3 Important books on Mideast crisis


East Bay Monthly, March 2017 —   The East Bay has a strong culture of political resistance. We take pride in our history of opposing U.S. military interventions, from Vietnam to the Middle East. In January, some 100,000 people marched against Trump in Oakland. Now that we have President Donald Trump—I still have trouble writing … Continue reading

Comedy in the Era of Trump: Who gets the last laugh?


East Bay Monthly, Feb. 2017 —   Comedian and solo performer Sandra Tsing Loh says Left Coast theatergoers were in a state of shock after Trump came to power. So at the beginning of her recent Berkeley show, she invited the audience to let out an inner scream against Trump, whom she lovingly refers to … Continue reading

 Julieta and Manchester by the Sea – film reviews


  FROM THE LEFT SIDE OF THE BALCONY The Monthly,  January 2017 By Reese Erlich Two films opening this month in the Bay Area, by some cosmic coincidence, deal with the same theme. One finds a mother trying to unravel the mysterious disappearance of her daughter. The other finds a daughter searching for her mysterious … Continue reading

Cheapskates Unite to Save Environment


 The Original Cheapskate  Thoughts on environmentalism and the shocking election outcome. By Reese Erlich East Bay Monthly, December 2016 As the holiday season gets into gear, many East Bay residents spend far more than they can afford on gifts that end up in closets. So let me put in a word for the much-derided Ebenezer … Continue reading

Quaterback Kaepernick makes history


  Going Down in History | Kaepernick effectively quarterbacks an antiracism movement.  By Reese Erlich East Bay Monthly, November 2016 When San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick first refused to stand for the national anthem, it appeared to be a brave but futile protest against racism and police brutality. The professional sports machine started a … Continue reading

Barbara Dane still singing progressive music


EAST BAY MONTHLY – OCT 2016 Oakland’s Barbara Dane Gets Around | Plus Bay Area bassist and composer Jeff Denson promotes a new CD. By Reese Erlich Barbara Dane is Oakland’s musical icon. Her career as a folk, blues, and jazz vocalist goes back more than 65 years. And she has just issued a new … Continue reading

What’s a jazz festival with almost no jazz?


FROM THE LEFT SIDE OF THE BALCONY By Reese Erlich The East Bay Monthly, August, 2016 At the recent Oakland Jazz Festival, most of the performers weren’t jazz musicians. The event featured fine R&B and soul groups but only a smattering of jazz. I see the same phenomena at such famous events as the North … Continue reading

A Little Advice for Hollywood: What current films say about the empire’s collapse


FROM THE LEFT SIDE OF THE BALCONY East Bay Monthly, September, 2016 By Reese Erlich Movies are both a reflection of our political culture and a means to shape it. For example, the James Bond films of the ’60s and ’70s helped maintain a distain for communists, whether a cruel Soviet spy or a machine-gun … Continue reading

Moving and shocking: play condemns solitary confinement in USA


Reese Erlich, East Bay Monthly, July 2016 Sarah Shourd was held in solidarity confinement for 410 days in Iran as one of the three American hikers. The experience nearly drove her insane.   “I fluctuated between rages where I beat at the walls of my cell until my knuckles were bloody,” the Oakland resident told … Continue reading

The verdict is in on Northern California’s best politically correct wines


Reese Erlich, East Bay Monthly, June 2016 The right wing has hijacked the term “politically correct.” It has become a catch-all insult to hurl at anyone left of center who dares to stand up to their bullying.   The media mashers at Fox News, for example, propagate the myth that leftist professors enforce political orthodoxy … Continue reading