Tag Archives: The Crucible

The Uptown art park Bike Bridge sculpture on the horizon

28 Sep bike-bridge-student-web-293x440

This guest blog post was written by Josie Schimke, the Program Development Associate for the Black Rock Arts Foundation. Through her administrative and program support over the last five years for BRAF, Josie has had the privilege of watching promising art proposals mature into exceptional achievements of public art.

The Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) is close to fulfilling a dream and needs the community’s help. We have art. We have a place to put it. We have 12 extraordinary young artists worth celebrating. All we need now is a few more dollars to make it happen!

Donate to the Kickstarter campaign for The Bike Bridge!

If you’ve been following this blog, then you’ve heard mention of The Bike Bridge. We can’t say enough about this project, and it’s so close to becoming a reality. The City of Oakland has approved the installation of the sculpture in a new park on Telegraph Avenue, between 19th and 20th Streets, adjacent to the beautifully renovated Fox Theater. Continue reading

Bike Bridge – Gateway to the Uptown sculpture garden

27 Jul Parcel 4 3D

You might have read earlier this month that the opening date of the Uptown sculpture garden has been delayed from December 2011 to March 2012, but have you heard about the centerpiece sculpture chosen for the space? Because I’m often a month behind on blogs (except for a few), I was ecstatic this morning to read a Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) blog post written a month ago about this piece.

From the beginning of this fight – when advocates including myself convinced the City Council to approve an arts space instead of a surface parking lot in the lot between the Uptown apartments and the Fox Theater – I dreamed about Burning Man style art being featured there. I’m often frustrated that San Francisco gets to publicly display so many East Bay Burning Man art pieces, like Ecstasy and the Raygun Rocket Ship, and I thought this was the perfect space for Oakland to showcase East Bay art. Well, my dreams have come true.

Actually, this art piece is even better than what I imagined. The project is being led by one of my favorite Burning Man artists, Michael Christian, but it’s being created by 12 young Oakland women. Also, it’s made of reclaimed bike parts. Here are the details from BRAF’s blog: Continue reading

Shop Oakland this holiday season

8 Dec

Holiday shopping can be stressful. Waiting in long lines, spending way too much time online trying to find the perfect gift, and driving around the Bay Area in traffic isn’t much fun. But there’s an easier and more rewarding way to do your holiday shopping – shop Oakland.

When you shop at local Oakland businesses, you’ll generally avoid the lines (and much of the driving) and find some very unique gifts. Plus, your dollars will be circulated back into the local community instead of sent off to another city or country.

Sound good to you? If so, join The Great Oakland Grown Holiday Challenge. Oakland Grown, which represents and promotes independent Oakland businesses and artists, is asking Oaklanders to commit to spending a certain percentage on holiday shopping at local businesses. You can either go all out and commit to spending 100% of your dollars here or figure out a percentage that works for you.

I committed to 50% because I’ve already done some of my holiday shopping in Hawaii and at a goat farm in Pescadero, but I’m going to try to do the rest of my shopping here in Oakland.

I signed up today for the Holiday Challenge and hope you’ll do so too. Oakland Grown will send you reminders and once the Challenge is over, if you fill out a survey you’ll be entered to win prizes from Oakland businesses.

Maybe you’d like to shop locally but are not sure where to go. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Check out the Oakland Grown Holiday Gift Guide. They have tons of ideas for local gifts you can buy at stores and online from jewelry, to furniture, to gifts for the little ones in your life.
  2. Go to the Crucible’s Holiday Gifty Art Sale this Friday-Sunday. I go to this every year and always find many incredible gifts. Not all of the artists are Oaklanders but many are and the rest are local to the Bay Area. If you’ve ever thought about taking a class at the Crucible (or gifting one), this would be the time, as they’ll be offering a 20% discount this weekend.
  3. Don’t have much time to do shopping or just want to get it over with? There are two Oakland stores that could each fulfill all or most of your gifting needs. I’ve written here before about Rockridge Home, where I’ve purchased dozens of gifts over the years. Since I’ve moved closer to Piedmont, I’ve discovered Nathan & Co, which is now my go to store for gifts. Both places have a huge range in prices, items, and styles – kitchen tools, books, jewelry, clothing, furniture, art, and just about everything in between.
  4. UPDATE: Somehow I didn’t find out about this until just now, but Oakland Urban Paths is hosting their First Annual Walk & Shop this Saturday. The walk will wind through three business districts via historic stairways and pathways. Sadly I have a meeting this Saturday, since I’d love to check out more of the stairways in my neighborhood, but luckily they offer a map so you can do the walk and shop on your own, which I plan to do.

Now that you know where to shop locally, sign up for Great The Oakland Grown Holiday Challenge. You’ll be joining Mayor-Elect Jean Quan and Councilmember-Elect Libby Schaaf in taking the challenge. (I suspect this challenge won’t be too hard for Libby as I’ve never met anyone as committed to shopping in Oakland as she is.)

If you want an awesome Oakland Grown shopping bag to use while you shop locally, stop by Farley’s tomorrow (Thursday) from 5-9pm for the Oakland Grown Happy Hour. Farley’s will donate 20% of the proceeds from the evening to Oakland Grown, and it will be a great chance to meet business owners, artists, and supporters of local businesses.

Oakland Holiday Shopping Guide

10 Dec

UPDATE: If you’ve procrastinated a bit on holiday shopping, not to worry – I’ve put together a last-minute holiday shopping guide for Oakland.

This holiday season, there are a myriad of holiday local shopping opportunities – so many so that it might be hard to keep track of them! So I thought I’d write a brief guide to best places to shop for gifts in Oakland. This guide is just a selection of what Oakland has to offer for holiday shopping so if you have other thoughts on where to buy gifts, please share them in the comments below.

Holiday Buy Night – TONIGHT (Thursday) and Tomorrow (Friday), December 10th & 11th

The Full Moon Buy Night in October was incredible. There were tons of amazing vendors, delicious food, and lots of entertaining performances. This time, the event organizers are looking to make the Buy Night bigger and better for the holidays. They’re bringing the event inside to the Jack London Market, which I can’t wait to see! Hosted by Oakland Unwrapped, in collaboration with Jack London Square, ProArts, and Oakland Grown, this event will feature Oakland shops, artisans, fine artists and products that are manufactured here in Oakland! Items for all ages, genders and tastes. The event takes place on Thursday and Friday nights from 5pm-10pm at Jack London Market, 300 1st St.

The Crucible Holiday Gifty Art Sale – Saturday & Sunday, December 12th & 13th

This weekend, the Crucible will be hosting its annual Holiday Gifty Art Sale & Open House. I try to make it to this event every year because I find it’s one of the best places to find unique gifts for your friends, family, and of course, for yourself. They have a little bit of everything – glass, jewelry, clothing, ceramics, and all sorts of stuff you’d never find anywhere else. They also will be doing demonstrations of the fire arts that are taught at the Crucible, like glass blowing and welding, so you can get a sneak peek of classes. This event will take place on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-4pm at The Crucible, 1260 7th Street. The Crucible is accessible by the West Oakland BART station or by AC Transit lines 13, 19, or 62.

Citywide Holiday Open House – Friday, December 18th

On Friday, December 18, stores and restaurants throughout Oakland will stay open late (from 6-8pm) to give you a chance to do some last-minute holiday shopping. Several of the stores will feature  live music, refreshments, discounts, gift wrapping, and a variety of other activities. Visit the website for a listing of all of the participating stores.

Oakland Unwrapped – Online

If you’re the type of person who can’t handle shopping in person (or doesn’t have the time), you can still shop local online. Oakland Unwrapped has links to 130 Oakland establishments that have online stores featuring clothes, jewelery, wine, art, coffee, and just about everything other gift you might be looking for.

Blogoaksphere Virtual Food Drive – Online

If you’d like to give a gift to the Oakland blogging community (and to Oaklanders in need), please consider donating to the Blogoaksphere Virtual Food Drive. Our goal is to raise $2000, and we’ve raised $1650 so far. Thanks to all of the bloggers who are participating – A Better OaklandFuture Oakland, City HomesteadToday in MontclairFragmentary EvidenceRebuilding OaktownDiary of an Oakland ShopgirlBack to OaklandOakland Grown, and The Oakbook. If you’re a blogger who’s not yet participating, you can find all the relevant info and pretty buttons that V Smoothe created at the Blogoaksphere Virtual Food Drive web page.

December 7-13 Oakland Political & Community Events

6 Dec

Monday, December 7th – Oakland LGBT Roundtable

From Jean Quan’s newsletter: “Topics to be discussed include  Port of Oakland Commission appointment; report back on Chicago LGBT Community Center visit; Oakland LGBT Community Center next steps and Oakland Pride Update. Bring unwrapped NEW toys to support the Oakland Mayor’s Community Toy Drive.” This meeting takes place from 5:30-7:30 pm in Hearing Room 3, Oakland City Hall.

Tuesday, December 8th – Oakland City Council Meeting

Among other items, the Council will be voting on granting eleven Mills Act contracts to historic buildings, extending the eminent domain authority under the Coliseum Redevelopment Plan, implementing a solar financing program modeled after Berkeley’s program, increasing the fee for residential parking permits, approving the City’s 2010 federal and state legislative agendas, approving a contract with an independent monitor for the police department under the negotiated settlement agreement, and hearing updates on several stimulus projects. See the full meeting agenda and check out my post about how to watch and understand City Council meetings if you need some guidance on how or where to view the meeting. The non-ceremonial parts of the meeting start at 7pm in the Council Chambers in City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Wednesday, December 9th – Joint Annual Holiday Party

Several local elected officials are joining together to throw a holiday party. Hosts include Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Senator Loni Hancock, Assemblymember Sandre Swanson, Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, Mayor Ron Dellums, AC Transit Director Joel Young, and Peralta Community College Trustee Abel Guillen. This event is free and refreshments will be served. This party will take place from 5:00pm – 8:00pm at Uptown Body & Fender, 401 26th St. For more info and to RSVP, visit the Facebook page.

Wednesday, December 9th – WOBO Volunteer Potluck and Social

Come share food, conversation and holiday cheer at the inaugural Walk Oakland Bike Oakland Volunteer Potluck and Social. Don’t let the name fool you, you don’t have to be a volunteer – all WOBO supporters and enthusiasts are welcome. WOBO’s new partner, Xtracycle, has generously donated the use of their space, and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition and Linden Street Brewery have donated some of their specially crafted winter beer, so you won’t want to miss out on the fun. It is a potluck so you’re asked to bring something in the way of food or a non-alcoholic beverage. WOBO’s trying to be light on the planet so you’re encouraged to bring your own plate, glass/mug and utensils if possible. There’s plenty of bike parking in the gated Xtracycle lot and places to lock up to, so if you bike, definitely ride over. The party takes place from 6pm-9pm at Xtracycle, 1078 60th Street. Find more info and RSVP on Facebook.

Thursday, December 10th – Mix It Up East Bay

Join us for a monthly happy hour bringing together young activists, organizers and leaders in the East Bay. ‘Tis the Season for Sustainable Giving! The holiday season is upon us – instead of heading to the mall, come hear (brief) presentations on shopping sustainably in the East Bay:

  • Libby Wenger, Fair Trade Towns USA
  • Oakland Unwrapped!
  • Eric Kos, Alameda Sun Newspaper & Greater Alameda Business Association
  • Amy Thomas, Buy Local Berkeley

Mix It Up East Bay is held every 2nd Thursday of the month from 6-9pm at Shashamane at 2507 Broadway. It’s accessible by 19th Street BART station or by AC Transit lines 1/1R, 51, 59.

Thursday & Friday, December 10th & 11th – Holiday Buy Night

Who needs a boring mall when we’ve got an amazing variety of shops, artisans, and locally made items right here? Get your holiday shopping all wrapped up at the Holiday Buy Night, hosted by Oakland Unwrapped, in collaboration with Jack London Square, ProArts, and Oakland Grown. Two floors, two nights INSIDE the warm & cozy Jack London Market! An Oakland shopping mall-ternative featuring the best of local and indie gifts, art, accessories, clothing and more from Oakland Unwrapped!, Pro Arts and Oakland Grown. Choose from Oakland shops, artisans, fine artists and products that are manufactured here in Oakland! Items for all ages, genders and tastes. The event takes place on Thursday and Friday nights from 5pm-10pm at Jack London Market, 300 1st St. Find more info on vendors and entertainment on Facebook.

Saturday & Sunday, December 12th & 13th – Temescal Skate & Stroll

From the Temescal District website: “Popcorn, candy canes, hot chocolate, carolers, and lively merchants await you on Telegraph Ave., all weekend long. Show your moves at the outdoor ice skating rink (skates available) at 49th and Telegraph. Drop in on your favorite local merchants for a little last minute holiday shopping. And don’t forget to smile when you take your picture with Santa! On Sunday: celebrate the work of Oakland artist Mark Brest van Kempen at the community dedication of Views of the Greenbelt. This public art project, commissioned by the City of Oakland, is a series of sculptures focused on the flora and fauna of the Rockridge Temescal Greenbelt. The dedication event starts at the art sculpture podium adjacent to the DMV parking lot (5300 Claremont Avenue) at 11 AM. Enjoy a brief walking tour of select sculptures ending with light refreshments at Hardy Park.” This event takes place on Saturday and Sunday from 12:30-4:30pm in Temescal.

Saturday & Sunday, December 12th & 13th – The Crucible Holiday Gifty Art Sale

This weekend, the Crucible will be hosting its annual Holiday Gifty Art Sale & Open House. I try to make it to this event every year because I find it’s one of the best places to find unique gifts for your friends, family, and of course, for yourself. They have a little bit of everything – glass, jewelry, clothing, ceramics, and all sorts of stuff you’d never find anywhere else. Though there are plenty of artsy holiday sales going on at this time of year, the Crucible’s generally has the best entertainment. Where else can you go to shop and see fire dancing stilters? They also will be doing demonstrations of the fire arts that are taught at the Crucible, like glass blowing and welding, so you can get a sneak peek of classes. This event will take place on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-4pm at The Crucible, 1260 7th Street. The Crucible is accessible by the West Oakland BART station or by AC Transit lines 13, 19, or 62.

Monday Morning Distractions: Fire Arts Festival 2009

20 Jul

This year’s Fire Arts Festival was just as spectacular as it was in 2008 and 2007, but it was much bigger. That meant more art, more space, and much more fire. Here is some of what I saw:

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It's a bit unclear above, but this creature is what its creator, Rebecca Anderson, calls a fishbug. I talked to her for a bit and found out that this is just the frame for the creature, which will be filled in with various materials in time for Burning Man. It already looks great, so I can't wait to see it finished. You can find out more info at http://fishbug.net/

There were strange creatures featured throughout the festival, including ones without fire elements.

There were strange creatures featured throughout the festival, including ones without fire elements.

There was also fire flora and fauna, like this field of fire flowers.

There was also fire flora and fauna, like this field of fire flowers.

And one of my favorite pieces of the night was these hanging flowers, which lit up and played music when you touched them. It was great to see strangers interacting with the art and each other, with huge smiles on their faces.

And one of my favorite pieces of the night was these hanging flowers, which lit up and played music when you touched them. It was great to see strangers interacting with the art and each other, with huge smiles on their faces.

Of course, there were other ways to interact, like at the flame shooting gallery, where anyone could get a brief training and then shoot fire....

Of course, there were other ways to interact, like at the flame shooting gallery, where anyone could get a brief training and then shoot fire....

At these poor innocent men.

At these poor innocent men.

2PiR, one of my all time favorite Burning Man pieces, was back. I can't tell you how much fun I've had on this creative, Oakland made art piece. You stand on the platform and dance, and the motion sensors on the platform set off fire. The mom and daughter above looked like they were having the time of their lives.

2PiR, one of my all time favorite Burning Man pieces, was back. I can't tell you how much fun I've had on this creative, Oakland made art piece. You stand on the platform and dance, and the motion sensors on the platform set off fire. The mom and daughter above looked like they were having the time of their lives.

Of course, there was plenty more fire just to look at, some which was quite beautiful and artistic.

Of course, there was plenty more fire just to look at, some which was quite beautiful and artistic.

And the pendulum of fire that swung back and forth.

And the pendulum of fire that swung back and forth.

One of the most memorable parts of my night was seeing the gnome, which was made by a group of East Bay residents, including a friend of mine. Pictured above is the small fire that came out of his head, which anyone could activate by pressing a button.

One of the most memorable parts of my night was seeing the gnome, which was made by a group of East Bay residents, including a friend of mine. Pictured above is the small fire that came out of his head, which anyone could activate by pressing a button.

But that fire was nothing compared to the hourly fire show Team Gnome did. They produced colored fire that shot 50 feet up into the air. This photo shows the orange fire, but earlier in the night they featured green and then purple fire. This creation is also unfinished, since the gnome doesn't look very gnome-like yet, but they'll have it complete by Burning Man.

But that fire was nothing compared to the hourly fire show Team Gnome did. They produced colored fire that shot 50 feet up into the air. This photo shows the orange fire, but earlier in the night they featured green and then purple fire. This creation is also unfinished, since the gnome doesn't look very gnome-like yet, but they'll have it complete by Burning Man. You can watch their progress at http://thegee-gnomeproject.blogspot.com/

July 13-19 Oakland Political & Community Events

12 Jul

Monday, July 13th - BART Police Department Review Sub-Committee Meeting

The BART Police Department Review Sub-Committee will meet on Monday, July 13, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. in the BART Board Room, which is located in the Kaiser Center 20th Street Mall, Third Floor, 344 20th St., Oakland, CA. If anyone attends this, I’d be very interested in hearing a report of what happens.

Monday, July 13th - Summertime in the East Bay Mixer, EBYD Style

East Bay Young Dems are hosting a summertime mixer on Monday. If you made it to our awards gala or inauguration party, you know that EBYD knows how to put on a good party. Join us for a cool summertime drink with fellow young leaders and organizers, local elected officials, and meet candidates in the 10th Congressional District race. Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan will also join us to update Oaklanders about the city’s vote-by-mail election coming up and the city’s package of proposed measures.This happy hour is FREE for members. (We request a $5 donation from non-members, though no one will be turned away.  All are welcome!) If you’d like to become a member, you can do so at www.ebyd.org. The mixer will be held Monday, July 13th from 6:30-8:30pm at the beautiful and new Grand Tavern, 3601 Grand Avenue, Oakland. Food will be provided for early arrivals and our brief program will commence at 7:15. Please find more details and RSVP on Facebook.

Tuesday, July 14th – Public Works Committee Hearing on Oakland Airport Connector

The Oakland City Council, via the Public Works Committee will finally have a chance to review the Oakland Airport Connector this Tuesday. This project has changed significantly since they last reviewed it so it is incredibly important for the Council to have another opportunity to weigh in. Please come to the meeting on Tuesday to voice your opposition to the current project and to ask the Council to support a study of a rapid bus alternative. The meeting will be held at 9:00 am in Hearing Room 1, City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza. For background on why the City Council should weigh in on this project, check out my previous post on the subject. If you plan to attend, please RSVP on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 15th – Planning Commission Hearing on Pleasant Valley Safeway/Longs Project

This Wednesday, the EIR Scoping Session will be held for the Safeway Pleasant Valley project. As was abundantly apparent from my two posts on this project, many readers here care a lot about this development and have strong opinions. Whether your main concern is retaining the offerings of Longs or improving pedestrian access, this will be your first opportunity to weigh in. The meeting will be held at 6:00 pm in Hearing Room 1, City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza and the full agenda can be read here.

Wednesday-Saturday, July 15th-18th – The Crucible’s Fire Arts Festival

If you like fire and art but don’t want to deal with a week on the playa at Burning Man, the Crucible’s Fire Arts Festival is what you should check out instead. The past several Fire Arts Festivals have been incredible, more fantastic year after year, but this year’s should be the best yet since they’re moving it to a MUCH larger location. That means more art, more entertainment, and most importantly, more fire! Out of 40 art installations, 35 of them will involve fire. Plus, there will be fire dancers and other fire performances. The festival will be be held Wednesday-Saturday, from 8pm-Midnight at 2020 Engineer Road in West Oakland. There will be a free shuttle from West Oakland BART, which sounds like the most convenient option, since free parking is a couple blocks away from the event. You can find out all the other details and buy tickets at the Crucible’s website. For photos and write-ups of the past two years of Fire Arts Festivals, check out my posts on the 2008 and 2007 festivals.

Thursday, July 16th – Temescal Street Cinema

This Thursday will be the last opportunity this year to enjoy the Second Annual Temescal Street Cinema at 49th and Telegraph (Bank of the West Building)! There’ll be live music and free popcorn, with the event getting started at 8 PM. Movies will start when it gets dark, no sooner than 8:30 PM. Come early or bring a chair! This Thursday will feature Migrations, a series of shorts: “Everyone’s moving from place to place, so travel from a border crossing simulation in Mexico to a giant Chinese mall, the biggest in the world.” Find out more details at the Temescal Business Improvement District’s website.

Thursday, July 16th – Oakland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Meeting

Oakland’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meets monthly to discusses bicycle and pedestrian issues. The BPAC is extremely inclusive – any Oakland resident who attends three consecutive meetings becomes a voting member of the committee – so if you’re interested in bike and ped issues, you should consider attending. The BPAC will be meeting from 5:30-7:30pm in Hearing Room 4 of City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Saturday, July 18th - BEAST Bloggers Camp

“East Bay” is Pig Latin for “beast”, a name that has all the power of bloggers in the SF Bay Area who are the eyes and ears of the East Bay community. In honor of all the East Bay bloggers, Spot.Us, Tech Liminal and A Better Oakland are hosting their first BEAST Bloggers Camp. A BarCamp is an international network of user generated conferences — open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants. The day consists of sessions proposed by attendees and the schedule is created on site the morning of the event. BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn from each other in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from participants. The camp will be held from 8am-5pm at at TechLiminal, 268 14th Street in downtown Oakland. You can find out more details at A Better Oakland.

Sunday, July 19th - JC Cellars Summer Beach Party

JC Cellars is holding its annual summer beach party this weekend. Pouring over 13 different blends and vineyard designates. Embracing our urban environment with a taco truck (spicy salsa is optional). DJ Brett will be spinning groovy beach beats. A children’s craft table will keep the little ones entertained. Admission costs $20 advanced or $25 at the door and includes plenty of wine, snacks, and fun. Sunglasses and flip flops are encouraged! The event will be held from 1-4pm at JC Cellars Winery 55 4th Street, Oakland. Take BART to Lake Merritt, the ferry to Jack London Square or drive to the winery. Find more details and buy tickets at the JC Cellars website.
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