Tag Archives: lake merritt

Grand Lake Love.

So I spent a good chunk of my Saturday meandering around Lake Merritt and the Grand/Lake area… I started at the Farmers Market which is simply awesome and definitely one of my favorite things about Oakland.  It’s a wonderful combination of fresh farm produce & flowers, prepared foods, artisan goods, live music, and more.  They even have a stand with massage therapists & tables ready to ease any remaining work-week stress right out of you!  I made my way to the food court where a great lo-fi funk band was playing… I think they were called Sprocket (not sure about this though).  Check out these little tykes… they were totally groovin’!


Then I pedaled around the lake… and at 11:45am sharp, the bell tower of The Lady of the Lourdes church (featured last week) started chiming what I believe is a portion of one of Beethoven’s symphonies… it played for several minutes, which I honestly had never heard before. Pretty cool.

As I rounded the next corner, I came upon a group of about 50 people on a lawn section adjacent to the lake, doing the Thriller dance.  Yes, Michael Jackson’s Thriller.  They were doing it without the music, but anyone who knows the video (is there anyone who doesn’t?) knows this dance!  A group of random passerbys (myself included) stopped to gawk and laugh.  It was quite hilarious.

What I’ve since learned, is that this group (and others) are preparing for an attempt at the Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous worldwide dance to Thriller on October 24th (called Thrill the World).  It’s just a week away folks, so if you want to get in on this ridiculous fun and dress up like a zombie and get down with the funky grooves, there’s one last rehearsal scheduled for this Thursday, October 22nd.  Click here for full rehearsal schedule as well as a link to practice the dance at home.  How can you not love this???

After leaving the zombies-in-training, I parked my bike and spent a lovely time strolling through The Gardens at Lake Merritt. It’s amazing how many people cruise the lake every day – bicycling, pushing their strollers, running their dogs – but how few people know of this gem. Located on the north side of the lake within Lakeside Park, the gardens are comprised of a seven-acre collection of themed gardens. I’ll have more info on this in the next couple of days, and will be focused most of this week on all the cool things that are happening around Lake Merritt. It’s really the heart of our city.

And something new…

Catholicism isn’t really my cup of tea… all this business about sinning! But if there were ever something that might make me want to convert, it would undoubtedly be the experience of walking into this church. It’s like no church I’ve ever seen.

The building was designed by architect Craig Hartman of the San Francisco firm of Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill. You might recognize his work from another famous Bay Area structure… the international terminal of SFO. Having just been there days ago, there are definite stylistic similarities, in use of materials (especially metal and glass) and in the manipulation of space and light.

What’s different is the feeling you have when you enter the Cathedral of Christ the Light. And you do feel something.

It is considered to be one of the most “riveting examples of recent architecture” in the Bay Area, and I think I can speak for many when I say, we are happy to claim it as our own in good ol’ Oaktown.




Though the architecture is truly modern, it has “strong underpinnings in traditional religious architecture, such as the concentric plans of Renaissance chapels, or the manipulation of light in Baroque churches.” This information, and much more about its design, can be found here, on Architectural Record’s website.


There is a small memorial garden dedicated to the victims of clergy sexual abuse.


And below is a shot in the crypt/mausoleum in the the lower level of the building, which is quite stunning in itself, and incorporates the original 1870 stained glass windows taken from the previous church (Cathedral of Saint Francis de Sales) which was damaged in the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989. We’ll be talking more about that tomorrow…



So here’s something random I came across yesterday… These are wheat pastes, which are essentially home made stickers.  These were spotted around Lake Merritt on the bases of a few light fixtures.  I’ll be covering Lake Merritt in more depth in upcoming posts… there a lot going on there right now.

Each base had a bunny/carrot cartoon on one side, and what seems to be a piece of newsprint on the other.  I have no idea if this was all done by one artist, or a pair, each claiming one side.  In either case, it’s pretty weird.


Wheat paste is commonly used by graffiti artists to hang posters & smaller applications and is a simple solution made out of water and flour. It’s one of the most environmentally friendly adhesives because it’s made from organic materials that eventually break down.

It’s also essentially the same goop we all used as kids to make paper mache piggy banks around balloons in arts & crafts… do you remember? I do!


Here’s a link to “the best wheat paste recipe” (self-proclaimed):

The post also offers some tips for how to go about applying your art without getting caught, and undoubtedly my favorite is “Carry a Gap shopping bag.” Who could possibly suspect a fine upstanding consumer of Gap products?  I love it!