Category Archives: golden gate

Celebrating Oakland: Neighborhood Love Today & Lit-Crawl Tonight!

I love Oakland. You do too, right? Here are two fun ways to celebrate your love today…

Love Oakland

Love Our Neighborhood Day – 11am to 3pm

The first is North Oakland’s Golden Gate Love Our Neighborhood Day, an Open Streets event that closes off approximately 30 blocks of Oakland and Emeryville streets from car traffic to open them for walking, dancing, bicycling, skateboarding and all-ages fun from 11 am to 3 pm. Nearly a dozen restaurants are participating and  food trucks will be on site, as well as roller derby, bicycle tuneups, a healing hub, a park zone, music & dance, arts & crafts, and so much more.

The event is part of an Open Streets Initiative, Oaklavia, produced by Walk Oakland Bike Oakland (WOBO) to encourage people to play, move, and exercise on safe auto-free streets.  It’s a great opportunity to meet your fellow Oaklanders, and get to know local businesses & community resources along the route. Here’s the best map and a list of event activities.

For more info, Oakand Local has a nice writeup about the event and the Golden Gate neighborhood at large: Oakland’s Golden Gate Neighbors Build Community…

Beast Crawl – 5pm to 9pm

Next up is Uptown’s third annual Beast Crawl: a free festival that showcases the literary diversity and talent of performers with deep roots in the East Bay. It takes place across dozens of venues throughout Uptown (map here) which you are encouraged to support with your hard-earned dollars.

The event is structured as three separate 1-hour “legs” and during each leg (5-6, 6:30-7:30, and 8-9) there are nearly a dozen readings to choose from. There’s no way to attend all of them, unless you know how to replicate yourself or time-travel, so check out their list of events to see what interests you most. It should be a ton of fun!


Kicking Ass for the Working Class

Billboard sized wheatpaste on San Pablo… almost didn’t catch it because the color scheme matched the real billboard above.

Although quite damaged now, you can see the original installation on Endless Canvas, as well as an interesting historical recap of International Workers’ Day (May 1st) – the inspiration behind this piece.

giant wheatpaste, international workers day, kicking ass wheat paste

Each of the figures appears to be a separate cut-out, as are the individual letters. This baby must have taken some time!
oakland street art, oakland graffiti art, oakland wheatpaste san pablo

Compound Studios & Gallery

So our next stop on our Art Murmur crawl was just next door to blankspace, at the Compound Gallery & Studios. A much larger space, Compound is home not only to multiple gallery spaces, but 10 artist studios as well, all fully booked. The space was opened by a husband and wife artists Matt and Lena Reynoso in 2008.  You may remember Matt’s name from my very first post… the Suits & Soldiers mural on the Emeryville border.  I’m hoping to have an Artist Interview with him soon. Also his wife Lena has a fantastic website called Curator of Oddities, and she really does have an odd, but fantastic, collection of work… everything from presidential paintings, to gorgeous graphic silk-screened posters, to random expositions on American folklore.  Very cool.

Compound Studios & Gallery

The primary installation in their main gallery is an interesting 3 dimensional landscape of sculptural pieces entitled 3AM: Under the Full Moon, by Christopher Romer. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of this exhibit as it was quite crowded when we arrived, but you can see a slew of pictures on Compound’s home page.  You’ll also find a wonderful write-up of the show there, which is more than you’ll get here, as I am, for all intents and purposes, sculpturally illiterate.

I felt a bit more at home in the adjacent gallery space, the Swee(t)Art Drawing Gallery, also part of Compound. The exhibit there was mostly two-dimensional (more my comfort zone), entitled “The Worship of Water,” curated by Obi Kaufmann and featuring works by several artists.  Here are two pieces by Savanna Snow

The Worship of Water

And below are works of Shannon Ingraham (I think)… forgive me, but this was a quick tour as I was late to meet friends in the city for Devo. Yes, that’s right, Devo. They rocked.


One of the cool things about visiting this gallery is that many of the artists’ studios are open to the public as well. We were able to walk through many of the spaces and view creative works in progress…

Another thing this studio/gallery/artist crew does is a really cool subscription service called Art in a Box. For a very reasonable monthly fee ($30 – $50), you receive one new work of fine art each month, in a box. You can specify preferred medium if you like, or just keep it a surprise.  Either way, you’ll be enriching your personal fine art collection, while supporting local artists… over 20 currently participating.  And this service has been so successful in fact, the Compound is seeking out new artists to participate.  You can see their Call to Artists on their Facebook page. Check it out!

Blankspace – This Is Not My Beautiful Life

So last Friday was another “First Friday” here in Oakland, and friends and I did an abbreviated gallery crawl this month, hitting two of the three galleries in the Golden Gate district of OaklandDidn’t know there was a Golden Gate district in Oakland?!? It was recent news to me too, but this tiny Oakland outcropping, stretching just north and east of Emeryville and just south of Berkeley, has apparently gone by this name since the late 1800’s.  The area was originally developed as the town of Klinknerville in 1885, changed it’s name to Golden Gate in 1888 (smart move), and was annexed to Oakland in 1897 [Wikipedia].

After drinks at Kitty’s, we made our way to blankspace gallery located at 66th Street and San Pablo. The contemporary art space consists of one main gallery room with a smaller gallery shop off to the right when you first enter, filled with small-scale affordable local artists’ wares. The space was first redeveloped from an old Bait & Tackle shop (I love that the old sign still exists) and was originally launched as Lucky Tackle gallery by Jason Byers back in 2002.  He now co-directs the space with Kerri Johnson.

Blankspace Gallery

The exhibit this month (opening reception was in late October) is titled This Is Not My Beautiful Life, an interesting twist on the Talking Heads’ song “Once in a Lifetime” written by David Byrne…

And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!


Two artists (Michael Hall and Daniel Healey) shared the gallery, each with entirely different styles and techniques, but both focused on themes of “history, domesticity, and narrative.”

Healey’s pieces were rather large but meticulously constructed out of tiny collage bits, most originating from vintage magazines and other historical materials (though he was quite secretive about his process!) Some of the tiny elements could easily be recognized as home wares from some type of catalog, perhaps an old Sears & Roebuck… shelving, handtrucks, etc. Yet many were harder to identify, and some even had a tissue paper translucency to them that was quite beautiful when layered.



I love this image above, because these patrons look perplexed… one literally scratching his head, trying to figure out how and out of what were these constructed, what they now represent, and most importantly, what does it mean?!

My friends debated the perspective from which to view these images. Some saw them as maps of a sort, as though viewed from the sky above…. landmasses jutting out into an abyss of some greater homogeneous body. I preferred to view them from my feet-planted-on-the-ground perspective, and to me they looked like fantastical creatures, blob-like with arms and heads and claws protruding. Here is another…


Michael Hall’s pieces also begin with vintage photographs, though his work is more interested in the historical narratives found within. His canvasses were more traditional paintings than Healey’s, but the incorporation of elements such as date stamping, square formatting, and borders, gave clues to the photographic origination of the images.


I am sorry that I don’t have more photos of his work here… my representation is not particularly balanced as each artist occupied half the gallery space. Please note it is no indication of preference… I found the subtle palettes and quite moments of Hall’s imagery lovely, and a perfect contrast to the vibrant chaos of Healey’s.  The show is up until November 15th… you can go see for yourself.

Tomorrow we go to our second stop of the night… Compound Gallery & Studios.