Saturday, February 18, 2006

Scenes from the wine country

I was lucky enough to spend a few days in the wine country where the mustard was blooming and the temperature hovered around 70 degrees. I'm off again to the snow, where it will be cold and grey. Ah, the extremes of winter in California!

A few things I have enjoyed recently:

Mark Pritchard interviews Meredith Maran, an East Bay writer who is writing a novel after 10 books of non-fiction. Meredith has an essay in the new anthology Why I'm Still Married which is a delightful account of meeting her French lover after thinking love would never strike her again.

The Bancroft Library is celebrating 100 years on the Berkeley campus with a fantastic exhibit at the Berkeley Art Museum. This is a must-see. There is the gold nugget that started the Gold Rush, old maps of California, letters from people like Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, William Randolph Hearst, pictures of San Francisco in the Gold Rush, after the earthquake and fire, and much more.

I went to the opening reception and was looking at a picture of Black Panther Huey Newton. It was taken when he was young and gorgeous. His chest rippled and his skin was smooth. Just then Kathleen Cleaver, the former wife of Eldridge Cleaver and an early member of the Panthers, walked up. I commented on how charismatic Newton looked. She agreed but said she always was more attracted to "bad boys" and that's why she hooked up with Eldridge!

Kathleen Cleaver, who now works at Yale, came to Berkeley to talk at a two-day conference sponsored by the Bancroft Library. It was almost a mini-review of the West, as the talks ranged from the Mexican rule to biotechnology. I think this library --- which also has a wonderful exhibit of the San Francisco earthquake on view at Doe Library -- is one of the region's most amazing resources. Posted by Picasa


Susan said...

Great interview with Meredith - I love her blissed out photo.

The Napa mustard photo is really beautiful, too. Looks heavenly.

Mark Pritchard said...

Thanks for the link!