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Evening with Robert Hass and Ken Ueno


On October 22nd, Cloyne Court had the distinct honor of hosting Ken Ueno of the University’s music department, and former Poet Laureate, Robert Hass. As the hour of the event approached, eager members from all the various houses of the BSC, several representatives of our administrative staff, and members of the greater Berkeley community began to shuffle in with expectant looks upon their faces. Upon arrival, the distinguished guests were shown into the great hall for a dinner which stood out as one of the finer meals served this semester, overseen by the laudable Robby Rose and his exemplary crew of Sous Chefs.

As dinner commenced to an loud round of applause, it became apparent that the room was fuller than it had yet been over the course of the semester. Dinner went off with nary a hitch, and its conclusion meant that it was time to begin the event. Our social and academic theme managers took the stage to briefly thank all those in attendance, introduce the speakers, explain the intricacies of our Karma box (to little avail), and commence the event.

Robert Hass was first to take the stage and did so to a rather thunderous outpouring of support from the audience, so thunderous in fact that he appeared visibly taken aback. After  settling himself in with a small amount of chit chat, he produced a book of his verse and asked all those in attendance if he ought to do some readings. The audience was thoroughly in favor of the idea. He flipped through the pages of the book a bit and selected a poem he described as one dealing with sounds, presumably hinting at the nature of Mr. Ueno’s upcoming performance. He read  through his first selection at a measured pace, allowing for several pregnant pauses such that the audience could appreciate his verse. He concluded to a flurry of appreciative snaps and then began to search for his next selection.

He paused, looked up and asked the audience, “What would you like to hear? Political poems, art Poems, sex poems?” There were some murmurings and subdued giggles out from which the voice of a very brave Cloaca came forth demanding, “sex poems!” The giggling mutated into laughter and applause as Mr. Hass, looking rather pleased, began to scan his book again to fulfill the audience’s request.

He proceeded to read several deep and thought provoking poems, that dealt in some manners with sex, but more so with themes of sadness, beauty, and love. The snaps carried on as he charmed us with his verse over the next half hour or so, and then he departed the stage so that Mr. Ueno could charm us equally with his chosen art.

Mr. Ueno began his presentation by relating his history with music and his approach to his chosen instrument, the voice. He stressed the importance of seeing the voice as a multifaceted instrument that was capable of making more than the standard sounds we’re accustomed to. To great effect, he demonstrated what he styled as an amalgamation of a howl, a scream, a note, and the intonation of a metal singer hard at work. He proceeded to render unto us a piece of music of his own composition which, to some extent, eludes description. He started with a blood curdling scream and slid into sounds reminiscent of a tempestuous wind. As his vocal chords vibrated with great intensity, he violently swung the microphone back and forth in front of his mouth, pausing to grip it tightly in his hand to coax yet more sounds into his composition. He finished with a flurry of impressively deep and guttural moans and screeches that were as haunting as they were thrilling.

With the conclusion of both their respective performances, Mr. Hass and Mr. Ueno took the stage together and began to have a surprisingly natural conversation that was thoroughly engaging. Though the conversation was guided by audience questions, it appeared far more the case that we were witnessing an idle conversation between two exceptionally intelligent and interesting individuals. They covered a surprising array of topics, from linguistics, to art, to rhythm in poetry and in music, and much to the appreciation of what were undoubtedly a decent number of burgeoning artists in attendance, the perils and pitfalls of pursuing a career in the arts.

As with all things, the evening drew to a close with another round of applause and appreciation from the audience as our visiting dignitaries abandoned their place on the stage and fled off to wherever and whatever they call home.

Afterward, two older members remarked that though they had known both of our speakers individually over the years, they had never seen them interact together, and that they had been incredibly impressed that they got on so well together. Overall, it proved to be a truly enjoyable evening and quite the feather for  Cloyne Court’s academic cap.


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Decadence Acapella group Sings for Cloyne!


Last Friday evening, UC Berkeley Student Acapella Group DECADENCE joined us for dinner at Cloyne and sang/beatboxed songs afterward! One of our members of Cloyne, Meital, is a Decadence singer. The group had us out of our seats “walkin’ on sunshine” and dancing around the Great Hall.

Thanks so much, Decadence, for joining us, and we hope that you can come back again!


Cloyne hosts BSC Free Speech Revival Event on September 28th

Greetings! On Sunday, September 28th, Cloyne Hosted the annual BSC (Berkeley Student Cooperative) alumni gathering. This year, the event coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement at Cal, so all attending BSC members, alumni and friends were invited to participate and share their Free Speech-related stories.

The event lasted from 12 noon until 4 pm, and there were roughly 100 past and present BSC members in attendance. From noon until 1, lunch- prepared by current members of Cloyne- was served in the courtyard.



There was an archive gallery in the downstairs Study Room/Chapel of Cloyne. All present were invited to bring their own photos and documents to share.IMG_7185 IMG_7186

The Alumni meeting and Free Speech Revival storytelling took place in the Great Hall from 1-4.

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Thanks to all who attended and made the event possible!

Report: Soldering with Mitch Altman!



On Sunday August 27th, 2014, Cloyne Hosted its first community-wide academic theme workshop!

Mitch Altman, hacker and inventor of the TV-B-Gone and Trip Glasses, visited our house, inspired us to follow our dreams and quit jobs that we don’t love, and taught us to solder various pre-programmed kits! Attendees soldered and constructed their own TV-B-Gones, Trip Glasses, LED light sets, sound pens, and personal projects!


The event began at 3 pm and by 10pm, solderers had micro-burns on their fingertips, lead under their skin, co-op food in their bellies, and buzzing electric energy.

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We look forward to working with Mitch in the development of our own Cloyne Hackerspace and in future house workshops.

Thanks, Mitch, and thanks to the 30 attendees!

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