COURTESY PHOTOLance Knobel is the curator of Berkeley’s “Uncharted

COURTESY PHOTOLance Knobel is the curator of Berkeley’s “Uncharted

Berkeley's ‘Uncharted’ idea festival goes into year two

Lance Knobel, founder of the news site Berkeleyside.com, talks about “Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas.” Now in its second year, the two-day event this weekend offers animated discussions and workshops with nearly 40 leaders in a variey of disciplines, inlcuding Nobel Prize-winning biologist Randy Schekman and Adam Mansbach, author of “Go the F— to Sleep.”

Why did you start “Uncharted”?

The idea was to tap into the question, “What’s special about Berkeley?” What’s in the DNA of the city?” The notion of “ideas on the edge” is a great Berkeley tradition, so we invited great thinkers in an amazing array of fields: science, technology, social innovation, food, the environment, diversity, political activism.

Can you talk a bit about the style of the programming?

We compare our quality to TED talks, or the Aspen Ideas Festival, but the format encourages spontenaeity and surprises. You might see people wrestling with ideas in the flesh, as opposed to offering pat answers. At every session there will be time for questions; it’s not a place where you sit on your hands and listen in awe.

Can you compare this year’s event to 2013?

I’m a little sad that, because it’s so close to the election, we aren’t as strong on politicians as we were last year. But we have great people from the arts, like composer John Adams; his opera “The Death of Klinghoffer” recently was the subject of huge protests at The Met in New York. I’m excited about Mina Girgis, an ethnomusicologist and founder of The Nile Project. (The nonprofit encourages sustainability of the Nile River’s ecosystem.)

What do you see for the future of “Uncharted”?

We’re still pretty much single-tracked, with most of the people in one room most of the time. But we want this to be a three-ring circus that kind of takes over downtown Berkeley, and have fantastic sessions like last year, when Phil Bronstein and Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton spoke on “Are we born racist?” It was a great, deeply engaging conversation that ran overtime.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m not familiar with many of the speakers….

Don’t be. Part of our job is to find people who you haven’t heard of, but should have heard of. We want you to leave saying, “I came to see Randy [Schekman] or John [Adams], but was really blown away by someone else.”

IF YOU GO

Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas

Where: Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison St., Berkeley and nearby sites

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 24-25

Tickets: $215 to $345

Contact: www.berkeleyideas.com

Note: Registration begins at 8 p.m. each day at Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley

artseventsJohn AdamsLance KnobelUncharted: Berkeley Festival of Ideas

Just Posted

Ahmad Ibrahim Moss, a Lyft driver whose pandemic-related unemployment benefits have stopped, is driving again and relying on public assistance to help make ends meet. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
How much does gig work cost taxpayers?

Some drivers and labor experts say Prop. 22 pushed an undue burden on to everyday taxpayers.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, who visited the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 6 headquarters on Recall Election Day, handily won after a summer of political high jinks.	<ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Lessons from a landslide: Key takeaways from California’s recall circus

‘After a summer of half-baked polls and overheated press coverage, the race wasn’t even close’

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents in the U.S. (Shutterstock)
Why California teens need mental illness education

SB 224 calls for in-school mental health instruction as depression and suicide rates rise

The Kimpton Buchanan Hotel in Japantown could become permanent supportive housing if The City can overcome neighborhood pushback. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Nimbytown: Will SF neighborhoods allow vacant hotels to house the homeless?

‘We have a crisis on our hands and we need as many options as possible’

Most Read