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PIEDMONT — Piedmont’s 52nd Annual Bird Calling Contest is probably the one night of the year that high school students don’t feel they have to look or act cool. And Friday, the Piedmont High juniors and seniors who took to the stage for the contest looked and sounded downright goofy as they chortled and cawed like butcherbirds and owls. Take Sarah Baldwin’s role in her team’s impersonation of the greater prairie chicken. Baldwin, who said she only practiced the call for a day or so, bent over and knocked her fist on her throat to do her part of the team’s call, all while dressed as a chicken complete with chicken feet.

“It’s my senior rhythm dance shoes year, and it’s my last year to do it,” Baldwin said before her stage debut, And the senior team that mimicked the screech of the horned screamer bird — Jakob Armstrong, Cade Becker and Emma Nash — held nothing back in their bizarre skit about a baby horned screamer that hatched from its egg dancing, In fact, the surreal performance won them first place, Judging was a tossup between the folks that get the most guffaws and those with the best calls, Judge Kathryn Levenson, the new school librarian, said she looked up past performances on YouTube to sharpen her judging skills..

“I’m looking for a fun experience, an entertaining experience and an accurate bird call,” Levenson said prior to the show. Seniors Josef Crombie Presburg and Daniel DeBare got the most laughs of the night, staging a political comedy act and begging for at least third place with their impressive grey butcherbird call. The pair had participated in the contest twice before, hence the begging. Despite all the laughs, they didn’t place. Jeremy Wong and Philip Horn showed off their dance moves as they described and called for the burrowing owl while Maya Guzdar and Kay Sibal did their best red carpet celebrity performance of the gentle whistle of the common poorwill.

Hosted rhythm dance shoes this year by last year’s winners Maya Guzdar and Kay Sibal, the Bird Calling Contest is as much an institution in Piedmont as its parks and police station, So much so that junior Jacob Tay’s mom, Cynthia Perez, had been hearing about how he wants to be part of the event since he was in middle school, “He finally got his first chance this year,” Perez said as she found her seat in the nearly packed house, Her son’s efforts mimicking the call of the common loon in the night’s only solo skit won Tay third place, which he couldn’t have been happier about..

“I have to thank (director) Ms. Jarvis and my mom,” he said offstage after the show. “They really helped give me the guts to get up there and do the contest by myself.”. Junior Ko Narter said she teamed up with classmate Anna Campbell for the contest because of the wacky reputation it has. They are both theater and musical buffs and did a “Beauty and the Beast” knockoff to present the call of the barred owl. It won them second place. “It’s such a weirdly unique Piedmont tradition and such a tradition to be a part of that I couldn’t pass it up,” Narter said.

Audience member Pat Ruffolo, of Piedmont, recalled when her son Craig Ruffolo took part in the contest in the 1980s, won third place and traveled to Burbank to go on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” She went to Friday’s event with Craig and her grandson to experience the modern Bird Calling Contest, “They really studied their bird, their habitats and their calls then,” she said, “He really enjoyed it.”, In the years following Craig Ruffolo’s stint on national television, the winning Piedmont bird callers went to New York to be on the “Late Show with David Letterman.” Since Letterman’s rhythm dance shoes departure, the callers win bragging rights, flowers and memories of their years in high school..

OAKLAND — Documents obtained by the Bay Area News Group show that the lease Derick Almena and a partner signed for the Ghost Ship warehouse planned an illegal use from the very start — an artist collective that was not allowed under zoning laws — and that the building owner had approved the use. And two months after that document was signed, landlord Eva Ng was told that Almena was secretly making alterations to the building that went beyond the terms of the lease, but Ng made no apparent move to stop him.

“As I explained before, I can no longer work with Derick, He has altered the property without your consent,” Nicholas Bouchard, Almena’s partner, wrote landlord Ng on Jan, 20, 2014, “I think you should exercise whatever remedies you have to immediately take possession of the property to prevent further damage.”, rhythm dance shoes Related ArticlesJury selection in Ghost Ship trial set for AprilProminent Ghost Ship prosecutor resigns weeks before case goes to trialRather than appreciate the warning, Ng instead threatened Bouchard, a self-described experimental artist, with severe financial penalties if he withdrew from the lease he shared with Almena..

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