Tag Archives: Best of the East Bay

Oakland Updates: Translink, Sweeeeet Oakland, Bike Access, National Night Out, Council Catch Up & Scraper Bikes

7 Aug

Just a reminder that tonight is the East Bay Express Best of the East Bay Party at the Oakland Museum of California from 5pm-midnight. You really should stop by for at least a little while. It’s free, should be a lot of fun, and will probably be the last time you see the museum before it closes for renovations on August 23rd. And now onto the updates.

Using Translink on BART: On Tuesday, I wrote about BART finally implementing Translink, and on Wednesday evening, I got to try it out myself (yay!). But I must admit that I was a bit confused about where to swipe my card. I was looking for something labeled “EZ Rider” since I knew Translink would use the same reader, but there was nothing like that. I did figure it out, but others I know just gave up. Luckily, the Translink Facebook page posted a photo of where and how to swipe the card:

Translink on BART

New blog joins the blogoaksphere: Sweeeeet Oakland launched late last month and “will be focused around political, food, and event happenings as well as generally cool things to check out in and around Oakland California.” Graham Patterson, the author, moved here just 6 months ago so it should be interesting to follow his explorations of his newish home.

Don’t try biking to the Lake Merritt Boathouse: You might have heard that there was a ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday at the Lake Merritt Boathouse. If you drive, there’s plenty of parking for you there. But if you bike, according to dto510, there’s absolutely no bike parking. Hopefully that will get fixed, especially since, as WOBO reports, new bike lanes were completed this week on Lakeside Drive.

Video from National Night Out: There was lots of talk about National Night Out leading up to Tuesday night, but I haven’t heard too much about how it went. Myrtle Street Review videotaped their block party in West Oakland. Looks like it was a fun night:

Catching up on old Council Meetings: Miss the Council during their recess? Well, there’s no need to since you can catch up on past meetings via videos online. Maybe the pro-parking protests could go back and watch all the meetings they missed out on in which the parking changes were discussed in great detail. Another way to catch up is via Oakland North’s “live” (well, it was live) coverage of the budget council meeting on July 28th. The coverage is good, but my favorite part is the caption of their picture of Sanjiv Handa: “Sanjiv Handa addressing council members. As usual.”

Scraper bike photos: Also from Oakland North is a great set of photos from the “Healin’ from Killin’” bike ride for peace. Here’s a sample, but head over to Oakland North for the rest.

Scraper Bikes 1

Scraper Bikes 2

August 3-9 Oakland Political & Community Events

2 Aug

Tuesday, August 4th – National Night Out

The “26th Annual National Night Out” (NNO) is a unique crime/drug prevention event sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW). Last year’s National Night Out campaign involved citizens, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations and local officials from over 15,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide. This year, there nearly 400 NNO events in Oakland will provide opportunities for Oaklanders to meet neighbors and enjoy an evening out in Oakland. You can search for an event in your neighborhood at the NNO’s website.

Wednesday, August 5th – Oakland Builders Alliance Summer BBQ Mixer

Come to the OBA Summer BBQ Mixer and meet others in the building trades and professions. Enjoy a delicious Bar B Q meal, compliments of Brian Garrett, President of Community Bank of the Bay, while you share information about contracting and development opportunities in Oakland! The BBQ will be on Wednesday August 5th from 5:30 to 8:00 pm at The Community Bank of the Bay at 1750 Broadway. To RSVP Call Erin Cusick: 510-437-9620 ext.4. Entrance is free to all members and a $10 donation is recommended for all non-members. RSVP on Facebook.

Wednesday, August 5th – Alameda County Democratic Central Committee Meeting

Every month, the Central Committee meets to discuss party business and to make plans for the future of the Democratic Party in Alameda County. If you’re interested in getting involved with the Democratic Party, this is a great way to do so. The meeting will be held from 7-9pm in the San Leandro Main Library, Dave Karp Room, 300 Estudillo Ave., San Leandro, CA 94577.

Thursday, August 6th – Jack London Square Waterfront Flick Outdoor Movie Night

Jack London Square is showing nautical themed films all summer long, featuring Big Fish this week. Guest speakers and trivia games begin at 7:30 PM. At nightfall, favorite movies will be shown on giant screens. Diners may enjoy restaurant specials, as well as take away meal boxes. Special guests: Oakland Barracuda Aquatics. The movie will be shown at 8pm on the East Lawn of Jack London Square. Find out more details at the JLS events page.

Friday, August 7th– East Bay Express Best of the East Bay Party

The East Bay Express is throwing a party to celebrate the winners of the Best of the East Bay. I didn’t make it to the party last year, but I heard it was packed and tons of fun. The main stage will feature Superfinos VTO, The Thrill of it All, Mystic Rage, Swann Danger, Souls of Mischief, C U Next Weekend (Shampu), Dizzy Balloon, Social Unrest, Fracas, and Goapele. There will also be a Kids Party Zone, film screenings, dance, theater, live art making, tattoo art exhibition, fashion shows, contact sports and professional wrestling ring, outdoor village of food, drinks, artists, retailers, and nonprofits, and much, much more. The party runs from 5 p.m.-midnight at the Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak Street. It’s free, and all ages are welcome. You can get there via many AC Transit lines, Lake Merritt BART, or by bike, complete with valet bike parking, courtesy of East Bay Bicycle Coalition. Check out the party’s blog for much more info.

Friday, August 7th– Art Murmur

Check out the monthly evening of art gallery shows and entertainment in Uptown. Read my review of the art murmur here. The Art Murmur runs from 6-10pm but individual art gallery times vary. The galleries are mostly located in Uptown, between Broadway and Telegraph, and Grand and 29th. Check out the Murmur’s website for more info.

Saturday, August 8th – 10th Annual Laurel Street Festival

This Saturday, the Laurel District will transform into a pedestrian zone to host thousands of Laurel residents and visitors from the greater Bay Area. The festival will showcase live music and performances highlighting some of the greatest Bay area and local talents, a street fair with over a 100 vendors, street art, gourmet food booths, family fun at the Kid’s Zone featuring games, activities for children of all ages and showcases more than 100 retail, service and restaurant establishments in Oakland’s own Laurel District.The Laurel Street Festival attracts over 5000 attendees annually. The festival will be held from 1-6pm on MacArthur Blvd. between 35th and High. See the music lineup and find more info at the festival’s website.
Saturday, August 8th – 4th Annual Urban Wine Experience

At the Urban Wine Experience, fourteen urban wineries will be pouring more than 50 different local wines. Participating wineries include: Adams Point, Andrew Lane, Aubin Cellars, Dashe Cellars, Eno Wines, Irish Monkey, JC Cellars, Periscope Cellars, Prospect 772, R&B Cellars, Rock Wall Wines, Rosenblum Cellars, Tayerle Wines, Two Mile, Urban Legend and Urbano Cellars. Each winery has partnered up with a restaurant to offer food pairings with their wines. Participating food purveyors include: Adagia Restaurant, Angela’s Bistro, Asena Restaurant, Bellanico, Bucci, E’Era Una Volta, Culina, E-22 Café, Fabrique Délices, Levende East, Miss Pearl’s Jam House, Pappo, SavoryCook Special Event Catering, Whole Foods, Zza’s Trattoria, Enoteca & Catering. The event will be held from 2-5 pm at Jack London Square Ferry Terminal. Tickets are $45 online and $60 at the door. You can purchase tickets and find more info at the event’s website.

Oakland Blogger Showdown: Living in the O vs. A Better Oakland

30 Jun

OK, so the title of this post might be a bit misleading. V Smoothe and I won’t be duking it out in the Thunderdome or anything like that. But we are two of the three finalists for the Best of the East Bay best blogger award.

I hadn’t realized this previously, but East Bay Express is holding another round of voting, where the top vote winners for each category are facing off. For the blogger award, it’s Living in the O vs. A Better Oakland vs. Inhuman Eating Machine. I’m not going to ask you to vote for me, but please do vote for either me or ABO – it’d be a shame if an Oakland blogger didn’t win.

More importantly though, there are lots of Oakland businesses, artists, and community members that have made it to this final round of voting, and you should vote for them too. Here are my suggestions some with links to previous posts on these places, people, and events:

  • Best Artsy Cafe/Best Cafe: Awaken Cafe
  • Best Band: Damon and the Heathens (You can find my reasoning in my last post about voting.)
  • Best Club: Uptown
  • Best Performer/Singer/Musician: Kev Choice (Yeah, he’s up for practically every musical category and deserves to win several awards. Did you catch his set at Uptown Unveiled? It was incredible.)
  • Best Festival: Temescal Street Fair
  • Best Local Book: Bryant Terry, Vegan Soul Kitchen (Help stop Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food from winning. I love Pollan, but that was by far his worst book. It was written in a hurry and didn’t really say much. Terry’s book, on the other hand, braves new territory.)
  • Best New Culture Scene: Uptown Oakland
  • Best East Bay Product/Best Place to Buy a T-Shirt: Oaklandish
  • Best Farmer’s Market: Temescal (I know many won’t agree with me on this one, but I’m loyal to my local market.)
  • Best Salvage Store: East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse
  • Best City Employee: Jason Patton (Jason is one half of the City of Oakland’s bicyle and pedestrian team, the other half being Jennifer Stanley. Also, he’s up against Ron Dellums and a bunch of other elected officials.)
  • Best Community Organizer: V Smoothe (OK, so V Smoothe is not even her real name, but let that slide and show that blogging and community organizing can go hand and hand.)
  • Best Rising Political Figure: Sean Sullivan (I’m sticking with my initial choice, even though he’s up against Rebecca Kaplan and Van Jones. Why? Kaplan and Jones have risen already and are staying put for a while, while Sullivan is still moving up.)
  • Best New Restaurant: Sidebar (See why in my initial review when they first opened.)

That’s it for my recommendations. Share yours in the comments below. Voting closes on July 6th so take a few minutes to cast your ballot now.

Oakland Updates: Best of the East Bay, Uptown Unveiled, Oakland Airport Connector & Pay-Go

20 Jun

There’s so much going on in Oakland lately that it’s kind of impossible to keep up with here so I decided I’d just lump a bunch of brief updates into one post.

Still time to vote for Best of the East Bay: For some reason, the East Bay Express decided to extend voting for its Best of the East Bay Awards. Earlier this week I recommended voting for Damon and the Heathens as best band and Sean Sullivan as rising political figure. You have through Monday, June 22 to vote, so vote now if you haven’t already.

More Uptown Unveiled Photos: I posted my iPhone photos yesterday and Chris Kidd asked where he could find some more professional photos. Luckily, there are TONS on Flickr. My favorite photo sets come from The Inadvertent Gardener, psilocybes, vision63, amicicara, and Ken L. Katz. Enjoy!

What really happened at the Port? The Tribune covered the Oakland Airport Connector vote at the Port Commission, but unfortunately got it very wrong. V Smoothe wrote a blog post correcting all the mistakes and adding more background so that’s where you should go for the whole story. (The short version is that the Port voted to move ahead to apply to be able to give money to BART, and they’ll later have to vote on whether to actually give this funding or not. Also, they directed BART to look into other alternatives – yay!) So I called the Tribune reporter, Janis Mara, and discussed the mistakes in her story since I knew this was not a story that she had covered before. She went ahead and issued a correction. Thanks to V for bringing this to my attention and to Janis for making the correction.

Other Oakland Airport Connector updates: The City Council Rules Committee was supposed to vote this past Thursday on whether to agendize an update on the OAC, but Rules Committee got canceled, so it will be before them this Thursday, June 25th. That means there’s still time to contact the Council about this. Later on Thursday, ACTIA will also be discussing the OAC. It’s unclear at this point if they’ll just be receiving an update or if it will be an action item, but advocates will be there to encourage ACTIA to direct BART to study alternatives. If you need a good refresher on the OAC, check out the debate KPFA held on Friday between John Knox White of Transform and Linton Johnson of BART  (about 10 minutes in):

Terra Verde – June 19, 2009 at 1:00pm

Click to listen (or download)

And some good personal news – TransForm just hired me to work part time for the next several weeks on the OAC campaign. Since I already have another full time job, that means I’ll be very busy so posting here might be lighter than usual. (If you’re interested in filling in by writing a guest post, please contact me.)

How do you feel about pay-go? In response to Dellums saying he thought pay-go should be entirely eliminated, Debby at Today in Montclair set up a survey to find out about how Oaklanders feel about pay-go. Whether you have strong feelings or not, please take her very brief survey – I know I’m interested to see the results.

That’s it for now – if you have questions about other Oakland issues I’ve written about (or haven’t), feel free to ask them below.

Vote for Oakland artists, businesses, and more in the East Bay Express Best of the East Bay Awards

14 Jun

I’m a bit late on this, but voting is still open for the East Bay Express 2009 Best of the East Bay awards. Last year, I urged readers to vote for V Smoothe at A Better Oakland for best local blogger, and she won! This year, you can once again vote for your favorite Oakland blogger and can vote for your favorite Oakland businesses, artists, musicians, and more. There are 136 categories in all and you have to to vote for at least 26 categories, but this shouldn’t take more than 10 or 15 minutes.

This year, I have a couple of recommendations. For best band, I enthusiastically voted for Damon and the Heathens, who I’ve written about here a couple times. They describe themselves as:

a six-piece punk soul band from Oakland, California. We combine the sounds of New Orleans brass bands with Detroit garage rock, blues, jazz, and funk to create a sound best described as horn-fueled Oakland grit. Known for a raucous live show and a tight sound, the only thing holding us back now is our bar tab.

They’re an incredibly fun ban to see live, and their lyrics often talk about life in Oakland, specifically Ghost Town.

Sean Sullivan at Join the ImpactFor rising political figure, I voted for Sean Sullivan, who ran for Oakland City Council last year. Sean lost that race but that has not stopped his involvement in Oakland community and politics. He is co-chair of his NCPC and represents the 3rd district on the Community Action Partnership and Community Development Block Grant board.  Sean recently wrote a guest post here about the need to think carefully about cuts to libraries, in order to protect libraries and services that are most needed by the community. He also helped with the fight to stop the surface parking lot in Uptown Oakland. Sean is dedicated to marriage equality and gave a moving speech about this movement at the Join the Impact rally last year, after the passage of Prop 8. Sean is already a prominent community leader in Oakland, and I look forward to the day that he further serves Oakland as a City Councilmember.

So go vote, now, because voting ends on Tuesday, June 16th.

Forget 4th of July – the real fun happens in Oakland next week

3 Jul

I’m sure there are lots of 4th of July festivities going on this weekend. Sure, fireworks and parades are nice, but they get old. Luckily, there are some more exciting events happening next week so I recommend saving some of your energy.

The Crucible Fire Arts Festival – Wednesday, July 9-Saturday, July 12

Last year’s Fire Arts Festival was incredible. And though this annual event seems to get a bit more pricey every year, it also gets bigger and more spectacular. This year, they’re featuring some of my favorite Burning Man fire artists. I’m really excited to get to climb in the Steampunk Tree House, which was always too crowded at BM to deal with:

And my two all time favorite Burning Man artists, Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito will be back this year, I’m guessing with Leaping Giants:

There are five of these figures in total, and though they may not be as exciting as Das Mann’s and Cusolito’s 2007 project – Crude Awakening – they’re phenomenal in their size, precision, and creativity (they’re also environmentally friendly, since they’re created from scrap metal).

In addition to all of these amazing art installations will be dozens of fire performers. So come check it out. And even if you can’t afford a ticket, I recommend coming down and walking around the perimeter, as you’ll be able to check out some of the larger installations from outside the fence.

Here’s the pricing info and the rest of the details:

At Door
Wednesday, July 9
Thursday, July 10
Friday, July 11
Saturday, July 12

Visit the Crucible’s website for more details.

July 9-12, 2008
8PM – 12AM

The Crucible’s Fire Arts Arena
Kirkham Street and 5th Street
Oakland, CA 94607
2 Blocks from West Oakland BART

From West Oakland BART Station
Exit the station onto 5th Street, turn right and walk 2 blocks east to Union (at the 2nd light). The entrance to the Arena is on 5th street between Kirkham and Union.

Local Buses/AC Tansit

Take either #19 bus or #62 bus to 7th Street at Union

Mix It Up East Bay – Thursday, July 10

Last month’s Mix It Up East Bay didn’t really happen because the bar was full of people watching a basketball game and it was too loud and crowded for any of the speakers to present. So they’ve bumped those speakers to this month – reps from Oaklandish, Art and Soul Festival, Oakland Art Murmur, and Old Oakland Outdoor Movies. So come grab a drink, learn about Oakland arts, and meet some cool people.

Thursday, June 12th
Arsimona’s Bar and Lounge
561 11th St.
Old Oakland (above Le Cheval)
Join the Mix It Up East Bay Facebook Group

Best of the East Bay Party – Friday, July 11

Next Friday, celebrate the Best of the East Bay at the Oakland Museum of California. And before or after you stop by, make sure to check out some of the open art galleries as part of Oakland’s art murmur. Here are the details via the Oakland Museum’s website:

5:00pm – Midnight

FFAF blues and jazz summer series continues with Billy Dunn and the Ladies Choice Band in the cafe. At 7 p.m. the East Bay Express rolls in with their rockin’ Best of the East Bay Party. Live music and performances throughout the museum until midnight. The amazing lineup of the East Bay’s best talent includes The Uptones, Flipper, Detstroyer-KISS cover band, Dyloot of DeepVoices, HOTTUB, Kev Choice Ensemble, DJ Malachi, Amoeba artist Brandi Shearer, The Whoreshoes, Mike Glendinning, Monarchs, + more music from Amoeba Music; performances by Splash Circus and Savage Jazz Dance Company; screenings of the Express 24-Hour Digital Film Festival; your favorite food and drink vendors; and a Kids Party Zone sponsored by Chabot Space and Science Center. And this year’s party is going Green: come on a bike and get a free tune-up and valet parking. Flash a public transportation pass for a tote bag of goodies. Free!

Oakland Museum of California
1000 Oak Street@ 10th St.
Oakland, California 94607

Just a couple blocks from the Lake Merritt BART station or the 1 bus line.

And some good news…

25 Jun

Not all of today’s news is depressing. The East Bay Express released it’s Best of the East Bay awards today, and I’m excited about a couple of the reader’s favorites.

Earlier this month, I urged all of my readers to vote for A Better Oakland as the best local blog. Well I guess some of you did, because V Smoothe won the award! Here’s what she has to say about it:

I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me in the East Bay Express poll! I’m thrilled to be named Reader’s Choice for best local topic blogger. In your face, Mayor of Claycord! Take that, Lauren Do! Anyway, I just wanted to say how happy and flattered I was for the recognition. (And a special thanks to Becks for pimping ABO!) You guys rock.

Awaken Cafe, a new sustainable cafe and art gallery in downtown Oakland that I’ve written about several times, won two reader’s choice awards: Best new business and best cafe/coffeehouse. Here’s what the owners had to say in an email they just sent out:

We are extremely grateful that you took your time to let the East Bay know you think we’re the best! You made this happen. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

We are overwhelmed with excitement and completely moved by your support. We’re clear we are surrounded by an amazing community, and that with your support behind us, the Awaken Cafe will continue to get better and better with age.

We’d also like to thank our talented staff (Elisa, Havah, Rich, and Sarah) for their hard work and commitment to excellence. Thank you to our partners for all that they give. To the CAFE CREATORs who have voted for us with their wallets. And to each of you and all of our customers who make our jobs worthwhile. We couldn’t do it without you!

Congratulations to V Smoothe and the crew at Awaken Cafe!

Vote for A Better Oakland as the Best of the East Bay

5 Jun

The East Bay Express is asking for input on it’s annual Best of the East Bay awards. As I was voting for my favorite Oakland restaurants, stores, performers, etc, I stumbled on the best local blogger category. It was one of the few in which I didn’t even have to think twice – V Smoothe at A Better Oakland is by far the best local blogger. Hands down.

She does in depth reporting on a level matched by no other by sitting through countless city hearings, even when they’re frustrating or boring, and pouring over complex reports. I know I would have been completely at a loss in some of the local election races if it wasn’t for her reporting. I also love her engaging and often entertaining writing style. And I think there are few in this city that can beat her dedication to making Oakland a better place to live in.

So head over to the Best of the East Bay ballot and vote for A Better Oakland. While you’re at it, make sure to vote for some of your favorite Oakland establishments (you have to vote in at least 25 categories for your vote to count) so that Oakland is well represented in 2008’s awards. Don’t procrastinate too much – voting ends on June 16th.

And if somehow you’ve never checked out A Better Oakland, head over there now!