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A cheap, car-free New Year’s Eve in downtown Oakland

30 Dec

New Year’s Eve has never been one of my favorite nights to go out. Clubs and events are absurdly overpriced. Everywhere is at least twice as crowded as usual. It’s close to impossible to catch a cab. So many years I stay home or do something low-key with some friends.

But this year my wife and I decided we wanted to go out and when I found out that the Free Broadway Shuttle would be running its usual Saturday night schedule of 6pm-1am, I realized we could bar hop around downtown Oakland. Getting around will be super easy (and free), and if any of the places we go to are too crowded, we can move on.

I researched free or cheap bars and clubs in downtown and put together this list, which I figured I’d share here. Continue reading

Celebrate Plaid Friday – support local, independent Oakland businesses

24 Nov

Things have been pretty heated in Oakland for the last month. Many Oaklanders who have worked together in the past (some for many years) are now debating each other about Occupy Oakland. Some Oaklanders love it, others hate it, and others love the idea but have been turned off by recent actions. I’ve seen and been part of many heated debates online and in person about the effects of Occupy Oakland on our city.

Last week, I got into a particularly heated debate with a close friend of mine on Twitter that quickly devolved since there’s very little room for nuance or explanation in 140 characters. I left the conversation feeling very angry (and I’m sure he did too). Later that day I picked up the phone and called him, and I’m so glad I did. It turned out that though we had been talking past each other on Twitter, we actually agreed on quite a bit and respected each other’s perspectives.

I hope others are doing the same – having real conversations with each other about Occupy Oakland and what it means. We need to remember that after this phase of Occupy Oakland is finished, just like after elections when we might disagree, we all have to work together again. The problems in our city are not going away, and we can address them so much more effectively if we work together.

So on this Thanksgiving, I hope Oaklanders will come together and support each other. One easy way to do that is to shop locally on this Plaid Friday and this weekend. Continue reading

Occupy Oakland: Hours have no reverse motion

9 Nov

Last Thursday morning, the day after the general strike, I was overflowing with emotion. I reflected on the general strike and was so proud to see so many people in our city come together for what turned out to be a mostly festive and empowering day. I was incredibly angry at the small group of people who took advantage of the situation at night and vandalized many small businesses. Even more so, I was sad that these businesses had to deal with the damage, which they so clearly did not deserve. And I was confused because I knew a couple of the people who had been arrested, and I was certain that they had not vandalized any businesses nor attacked police officers.

Often at times like this, I look backward and wonder what could have happened differently. Could the vandalism have been prevented if police showed up earlier, when the Traveler’s Aid Society was first taken over? Would the confrontation have been less violent if more peaceful people like me had stuck around until late in the night? Would any of this ever had happened if we had a different mayor or if Jean Quan had made different decisions a few weeks ago? Continue reading

Check out the Temescal Street Fair & Oaklandish County Fair this Sunday

8 Jul

I’ve been going to the Temescal Street Fair for years so I was super bummed when I had plans for the date it had been scheduled for in June. Lucky for me (but not so lucky for the event organizers), it was rescheduled due to the rain for this Sunday, July 10. (You’d think it would be safe to schedule an outdoor event in June, but with the crazy weather this year, I guess not.)

I’m a big fan of street fairs and festivals. I love seeing normally car-jammed streets filled with pedestrians. I love having so many different food vendors and other small business vendors crammed together and so convenient. I love running into Oaklanders from the neighborhood and beyond.

The Temescal Street Fair is special to me though because for five years it was my neighborhood street fair and had to substitute for my neighborhood block party, since living on Telegraph, it’s not so easy to set up a block party.

This year, the fair has a similar structure to past year’s events, except for one awesome addition – the Oaklandish County Fair. But this isn’t your regular county fair. Instead of farm animals and pie eating contests, they’ll have pop-up soccer, bike dances, wrestling, a photo booth, and much more. Continue reading

Oakland showcased at Obama fundraiser rally last night

21 Apr

Last night, along with 3000 other people, I went to San Francisco to watch President Obama speak. I have to admit that I’ve been feeling pretty down on Obama’s presidency recently, particularly after spending this past weekend in San Diego with a friend of mine who’s a federal public defender. She deals with a lot of immigration cases and says Obama has been worse on immigration than Bush, which is pretty scary. She said she plans to vote for Obama again but is not excited about it.

I had her stories in the back of my mind as I reached the Masonic Auditorium last night, but even just as I arrived, the energy of the crowd infected me. I couldn’t help but feel a bit more optimistic.

My optimism grew throughout the night, particularly as Oakland was showcased at this San Francisco event. Peggy Moore, California Political Director for Organizing for America, and a longtime Oakland LGBT activist, opened up the night with a rousing speech, which had everyone in the crowd shouting “I’m in” by the end of it. Continue reading

Andy Read: Support Oakland Public Music & Get Free Symphony Tickets!

7 Apr

This guest post was written by Andy Read, the Managing Broker of Caldecott Properties who was a founding partner when Caldecott Properties began in 2005. He manages a team of 30 licensed sales associates and has brokered $170MM+ in sales and 250+ rental transactions for Caldecott. Andy was born in Berkeley, raised in Orinda, and is a graduate of U.C. Davis with B.A. degrees in Sociology-Economic Organizations and Philosophy. Andy donates a portion of each of his sales transactions to Berkeley’s East Bay Humane Society, the East Bay’s only no-kill animal shelter.

The Business in the Arts Networking Circle (BANC) is a network of local businesses that have joined together with the Oakland East Bay Symphony to promote a lively arts environment and support vital public music education programs.

Caldecott Properties and BANC are proud to support Oakland East Bay Symphony’s Music for Excellence Program. Music for Excellence’s In-School Mentor Program and After-School Program bring music education and enrichment to nearly 2,200 young people in 19 of Oakland’s public schools, providing students in grades 4 – 12 with continuous, sequential instrumental music instruction tuition free. Continue reading

Oakland Standard Launch Party – another fun late night at the museum

3 Feb

When the Oakland Museum reopened last May, I loved that they threw a weekend long party that went straight through Saturday night. There’s something kind of magical about being at a museum past midnight. Missed out? Not to worry – tomorrow (Friday) night, they’re holding another late night event – the Oakland Standard Launch Party.

The evening will start out with tag team talks by Oakland artists and writers, like Novella Carpenter the West Oakland farmer who’s blog – Ghost Town Farm – you should really be reading, and Walter Kitundo, inventor of the phonoharp. That will be followed by a performance by the Turf Feinz, super talented Oakland turf dancers who’s YouTube videos you’ve likely seen. If not, here’s their most famous video:

And from 10pm-1pm the party will turn into a dance party, with music by DJ Mia Moretti.

Sounds like fun, huh? Entrance is free, so there’s no reason not to at least stop by to check it out. Plus, the East Bay Bicycle Coalition will be providing valet bike parking.

And if you’re wondering what the Oakland Standard is, you’re not alone. Even after reading the description on OMCA’s website I didn’t quite get it. The Bay Citizen interviewed curator Rene de Guzman about it, and the interview explains not only what it is but why OMCA is doing it. I highly recommend reading the interview if you’re interested.

See you at the museum tomorrow night!