexican justice system? It’s on tonight May 3 at 6:30 at the PFA, and it’s $11 for students. This way you can procrastinate and learn something (not involving Piano Cat) at the same time.

The documentary is Roberto Hernandez’ and Geoffrey Smith’s “Presumed Guilty” (o “Presunto culpable”) and it deals with a justice system that’s well, corrupt. The system has a 95 percent conviction rate, and this documentary “forcefully expose(s) the gross unfairness of the Mexican courts.” Hernandez will be on hand for the screening as well, presumably to answer questions.

So show your face at the PFA tonight, mmkay? You’ll learn something, it’ll be a break from studying (hem hem, Anoncon), and you can vent your frustration at the Mexican justice system. The law, indeed.

Film programs [BAM/PFA]
Image source: Keith Burtis under Creative Commons


So the BAM has been having a rough time lately. First they wanted to build a new space and they hired architect Toyo Ito to help them. Then, whoops, they discovered it was “prohibitively expensive” and they ended their relationship with Ito, deciding instead to relocate to Center and Oxford in downtown Berkeley. And now they’re looking for architects again.

Don’t get too excited, though, freelance architects (oh yeah, we know you’re out there)–they’ve already solicited 10 firms and they are naming their designer in June. They’re being adorably coy about the solicited firms, but they will confirm that read more »

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Thursday night the Pacific Film Archive showed a collection of student films entitled “Fleshed Out.” We weren’t sure what to expect from the title until we walked in a few minutes late and we were faced with a 15-foot vagina on the screen. The first film was a disturbing montage of medical consultations … let’s just say there was lots of body hair and penetration.

The second one was about a mock researcher named Sarah Gray who was investigating the “Ego Monster,” a naked bird-like creature with a bulbous stomach that called itself “Fraat” and squawked something about coming from L.A. and being a photographer. We assumed it was some kind of criticism of SoCal Frat boys, but then the film just ended. We found out it was originally part of an instillation for an art class … alright, that makes sense. read more »

shorts11In these hard economic times you might feel the need to escape to the cinema of the “good old days,” you know, back in the ’30s when things were simpler and people were happier. Oh wait. The Pacific Film Archive brings you a new series “From Riches to Rags: Hollywood and the New Deal.” In case you forgot that we’re in a recession. [Daily Planet]

In other depressing news: The Berkeley City Council just raised parking fines $5 in order to help relieve California’s budget crisis. Fines on game days more than doubled. Why can’t those pesky meter people pick on someone their own speed—like golf cart drivers, or people in wheel chairs? [Daily Planet] read more »

Earlier this week, the Chron featured the plans for the newest museum to hit Berkeley streets. The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive will move to Center and Oxford streets with Japanese architect Toyo Ito’s innovative design.

Take a look for yourselves: The curved wall design and open spaces beats the old BAM fan building by far. The new building will be three stories, with each room leading into the next and walls just 5 inches thick. Only three of which will be concrete.

Ito plans to merge town and gown with the new building, as it sits right between downtown and the edge of campus. The whole building seems very fluid and open. Frankly, anything is better than Evans Hall, but we’re seriously looking forward to seeing the museum completed.

Too bad, then, that construction will begin in 2010 and the opening will be in 2013. Even next fall’s freshies will be graduated by then.

Image Source: Marshall Astor under Creative Commons
Box of plenty: design for Berkeley Art Museum [Chron]

poster_unseeable.jpgDo you like movies? Do you like movies with subtitles? Do you like scary movies with subtitles? How about scary movies with subtitles, hot Thai chicks, ghosts, dead babies, plot non sequiturs and confused rickshaw drivers?

Then you’ll love ‘”The Unseeable.” “The Unseeable” is a Thai horror flick from critically acclaimed director, Wisit Sasanatieng, which played at the Pacific Film Archive last night as a part of the 26th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (a.k.a. SFIAAFF XXVI).

Trailer after the jump … read more »