Tag Archives: Oakland Art Murmur

First Friday Adventures

2 Apr

We all know about the art murmur, which is a great way to spend the first Friday evening of the month, but this first Friday, there are lots of other options to get out and enjoy Oakland, especially if art galleries aren’t your favorite place to hang out. Here are some adventures you can take tomorrow night:

Adventure 1: Celebrating Bikes & Small Bites in Temescal

Tip Top Bike Shop is turning 2, and to celebrate the store’s birthday, they’re having a party, complete with cake, music and beer. But it gets better than that – though the party is free, they’ll be accepting donations, all to benefit Walk Oakland Bike Oakland. The party starts at 6pm at their shop at 4800A Telegraph, and you can find out more details at WOBO’s blog. Once you’ve had your fill of cake and bike talk, head across the street to Barlata, the recently opened but already popular Spanish tapas bar. I’ve yet to go there, but City Homestead gave it a great review (A-, which is pretty much as high as her ratings go). Stop in to have some wine and nibble on small plates. When you’re done, hop on your bike or the 1 bus to get home.

Adventure 2: A Night at the Museum

Can I just say that I love the trend of museums staying open at night? And tomorrow night, the Oakland Museum of California will be open after hours, from 5-9pm, as it is every first Friday. Swing by 1000 Oak Street to catch a lecture, enjoy some jazz, watch a movie, or just wander the museum. But 9pm is far too early to end a Friday night, so afterward, walk three blocks up Oak Street to 14th to grab a drink at Ruby Room.

Adventure 3: A Classic Evening in Uptown

Every other Friday, the Paramount screens classic movies for only $5! Tomorrow, they’ll be showing An American in Paris, featuring Gene Kelly as an ex-G.I. who just wants to paint (and, of course, dance). Catch the movie at 7pm, and when you’re done, head from Broadway to Telegraph to check out the Den at the Fox Theater. The Den is the bar attached to the Fox, which is open to the public (without paying for a show). The space is gorgeous, filled with sofas, tables, and a piece of the ceiling from decades ago that’s apparently fake (but still nice to look at). My favorite parts are looking out the windows on the second floor and checking out the old switchboard, which is still very much in tact. Grab a cocktail or a bite to eat and enjoy being transported back to the 1920s for an evening. And while you’re gazing out the window, see if you can imagine any more uses for the empty lot across the street.

March 30-April 5 Oakland Political & Community Events

29 Mar

Tuesday, March 31st – Oakland City Council Meeting

Believe it or not, the Measure OO repeal ballot measure will be brought before the Council yet again (yes, this will be the third time). The short story is that at the last council meeting, votes were tied 4-4 on two motions – one to entirely repeal OO and the other to only partially repeal it. So now Mayor Dellums gets to break the tie, if he decides to show up to the meeting. If he doesn’t, the Council will have to vote again and will hopefully break this logjam. If you’re still awake when the Measure OO debate ends, you’ll also get to hear some updates on how the federal stimulus funds are being spent here in Oakland. 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, and if you’d like to see the meeting in person, head to the Council Chambers in City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Wednesday, April 1st – 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. This month, Frank Russo, Asssemblymember Nancy Skinner’s chief of staff, will be giving a May special election primer. If you’re interested in getting involved with the Democratic Party, this is a great way to do so. I’m an associate member for the 16th Assembly District, so you can find me at this meeting every month. The meeting will be held from 7-9pm in the San Leandro Main Library, Dave Karp Room, 300 Estudillo Ave., San Leandro, CA 94577.

Friday, April 3rd – Art Murmur

Check out the monthly evening of art gallery shows and entertainment in Uptown. While you’re there, make sure to stop by the brand new bars and restaurants in the area. 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, April 4thJane Brunner’s April Community Advisory Meeting: City of Oakland’s Budget

As you probably know by now, Oakland’s budget situation is looking pretty grim. This Saturday, Council President Jane Brunner, Councilmember Jean Quan, Finance Committee Chair, and Marianna Marysheva, Assistant City Administrator will be providing an update on the budget and answering your questions. This meeting will be held from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon at Peralta Elementary School, 460 63rd Street. To learn more, call 238-7001.

Sunday, April 5thNWPC-AN Susan B. Anthony Celebration, Honoring Kamala Harris

The National Women’s Political Caucus, Alameda North will be hosting their Susan B. Anthony Celebration, honoring Kamala Harris, San Francisc’s District Attorney who is running for state Attorney General. Drink wine, eat hors d’oeuvres, and participate in a silent auction. This event will be held from 4-6pm at the Montclair Women’s Cultural Arts Center, 1630 Mountain Blvd, in Oakland.  Tickets are $50 and benefit the NWPC-AN PAC.

Plenty of ways to celebrate in 2009

23 Dec

You might have noticed that I let the events page slide for the past month or so. I’ve finally taken the time to update it, and 2009 is already shaping up to be a busy year for Oaklanders.

There are plenty of parties to go to on New Year’s Eve – I’ve highlighted a couple and you can find a much longer list at O-Scene. But the celebrating doesn’t have to stop on January 1st.

You can continue to enjoy Oakland on the 2nd at the monthly art murmur. Once you’ve recovered from all your partying, head down to Oakland City Hall on the 5th to watch Rebecca Kaplan get sworn in to the City Council. Later in the week, grab a few drinks and meet politically active people at Mix It Up East Bay, which will be moving to Shashame on Broadway for 2009.

But make sure to save your energy for what is poised to be the most exciting event of the month – the Barack n’ Roll Inaugural Ball on January 20th. Free food, free drinks, and a new president – what more could you ask for?

Head over to the events page for all the details. I guess one of my new year’s resolutions should be to do a better job maintaiing that page.

Lots to do this weekend – art, music, parades, and… fungus?

5 Dec

I think I’ll be staying in and recuperating this weekend, but if you’re looking for something fun to do, there’s no shortage of great events to attend:

Tonight (Friday): Oakland Art Murmur

The monthly evening of art gallery shows and entertainments in Uptown. Read my review of the art murmur here. If you’re coming from anywhere south of Uptown, I encourage you to stop by Awaken Cafe first, where they have an art showing every first Friday of the month, complete with music, snacks, and drinks. You can find out about tonight’s show here.

When: Friday, November 5, 2008 from 6:00pm-10:00pm (individual art gallery times vary)
Where: Uptown Oakland, mostly between Broadway and Telegraph, and Grand and 29th
How Much: FREE!
More Info: http://www.oaklandartmurmur.com
Accessible by 19th Street BART station or by AC Transit lines 1/1R, 51, 72, 11, 12, 59.

Tonight (Friday): Fundraiser Party for the Flaming Lotus Girls

The Flaming Lotus Girls are some of my favorite Burning Man artists. Every year, they create an interactive fire sculpture that usually becomes one of the favorite gathering places out on the playa. They also like to share their artwork with Oaklanders, often bringing their art installations to the Crucible’s Fire Arts Festival. Here’s a photo I took at the 2007 festival of the Serpent Mother, my favorite piece the Lotus Girls have created:

Well, making this incredible art is not cheap so they’re hosting a fundraiser to fill in their budget gap for their most recent piece, Mutopia. Early in the evening, they’ll be having a cocktail party and gallery showing, and later in the night they’ll be a huge party with three rooms of electronic music. It should be an amazing party.

When: Friday, November 5, 2008 from 7:00pm-6:00am (that’s not a typo – it really does go all night long)

Where: Location TBA – call 415-963-3555 (my sources tell me it’s likely to be in West Oakland)
How Much: $10 before 11pm, $15 after
More Info: http://www.flaminglotus.com/party.html

Saturday: Oakland Holiday Parade

V Smoothe raves about the Oakland Holiday Parade every year, and if it’s as good as she says it is, you won’t want to miss it. I hope they bring back this AC Transit float that V Smoothe photographed a couple years ago:

When: Saturday, December 6, 2008 at 2:00pm
Where: Broadway and 11th Street to 20th Street, to Harrison Street
How Much: FREE!
More Info: http://oaklandholidayparade.com/
Accessible by 12th Street BART station or by many AC Transit lines.

Saturday-Sunday: Fungus Fair

The Inadvertent Gardener wrote a hilarious post about how she found out about the Fungus Fair, and you really should go read the whole post if you’re looking for a laugh. She reminded me about the annual Fungus Fair, which takes place at the Oakland Museum every year. I’ve been meaning to go to this for years and have heard good things about it so if you like learning about mushrooms, check it out.

When: Saturday & Sunday, December 6 & 7, 2008 from 10:00am-6:00pm
Where: Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak Street@ 10th St.
How Much: $8 general/$5 seniors and students with ID/members and kids under 5 free
More Info: http://www.museumca.org/exhibit/exhi_fungus_08.html
Accessible by Lake Merritt BART station or by many AC Transit lines.

Art Murmur & Party at The Uptown Tomorrow Night

6 Nov

I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to decompressing now that the election’s over. A great way to start this out will be tomorrow night’s art murmur and a free party at The Uptown.

First, head over to the monthly evening of art gallery shows. (Read my review of the art murmur here.) Forage Oakland will be at Rock Paper Scissors with maps of fruit trees in Rockridge and Temescal, so make sure to stop by.

When: Friday, November 7, 2008 from 6:00pm-10:00pm (individual art gallery times vary)
Where: Uptown Oakland, mostly between Broadway and Telegraph, and Grand and 29th
How Much: FREE!
More Info: http://www.oaklandartmurmur.com
Accessible by 19th Street BART station or by AC Transit lines 1/1R, 51, 72, 11, 12, 59.

When you’re done checking out the art, head over to The Uptown. Show up before 9pm to get in free to see Silian Rail, Schande, Belly of the Whale and drink $2 PBR.

When: Friday, November 7, 2008, doors open at 6pm
Where: The Uptown, 1928 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612
How Much: FREE before 9pm
More Info: http://www.uptownnightclub.com/Calendar.html

Oakland Art Murmur

6 Sep

I have an embarrassing confession to make – until last night, I had never been to the Oakland Art Murmur. It always seems like I’m out of town on the first Friday of the month, or I simply forget it’s the first Friday, or I’m just too exhausted at the end of the week.

But I’m so glad I finally made it out to the galleries!

At about 7:30 last night I met up with a co-worker of mine and headed to Awaken Cafe, where they were showcasing Concrete and Steel, a photography exhibit by Jorin Bukosky. I like taking pictures of odd, sometimes seemingly ugly objects too so I really appreciated this exhibit. Especially the photo of the steep, long escalator in a subway station.

There were dozens and dozens of people inside and outside Awaken – I’ve never seen so many people on 14th Street (well, except during a protest).

After leaving Awaken, we turned and walked down Broadway to Telegraph. My co-worker, who recently moved here from Chicago, kept commenting on the beautiful buildings (like my favorite Oakland building at the V intersection of Broadway and Telegraph), and I realized he had never been to Uptown! I felt like a bad friend but was glad to share his appreciation and wonder, as I played tour guide, explaining the history of the Fox Theater, pointing out all the buildings that used to be medical marijuana dispensaries, telling him about Flora (which incidentally used to be a dispensary).

We soon arrived at the heart of the Art Murmur, at 23rd and Telegraph, and I was amazed at how many people crowded the streets and the galleries. It was so inspiring to see hundreds of people in downtown Oakland on a Friday night! Every gallery was packed – as you entered, the temperterature rose 10-20 degrees and you had to maneuver quite a bit just to get around. So if you get claustrophobic, the Art Murmur might not be for you.

I found most of the art I saw last night to be at least visually interesting, but there were three standouts of the evening:

  1. Outpost at Johansson Projects, featuring David Hamill and Jeff Konigsberg: I think I could have spent hours in this gallery if it wasn’t so crowded. I really appreciated the play of light and dark lines that created a visual depth to the paintings and drawings. I’m not doing the best job of explaining this so do yourself a favor and head down there sometime this month – they’re open Thurs-Sat from 12-6.
  2. The laser cut butterflies at Ego Park: There were about 20 paper butterflies in glass display cases that had extremely intricate designs laser cut into them. I have no idea who the artist was, but the work was inspired by a British military spy who used to enter enemy camps and draw maps hidden within drawings of butterflies. Also, Ego Park was serving up some delicious sangria.
  3. The Poor Man’s Art Show at Rock Paper Scissors Collective, presented by Everybody Get Up: Incredibly creative paintings… on cardboard! There were hundreds of art pieces, and they were all on sale for under $50 (which stood in stark contrast to the other galleries, where few works sold for under $1000). Go check it out – chances are that if you really like something, you can afford it.

Besides the fun in the galleries, there were street musicians, ranting stilt walkers, and neat city images being projected onto a nearby building.

The only regret I have is not printing out the map of the galleries to bring with me, as we missed quite a few. I plan to be back again soon, and if you haven’t made it out to the Art Murmur yet, make sure to mark the next one – Friday, October 3rd – on your calendar now!

First friday of every month from 6-10pm (individual gallery times vary)
Uptown Oakland, mostly between Broadway and Telegraph, and Grand and 29th
Accessible by 19th Street BART station or by AC Transit lines 1/1R, 51, 72, 11, 12, 59

(I consider the Oakland Art Murmur to be an essential Oakland experience. Read about other essential Oakland experiences here.)

Is it wrong to celebrate Oakland in the face of violence?

5 Sep

Last week, my post comparing Oakland to Black Rock City sparked an interesting discussion over at LiveJournal. Someone had linked to my post, and another person responded that it didn’t seem appropriate in light of all the robberies going on in Oakland.

I thought about this a lot this week and realized that I rarely talk about crime here at Living in the O and some might think I’m glossing over it. The truth is that I think about Oakland crime a lot, but it’s so damn depressing to write about it, and besides, V Smoothe already has it covered.

This blog is mostly about celebrating Oakland, about sharing what it’s like to live here, and for me, that mostly means sharing my love for this city (though as regular readers surely know by now, I’m not afraid to criticize and offer suggestions for improvement).

I don’t think it’s wrong to celebrate the arts, culture, and community of this city, even in the face of a seemingly never-ending and constantly growing crime wave. Do you?

(If you don’t, I encourage you to head out to the Oakland Art Murmur tonight in Uptown Oakland. As long as I’m not too exhausted, I’ll be there.)

Party in Downtown on Friday

1 May

It seems like I’m always out of town when all the fun stuff is going on, but if I wasn’t going to be in San Diego tomorrow, I’d be having a full night of fun and arts in downtown Oakland…

First, I’d stop by the grand opening reception for Awaken Cafe. I finally managed to stop by earlier this week, and it’s beautiful inside. High ceilings, artwork everywhere, and tons of sun shining in through the windows. The reception will also be an art showing, as the cafe is featuring artwork by Mia Nakono, an Oakland photographer. Here’s how Awaken’s press release describes her:

She has honed her skills working on projects in China, Japan, Nepal, and the US. Her work focuses on documenting the culture, struggles, and people within minority communities, from queer rights activists to Tibetan Buddhists.

I didn’t get to look at her photos long before I grabbed a delicious cup of Pacific Coast Breakfast tea, but they did look intriguing and it’d be worth stopping by for a more in depth look.

Next, I’d wander around uptown, stopping by some of the art galleries that participate in the First Friday Oakland Art Murmur. I don’t know much about most of the galleries, so I’d probably just wander down Telegraph and then weave down 24th or 25th to Broadway.

After I had my fill of art, I’d head down Broadway to Sweet’s Ballroom for the Oakland Indie Awards, honoring local businesses and artists. I’d enjoy the food, wine, art, and music. At the end of the night, I’d likely stumble to the Uptown Transit Center on 20th between Broadway and Telegraph to hop on the 1, which would drop me off right in front of my apartment.

Hopefully – since I won’t be enjoying any of these activities tomorrow night – some of my readers will get the opportunity to partake.

Here’s your itinerary to make it simple:

Awaken Cafe Grand Opening Reception
Awaken Cafe
414 14th Street, between Franklin and Broadway

Oakland Art Murmur
Various galleries throughout uptown

Oakland Indie Awards
Awards Party: 5:30-8pm
Afterparty with music: 8-11pm
Historic Sweet’s Ballroom
1933 Broadway, between 19th and 20th