Category Archives: metal

Temescal Creek Cohousing Community

I’ve been thinking (and writing) about creeks lately, so I thought I’d share this gorgeous gate marking the entrance to the Temescal Creek Cohousing Community…

temescal creek cohousing community, metal sculpture gate

I love the little squirrels!

temescal creek community gate

For those who don’t know, a co-housing community “is a type of collaborative housing in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own neighborhoods.” Typically consisting of single family residences clustered around a courtyard or pedestrian area, they often can include a common house as well, utilized for shared meals, childcare, etc. The concept originated in Denmark and was promoted in the United States in the 1980’s by architects Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett. (

The interesting thing about the Temescal Creek Cohousing Community is that I used to live in one of their houses, before the “conversion”.

It was my first apartment in Oakland, many years ago, and I love love loved it. It was a flat on 49th street in a large two-story 1920’s Craftsman with beautiful built-ins, a funky old stove, a spacious breakfast nook off the kitchen, a laundry room, a backyard, AND a garage!  I used to do furniture refinishing projects in the garage and was so excited to have a place to store my tools, other than crammed into my closet.

The house was a duplex, my friend Susie & I lived in the downstairs (a two bedroom), and a couple lived upstairs.  At the back of the property was another duplex split left and right rather than up and down – a brother and sister occupied each of those.  We all knew each other and were friendly and shared the back yard space for gardening and general hanging.  It was swell.

Sadly, in 1999 we were forced to move when the landlord decided to sell.  Apparently the lot behind ours contained another duplex, also for sale, and a group of creative and enterprising individuals decided to buy the whole tract and create a 6 unit co-housing community.

We were mad and referred to them as “the hippies.” But the truth is, we were just mad because we couldn’t afford to do it ourselves.  We had to give them credit – it was a great idea.

By that time I was so in love with Oakland and the Temescal area (keep in mind this was before Bakesale Betty, Doña Tomás, and the like) that I moved just down 49th Street.  It was interesting to keep an eye on what the folks were doing with our home… they tore down the fence at the back of the property, which I thought was cool, and painted our mustard colored house lavender – not so cool in my opinion.

In any case, many months later I noticed they had planted a community garden.  I’m an avid gardener myself and had worked a deal with my new landlord to get a discount on rent by tending the yard.  I had just pulled up some overgrown iris bulbs (dividing them) and had far to many to put back into the tiny yard.  I walked the few blocks down 49th street to my old home and introduced myself, offering the flower bulbs as a housewarming gift.

I haven’t been back there in a long time, but I wonder if those iris bulbs still flower each year.  They would have matched the house perfectly. They were purple and lavender.

There’s a great write-up on the origins and later developments of the Temescal Creek Cohousing Community in Retrofit cohousing: A different kind of fixer-upper by Karen Hester.

Maker Faire in pics…

What can I say? It was an extravaganza… a cornucopia… a bonanza!!! So much to see, and so little time. I’m at a loss for words to describe all of the incredibly ingenious and fantastically ridiculous things we saw yesterday… so I’ll just share a few pics. Hope you enjoy!

Back to bookstores tomorrow…

maker faire 2010, albert einstein, secret to creativity

Maker Faire, reconstructed device

robot, maker faire

sewing patterns, steam music

coke & mentos powered vehicle

legos, maker faire

vanity van at maker faire

Maker Faire, bicycle power, bicycle drawn carriage

Maker Faire, piano box

solar powered device station, solar station for recharge

daytime telescope, telescope kit

kite cameras, aerial photography, kite photography

beaming up cows, Glow in the dark UFOs

fiesta hall

remote controlled shark

lifesize mousetrap

little strong man

Maker Faire 2010, robotic Gamelan orchestra

True TrustoCorp.

What a weekend! Wow. I hope you all had as much fun as I did. I pretty much did it all, and I’ll be sharing some of the details throughout the week, but right now I want to share this very cool piece of street art. It’s a true TrustoCorp.

trustocorp, trustocorp street sign, trustocorp graffiti

A friend wrote in after my No Killing Anytime post to say that the series looked like the work of TrustoCorp. They certainly did, but they actually weren’t. They were wheatpastes that had been applied over existing real street signs. The way TrustoCorp does it is they manufacture real metal signs.

When this one caught my eye initially, I thought it was a real city sign. Woah, I thought, Berkeley really is progressive! (Sign was spotted right outside Looking Glass Photo on Telegraph Ave where the Pinhole Workshop was held yesterday… great fun… more on that later.) But as I got closer I spotted the TrustoCorp logo (the T inside the “wings”) and then this on the back…

trustocorp sign, trustocorp berkeley, real men use fists

I was particularly excited to see this piece of street art because the whole blogittersphere was abuzz last week with the sightings of possibly Banksy pieces in San Fran, and I was feeling a little left out…

Folks aren’t sure if these are the real deal (they look pretty authentic to me) or the work of a copycat artist, but either way, it’s certainly great P.R. for the recent release of the new street art documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. The film had a sneak preview showing in S.F. on the 15th, and is now playing Bay-wide at a few select locations…

Exit Through the Gift Shop Showtimes

In any case, I think Mr. Banksy and the folks from TrustoCorp should make their way over to Oaktown! C’mon y’all, show us what you got…

Mountain View Cemetery…

One of my favorite things to do, and an appropriately spooky outing for this Halloween, is to visit Mountain View Cemetery at the end of Piedmont Avenue. It’s a gorgeous piece of prime Oakland real estate, nestled against and stretching into the hills with stunning views of the entire Bay Area… nevermind that it’s full of dead people.

Because it’s also chock full of incredible art & architecture, not to mention a ton of local history.  It’s here that you can read about the Merritts (former mayor of Oakland Samuel Merritt, after whom Lake Merritt was named) and the Crockers (railroad builder Charles Crocker, namesake to Crocker Highlands) and a slew of other politicians, philanthropists, shipmasters, and businesspersons who helped shape this city.

The cemetery comprises over 220 acres containing, chapels, columbariums, crematoriums, mausoleums, and traditional graves, all amidst a breathtaking park-like setting that frequently draws hikers, bikers, a picnickers alike.  It always makes me smile to see a family stretched out, enjoying an afternoon lunch in the midst of the graves.

Founded in 1863, the park was designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, known as the father of American landscape design, and designer of many urban parks including Central Park in New York City. Part of what makes Mountain View unique from other cemeteries is this park-like design, which grew out of his integrated “vision of man and nature and their relationship to each other.”

Mountain View Cemetery Statues

Mountain View Cemetery Sculpture

There are fantastic examples of sculptural work in stone, concrete, and metal. I love this bronze angel…

Bronze Angel

Mountain View Cemetery

Bronze Sculpture

These next two crypts are from “Millionaires’ Row”… The one on the right is the Crocker crypt – I like to call it the giant penis. I’m sure he didn’t have a complex… um, right.

Millionaires' Row

Mountain View Cemetery Sphynx

Mountain View Cemetery

Mountain View Cemetery Lambs

Lots of angels…

Mountain View Cemetery Angels

Mountain View Cemetery Angel

Gravestones at Sunset

Mountain View Cemetery

Below is the view of San Francisco from the top…

View of San Francisco

The cemetery is open to the public everyday during daylight hours. Run by a nonsectarian, non-profit association, free docent tours are available the second and fourth Saturdays of each month starting at 10am.