Ken Sarachan’s Mad Monk is open. For many the building on the southwest corner of Telegraph and Haste will always be Cody’s. For many more, there will be no memory of Cody’s. So it goes.
Inside Mad Monk – books and records.
Also inside Mad Monk, there are nine painted metal portrait sculptures by Mark Bulwinke. They depict iconic Berkeley figures, both past and living. If you click on the sculpture photos, you will get full screen. I recommend this practice.
Julia Vinograd is often described as a “street poet.” This is not a useful label for me.
She is a poet. She is often seen on Telegraph Avenue, sometimes blowing bubbles. She often writes about the poor and homeless of the Berkeley street. But, street poet?
She is a chromosome in the DNA of Berkeley. Long may she run.
Mario Savio, the patriarch of political Berkeley. He became one of the primary faces of the Free Speech Movement in 1964 after a summer with SNCC in Mississippi.
His oratory and love of ideas and dignity were of another time. His most famous words, spoken on December 2, 1964, on the steps of Sproul Hall:
There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!
I am moved.
Robert Oppenheimer taught physics at Cal.
His work and leadership were critical to the development of the atomic bomb. After the war, the rat bastard of Hawthorne Terrace Ed Teller, who preferred the greater destruction of the hydrogen bomb, threw Oppenheimer under the anti-communist moral panic bus -“I would feel personally more secure if public matters would rest in other hands.” Security clearance revoked. End of meaningful research career. A martyr to a moral panic.
Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was a Russian monk / mystic / faith leader / charlatan who made himself a trusted and influential friend of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.
Come the Russian Revolution, Rasputin was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Things did not end well for him.
It is said – on dit – that Rasputin appeared to Sarachan in a dream and guided him to sell flat round things – pizza and record albums. I have never talked with Ken Sarachan and so repeat this only as third-hand street gossip. I will effort getting second or first-hand on this tale.
Thinker, publisher, a student of the Ohlone. Founder of Heday Press, which in August 2016 will publish Quirky Berkeley, the book. Volume 1, one hopes.
Here Malcolm listens to me speaking at Books Inc. in the summer of 2015 about the future of Berkeley. It’s all about me!
Not it’s not. Malcolm is the pure, unrefined, highly concentrated epitome of all that is good about the Berkeley that I celebrate.
Moe Moskowitz. He founded Moe’s Books, with the earliest common ancestor opening in 1959. All about him here.
Books, politics, the arts, culture. A cigar. New York city seeping from him. Berkeley seeping from him. A true prince of Berkeley. Gone, not forgotten.
I found it striking that this Bulwinkle sculpture portrait of Moe is in old Cody’s.
Moe and Fred Cody had much and little in common. Their politics clashed – both left of center, but different lefts. There were business differences. There is no mention – none – of Moskowitz in Pat Cody’s Cody’s Books.
But here is Moe at old Cody’s.
I asked Bulwinkle – why Moe? Why no Cody? Was he taking sides?
Hardly. I got another lesson in what it is to be, as Bulwinkle is, a refugee from the rational culture.
Bulwinkle said: “Making art about something or someone who means nothing to me would not be art. Strictly speaking, I am not a historian. I am just an artist who dwells on himself and his response to the world around him. What comes out is what you’re gonna get and what I’m gonna get. And that’s all it is.”
He liked Moe. Didn’t know Cody. that’s all.
And speaking of Bulwinkle. Here is a Bulwinkle self-portrait.
I have said it before and I will say it again – Mark Bulwinkle is the true north of Quirky Berkeley. Honest. Bemused. Passionate. Hard-working. Genius.
These depict Ken and Laurie Brown Sarachan, owners of Mad Monk and other Berkeley businesses.
I have no interest – zero, nada, zilch – in exploring or fanning the flames of the controversy that swirls around Sarachan in Berkeley. God knows I have enough conflict and controversy in my work life without plunging into Berkeley Holy Wars. He has done good things. He has drawn criticism. My life is full. I don’t need to jump into this.
Sarachan is, if nothing else, a patron of Bulwinkle art. You can see a number of Bulwinkle sculptures commissioned by Sarachan at Bear Basics (2350 Telegraph, the southwest corner of Telegraph and Durant), a former Rasputin’s site. And Bulwinkle’s art is a big part of Mad Monk – the balcony, the sconces, the tile in the restrooms, and the portrait sculptures.
These Bulwinkle sculptures make me smile. Their art, their craft, and the people that they depict. Good job Bulwinkle! Thank you Ken Sarachan.
I showed the photos to my friend, who hasn’t gotten over to Mad Mad Monk yet. My friend claims a long-ago friendship with Savio. I am not sure about it. “Your friend Bulwinkle nailed it here, didn’t he? Again.” He lingered over Oppenheimer. I sensed an untold story. I would poke until I got it, but first – what did he think of the post?