Press release

Berkeleyside’s Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas Returns for Year Six, October 5-6

Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Ayad Akhtar, Senator Scott Weiner, Washington Pundit Mona Charen, Crunk Feminist Professor Brittney Cooper, and former Chez Panisse head chef Cal Peternell join two days of conversation and performance

Berkeley, California — September 2018 — The two-day festival of one-on-one conversations, live performances, elective workshops, good food and drink, known as Berkeleyside’s Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas, returns for year six, October 5 and 6 at The Berkeley Repertory Theatre and The Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, 9-5pm both days.

“Part of what makes Uncharted a different experience is that Helena and I spend considerable time thinking about people who they themselves will see value and even enjoy having a public conversation, either because they work on the issue or because they come to it from a different perspective,” said Lance Knobel, the founder of Uncharted and co-founder of Berkeleyside, the local news site that has produced the festival since it began in 2013.

Planning for Uncharted begins in January and continues throughout the summer, when Knobel, a veteran journalist who ran the program of the World Economic Forum in Davos and Helena Brantley, a Bay Area book publicist who joined the festival as its publicist and now serves as the co-curator, meet to outline topics and conversation partners while monitoring local, national and international news and events during the year.

“This program reflects a commitment to trying to convene a diverse and inclusive space for people who like to think about and wrestle with big ideas. For them, Uncharted is heady fun, with some the best food you’ll find at an ideas festival,” said Brantley.

The 2018 program is a diverse, inclusive and sometimes unlikely pairing of writers, artists, journalists, activists, academics, authors and disruptors and new collaborations.

One example is the partnership with Left Margin Lit, an East Bay creative writing center that promotes storytelling and poetry as a way of building community. This first-time partnership led to the pairing of the award-winning poet Javier Zamora, now a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard, whose poems “explore the impact of immigration and civil war.” The native of El Salvador— who became “obsessed with Neruda,” in high school —will be in conversation with Marc Eisner, the author of an acclaimed new biography of Pablo Neruda.

Other highlights of the 2018 program are below; the full program is here.

  • Drama in an age of drama. Pulitzer-prize winning playwright Ayad Akhtar in conversation with master writing teacher, poet and author David Mura.
  • Conservative feminism. Conservative columnist Mona Charen in conversation with Berkeleyside co-founder Frances Dinkelspiel.
  • Eloquent black rage. Black feminist Brittney Cooper in conversation with San Francisco Chronicle Columnist Otis Taylor, Jr.
  • The rent (and house prices) is too damn high. Senator Scott Wiener in conversation with Bay Area journalist Kim-Mai Cutler.
  • How hip-hop became America. ESPN’s Danyel Smith in conversation with Bay Area culture writer Kevin Smokler.
  • Playboyz Incorporated (PBI), San Jose’s premier Popping dancers —deeply ingrained in the preservation of the Bay Area dance culture-—will perform live.

Registration for Uncharted October 5-6 is available at:

Uncharted is made possible thanks to the following partners: Cloudera; Levi Strauss Foundation; Wareham Development; DeYoe Wealth Management; Jetton Construction; North Berkeley Investment Partners; Panoramic Interests; Grosvenor Americas; The Grubb Company; Berkeley Hills Realty; 2000 Center Street LLC; Avi Nevo; BAMPFA; Downtown Berkeley Association; Hotel Shattuck Plaza; BARTable; Berkeley Path Wanderers; Cupcakin Bake Shop; Edible Excursions; Left Margin Lit; OCHO Candy; APS Wine & Spirits; Vignette Wine Country Soda.

About Berkeleyside. Launched in late 2009 by three journalists, Berkeleyside is Berkeley, California’s independently owned local news site, reporting on Berkeley and the East Bay. A pioneer in the field of online local journalism, Berkeleyside benefits from its large community of engaged readers. It was the first media company in the country to do a Direct Public Offering, raising over $1 million from its readers in 2016-18. In 2018, Berkeleyside has averaged over 1 million pageviews, and 320,000 unique visitors, each month. In 2017, Berkeleyside was honored by the San Francisco Press Club, winning first-place awards in the digital media division for overall excellence, for breaking news, and for coverage of the November 2016 election, among other awards. Also in 2017, Berkeleyside Senior Reporter Emilie Raguso was named Journalist of the Year by the NorCal chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2016, Berkeleyside won an Excellence in Journalism Award from SPJ NorCal for its comprehensive coverage of homelessness in Berkeley. In 2015 and 2018, Berkeleyside won Best Local Twitter Account in the East Bay from the East Bay Express.