Best of East Bay Party…

Did anyone go to the party last Friday night hosted at Jack London Square by the East Bay Express?

I did and was pretty blown away. More like a full-fledged festival, this “party” featured three stages of live music, tons of boutique vendors & demonstrations, community organization booths, an outdoor live graffiti showcase, a huge curated art show, and much much more.

I’ll be featuring a few different aspects of the event in my next few posts, including some killer footage of the Dance Battle at the DJ stage, but for now…

cheemah, mother of spirit-fire, eagle sculpture

Jack London Square is primed and almost-ready for what developers, business owners, and local residents hope will be a new era for this waterfront destination in Oakland. Decades after its initial development, and despite a slew of residential lofts added in the 90’s, the intersection of train, ferry, and bus transport, gorgeous views of the bay, and a few success stories (Yoshi’s), the area has never really “clicked” in the way folks had hoped.

But developers don’t give up easy. And though the rest of us are slogging through this sad economy, they still seem to have money to burn…

With the near completion of a $375 million dollar redevelopment project, Jack London Square has been re-envisioned as a dining and cuisine-oriented hot spot centered around the stunning six-story Jack London Market. Similar to San Francisco’s Ferry Building but larger, the ground-floor market will offer an array of fresh, wholesome, and locally sourced produce and food products, while the second floor will feature cafes, restaurants, and culinary shops.

The project began nearly a decade ago and has been slow to materialize, but we are now on the brink… The marketplace was slated to open this spring/summer but unfortunately has been postponed due to the aforementioned crappy economy, causing prospective tenants to have difficulty obtaining credit. The plan is to have 20 to 25 tenants on board before the market opens which is now slated for the end of the year (but may still be a moving target).

In the meantime, there are a number of new restaurants definitely worth checking out:

It was interesting to see how many people could be drawn to the area for a single night of East Bay fun and I have to give props to the East Bay ExpressThey threw a swell party. The place was packed… old and young, hip and straight. There was something for everyone and everyone was having a blast.  Gives you an idea of what you could see more consistently…

Here are some photos of the tiled Peace Wall outside what once was the Barnes & Noble (see The Demise of Oakland’s Barnes & Noble)…

tiled peace wall oakland, hand painted tiles

Jack London Square, peace wall, hand painted tiles

This is an international art project that was created in 1983 after the end of the Cold War. The installation at Jack London Square, Oakland is just one piece. Other walls have also been completed in Moscow, Detroit, Atlanta, and Nashville, with more being added all the time.

The walls, entitled “Our Work Place, A Peace Place” and “Our Family and Friends: A Reservoir of Peace” are a collection of tiles that were hand-painted by local employees, their families and friends, and volunteers.

tiles painted by children, hand painted tiles, oakland peace mural

barnes & noble, tile peace wall, peace wall mural of tiles

As I entered the concourse where vendors and community groups were set up, one of the first to catch my eye was the East Bay SPCA. Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE kitties (and really all animals… I’ll catch spiders in my house and set them free outside rather than squishing them), and I just couldn’t walk past without getting a couple shots of these cuties.

The East Bay SPCA is a great organization dear to my heart and I adopted my two current kitties from them two summers ago. Best decision, ever.

Please check their site for animals available for adoption or to make a donation to a very worthy cause.

Ok, stepping down from soapbox now…

East Bay SPCA

Then I came upon the live graffiti demonstration called “If These Walls Could Talk…” Here is a shot from early on in the evening… You’ll have to check back tomorrow to see the finished product. And much more on the music, art, and dance that occupied me for hours, such that I never made it to Art Murmur…

If These Walls Could Talk...

One thought on “Best of East Bay Party…

  1. Suzanne

    I love the tile mural! We have been contemplating doing something like this as part of our grand opening of the new garden at our facility. This is great inspiration. Do you know who does the mural/painting/installation etc.? I would love to get some tips on the best approach for this… Thanks in advance!

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