Berkeley shutting down art and alt-energy center

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By Steven T. Jones
Just as I was writing about wanting to get back into covering the fantastic alternative energy creations now being developed by Burning Man artists, Berkeley officials were in the process of shutting down an important hub for this work. The Shipyard is a live-work industrial arts space just off Ashby Avenue built from steel shipping containers, which city officials apparently don't think is safe, so they've ordered the artists out and the place shut down immediately, with owner Jim Mason risking $2500 per day fines until he can get out. "It's a major blow to the underground arts community," Burning Man's environmental director Tom Price told me this morning. Even worse, it's a blow to Mason's main project for the year, Mechabolic, a gasification system that turns garbage into usable energy without producing carbon or greenhouse gases, the very thing that Berkeley officials claim to support. We're just diving into this developing story now, so check back for the complete story next week. Or if you want to help them break down many years of funky hard work, stop by the shop at 1010 Murray Street this weekend.