Tag Archives: east bay open studios

The Weekend What-To-Do List: this one goes to eleven!

It’s a big weekend people. It’s June. It’s Art Murmur. First Friday. AND Open Studios. And though it’s not technically summer yet, it’s going to feel like it this weekend. It’s gonna be hot!

So whether you’re motivated to take in the arts, bask at the beach, dawdle in the garden, or dance till the sun comes up, there’s something here for you. Check it out my list of ten what-to-dos for this weekend. There are some unique events that only occur once per year so if you miss it, you miss it. Till next year of course. I’ve even mapped something outside Oaktown–shock of all shocks–ready for the island mon? This may be the perfect weekend for it… Hope you enjoy.


1. Honeydrop Hometown Throwdown at The New Parish

Friday, June 6th – 7:30 pm
The New Parish – 1743 San Pablo Ave., Oakland
Cost: $20

The California Honeydrops, a self-described “party band” with a humble, down-to-earth dedication to exploring the vast spectrum of American roots music—New Orleans second-line, soul, funk, and Americana—will be throwing down at the New Parish Tonight. No doubt this will be a good time at a great little club.  Cajun blues band Tri Tip Trio and New Orleans-style brass band MJ’s Brass Boppers will open the show, and the food truck Roderick’s BBQ will be selling Southern food.

2. Art Murmur

Friday, June 6th – Most galleries open till 9pm

I don’t need to tell you about Art Murmur. It’s awesome. Just go. Here’s one of my favorite pics from May’s Murmur… I had an incredible time but never got around to posting about it. Sorry.

Art Murmur, Free Masks

3a) Emory Douglas: Artist for the People, Opening Reception And Artist Talk

Emory Douglas, Joyce Gordon Gallery, Artist for the People, Black Panther PartyFriday, June 6th  6-9pm
Joyce Gordon Gallery – 406 14th Street

Emory Douglas is a provocatively political artist. He was the designated Revolutionary Artist and former Minister of Culture of the Black Panther Party, and you’re likely familiar with many of his bold graphic posters and flyers, their stark aggressiveness emblematic of the “insurrectionary atmosphere of the [60’s and 70’s], with urban rebellions igniting from city to city and strikes from campus to campus.” Emory will be on hand for this event which should prove to be a fascinating look into the black history of Oakland.

3b) First Friday Shorts Presents: Youth Radio

Friday, June 6th – 6:00pm
The New Parkway – 474 24th St., Oakland
Cost: FREE

Tonight, Youth Radio will present a showcase of its youth videos, creatively portraying the everyday issues that most affect young Oaklanders today – community violence, relationships, education, and more. Also featured will be live performances by the young artists and a discussion about art, media-making and growing up during the height of Oakland’s major cultural and economic shifts. Don’t miss this provocative conversation with the next generation of Oakland artists, newsmakers, and leaders.

3c) Doomed and Misguided: Reggie Warlock and Chris Micro, Opening Reception

Reggie Warlock, Chris Micro, LoakalFriday, June 6th – open till 10pm
Loakal – 560 2nd St. (Jack London Square)

You may not have heard of Reggie Warlock and Chris Micro, but you’ve likely seen their character-based graffiti in murals and tags around Oakland. “A battle cry for underground counterculture’s place in fine art, the exhibition will feature new individual and collaborative paintings and a site-specific installation… Filled with neon colors, humor, and a cartoon-like aesthetic, their work celebrates the worlds of graffiti, hip-hop and skateboarding.”

 3d) 5th Annual Temescal Art Hop

Friday, June 6th  6pm – 9pm

This year’s Art Hop features over 20 participating locations including galleries, shops, and cafes around Telegraph Avenue in North Oakland. 48th St (@ Telegraph) and the Temescal Alleys (@ 49th) will feature food vendors and live music.

Pick up an official Art Hop Map from one of the participating locations and collect stamps to enter a raffle drawing to win one of a slew of cool prizes.

4. Urban Farm Tours

Saturday, June 7th  10am – 4pm, tours at each site start every hour
4 sites in Oakland, 4 in Berkeley
Cost: $5 per site ($3 for kids under 12), pay at the door on the day of the event
NOTE: you must contact/register in advance – email iuh@sparkybeegirl.com at least one hour before the event to receive details and locations.

Have you wanted to check out Novella Carpenter’s Ghost Town Farm? Well, now’s your chance!  Her plot, as well as 3 others in Oaktown and 4 more in Berkeley, will be featured on the Institute of Urban Homesteading’s Annual Tour. If you want to learn out how to implement low-water food-production systems or even set up a goat dairy operation in your backyard, this is your chance to hear from the experts. The largest farm on the tour is Full Harvest Urban Farm in East Oakland, spread across 3 lots comprising nearly 27,000 square feet. It’s a super sized full service farm with 25 chickens and 8 ducks for both meat and egg production, 3 kinder dual-purpose goats, dispersed orchard and vegetable plots and a potbelly pig!

Ghost Town Farm is the setting and inspiration for Novella’s well known memoir, Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer. It’s an amazing story of the little farm she’s set up on a empty lot in West Oakland, not far from my old loft (I wrote a post about my first visit here). The other two Oakland farms are Kansas Street Farm in East Oakland, a small food farm with free-range chickens and rain catchment on a rental property, and Lower Bottom Strange Grange in West Oakland, with ducks, bees, aquaponics also on rental property.

5. 48th Annual Sand Castle & Sand Sculpture Contest

Saturday, June 7th  Registration 9-11am, Judging starts at 12noon, Awards Ceremony at 1pm
Robert Crown Memorial State Beach – Westline Drive & Otis Drive, ALAMEDA
Cost: FREE

It’s going to be 80 degrees on Saturday… what a perfect day to hit the beach! But to participate in this event you’ve gotta get up pretty early. For those who plan to tear it up tonight, it may be more realistic to stroll by midday… you’re sure to be astounded by the fantastic creations whipped up in just a few hours. It’s amazing. And oh so temporary.


alameda sand castle contest

photo courtesy of Alameda Journal blog

6. East Bay Open Studios (weekend 1)

June 7th & 8th  11am – 6pm
Multiple Cities throughout the East Bay

What can I say? Open Studios is hosted each year by Pro Arts. They’re an institution and this year they’re celebrating their 40th anniversary! How fabulous is that? Four decades of community building, pushing boundaries, and supporting the artists of the greater East Bay. This weekend (and next) is an incredible opportunity to see a seemingly limitless smorgasbord of art in super intimate settings. I think my favorite part of Open Studios is getting to see each artist’s workspace… so different from seeing pieces displaced to a pristine gallery.

This year over 400 artist studios are included during the two weekends of self-guided touring. Media include book art, ceramics, conceptual, digital, drawing, furniture, glass, installation, jewelry, metal, mixed media, mosaic, painting, paper, pastel, photography, print-making, sculpture, textiles, watercolors, and wood! You’ll need the directory and maps to guide yourself. If you don’t already have one, you can download the East Bay Open Studios Directory here.

7. 38th Annual Redwood Heights Block Sale

block-saleSaturday, June 7th  9am – 3pm
Enter sale at Redwood Rd & Jordan Rd. Sale continues on Bennett, Guido, Norton & Retig.

This is the mother of all garage sales. My girlfriend is participating and will be selling off gorgeous mid-century furniture, dining items, barware, and more. With over 20 families participating,  you’ll also find tons of kid and baby stuff, kitchen items, books and lots more all at great prices. Tons of treasures in an easy three or four block area. Sale wraps around Jordan Park (AKA Avenue Terrace Park) so the kids will have something to look forward to after you are done shopping.

8. Shapeshifters Cinema

Sunday, June 8th, doors 7:30, show 8-9pm
Temescal Art Center – 511 48th St (@ Telegraph)
Cost: FREE

“Shapeshifters Cinema is a monthly expanded cinema series featuring experimental filmmakers and video artists presenting moving image work live with accompaniment from musicians and sound artists. Dovetailing off recent programming at the Exploratorium, Shapeshifters is excited to present the work of pioneering light artists Dennis Keefe and (the late) Glenn McKay who are two of the artists responsible for creating the famous psychedelic light shows of the 1960s. Working together under the name of the Headlights Light Show, Keefe and McKay performed at many west coast venues, including the Fillmore, and also toured extensively with the Jefferson Airplane. The highlight of the program will be a live light art performance by Dennis Keefe with collaborators Jim Baldocchi and Lori Varga and musical accompaniment by Chris Musgrave (Lumerians) and Sarah R. Brady.”

Ok everyone, I know what you’re saying to yourself… that only looks like 8, and she promised 10. But I think if you’ll look back… you’ll see I did some pretty tricky stuff with #3. This one actually goes to eleven. Have a great weekend y’all!


East Bay Open Studios – don’t let a little rain stop you…

Despite the weather yesterday, we decided to take a little stroll around our neighborhood to check out the local artists participating in East Bay Open Studios. We didn’t make a big production out of it, and you don’t have to either…

It’s easy to focus on a small area, even walkable, with the maps and guides included in the Pro Arts Directory. We just zoomed in on our little stretch of Oaktown and realized if we did a short 10 block loop near our house, we could visit nearly 10 different artists… practically one per block!  Fantastic.  This is why I love Oakland.

oakland map, east bay open studios

We had a lovely stroll… got rained on a bit, but also saw the sun come out and steam the water right off the rooftops.  Gorgeous.

We saw stunningly beautiful ceramics (see Andrea Ciak), wonderful mixed media pieces (Peter Gee), textiles, paintings, and drawings at the nearby church which converted its old Sunday school classrooms into Art studios… brilliant! (See Traci Boya, Angie Wilson, Abby King-Kaiser, Jacqueline Palacios, and Suzanne Yee – creator of Mona Lisa in chalk below).

Suzanne Yee, portrait artist

On our way looping back home, we made one last stop at the studio of half of the team producing the Dimond Farmer Joes’ Murals… Hidden Jewels. (Amanda Lockwood) It was fascinating to see her personal work, so much more complex and intricate than the translations of children’s imagery used in the murals. Her co-artist displayed incredibly whimsical doll creations fashioned out of re-purposed materials as well as beautiful constructions of paper (Barbra MacNair).

I didn’t take many photos of the art so you’ll just have to go see for yourselves. Or better yet, discover the artists in your own neighborhood.  Or explore a new part of town you haven’t been to before.  Meet your fellow Oaklanders.  Have an adventure!

You can also check out studios next weekend, but not all artists are showing all days, so be sure to check Pro Arts’ Guide (available in the recent East Bay Express, at participating artists’ studios, or online).

Weekend Fun!

Man, it feels like summer is here… and as you can imagine, there are a whole host of ways to kick off it off right!

I’m taking a break from the bookstore series (but more coming soon) to highlight just a few of the incredible options going on this weekend…

  • ART MURMUR tonight (5pm onward) Free
    Not much to say here other than “do it”. It’s really fun as you can see from my post last month… (Art Murmur is FUN)
  • OPEN STUDIOS (Saturday & Sunday 11am – 6pm) Free
    East Bay Open Studios will be taking place over the next two weekends. This is your opportunity to, not only check out & hopefully buy some amazing art produced by local artists, but also meet the artists in person, tour their workspaces (which I always find fascinating), and enjoy some snacks while you’re at it. Get your maps/directory at the link above (download) or in this week’s East Bay express, and have fun exploring & discovering…
  • BLUEGRASS FOR THE GREENBELT (Saturday 11am – 6pm) $40 – $45
    This is a fundraiser for the Greenbelt Alliance (local advocates for “open spaces & vibrant places”) also sponsored by the Hellman Family Foundation, which I assume is related to Warren Hellman, producer-extraordinaire of San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. This event is not free like HSB, but it’s for a good cause, and appropriately located on the beautiful rolling lawns of Oakland’s Dunsmuir-Hellman Historic Estate – a 37-room Neoclassical Revival mansion built in 1899 on 50 acres of urban park land.
  • TOWN FUNK BLOCK PARTY, 19th St. @ Park Blvd. (Saturday 12pm – 5pm) Free
    My friend Desi’s organization Community Rejuvenation Project has orchestrated this BBQ/party in conjunction with local neighborhood businesses and organizations to celebrate arts & community.  Featuring tons of live music including a Michael Jackson tribute by DJ Zeph, free food, the unveiling of four new murals, and more.  Should be a blast!
  • MUSIC IN THE GARDENS, Lake Merritt (Sunday 11am – 4pm) Free
    “Stroll through the beautiful Lake Merritt-adjacent gardens and encounter diverse musical ensembles, from vintage blues to klezmer, classics to classical, Japanese flute to Renaissance recorder, and the Pacific Boychoir. This event will include gardening demonstrations, children’s activities, and tasty food.” I visited the gardens recently on a spin around the lake and they are gorgeous and fully in bloom.  If you haven’t visited recently, I highly recommend it!
  • TEMESCAL STREET FAIR, Telegraph between 45th & 51st (Sunday 12pm – 6pm) Free
    Featuring two stages of live music & performances, “foodie row” with samples of the amazing culinary wizardry available in this new gourmet district, craft & art booths, fashion shows, a Green Zone with info about greening your home, and much much more.

I’m sure there’s more going on as well, but these are the things I’ve got on my radar.  Wish I could do ’em all!

Have a great weekend everybody!

ps – I didn’t have a photo for today, so I’m posting this cute kitty I met recently… (too cute!)