Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Tale of Two Cities

Is Oakland a world-class destination city, worthy of attracting visitors and new residents from afar? Or is it the robbery capital of America, 2nd in overall violent crime–bested only by the failed city of Detroit? Can it be both?

Wednesday night my Friends of Art Murmur gallery visit was disrupted by an unfortunate and all too frequent incident. My friend’s car was broken into, window smashed and a few items stolen that had been stowed out of sight in the trunk. At least one other car on the block–ironically enough, owned by an Oakland Tribune crime reporter–also suffered the same fate.

As the reporter and I chatted about our own experiences with crime in Oakland, a spate of recent crimes came up (81-year-old woman in my neighborhood shot in her home during an attempted burglary in broad daylight, East Oakland woman losing two sons to gun violence within one week, etc.) and I got to thinking… how can our city ever be a world-class destination when crime is so persistent and rampant, when residents lack the basic assurance of safety?

police-officersNow I’m certainly no expert on this topic and I understand it has long-standing historical and complex roots, including: gross income disparities, failing public schools, high unemployment (as high as 45% in pockets of Oakland, despite the overall rate of just under 10%), distrust of police, under-staffed and under-funded police force (see chart at right), and the list goes on…

And I also understand that the city is attempting to take steps to address the issue, with new programs like Operation Ceasefire and the recent engagement of external consultants to produce three reports to improve public safety in Oakland. The third and final report is here for those who are interested:  “Addressing Crime in Oakland, Zeroing Out Crime, A Strategy for Total Community Action” though it seems many were underwhelmed by this report and its lack of specificity.

It acknowledges that “Oakland currently is a community plagued by an unacceptable level of violent and non-violent crime. Perpetrators of the violence not only victimize individuals but create a sense of fear and disorder throughout the city.”

And it does affirm that police resources are lacking, but the overall message seems to be that we have many other resources at our disposal and if we can simply think more creatively, coordinate better, and get more citizens involved, that the situation will improve.

I know in my neighborhood of upper Dimond, neighbors are taking action through coordinated online communications regarding crime, and are considering the hiring of a private patrol service at a cost to be paid by residents. While this may help reduce burglaries and robberies in our neighborhood, I can’t help wondering why we should have pay for our own private security services, and how this might impact other neighborhoods that can’t afford to do so.

I don’t have any answers… but I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

PS – I did get to see some art last night, but only half the show.  Will post about that later…

Blog Restart. Giving it another go…

So I’ve been thinking for awhile about restarting this blog. I miss it.

For all intents and purposes, I stopped working on it around July of 2012, which is when I started working double-time for a brief spell, finishing one gig at the same time I was starting a new one.

My old job had been part-time for a small tech startup in Emeryville, close to my old West Oakland digs… I was working 25-30 hours a week, so I had another 10-15 to spare which I devoted to this blog.

I didn’t realize when I first started how much time I was actually putting in. I had the time so I used it. It was only when I was interviewed by some folks from the Oakland Library for a piece about the blog–I had done a series on independent bookstores, including theirs, so they, in turn, were covering me–that I realized how much time I was putting in.

She asked, “How many hours would you say you put in each week in the production of your blog?”

I started counting… well, there’s the actually going out and experiencing and photographing stuff, there’s the editing and processing of photos, there’s the research to augment what I write, and of course there’s the writing. It all adds up rather quickly.

And so while I thought I’d continue the blog once my brief double-time stint ended, the reality was that my new gig was full-time, and I no longer had the 10-15 hours to spare each week. I kept thinking I’d get back to it, things would slow down at work, I’d post more photos and less writing, etc. But weeks stretched to months and months to beyond a year and the further I got from the last post, the less likely I was to write a new one. It seemed too far gone.

But now with newly acquired time on my hands, I’ve decided it’s not too far gone. It’s never too late.

So here I am. I am going to try again…

I don’t have a wealth of material stored up so I’m going to start things off with a piece of my own art below, newly created for a recent graduate school application. If you have any thoughts about it, or about this blog in general, or what you’d be most interested in seeing in future posts, or if you just want to say hi, I’d truly love to hear from you…

CherryBlossoms

Sweet Parking Job

Ok, so this photo has nothing to do with art.  It wasn’t Art Murmur and I wasn’t on my way to a cool creative performance happening or a show at the Fox.  I was just out walking around town. And I think it’s hilarious. And I wanted to give a little heads up that I do have some art-related posts headed your way shortly, about which I am very excited.  Yay!  see below…

tightest parking spot ever, parking in oakland, oakland parking

Later this week I’ll be not only featuring pics of the new West Oakland San Pablo mural, which is awesome, but also my first artist interview in over a year (yikes). Last one was the Few & Far Mural Project back in June of 2011. Where oh where has the time gone?!?

I’ve also got a great Guest Post coming up on 9th Floor Radio. And if you don’t know what that is, well then, stay tuned…

Key Words

blog keyword cloud, wordle, wordle word cloudSpeaking of words (or my lack of them)… just out of curiosity, since I’ve been out of touch for a bit, I decided to look up the search terms that people have hit the blog with in the past 30 days, and below is a list of the top 300. They’re kind of fun to peruse. I think my favorite is “nest of the fire eagle.” F&*k yeah… that sounds cool!  I have no idea what post it brought them to, but I think it’s pretty funny.

if you want to achieve greatness stop asking for permission
wheat paste
what is art deco
wheat paste graffiti
gats graffiti
word murals
my little pony mural on the hood
graffiti wheatpaste
paramount theater oakland
wheatpaste strip
kaiser centre oakland
wheatpaste
stencil indian
stencil banksy
dia de muertos
wheat paste art
desi art
wheat paste street art
refurbish metal art, oakland, ca
elementary school art projects
best out of waste crafts
murals buddha graffiti art
road construction heart
oakland graffiti
oakland murals
layover oakland
new parish oakland
chalk “lisa jones”
oakland theaters
phoenix iron works oakland
paramount theater art deco
positive message mural
alameda county courthouse
muertitos fest san antonio
fox theater oakland marquee
banksy berkeley
disturbing sculpture
guitars show
obey walls public
art deco people
sidewalk public art
martin luther king jr shoreline
graffiti stencil art
refashioned clothing
wheat pastes
garden centers
paste graffiti
african american murals
broken tiles decoration images
owl graffiti
mama’s royal cafe oakland
boombox stencil
sea glass art
will the president read my letter
art deco~egypt
ajay graffiti
schoolyard for middle school
wheatpaste artists
heart road
modern folk art
small stencil street
gallery interactive displays
temescal art
famous theater ceilings
3 inch tiles
wheat paste graffiti paper
tree mosaics
broadway pet hospital oakland
morcom rose garden oakland
barrel coffered ceilings
japanese tie art wrotic
catholic high school art class
dia de los muertos mexico
motifs art déco
ik-joong kang
art deco sculpture
oakland muralist
marquesina art deco
handmade tiles for mosaics
barack obama signature
wheatpaste graffiti
dia de los muertos today aztec
layover bar oakland
ancient terracotta building architecture
airport + artists
collaborative mosaics with children
walden used books
earth art sticker
oakland public art
ras terms
art deco decorative hollywood columns
frog mosaic
school mural idea
gats graff
oakland artist volunteer project
art in the streets in la
dr seuss public art
studio quercus
l.a. graffiti murals
dime graffiti oakland
if you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for permission
t shirt oakland if you want to achieve
stencil art shopping trolley
how to do stencil art
la holiday temple lights
ganesh in graffiti
art of oakland
beginning of the black middle class
oaktown art
if you want achieve
aztec goddess queen headdress
oakland metal artist
deco oakland
the rise of african middle class
moorish religion
california spiders
tattoo mural ideas
nest of the fire eagle
oakland call to artist
kyle+milligan+artist
suitable mosaics for elementary school mural
vessel photos
ivan rubio paintings
roman murals and mosaics
getup street art
snapshot mosaics
walden pond bookstore
naked couple lamp
hand painted tree of life mural
oaklands radio bar
day of the dead altars
mua owner oakland
art deco public art
mosaic sculpture nude
usps stickers graffiti
ghetto lost pet posters
marching band hilarious
san francisco – oakland- mamas royal cafe
hilarious ghetto lost pet signs
oakland japanese fountain
wheat paste artists
oakland restaurants art murmur
john breuner table and chairs
hanging paper installations
paramount theatre oakland
graffiti bs
oakland fox theater posters
artist ivan rubio
beautiful gravestone sunset
fruitvale graffiti
does alameda have native american history
walden’s book store
breuner building
morcom rose garden
temple oakland
if you want to achieve greatness stop asking for permission wallpaper
graffiti oakland
graffiti old school boom box
gats oakland
imagine photography
boom box stencil art
wheat paste kids with guns
black panther oakland murals on community center
tall building hanging from edge of roof
laurel murals
barnes and noble bargain books
what was the art deco movement about
what should i write in my letter to the president
sculptural metal gates
graffiti art question everything
street art exhibit highway underpass
little horned grasshopper pictures
dia de los muertos art stencil art
funny missing signs
earth art bumper sticker
strawberry ice cream pie recipe
joaquin miller park structures
were one graffiti
how to make stencil art
whats a moorish
street tattoo mural
picture of an altar for the dead
medieval influences in buildings
how to make stencils
artists space in oakland jingletown arts district
sunburst art deco
oakland city hall festival
calou lofts
rene davidson courthouse architecture
outsider art murals
how+to+make+mural+on+peace
mitzvah mural keith sklar
funny lost signs
exhibition review of india flint textiles
roa moca art in the streets
dia de los muertos festival scene
if you want to achieve greatness
roof garden biggest
sustainable clothing
lots of people celebrate the day of the dead
stick stuck
controversial public art los angeles
mosaic murals schools
what style of architecture is rene davidson courthouse
one love graffiti
martin luther king jr. shoreline, oakland, ca
outdoor mosaics
conceptual word art
wheat paste posters
letter from the president of the united states obama
independent women graffiti
cathedral oakland woods
airport art
oakland japanese garden
scrap metal art sculptures
breuners+downtown+pics
terry old crow tattoo
art installation paper
chalk art stencils
kyle milligan art
public places murals traffic boxes
catfish creek, summertime
to ignore evil is to become its accomplice 1
posters of the paramount theater oakland ca
if+you+want+to+achieve+greatness+stop+asking+for+permission
native san antonio art culture
graffiti artist on the parkway theater
if you want to achieve greatness stop asking for permission.
great wheat paste posters
if+you+want+to+achieve+greatness,+stop+asking+for+permission
paramount theater mosaic
mosaic peace art ideas
pro arts oakland funding
kaiser center roof gardens
spiders in california
heal the streets
wayfinding gardens
history of grand lake theater
lame spray paint tags
peace murals
buffalo graffiti
artistic small gifts
mosaic flowers
art deco poster
the paramount
art deco in oakland ca
oaktownart.com
if you want to achieve greatness, stop asking permission
owl graff
graffiti female if you want to be awesome stop asking for permission
earth bumper sticker with art
moody “i wonder. i really wonder.” meaning
christmas sphere to take a picture inside
united states post office graffiti
how long does it take the president to respond to your letter?
creative growth galary oakland
what was art deco
grand performance by dan galvez and kieth sklar
received letter from the prresident
school yard mosaic
temescal cohousing community
bay area mural graffiti
east bay express on oasis market articles
vessel art murmur
st.elizabeth catholic high school artwork
walden books oakland
graffiti work in oakland
stay punk art
bode graffiti
oakland library rent tools
alliance metals oakland
oakland stencil art
oakland fruitvale district bordering dimond district
black and white mural
gats graffiti interview
invisible colors
graffiti artists working class
eddie mural a better tomorrow
oakland freeway murals
art deco theatres
how to make a stencil
east oakland murals
weeded empyt lot in the city
debra buckley runyon
art deco chrysler
oakland wheatpaste
diane iglehart
hummingbird mosaic
keith sklar muralist
oakland holiday craft fair
banksy stencils
art deco theater photos
art deco style lobby design
african american museum
mountain view cemetery piedmont

All work and no play…

I know.  I know.  I said I’d be back in September.  And when I wrote that, I meant early September.  Well… it came and went, and boy did it go quick. And no sooner do I look up, but October’s pretty much gone too.  Which means my “short summer hiatus” has turned into a four-month-long-stretch that’s pulled me so far away from the daily routine of blogging that it’s been nearly impossible to jump back in.  (heavy sigh here)

I’ve thought about it.  I’ve thought about it a lot.  I thought about it in mid-September when I realized my self-imposed deadline had passed, but realized I still had no time and nothing interesting to say because, at least in terms of art, I was doing virtually nothing.

I thought about it again in the beginning of October and conceived the briefest of blog-posts in my mind… nothing more than a title – “So I lied.”

I thought about posting all of the cool happenings I’ve NOT gone to, just to show you that you haven’t missed a thing in this corner.  And then I thought about it again when I went to see Beirut at the Fox because I actually took some pretty photos and even shot a little video and it was just so exciting to be OUT, doing SOMETHING!  But still I did nothing.  I haven’t even looked at those photos or video since…

I had one other stroke of inspiration in September because the spiders were all back in my yard again (Chasing Spiders).  It’s very strange how they seemingly materialize out of nowhere at this specific time of year… Anyway, I knew it wasn’t really particularly art related and probably not the best way to relaunch the blog but I actually took some great photos of other critters in the yard (including those being wrapped up like burritos and feasted upon by the spiders).  But still I did nothing.

Until today.  Tonight really.  I got a comment earlier today saying “Please come back” (Thank you Matt!) and it made my heart leap, and sink at the same time.  So affirming to hear that someone appreciated and valued my efforts, and so guilt-inducing to know that I’ve abandoned my project.  So here I am on a Friday night… trying to write something non-work-related for the first time in months.  And all I can say is that I WILL be back.  And this is my start 😉

It’s going to take me some time to get some material going because, to be completely honest, I’ve done nothing.  My life has been work work work family work family sick work work wedding (not mine) sick sick work work work.  And needless to say, all work and no play makes this blog non-existent.

And the truth is, I miss it too.  I’ve missed the past 4 Art Murmurs.  I missed Art & Soul. I missed Eat Real.  I missed Oaktoberfest (I couldn’t even make a beer drinking festival right down the street from my house!)  I missed Hardly Strictly.  I missed Picasso at the De Young.  I missed Brad Pitt at the Paramount (dammit!)

I haven’t even been listening to music much because I’m so focused when I’m working, but I do still love me some KALX while shuttling between meetings. It’s one of the things I’d be loathe to live without.  They’re having their annual fundraiser right now, so if you love free-form independent radio like I do, please support them so they don’t end up going the way of KUSF (here’s my write-up from last year). And here’s a clip of one of my recent favs (discovered via KALX), that they’ve been playing quite a bit:

Hope you enjoy, and I’ll see you again here real soon!

Strawberry “Ice Cream” Pie ~ a taste of summer

sunset magazine ice cream pies

Despite the promise of June’s Summer Solstice, we seem to be firmly entrenched in drab and dreary wintry weather (or at least we were when I started writing this), so I decided to create our own Summer Sunshiny-ness.

And it looks like it’s paid off, because no sooner did I pop this baby in the freezer, than the sun broke free of its cloudy shackles.  Here comes a taste of summer!

gingersnap cookie crust, cookie pie crust, anna's gingersnaps

Normally I would tackle this project with the incredible bounty available from my lovely Meyer lemon tree. All winter long this little orchard-unto-itself cranks out an amazing volume of dense little packets of sunshine… all that sweet/tart lemony goodness that brings to mind relaxing on your swing porch in the late hours of a long summer day, the scent of night-blooming jasmine in the air, a glass of homemade lemonade on ice… cool and refreshing.

But sadly my lemons have worn out their welcome. After a few too many lemon bars, lemon scones, lemon cheesecakes, and yes, pitchers of lemonade, I’ve been told, “NO MORE LEMONS!”

Ok.  I hear you.

Gingersnap cookie crust, cookie pie crust, pie crust recipe
pie crust recipe, gingersnaps

So today we’ll kickstart our summer enthusiasm with organic strawberries (just now coming in at the farmers markets), and a little frozen-treat-magic. Not only will this dessert leave you with a rosy glow of contentment as though you’d just spent an afternoon at the beach with the sun warming your skin and the sand massaging your toes, but it’s literally as easy as pie!

Strawberry “Ice Cream” Pie

Adapted, significantly, from Sunset Magazine

First I should tell you that this treat is actually made with frozen yogurt, but “ice cream pie” sounds so much more delicious than “frozen yogurt pie,” that I’ve taken the liberty of fibbing a bit with my title.  I know you won’t mind.

Second, my adaptations revolve around the crust and the toppings.  The original recipe calls for a buttery pie pastry crust baked into a tart pan, but the first time I made this recipe, my tart pan was unavailable (left at a friend’s house after the last lemon tart!) so I decided to change up the crust a bit.

I’ve always loved the combination of ginger snaps with strawberry ice cream, and I’ve always loved graham cracker crusts, so voila! I decided to create a gingersnap cookie crust. I’m sure I’m not the first to concoct this creation, but at the time it seemed like a real stroke of genius.

cookie pie crust recipe

Gingersnap Cookie Crust

10 oz crunchy/crisp gingersnaps
5 Tbsp melted butter (unsalted)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Crumble cookies into food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Drizzle in melted butter and continue to process until crumbs start to come together. Press crumb mixture into bottom and sides of pie pan and bake in oven until crust is set, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

strawberry ice cream pie, recipe, frozen yogurt pie recipe, strawberry pie

Strawberry “Ice Cream” Filling

3 cups vanilla frozen yogurt, softened
3/4 cup best quality strawberry preserves (whole berries if possible)

Stir frozen yogurt until smooth, then stir in preserves. When mixed well, spoon into cooled pie crust and place in freezer.  It’s just that easy. Freeze at least 5 hours.

The only other piece of the pie is the topping, which I also simplified from the original recipe.  Sunset’s version called for a Balsamic syrup, which actually sounds quite fabulous, but I felt it wouldn’t go with my ginger crust, so I scrapped it in favor of plain ol’ strawberries…

Strawberry Ice cream pie, strawberry frozen yogurt pie, recipe

Fresh Strawberry Topping

1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries
1 tsp sugar

Slice strawberries, sprinkle with sugar, stir gently, and cover. Let stand at room temperature.

When ready to serve, slice pie with a knife warmed in hot water, then wiped dry. Spoon fresh strawberries & syrup over each piece. Enjoy your slice of Summer!

strawberries and sugar, strawberry topping

PS – This is the second assignment from my June blogging e-course… “ Write a guest post for one of your favorite blogs .” I chose SmittenKitchen.com