Tag Archives: mountain view cemetery

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

It’s tulip time…

spring flowers, tulips blooming, mountain view cemetery, spring in oakland

I took a quick spin through one of my favorite places to walk in Oakland, Mountain View Cemetery, and realized it’s that time again… We’re still getting our share of rain (Sunday was a doozy) but plenty of warm sunshine too, and already the plum blossoms and daffodils have yielded to later blooming beauties, like the magnolias, wisteria, and these majestic reds. It’s a brief window… you gotta catch it when you can!

This got me to thinking that maybe I should focus on some of the gorgeous gardens in Oaktown, no doubt sprucing up under these longer warmer days for your viewing pleasure. Also, I’m working on a gardening series for Oakland Local, and Earth Day is coming up (lots of celebrations this weekend), so it seems right to focus on some greenery for a bit.

I’ve already written about some of my favorite gardens in Oakland:
Mountain View Cemetery
The Gardens at Lake Merritt (What is Art? and The Gardens Continued…)

More to come.  Please stay tuned…

Are you feeling it?

That holiday spirit I mean.

I thought I kicked things off pretty well yesterday, and I’m going to keep the energy flowing… or at least I’m going to try.

I thought it would be fun to document some of the more spectacular holiday light displays around town and decided to start at one of my very favorite places in Oakland, Mountain View Cemetery. Their display is a little kitschy, but that’s kind of what it’s all about isn’t it?

I saw them unpacking the lights and wrapping the trees last weekend when I was there for a jog… young men on step ladders stringing trees, and others placing Santa and his reindeer in their arc around the entrance fountain.

The sign says the “Circle of Lights” display will be up each evening in December from 5 – 9pm. There’s even accompanying holiday music if you tune into the FM station listed. All I can say is I was there at 5:05pm today, and while a few things were lit, the reverential circle was certainly not. Bah humbug. Here are a couple shots, but clearly I’ll have to go back…

holiday lights at mountain view cemetery, oakland holiday lights

holiday lights at mountain view cemetery, gothic church, oakland holiday lights

Keep tuning in for more holiday cheer, unless you’re feeling Scroogey of course… because I’ve got lots of joy to spread around. I’m hoping to make it to:

  • The official city tree lighting ceremony with the Mayor downtown tomorrow (5pm Thursday the 3rd at City Center Plaza)
  • The Zoolights display at the Oakland Zoo (Starts Friday… it sounds pretty cool and I’ve never seen it)
  • The lighted yacht parade on the Oakland/Alameda estuary this Saturday
  • And much much more

Plus I’ve got snowflake how-to’s, cookie recipes, Santacon!!, and who knows what else. Let’s have some fun, eh?

Oh yeah… and Art Murmur is Friday! So I’ll cover some non-holiday stuff too for you Grinchy types.

Friday the 13th – Mystery Mojo

Ok… so I had no idea what I was going to write about today. I was racking my brain last night… another mural? an essay on gentrification? I was stumped.

And then out of nowhere… I found THIS. I saw it from the corner of my eye and thought “What’s that?” As I stepped closer I found this lovely little creature in red with his/her fantastic aura of twigs & sticks… then I noticed the inscription in stone underneath. West Oakland Home. Which I found fascinating, because West Oakland is my home, however I did not find this in West Oakland. Very strange.

Mystery Mojo

Check out the magic charm at his base… a stone with four screws (presumably representing North, South, East, and West) all meticulously wrapped in blood red thread. This was some serious mojo.

stone with red thread and screws

I walked past the creature and came upon the weirdest and most fantastic pile of stuff… it was only then that I realized I was standing in the middle of a very deliberately created sacred space. The centerpiece is below… constructed out of a hundred or more hand sewn dolls with beautiful individual beads for eyes and mouths, all laid out in a circle.

Voodoo Magic

Voodoo Magic

Mystery Mojo

Inside this circle was an interior circle constructed out of chunks of wood, and inside this two guardians flanked an intricate metal lantern, a red-feathered arrow stuck into the ground, and a dish of offerings. The “dish” was constructed out of a knarled piece of wood… resting in it, a necklace of the cross, beads, kernels of corn, and tobacco leaves.

African Statues

red feathered arrow

Spiritual Offerings

I was fascinated! The fact that someone would create such an elaborate display in a public place. And then leave it. I was also a little bit nervous. Was it ok to be standing inside this space? Would I somehow be desecrating it by walking upon it? I have no idea how this voodoo magic stuff works. I tried to be respectful and appreciative.

It was then that I noticed the masks. The installation was set in a large rectangular plot of land… the red creature from the first photo marked the entrance. At each corner of the plot was a unique and unbelievably beautiful mask. One had a tag that said it was handcrafted in Ghana, carved out of a single piece of wood, and designed to “radiate the magic of Africa.” These two were my favorites…

North and South

This one was West…

African Mask

South…

African Mask from Ghana

East…

African Mask

And North…

African Mask

I gave a nod of gratitude to each of these masks and to the four corners of our planet. It seemed like the thing to do. If anyone knows anything about casting spells or spiritual rituals of this sort, I would love more information. I am in awe of this beautiful gift of art.

Happy Friday the 13th everyone. May the mojo move you!

Mountain View Cemetery…

One of my favorite things to do, and an appropriately spooky outing for this Halloween, is to visit Mountain View Cemetery at the end of Piedmont Avenue. It’s a gorgeous piece of prime Oakland real estate, nestled against and stretching into the hills with stunning views of the entire Bay Area… nevermind that it’s full of dead people.

Because it’s also chock full of incredible art & architecture, not to mention a ton of local history.  It’s here that you can read about the Merritts (former mayor of Oakland Samuel Merritt, after whom Lake Merritt was named) and the Crockers (railroad builder Charles Crocker, namesake to Crocker Highlands) and a slew of other politicians, philanthropists, shipmasters, and businesspersons who helped shape this city.

The cemetery comprises over 220 acres containing, chapels, columbariums, crematoriums, mausoleums, and traditional graves, all amidst a breathtaking park-like setting that frequently draws hikers, bikers, a picnickers alike.  It always makes me smile to see a family stretched out, enjoying an afternoon lunch in the midst of the graves.

Founded in 1863, the park was designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, known as the father of American landscape design, and designer of many urban parks including Central Park in New York City. Part of what makes Mountain View unique from other cemeteries is this park-like design, which grew out of his integrated “vision of man and nature and their relationship to each other.”

Mountain View Cemetery Statues

Mountain View Cemetery Sculpture

There are fantastic examples of sculptural work in stone, concrete, and metal. I love this bronze angel…

Bronze Angel

Mountain View Cemetery

Bronze Sculpture

These next two crypts are from “Millionaires’ Row”… The one on the right is the Crocker crypt – I like to call it the giant penis. I’m sure he didn’t have a complex… um, right.

Millionaires' Row

Mountain View Cemetery Sphynx

Mountain View Cemetery

Mountain View Cemetery Lambs

Lots of angels…

Mountain View Cemetery Angels

Mountain View Cemetery Angel

Gravestones at Sunset

Mountain View Cemetery

Below is the view of San Francisco from the top…

View of San Francisco

The cemetery is open to the public everyday during daylight hours. Run by a nonsectarian, non-profit association, free docent tours are available the second and fourth Saturdays of each month starting at 10am.