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Cover | Colette Calascione

Self Portrait with Internal Landscape (oil on wood panel, 2004). Inspired by books and images of earlier eras—particularly the Victorian—Colette Calascione invents her own world. Usually riffing off (but not replicating) a pleasing image of a woman or child in an old photograph, Calascione shapes an original vision. For her many-layered oil paintings, she likes to undress clothed figures in photos to create an original mise-en-scène. Born in San Francisco in 1971, Calascione received her B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute. She now lives as artist-in-residence on an old ranch deep in the wilderness of San Simeon, which also functions as a “monastery and wildlife sanctuary.” “After living in cities all my life it’s like living on another planet,” she says. “I wash my laundry in a creek while listening to my iPod and my neighbors go around dressed in dark-red-and-gold robes; it’s a bit twisted and quite lovely.” Calascione’s work can be seen online at Eclectix Gallery. For information about Calascione’s paintings, contact the Nancy Hoffman Gallery at; to contact the artist, or for inquiries about prints:




Digital Edition

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May 2010 Issue:
Table of Contents

|  Persians Find Their Place
Despite news of strife and civic unrest in Iran regularly making headlines, local Iranians—once a relatively obscure group in the wildly diverse East Bay—are enjoying, paradoxically, something of a moment in the sun. Through vibrant public celebrations of holidays, outreach by language and cultural programs like Berkeley’s Golestan Kids, the passionate promotion of traditional Persian cuisine, and more, local Iranian-Americans are keeping the culture alive. But like young people everywhere, children of Iranian ancestry struggle to make sense of their heritage. By Maggie Fazeli Fard

UP FRONT | Ambassadors of the Avenues
Berkeley’s innovative Host Ambassador Program puts former derelicts back on the street. The catch is, these recently rehabbed men and women—the “Ambassadors”—are paid to reach out to still struggling peers, connecting them with social services and warning them away from offensive public behavior. Downtown merchants, among others, say the program is making a difference.   By Eve Kushner

Shopping Around |  Spring Greening
First rule of spring: As the weather warms up, gardeners get down and dirty. Second rule: But first, they go shopping. As dyed-in-the wool green-thumb types already know—and novices are about to learn—there’s no shortage of East Bay sources for seeds, plants, pots, tools, mulch, flagstones, and other fun paraphernalia to perfect that fertile plot.   By Jeanne Storck

The Kilduff File |  Syndi Seid
Modern etiquette involves much more than minding your P’s and Q’s, says local manners maven Syndi Seid. Sure, dressing for dinner is still a “do.” But what about talking back to your elders, or picking up your cell in the middle of a soiree? In these complex times, people pay Seid big bucks to set them straight. This month, though, Monthly readers pick up some hot tips for free.  By Paul Kilduff

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Editor’s Note:
a look at this month’s issue and commentary on life in the East Bay

Letters: reader responses to The Monthly’s stories
Be East Bay: an introduction to interesting people, places and events in your community

Critics Choice: highlights of this month’s happenings in art, theater, film, dance and music

Boutique Bazaar: distinctive small shops in the East Bay

Food for Thought: local caterers and food and wine purveyors

Dining Guide: a selection of East Bay restaurants

Marketplace Home: a catalog of services for your home and garden

Marketplace Services: a catalog of personal and creative services

Kartoon Korner: editorial cartoons to entertain and agitate

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