18 Things You Need to Know About Living in Berkeley
2.) Timothy Leary’s first wife committed suicide in their Berkeley home in 1955. Leary was all set to go to the Cal football game on Saturday morning and when he went to his garage his wife was dead in the car with the exhaust going.
3.) Ace Backwords hails from Berkeley and is renowned for occasionally posting odd comments on his Facebook page.
4.) Susanna Hoffs — the sexpot lead-singer of the Bangles — graduated from UC Berkeley (otherwise known as Cal) in 1980.
5.) Cal football coach Joe Kapp was fired for (among other things) angrily responding to a critical question at a press conference by unzipping the zipper of his trousers in the direction of the reporter. Which turned into a scandal known as Zippergate. Cal football fans responded with a pre-game chant: “Win one for the zipper!” (Now those are football fans!)
7.) Cal professor Peter Duesberg was one of the most respected virologists in the world in the 1980s. So they gave him a bunch of money to study the HIV virus. He concluded: “HIV has nothing to do with AIDS.” So they cut off all of his funding and now he’s a pariah.
8.) My Facebook friends Ed Novak and Nicholas Byram graduated from Cal, as did my older sister Kathy.
9.) Famous Berkeley street person, the Hate Man, is a former reporter for the New York Times, and in the 1990s was regularly voted “Most Popular Berkeley Campus Character.”
10.) Meredith Hunter — the guy who got killed by the Hell’s Angels at the Rolling Stones concert at Altamont — was a Berkeley High student.
11.) The famous baseball manager, Billy Martin, was raised as a boy in the flatlands of Berkeley (below San Pablo Avenue) and graduated from Berkeley High in 1946.
12.) During the People’s Park riots in 1969, John Lennon, in a crucial radio interview, urged the demonstrators to “man the barricades with flowers.”
13.) Rolling Stone magazine publisher, Jan Wenner, started his career in journalism writing a column for the Daily Cal, the campus newspaper, under the pseudonym Mr. Jones. He would go to Ken Kesey’s Acid Tests and review the shows for their entertainment value.
14.) Phil Lesh, the bass player for the Grateful Dead, was a Cal grad. I believe he majored in Music, of all things.
15.) In 1995 the controversial historian David Irving was going to deliver a lecture on the Berkeley campus. But angry demonstrators massed at the Mario Savio Free Speech Plaza (ironically enough) bearing protest signs saying “NO FREE SPEECH FOR FASCISTS!!” And prevented Irving from giving his speech.
16.) Tim Armstrong, of the famous punk band Rancid, used to work at Blondie’s Pizza on Telegraph Avenue before he became famous.
17.) The first scene of the ’60s movie “The Graduate” showed the actor Dustin Hoffman sitting at “the window seat” of the Caffe Mediterranean, an iconic Telegraph Ave coffee shop.
18.) You can purchase a large coffee at the McDonald’s on Shattuck & University for 1 dollar, which is an excellent deal.