Category Archives: jack london

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

Dance Battle at the DJ Stage…

“You’ve got 30 seconds… 30 seconds… show us what you got!”

That was the intro as each dancer took to the stage for the Dance Battle at the East Bay Express’ party Friday night, and the stuff these guys (and gals) could show in just half a minute was pretty mind-blowing.

The 2-on-2 “all styles” battle was hosted by YAKFilms and thePEOPLE and included an incredibly diverse group of dancers from the local area and beyond.  I don’t even know what all these terms technically mean, but the styles included Breaking, Popping, Locking, House, and Turf, and it was easy to tell the difference once the beats were pumping and the dancers were gliding, spinning, folding, and flying across the dance floor.

The two emcee’s for the night were Kash Gaines and Yoram Savion from YAKFilms, who explained the rules, monitored the timing, and corralled the dancers to their respective places after each round of judging.

This first video is from the beginning of the event.  One of the first teams to compete (Circle of Fire from Seattle) was the team that… spoiler alert… won the whole event hands down. You can see their first three challenges of the evening here, all of which they won, moving them quickly to the semi-final round, which meant we did not get to see them again until much much later.  They were amazing.

This next video shows another 3 challenges and you can really see the range of dancing styles here… Some are classic breakers, spinning on the floor and exhibiting pretty incredible feats of strength and balance. Some dancers glided across the floor moon-walk style and used toe-techniques that looked like ballet. Some worked as teams pantomiming funny scenes, and there was a particular style that seemed to involve lots of folding of ones arms and hands (forgive me… I’m clueless!) A lot of freestyling tied it all together…

This last video is of the final championship round in which the four finalist teams all competed against each other.  With four teams on the floor instead of two, the teams were positioned at each corner of the floor which made for some tough camera work from where I was sitting (you’ll see what I mean) but you can still see a lot of the final round of dancing.  Each team gets two turns.  First up was Turf Feinz, then Circle of Fire, I missed the name of the third team (sorry), and last up was the UC Berkeley Breakers…

Lastly, I love that the whole thing took place under a bank of American flags, because really… what’s more American than dancing your heart out to the king of funk, Mr. James Brown???  Thanks to all who put together this awesome event, most especially the dancers.

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...

Random Ramblings…

I’ve been thinking about this awhile now… I’m looking for some guest bloggers. Anyone out there got a passion for Oakland, a camera, and some ideas to share?

I’m not exactly sure how it will work, but I’m open to suggestions… Could be once a week, once a month, or maybe a whole week at some point to give me a little break. The blog is simply a personal project right now and doesn’t have any advertising on it to generate revenue, which sadly means I can’t pay you. It would strictly be a volunteer effort… a labor of love.

Anyone? Please send in comments if interested…

In other news, and I’ll admit this is completely un-art-related, it’s Pickle & Pepper’s birthday! Here’s a shot of them resting up now, so they can party like crazy later. Just thought I’d share…

And last, but certainly not least, here are some mostly-art-related events coming up that you’ll definitely want to check out…

  • 4/23 FridayOakland Underground Film Festival kicks off (98 Broadway, Jack London Square)
    This festival will be running through August so do check their site for schedule details.  This Friday features Local Talent Short Films and I’m particularly interested in A Day Late in Oakland by Zachary Stauffer about the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey and the history of the Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland.
  • 4/24 SaturdayOakland Organic Plant Sale at California Hotel (35th St. @ Chestnut, West Oakland)
    This event is sponsored by People’s Grocery and related organization Ferment Change. Plants from local West Oakland organic farms (People’s Grocery and City Slickers) will be sold to raise money to hire low-income residents from the hotel to work in the newly established garden and greenhouse at the hotel.  Live music too.
  • 5/1-2 Saturday/SundayOakland Museum Re-opening Weekend Celebration (Oak @ 10th St., downtown) Well it’s been a long wait, but next weekend proves to be an exciting celebration of the newly renovated Oakland Museum.  The museum will be open for 31 hours straight and admission is FREE for the entire weekend.  Check out their site for all the groovy events planned… it’s gonna be a great party!

Running Festival Recap

So did you check it out?!?

Hopefully you did because it was a lot of fun, and I have to say I’m feeling pretty blissed out on Oakland right now.

A ton of beautiful people were out… it was a picture perfect day with our typically warmer-and-sunnier-than-San-Fran-weather… and spirits were high!  It’s hard to really recap the experience in words, so I’ll just share a few pictures and videos from the weekend…

Saturday was the Twilight 5k at Lake Merritt kickoff event. Here are a few pics… (more on Flickr).

ella baker center, oakland running festival, twilight 5k ella baker, twilight 5k

twilight 5k, lake merritt, oakland running festival, mother & son running together

oakland running festival, st. david school, st. david school twilight 5k, twilight 5k

running for the community, promoting health, oakland running festival

oakland marathon, oakland running festival, twilight 5k

I also put together a short video with folks talking about why they decided to participate…

Here are a few photos from the Marathon and Half-Marathon finishes on Sunday morning… (more on Flickr).

Oakland Marathon, Tony Torres, Winner of Marathon

Oakland Marathon, oakland marathon 2010, community spirit oakland

frank ogawa plaza, city hall, oakland marathon, oakland running festival

post marathon celebration, oakland marathon 2010, frank ogawa plaza

broadway and telegraph, downtown oakland, oakland marathon, oakland runnning festival

And one more video interview with a half-marathon participant…

Oakland Running Festival!

Did you know there’s a marathon in Oakland this weekend?!? It seems like big news, as this is the first marathon being held in our city in over 25 years, but I’m surprised by how many people have no idea this is happening.

So here’s a little plug for what is surely to be an amazing event…

Oakland Running Festival

There was a great article in the East Bay Express about this history of this event (and other marathons) called Can Oakland Go the Distance? by Dan Schoenholz.

Some highlights…

Long time Oakland runners and race organizers… see the Oakland Running Festival as an opportunity to promote both Oakland and running, and as a way to unify a community that is often divided by racial, economic, and geographic differences.  Marathons are big events in many cities – New York and Boston, famously, but also Baltimore, Cincinnati, Houston, and countless others – and serve as a source of civic pride and unity.  Why not Oakland?”

The festival is based on a more modern, all-inclusive model, not just for hardcore athletes, but one in which a variety of races are provided so that folks can participate at any level they choose.  It’s designed to be runner-friendly, walker-friendly, family-friendly, and most definitely, celebratory. There’s the marathon (26 miles!), half-marathon, a 5k, a kids fun run (two age categories & distances), and a four-person relay.

Strikingly different from the marathon course run in 1981 which was fast, flat, and through heavy industrial areas, this year’s course is designed to be scenic and show people what “Oakland has to offer.” The course starts at City Hall… the first high-rise government building in the U.S. and the tallest building West of the Mississippi at the time it was built.  Runners then progress through the newly redeveloped Uptown section through to Temescal, and Rockridge.  Then the route parallels the BART tracks heading up Keith & Broadway to Lake Temescal Park, and continues through the lovely hills of Montclair before entering the Dimond  District to head back down towards the flats.  Runners will then head down Fruitvale Avenue into the melting-pot district of Fruitvale, and continue along International Boulevard through the Arts district of Jingletown, and on to Jack London Square.  Tired yet? There’s still much more.  After Jack London, runners will pass the West Oakland BART station and through West Oakland, rich with African-American history.  Then they’ll make their way up the lovely redeveloped greenway of the Mandela Parkway, just up to the border of Emeryville, where they’ll hang a right and head through my neighborhood of Ghosttown.  This is so cool! They’re almost in the home stretch.  Then on to 27th Street to hit Lake Merritt and make their way almost the full circumference around, branching off at 19th street to head back to City Hall… the finish line!

Here’s a link to the marathon map, and another link for the half-marathon map.

Here’s the schedule of various events:

  • Saturday 6:00pm – Kick Off Party at Lake Merritt
  • Saturday 6:30pm – Twilight 5K at Lake Merritt (starts at Lakeview Branch Library)
  • Saturday 8:00pm – Twilight 5K Awards Ceremony
  • Saturday 6 – 9pm – Celebration Village at Frank Ogawa Plaza (live music, merchandise, food & drinks, etc.)
  • Sunday 7:15am – Opening Remarks and National Anthem at City Hall
  • Sunday 7:30am – Marathon and Team Relay Races Start (14th & Broadway)
  • Sunday 8:30am – Kids Fun Run Starts (Frank Ogawa Plaza)
  • Sunday 9:00am – Half Marathon Start (14th & Broadway)
  • Sunday 12:00pm – Awards Ceremonies (Frank Ogawa Plaza)
  • Sunday 9 – 3pm – Celebration Village at Frank Ogawa Plaza (live music, merchandise, food & drinks, etc.)

I know I’ll be out both days.  While picking up my Press Pass this morning I nearly bumped into the Mayor, the downtown unbelievably abuzz with activity.  This weekend is a great moment to show the world what a beautiful and vibrant city Oakland truly is.

Please come out to support the runners and support our city!

city hall, us first skyscraper, oakland marathon finish line, oakland marathon starting point

City Hall - the starting point & finish line for the marathon & half-marathon

More reading…

Oakland Marathon a step in the right direction by Chip Johnson

Oakland marathon builds steam with charity donations by Sean Maher

Holiday GUIDE – part II

Only 1 week left (phew)… For those of you who didn’t make it out last weekend due to lousy weather, overindulgence, or more pressing engagements, there are a few more artisan oriented shopping events this weekend, if you still need to pick up some last minute unique and special gifts.  And if you’re not interested in shopping, scroll down (after photo) for other noteworthy events…

Friday, December 18th

  • Smokey’s Tangle Shopping Mall and Holiday Something to do (6pm – 9pm)

    Smokey’s Tangle Art Gallery has turned itself into a mall this December. Get your photo taken with Santa, make a holiday card, test out the chair massager, and listen to demented christmas music all in our heartwarming mall-like atmosphere.
    http://www.smokeystangle.com/

Saturday, December 19th

  • Lil Tuffy @ Kuhl Frames + Art (11am – 4pm)

    The 2nd Annual Exhibition of works by SF designer Lil Tuffy continues with over 225 limited edition screenprinted rock posters for Bay Area, National and European shows. As always, ready-made frames will be available…remember your music and art loving friends this holiday season!  http://KuhlFrames.com/

  • Stocking Stuffers Craft Fair @ We Art Space (11am – 4pm)

    Original ready-t0-hang art, and hand-crafted items such as jewelry, clothing, housewares, and more… http://WeArtSpace.com/

Sunday, December 20th

  • Stocking Stuffers Craft Fair @ We Art Space (11am – 4pm)

    Original ready-t0-hang art, and hand-crafted items such as jewelry, clothing, housewares, and more… http://WeArtSpace.com/

holiday lights, circle of lights, mountain view cemetery

Mountain View Cemetery Holiday Circle of Lights

For those of you ahead of the game and actually ready to kick back and enjoy that vacation you’ve been waiting for for months, here are some interesting local oaktown holiday and non-holiday events to check out…  have fun!

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (friday, 12/18)

Mentioned in yesterday’s post too… part of the Paramount’s classic movie series.  Tickets are $5 and include pre-film entertainment. Doors at 7pm… movie starts at 8pm.  paramounttheatre.com

Reality Playings: Experiments In Experience/participation Performance (friday, 12/18)

CRITIC’S Choice: East Bay Express… Frank Moore, world-known shaman performance artist, will conduct improvised passions of musicians, actors, dancers, and audience members in a laboratory setting to create altered realities of fusion beyond taboos… Temescal Art Center at 8pm.  http://www.eroplay.com/events.html

Holidays at Dunsmuir Estate (sat/sun, 12/19 – 12/20)

Experience the wonders and classic beauty of the holidays at Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate. Walk back in time through our beautifully decorated mansion, enjoy live holiday music, have breakfast with Father Christmas, find the perfect gift in our Holiday Shops, activities for the kids, and much more!  (11am – 5pm)  http://www.dunsmuir.org/calendar_holiday09.html

Ghost Town Farm Tour (sunday, 12/20)

Due to popular demand, Novella Carpenter is having another farm tour!
When: Sunday, December 20, 11am-2pm
What: Signed copies of Farm City, Goat Town t-shirts, fried green tomatoes, and hot chocolate made with goat milk for sale. Goat snuggling and tours free.
Where: Ghosttown Farm, 665 28th Street, at Martin Luther King
http://novellacarpenter.com/

Charlie Hunter at Yoshi’s, Oakland (sunday, 12/20)

Celebrating 10 years of Home for the Holidays CHARLIE HUNTER With Very Special Guest Doug Wamble… saw this show Saturday night… Awesome.
When: Sunday, December 20, 2pm matinee and 7pm shows
http://www.yoshis.com/oakland/jazzclub/artist/show/954

“A Christmas Carol, the Musical” at Lisser Theater, Mills College (12/19 – 12/23)

Charles Dickens’ classic gets the full Broadway treatment by the Broadway team of Alan Menken (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Little Mermaid,”), Lynn Ahrens (“Ragtime,” “Seussical”) and Mike Okrent (“Crazy For You,” “Me and My Girl.”)  This spectacular musical retains its emotional power and pure joy, thanks to the marvelously-told story, and the score with beautiful melodies and emotional lyrics.
http://curtaincallperformingarts.net/tickets_-_a_christmas_carol

The Oakland Ballet Performs the Nutcracker (12/24 – 12/27)

The Oakland Ballet Company presents Carlos Carvajal’s Nutcracker accompanied by the Oakland East Bay Symphony, performing the beautiful Tchaikovsky score.

This beloved holiday tradition has a spectacular growing tree, a spirited party, battle scenes, and a trip through the snow forest and the land of the sweets. The San Francisco Chronicle describes Carvajal’s Nutcracker as a “time-tested production, featuring glittering costumes and a live orchestra.”

TICKETS: $15-$50 with student and senior discounts through www.ticketmaster.com  or 1-800-745-3000.  Or better yet, avoid the butt-load of convenience charges that Ticketmaster applies by going directly down to Paramount Theatre (Box Office on 21st street – if you bring a non-perishable food item for the Alameda County Food bank, you get at additional 20% off your tickets – not a bad deal!), 2025 Broadway 510-465-6400, paramounttheatre.com http://www.oaklandballet.org/