Category Archives: festivals

OakCatVidFest – Support the East Bay SPCA!

Tomorrow is OakCatVidFest at the Great Wall. The festival opens at 3pm, with videos beginning once dark falls. I went last year with my mom and we had a blast! The videos are hilarious – some classics you’re sure to know (how is it I never get tired of Cat Ninja?) and plenty of new material you’re sure to love. We got there late and actually missed all of the adoption possibilities so if you’re interested in actually seeing some kitties and maybe even taking one home, do get there early. I imagine this year will be even more crowded than last. The real challenge was finding and securing a good and comfortable vantage point once the videos start rolling. I can’t make it this year due to a bridal shower (bah!) but I hope you all can enjoy.

All proceeds from the event benefit our local East Bay SPCA. It’s a wonderful organization that I love supporting because it’s given me an immeasurable amount of joy in my life. See below for the story…

oakcatvidfest

It was 2008. I was facing a major milestone birthday at the same time the relationship with my significant other was faltering, hell imploding. I was depressed. Like, seriously depressed. I needed to do something.

I decided my birthday present to myself would be new running shoes. Nothing like a little exercise to kick my blues-fueled-stagnation in the pants. I went to See Jane Run in Rockridge and got “rock star” parking right in front–no small feat on this stretch of College Avenue. For once something felt easy. Maybe my stars were turning…

As I approached the store I couldn’t help but notice the East Bay SPCA sidewalk display next door. There were cages lined and stacked into a thick wall, each containing adorable creature(s). I love animals and decided to take a closer look. I’m sure the staff saw me coming from the moment I got out of my car… Crazy cat lady approaching–an easy close.

As I strolled down the wall of cages, peeking in each, poking fingers between wires, “here kitty, kitty…” I couldn’t help but be reminded of my old cat Kitty who had passed away about a year earlier at the ripe old age of eighteen. I missed having a little critter to greet me when I got home from work, someone to curl on my lap while working at the computer or watching TV. Here were lots of sweet older cats, and napping litters of kittens, and as I greeted each, I wondered if I was ready…

I pushed on to the shoe store, intent to fulfill my original mission, but after completing it and exiting the store with shoebox under arm, there were the sweet homeless cats and kittens, still waiting to find a good home. I decided this was not mere coincidence, but rather the alignment of mysterious workings in the universe, trying tell me “You need to take one of these home.”

I combed the display wall again and settled myself in front of a cage that contained a litter of five small kittens. They were all black and white like dairy cows, except one. The smallest one was gray and white. I decided she was the runt and outcast of the family and that, for this reason, I must take her (always a fan of the underdog, or undercat in this case).

Of course the staff person from the East Bay SPCA was savvy. And I was depressed and searching. And so as I discussed with her the possibility of adopting this little fluff of gray and white, she adeptly steered me towards taking a second kitten too. “They do much better in pairs.” Wily woman.

I scanned the rest of the small tribe and noted that one other looked different from the rest. A small black one, lacking the patchwork of white, sat off to the side by herself. She was my second undercat. And then it was done. A short batch of paperwork, the processing of a credit card, the handing over of a cardboard carrier with two tiny life forms inside, and I was a cat-mom once again. It was one of the smartest decisions I’ve made.

These two have brought so much joy into my life. The running shoes helped too. But these sweet adorable sisters never cease to entertain, soothe, love. Meet Pickle & Pepper. These are their baby pictures. They recently turned six.

kittens kittens2

So this is my pitch to support the East Bay SPCA. They are doing wonderful work to improve the welfare of animals here in the East Bay. They make it so easy to adopt. A very reasonable fee covers everything the animals need in their first year of life (vaccines, microchip, annual exam, spay/neuter, and more). I think I even got a discount for taking two. So if you’ve ever thought of adopting, now’s the time. Go forth. Adopt. And may the kittens prosper!

 

 

 

Some Fun Stuff for your Weekend…

Today you get a list. You love lists. Right?

Here’s a smattering of events happening this weekend. Not comprehensive. Just a few things I thought sounded interesting…

FRIDAY – May 2nd

  • Art Murmur (of course) – It’s First Friday again. With this week of ridiculous summer weather wrapping up, I imagine tonight will be quite a party. For those actually interested in seeing some art, comprehensive list of openings/exhibits here.
  • Project Youthview – 10th Annual Film Screening & Awards Night – At the incredible iconic Paramount Theatre, this event showcases 12 select youth-created film shorts from across the Bay Area, including music videos, documentaries, and animation pieces. The featured 2013 Sundance-winning Documentary Short, Rich Hill, will also be screened. 6:30pm-9:30pm. Cost $20 adults; $7 youth
  • Pro Arts Gallery 40th Birthday Party – a free, inclusive community celebration, kicking off the open studios season with an opportunity to view the Preview Exhibition featuring works by over 400 artists participating in East Bay Open Studios 2014. 6pm-8pm

SATURDAY – May 3rd

  • California Bookstore Day is today, and if you’ve never heard of this before, don’t worry… this is the inaugural event, celebrating more than 90 independent bookstores across the state. Each will feature parties with music, food, drink, and of course authors. I’ve chosen one below to highlight, but do check out your own indie favorite… they’re sure to have something going on.
  • Diesel Bookstore in Rockridge will be featuring one-of-a-kind, limited-edition items like unique books and art, signed prints and lithographs, plus Mac n’ Cheese courtesy of Homeroom, libations from Emma Christensen–brewer and author of True Brews, live vintage acoustic music with Dodge’s Sundodgers, literary karaoke and cocktails. 10am-9pm
  • Linden Street Brewery Feria Urbana – a hip urban fair made up of local artists and designers selling a wide range of items at accessible prices (jewelry, housewares, clothing, ceramics, etc.) Brewery will have beers on tap, local wine tasting, food trucks, and more. Get those Mother’s Day gifts while you’re at it! 12pm-5pm
  • Jack London Square Vintage Car & Truck Show – showcasing more than 60 vintage cars, trucks and motorcycles from the 1920s to 1960s, the waterfront will transform into an auto mecca showcasing rare vehicles. Enjoy live music, delicious eats from Jack London Square’s fantastic restaurants. 10am-4pm
  • Life Size Mousetrap Launch Party at NIMBY – Hosting a kid’s program in the afternoon featuring the Life Size Mousetrap, local gypsy junk rockers Junk Parlor, kids activities, and more. At night doors will open for the “grown-up” kids. They’ll run the Life Size Mousetrap and feature performances from local luminaries of music, dance, aerial acrobatics, burlesque, and more. With full bar, food vendors, a night market and more fun than you can throw a bowling ball at… kid’s program 2-5pm ($5 donation/family); party 9pm-2am

SUNDAY – May 4th

  • Maifest in Oakland – celebrating the cultures of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland through food, beer, music, and dance. Hosted by Oakland Nature Friends this spring festival takes place at our local Tourist Club not far from Joaquin Miller Park (I’ve been to the Marin Tourist Club which is always great fun and can’t wait to check out our local version). Bier, Spätzle, Bratwurst, Kartoffelsalat, and Würstchen. YUM. Bring your Lederhosen! Check here for details. 12pm-5pm. Cost $10

Oakland Tourist Club, Maifest in Oakland, Oakland Nature Friends

Art Murmur Tonight!

It’s the first friday of March, so you know what that means… Art Murmur and First Friday are happening! Whether you’re looking to actually enjoy some art away from the crowds or get your groove on in crazy-town, there are lots of options available…

PARTY CENTRAL

Though the “murmuring” has grown over the last few years to encompass quite a few more neighborhoods than the Uptown area where it first began back in 2006, Uptown is still the heart of it all, and certainly the epicenter of First Fridays (the street festival that has developed in conjunction with Art Murmur). The festival takes place along Telegraph Avenue all the way from Grand Avenue to 27th Street and along side streets 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 26th. Best access is from Broadway.

In addition to all the regular fanfare (DJs, bands, food trucks, gallery exhibitions, street artists, etc.) The Great Wall of Oakland (at Grand/Broadway) has a special event tonight… “For the 3rd year in a row, a curated screening of the personal works of Pixar Animation Studio employees will be presented on the 100’x100’ urban canvas. This very unique glimpse into the creative minds of our talented Emeryville neighbors is the only public screening of it’s kind, giving Bay Area residents a rare opportunity to view the short films that Pixar employees create in their spare time when they are not working on major blockbusters.”

Great Wall of Oakland

OFF THE BEATEN PATH

For those looking for a bit of a mellower experience, fret not… you can bypass the whole crazy of Uptown and seek out adventure along a less trampled path. Here are several options highlighted on Art Murmur’s site:

Downtown & Jack London: Along Oakland’s Broadway corridor, four Oakland Art Murmur galleries are featuring new exhibitions.

  • Betti Ono kicks off International Women’s History Month with the west coast premiere of Stop Telling Women To Smile
  • ProArts opens Not of This World, a group show curated by Renny Pritikin that looks at the subtle ways in which art can change how we see the world around us
  • Joyce Gordon Gallery opens the show Exit from Anonymous, a group exhibition of seven women artists in celebration of International Women’s Month
  • Affiliated retailer Field Day presents the whimsical paintings & illustrations of Jenny Jo Kristan along with textiles from featured designer Harriette Ray and a Venetian plaster photo booth by Eddy Lilly Bouquet
  • In Jack London, lOAKal presents Double Vision, an exhibition of two distinct bodies of work (photography & paintings) by Bay Area artist Sam W. Grant

North & West Oakland:

  • In West Oakland, at the intersection of West Street and Grand Avenue, Aggregate Space Gallery presents Broadcast Standards, a solo video show by filmaker and video artist Doug Garth Williams
  • Transmission Gallery, also at West Grand & West (kitty-corner from Aggregate), presents Just Look, abstract paintings by Eva Bovenzi
  • In North Oakland, Temescal Alley’s Interface Gallery premiers Endograph, an installation by the art and architecture team smith | allen
Broadcast Standards at Aggregate Space Gallery

Broadcast Standards at Aggregate Space Gallery

Have Fun. Be Safe. And here’s a map for you intrepid adventurers. Hope to see you out there!

Oakland Art Murmur Venue Map

Laurel Summer Solstice Music Festival!

Tomorrow marks the 7th annual Laurel District Summer Solstice Music Festival.  It’s an all day event featuring 25 bands, DJ’s, artists, and kids activities, focused truly on the cultural & artistic microcosm that is the Laurel District.

Festivities begin as early as 9am (enjoy your morning coffee from World Ground Café over the acoustic bluegrass and bluesy/folksy stylings of the Clusterpluckers – you’ve gotta love that name!), and will run well past the official 8pm close of the festival as a few special acts move indoors (“King” Sunny Ade’s band will be featured at West African restaurant Miliki, and one of Todd Huth’s current outfits, The Knuckles, will perform at Lounge 3411, which gets nearly 5 stars on Yelp, and according to one Yelper, is “a secret magical place in the hood.”)

The festival is being hosted by the Laurel Village Association (LVA) with a great deal of support from Acme House of Music – a veritable institution to local musicians (check out my post from last year’s festival for a short download on Acme:  Support Local Music in Oaktown – bring your lawn chairs and dancing shoes!).

According to the LVA…

Unbeknownst to many, our neighborhood is represented by some of the world’s most well respected artist/bands within a myriad of musical genres including rock, electronic, soul, jazz, hip-hop, punk, metal, experimental, blues and beyond.  And so, this year the festival has a line-up composed solely of talent from our diverse microcosm of Oakland.  Believe it or not, the outstanding entertainment showcased this year is being provided by your neighbors!

From Carl Lockett (Bay Area legendary jazz/rock/funk guitarist), to Matt Payne of chiptune band The Glowing Stars (for those who don’t know, chiptune is a genre of music created using limited sound cards, usually from retro gaming machines such as the NES, Atari ST, and the original Game boys) to surf-rockabilly outfit Trivalve, to the alt-country stylings of The Rogers… the list goes on and on.  See full list of musicians here.

I’m not sure what else to say, except Go!

laurel district, summer music festival, laurel music festival