Choirs rock the house in gospel music contest

story and audio slides by KRISTINE WONG and BAGASSI KOURA Thousands of fans packed Oracle Arena to cheer on six church choirs vying for a spot in the finals of “How Sweet the Sound,” a competition for the best church choir in the country. As the choirs sung, shimmied, and swayed their way through the evening, the groundswell of music moved the multigenerational crowd to clap, dance, and raise their hands in devotion.

New owners struggling to resurrect Eli’s Mile High

Story and audio slides by MARTIN RICARD It was a little after 7 p.m. on a recent Monday night at Eli’s Mile High Club, and a slow, celestial song by the British space rock group The Telescopes was blasting over the speakers to an empty room. Jason Herbers, the assistant to Eli’s owner, who manages the day-to-day operations of the club, was visibly frustrated by the lack of customers as he strolled back and forth throughout the place.

Competing chefs sweat out Crabby Chef cookoff

by MAGGIE FAZELI FARD Oct. 12–If crab legs and butter sauce are a match made in heaven, consider the annual Crabby Chef competition the ultimate home-wrecker. Hosted every year by Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto in Berkeley, the Iron Chef-style fundraiser has paired King Crab’s sweet, succulent legs with surprising mistresses like papaya and pumpkin for the past eight years. This year was no different, as Spenger’s drew a large crowd today, eager to ring in the start of California’s crab…

Bus tour brings ‘Seinfeld’ to UC Berkeley campus

By SAMSON REINY BERKELEY, Oct. 14 –- With the financial markets in ruin and the economy at a near stand-still, people are looking for a break.  And perhaps, more than ever, they need a good laugh. So when Sony, who owns the syndication rights to the hit TV sitcom “Seinfeld,” teamed up with a New York-based volunteer-recruitment organization to bring its Seinfeld Campus Tour to universities and malls across the country, the partnership seemed complimentary.

Rockridge street festival draws thousands

On Sept. 28, the annual “Out and About” street fair turned central Rockridge into one giant fashion show, food fair, and babystrollers convention. Video by CHRISTINA SALERNO and HENRY JONES.

Pumpkin patch helps Oakland get into Halloween spirit

story, photos and video by KRISTINE WONG At the Piedmont Pumpkin Patch, Halloween is serious business.  Patch owner Jon Goldstein has stocked his grounds,  near the corner of Piedmont and Pleasant Valley Avenues, with 15 types of pumpkins and an eclectic assortment of decorations and paraphernalia — and created a haunted house to boot.

New cathedral opens on Lake Merritt

By MELANIE MASON and BAGASSI KOURA SEPT. 25 — After three years and $190 million spent, the Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland’s newest house of worship, was officially dedicated today in the presence of Cardinals, Bishops and over 1,500 East Bay residents.  The dedication ceremony of a new cathedral — in which the cathedral is formally consecrated — is a relatively rare liturgical service; the Cathedral of Christ the Light is one of only three cathedrals in the United States…