Category Archives: port of oakland

Wondering What to Do this Memorial Day Weekend?

Can you believe Memorial Day is already upon us? Wondering what to do with the luxuriously long weekend ahead? Well lucky for you, I’ve compiled some interesting options to choose from… Whether you’re looking for festivals of music, dance, & food, scholarly history lessons, or engaging activities to entertain the wee ones, there’s a little something here for everyone… Enjoy!!

FRIDAY – May 23rd

  • Friday Nights at OMCA (5-9pm)

    The Oakland Museum of California is holding its weekly night market on Friday. Off the Grid’s gourmet food trucks will offer artisanal local cuisine, with local beer and wine served in the Blue Oak beer garden. A Makers & Tasters discussion will bring together great minds in the brewing and gardening communities. Live music, dance lessons, a DJ, and an LGBT history tour of the museum help guests digest all that stout and kraut. Plus access to all galleries including newly opened exhibits SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot and Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records.
    Admission 1/2 price for adults; free for kids under 18.
    Oakland Museum, Friday Nights at OMCA, Vinyl, Sound and Culture of Records

SATURDAY – May 24th

  • Oakland City Walking Tour: New Era | New Politics (Tour begins at 10am)

    On this free 90-minute downtown walking tour, you’ll discover the places where Oakland’s African American leaders have made their marks. Learn how Lionel Wilson, Delilah Beasley, Robert Maynard, the Dellums family, Josephine Baker, and others changed the Bay Area and California.
    Meet in front of the African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO), 14th Street at Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. Cost is FREE.

  • Celebrating Elephants Day at the Oakland Zoo (10am-3pm)

    To raise awareness about the perilous situation of African elephants, the Oakland Zoo is hosting its 18th annual Celebrating Elephants event. Funds from the tours will be donated to the Amboseli Trust for Elephants. Visitors can find out how to tell the zoo’s four African elephants apart, learn about poaching and the illegal ivory trade, examine an eleven-pound elephant tooth, and tour the elephant barn, where you can see the animals up-close and watch an elephant “pedicure” (a once-a-year opportunity).
    9777 Golf Links Rd., Oakland. Event is included with regular Zoo admission. Elephant Barn Tours are $10 for adults and $5 for kids under 16.

  • “Eastlake” Free All-Day Lake Merritt Music Festival (12-7pm, cont. at local venues till 2am)

    The First Annual Eastlake Music Festival debuts in the newly completed Lake Merritt Amphitheater and features local music, dance, indie arts and crafts, micro-brews and food trucks. The festival is a not-for-profit festival, fiscally sponsored by the Friends of Oakland Parks, and 100% volunteer planned, organized and run. The main amphitheater stage will feature live bands till 7pm. Then the party moves to various local venues to run into the week hours.
    Full festival map here. Cost is FREE.
    Eastlake Music Festival, Oakland Lake Merritt, Lake Merritt amphitheater, Lake Merritt Music Festival

  • Spanish Harlem Orchestra at Yoshi’s Oakland (two shows – 7:30pm, 9:30pm)

    The two-time Grammy winning Salsa and Latin Jazz band, sets the standard for excellence for authentic, New York style, hard core salsa. Live or recorded, it doesn’t get any better. Their music is characterized by the raw, organic and vintage sound defined by the genre. They are on a mission to keep the musical legacy of salsa dura “hard salsa” alive and expand its audience to those who love great music, not just Latin music.
    Yoshi’s Jazz Club, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland. Cost is $34.

SUNDAY – May 25th

  • Meat-Up Sausage Pop-Up in Temescal Alleys (12pm)

    Monthly sausage pop-up hosted by two of the cooks at Pizzaiolo. This month’s sausage is Bratwurst with sauer kraut and beer on tap.
    470-482 49th St., Oakland. $5-$15

  • Spanish Harlem Orchestra at Yoshi’s Oakland (two shows – 7:00pm, 9:00pm)

    The two-time Grammy winning Salsa and Latin Jazz band, sets the standard for excellence for authentic, New York style, hard core salsa. See full description above.
    Yoshi’s Jazz Club, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland. Cost is $29.

MONDAY – May 26th – Memorial Day!

  • Memorial Day Commemoration & Tour at Mountain View Cemetery (10am)

    Join Mountain View Cemetery to honor all veterans at the 93rd Annual Memorial Day Commemoration when docent Dennis Evanosky will lead a guided tour of the refurbished Civil War plot and other areas of notables that are buried in the cemetery. The ceremony will be held at the second fountain on the Main Avenue of the cemetery and complimentary refreshments will follow.
    5000 Piedmont Ave, Oakland. Cost is FREE.

  • Oakland Carnival at Mosswood Park (10am-5pm)

    Bring the family for a chilled decompression from San Francisco’s Sunday Carnaval. With a kids’ zone and Carnival cultural performances by Bay Area dance companies and bands.
    Corner of Broadway & Mac Arthur. Opening blessing at 10am, entertainment starts at noon.
    Oakland Carnival, Oakland Carnaval, Sambafunk

  • All Tings Jerk Cook Off Festival & Fundraiser (1pm-5pm)

    Now in it’s fifth year the My Yute Soccer annual Jamaican Jerk Cook off is ramping up for another full day of chilled music and hot jerk. Top-of-the-line chefs including James Syhabout, Chop Bar’s Chris Pastena, Michael Cook from Rumbo al Sur, and guest chef from Atlanta, award-winning jerk chef Jimmie Jackson will be turning out their own jerk-inspired recipes. Festival includes live music and raffle items. All funds raised support My Yute Soccer, providing free soccer camps to educate youth in soccer and promote awareness of socio-cultural differences for the general public.
    Linden Street Brewery, 95 Linden Street, Oakland. Cost $15 general admission plus $5 drink & tasting tickets, or $25 package admission.

 

Cool Events This Weekend…

Thank God the heat’s broken, yes?

While that may be true for most of you, I’m in L.A. and it’s still sweltering here. But as of this morning we’re under the triple-digit mark so things are improving…

I’ve been out of town much of the week and galavanting with my girlfriend so I haven’t had a lot of time to do extensive research, but here are a few very cool things happening this weekend that I’m sure you’ll enjoy!

41st Annual Oakland Greek Festival (FRI/SAT/SUN)

It is that time of year again when the wonderful aromas of Souklavia and Loukoumades waft through the air and the sounds of traditional Greek music and shouts of OPA! resonate in the hills of Oakland. The Oakland Greek Festival 2014 is already in full swing…. If you haven’t ever been, this is a great event to check out!

WHEN: 10am-11pm Friday & Saturday; 11am-9pm Sunday
WHERE: On the beautiful grounds of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension, 4700 Lincoln Avenue, Oakland hills, below Highway 13, (510) 531-3400
COST: Adults $6, Children 12 & under are free. (Free admission on Friday from 10am-2pm and on Sunday from 5pm to closing.)

Aeolian Day – A New Festival Of Music Made By The Wind (SAT)

Aeolian Day is a free community festival exhibiting and celebrating musical instruments that are played by the wind. The festival fosters creative collaborations between artists, students and teachers; and promotes awareness of Middle Harbor Shoreline itself, with its unique history, habitat and design. In addition to the four wind-powered works at the center of Aeolian Day, the festival will feature live music, food trucks, and hands-on learning for families.

WHEN: Saturday, Daylight Hours (I’m assuming this, the site doesn’t say specifically)
WHERE: Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, 2777 Middle Harbor Rd, Oakland, CA 94607
COST: Free!

The Bay Area Guitar Masters Series: Eric Symons (SUN)

The first of three performances by noted classical guitarists in the Bay Area features Eric Symons, who will perform a program of original arrangements of Beethoven, Giuliani, Granados, Villa-Lobos, plus original compositions. I’m super excited about this series, especially since I will be out of town (again!) for the always inspiring and interesting Solstice Music Festival held at the neighboring Chapel of the Chimes (see upcoming events at right).

WHEN: Sunday, 2-4pm
WHERE: Tower Chapel at Mountain View Cemetery, 5000 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611
COST: Free!

Bay Area Master Guitar Series

Get Your Black History Month On…

black history month quotes

There’s just one week left. So if you haven’t yet done something to honor our black brothers and sisters of Oakland, here are a slew of diverse and interesting options to choose from this weekend…

Friday – 2/21

  • African American Heritage through Storytelling (2pm)

    Kirk Waller is a storyteller who utilizes his musicality, physicality, emotion and spoken word to convey a wide array of African and African American Folktales, Stories and Legends. Fun for the whole family.
    Oakland Public Library, Main Branch 125 14th St., Oakland 510-238-3134

  • Blackball Universe: Black Minus Afrika (7pm – 12am)

    Black Minus Afrika is an exhibition that takes a look at modern perceptions of Africa as well as contemporary notions of ‘Blackness’. The exhibit features art by Oakland-based artist Gathinji Mbire, among many others, and runs through the end of March. This reception is FREE and open to the public and will feature refreshments and music by Fantastic Negrito.
    Blackball Universe – 230 Madison St., Oakland 94607

Saturday – 2/22

  • Black History Month Walking Tour (10am – 12pm)

    FREE downtown walking tours highlighting African-American leaders who helped shape present-day Oakland. Learn how Lionel Wilson, Delilah Beasley and Marcus Foster changed the city and the Bay Area. Simply meet at AAMLO shortly before 10am to participate.
    African American Museum and Library at Oakland – 659 14th St.
    510-238-3234  www.oaklandnet.com

  • The 18th Annual Art of Living Black Exhibition (12pm – 6pm)

    Bay Area Black Artists Exhibition and Self-Guided Art Tour features emerging, mid-career and established artists of African American descent from the San Francisco Bay Area. FREE and open to the public.
    American Steel Studios: 1960 Mandela Parkway, Oakland 94607

  • Black Vines: A Toast to Black Wineries & Diverse Art (1pm – 4pm)

    The third annual celebration of art, culture, and wine, bringing together African American artists and vintners. Tickets presale $30; door $40 purchase tickets here
    Betti Ono Gallery – 1427 Broadway, Oakland 94612

    African American Heritage through Storytelling (2pm)

    Kirk Waller is a storyteller who utilizes his musicality, physicality, emotion and spoken word to convey a wide array of African and African American Folktales, Stories and Legends. Fun for the whole family.
    Oakland Public Library, Montclair Branch 1687 Mountain Blvd., Oakland 510-482-7810

  • Blackball Universe: Black Minus Afrika (7pm – 12am)

    Black Minus Afrika is an exhibition that takes a look at modern perceptions of Africa as well as contemporary notions of ‘Blackness’. The exhibit features art by Oakland-based artist Gathinji Mbire, among many others, and runs through the end of March. This reception is FREE and open to the public and will feature refreshments and music by Fantastic Negrito.
    Blackball Universe – 230 Madison St., Oakland 94607

Sunday 2/23

  • The 18th Annual Art of Living Black Exhibition (12pm – 6pm)

    Bay Area Black Artists Exhibition and Self-Guided Art Tour features emerging, mid-career and established artists of African American descent from the San Francisco Bay Area. FREE and open to the public.
    American Steel Studios: 1960 Mandela Parkway, Oakland 94607

  • Freedom Songs: Valerie Troutt, Amy Lacour, Tiffany Austin & Kimiko Joy (6:30pm – 8:30pm)

    Four Bay Area vocalists in the round featuring selections from the traditions of gospel, spiritual, folk, and soul. 6pm doors, $10-15 suggested donation
    2013 Studio Grand – 3234 Grand Avenue, Oakland 94610

West Oakland Roots…

Wandering around my home stretch of West Oakland, I am always amazed how, after more than 10 years, I can still find things I’ve never seen before.  Just this past weekend I came across a new cafe, new art installation, new community garden plot, and more. All within a couple blocks of the BART station I’ve been to hundreds of times.  This is what I love about Oakland. And West Oakland in particular, with its vast assortment of abandoned manufacturing sites and empty lots, seems ripe for this kind of discovery.

I have to be honest and tell you I was on a bit of a mission when I came across these things, so it wasn’t completely by chance.

I went to the Oakland Indie Awards Nominee Mixer last week.  Do you guys know about the Indie Awards? An annual event hosted by the California One Foundation in partnership with the East Bay Express, to promote and highlight local artists and businesses doing amazing things in Oakland.  You have to be nominated by a community member, but after that, it’s strictly a juried process and finalists in a number of categories are chosen by a panel of judges after a series of interviews.  The awards party is on Friday, May 14th and should prove to be a huge event with local food & drink vendors, live music, DJs, and more. (tickets here)

But back to the mixer… last week was an opportunity to rub elbows with other nominees and even meet the judges and pitch your business or art a bit. I talked with a bunch of talented & creative peeps, one of whom was Keba Konte – artist, business owner, and self-proclaimed “waffle curator.” The owner of Guerilla Cafe in Berkeley as well as one of the founders of Kijiji Grows (featured in Oakland Youth Center post), he recently worked in conjunction with Mo’ Better Food and numerous other organizations in the establishment of Mo Better Food’s East Bay Farm/Garden one block from the West Oakland Bart Station. The garden workday took place on January 18th in honor of Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, and Keba organized a community installed art piece entitled “The Beautification Art Project,” directing volunteers to tie thousands of colorful ribbons onto a chain-link fence to create a portrait of the great civil rights leader. Fantastic.

keba konte, Martin Luther King art installation, community art west oakland BART

martin luther king art installation, beautification art project by keba konte

Apparently Kijiji Grows set up an aquaculture garden on site, but I didn’t see that during my visit…

keba konte, west oakland bart community garden, mo' better food garden

East Bay Urban Gardeners (EBUG) assisted volunteers in constructing numerous raised planter beds. Here are a couple…

mo' better food, west oakland garden, kijiji grows

lady bug, west oakland community garden, garden west oakland BART

Folks from Urban Releaf (formerly Oakland Releaf) planted numerous trees on the site, and it looks like this formerly abandoned lot is well on its way to becoming a beautiful green zone for food production and recreation. Way to go Mo’ Better Food!

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