Tag Archives: Oaklandish

Enjoy Fairyland for Grownups this Friday

28 Sep

For years I’ve wanted to go to Fairyland. I often joke about how I need to borrow a kid so that I can go, since adults can’t go to Fairyland without being accompanied by a child. Every year there’s a night time gala for adults, but I’ve never been able to make it. Besides, it’s a bit pricey to get into the gala (it is Fairyland’s big fundraising event of the year). I’ve often wished that Fairyland would open at night for adults more often, and with an entrance price that everyone could pay.

Finally, Oaklandish has made my wish come true. This Friday they’re hosting Fairyland for Grownups: 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

Another magical night in downtown Oakland

6 Jul

Two and a half years ago, right after the Fox Theater had finally opened and on an Art Murmur night, I experienced a magical night in downtown Oakland. Here’s what I wrote about it in February, 2009:

…There was always something that bothered me about downtown Oakland – most people just didn’t seem to get how great the DTO is. I’d practically have to beg friends to meet me downtown for a drink after work. And forget dinner downtown – even many of my friends who work in the DTO never stuck around past dark.

Slowly, I’ve noticed a change in attitudes towards downtown, but on Friday night, the DTO finally felt like it was reaching its potential.

There were people everywhere! From 14th Street all the way down past the Art Murmur on 23rd, there were thousands of people on the street and inside art galleries, music venues, bars, and restaurants. People on foot, people on bike, and people in cars. At many points, I witnessed gridlock on the streets, something I’ve never seen downtown at night….

As the Art Murmur dwindled down, many headed to the Uptown to catch a free night of music. Though it wasn’t overly crowded, there was always a wait to get a drink, and the energy was high. I sat for a while near the front door and watched the rain fall, illuminated by a lamppost on the sidewalk outside. I sat back and smiled and I think a few tears welled up in my eyes. This was downtown as I always saw it – vibrant, fun, and sometimes unpredictable – but now this was the downtown so many others were experiencing, and I knew they would return.

Since then, I’ve seen downtown crowded and just as vibrant many times at night, particularly on special occasions, like Uptown Unveiled. But I’ve yet to have those same feelings again. I’ve yet to recreate that distinct realization that downtown has reached another night-time milestone or cleared another hurdle to reaching its full potential.

That changed on Friday night. Continue reading

February 15-21 Oakland Political & Community Events

14 Feb

Tuesday, February 16th – Oakland City Council Special Budget Meeting & Regular Council Meeting

This Tuesday, there are two Council meetings – the regular Council meeting preceded by a special budget meeting. As V Smoothe explained, the new budget proposal is mostly tricks and some cuts, and though based on past meetings, it’s unlikely that anything will actually get decided, it’s important to attend and weigh in. As for the regular Council meeting, it looks like a short agenda, but there are some contentious items that will ensure the Council stays in session until late in the night. Among them are the awarding a $30 million contract for parking citation and revenue collection, exempting certain positions from the hiring freeze, and the awarding of Workforce Investment Board contracts. See the budget meeting agenda and the regular 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 budget meeting is scheduled to run from 5pm-6pm (which sounds ridiculously short to me) and the non-ceremonial parts of the regular Council meeting start at 7pm. Both meetings will be held in the Council Chambers in City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Wednesday, February 17th – Planning Commission Hearing on Bus Rapid Transit

After years of mostly Berkeley meetings about AC Transit’s bus rapid transit (BRT) project, Oakland is finally going to discuss it’s locally preferred alternative. If you support BRT, please come to this meeting or submit comments ahead of time – this project is incredibly important to the future of Oakland. The Planning Commission meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 15th at 6:00 pm in Hearing Room 1, City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza and the full agenda can be read here. You can read more about the BRT proposal in the staff report and at OaklandBRT.com.

Thursday, February 18thBART Police Department Review Committee Meeting

The BART Police Department Review Committee will meet 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.

Thursday, February 18th Oakland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Meeting

Oakland’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meets monthly to discusses bicycle and pedestrian issues. This month’s agenda includes discussions of median modifications on MacArthur Blvd at Richmond Blvd, the bicycle and pedestrian facilities program one-year plan, I [BIKE] Oakland 2010 Bikeways Map design review, and nominations for BPAC Chair and Vice-Chair. 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.

Friday, February 19th WOBO Presents: An Evening with Willie Weir

Join Walk Oakland Bike Oakland to hear Willie bring to life tales from his latest book Travels with Willie that will have you chuckling and leave you wanting to chuck your day job and hit the road. Bicycling magazine says, ‘Travels with Willie is one of the rare bike books that gets it right.’ Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine and a cycling commentator for public radio station KUOW in Seattle. His bicycle travels have taken him around the globe–including such ‘off the tourist path’ destinations as India, South Africa, Bosnia, Laos and Colombia. Tickets: $5 WOBO members, $10 non-members. Special $25 annual WOBO membership (including event ticket) will be available at the door. The book Travels with Willie will be available for purchase for $15 (cash only). All ticket revenue and a portion of book sales will benefit WOBO. This event takes place from 6:30-8:30pm at Oakland Humanist Hall (390 27th Street, between Telegraph & Broadway). For more info, visit WOBO’s website.

Saturday, February 20th – Jane Brunner’s October Community Advisory Meeting: “How Can We as Individuals, and as a City, Address Climate Change?”

This month’s community meeting features Garrett Fitzgerald, City of Oakland Sustainability Coordinator and Emily Kirsch, Oakland Climate Action Coalition. Instead of a typical question and answer period, the meeting will be using the “World Café” approach, breaking up into small groups and intensively discussing our different perspectives on climate change, and our ideas for action we can take. 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.

Saturday, February 20th – Oaklandish Tour De Taco

Hosted by Cyrus Farivar of californiatacotrucks.com and the East Bay Bike Coalition, the Oaklandish Tour De Taco is a gastronomical quest on wheels through the Fruitvale district of Oakland. Whether you’re a taco truck veteran or a mobile food newb, the Oaklandish Tour De Taco is not to be missed. Bring: Bike, helmet, camera, $10-15 for tacos, maybe $5-$10 for ice cream/beer. Bring your friends, your bikes, and an empty stomach to Fruitvale BART, Saturday, February 20th at 11:00am. For more info and the full list of taco trucks to be visited, visit the Facebook event page.

Saturday, February 20th – “DO IT FOR HAITI” A Monumental Benefit and Clothing Drive

“DO IT FOR HAITI” offers a staggering roster of performers and a unique opportunity to support Haiti relief efforts, learn first hand about local organizations working in Haiti and get involved with organizations making a difference on the ground. Events will feature performances and live music including socially relevant theater, Afro-Haitian music and dance, monumental sculpture and art events for children. The event runs from 2:00-11:55pm at NIMBY – 8410 Amelia Street, Oakland CA 94621, which is BART accessible and has bicycle and car parking available. Admission: $10 (children under 12 free). Donations of summer weight clothing for children and adults will be accepted on site. For more info, including the full lineup of artists, see the Facebook event page.

Saturday, February 20th – Obama Campaign Documentary Viewing

Join Organizing for America to honor and commemorate the historic election of President Obama and celebrate the work we did together during his first year in office. We’ll watch the HBO documentary, By the People: the Election of Barack Obama, and plan our work in the coming year. We all need to recommit ourselves to supporting the President and making the change we voted for a reality. Movie starts promptly at 5:30. Barbecue before and after! The event runs from 5-8pm at Everett and Jones, 126 Broadway (corner of 2nd). RSVP and find more info at the event’s website.

Guide for last-minute holiday shopping in Oakland

21 Dec

A surprising number of people have been reaching my blog in the past few days by searching for “oakland holiday gift guide” or something similar to that. The problem is that all the events in my Oakland holiday shopping guide have now ended, and it’s clear many people are still looking to shop locally.

At this point, you might just be tempted to do all your shopping online or head down to a big box store, but there are still many opportunities to finish (or start) your holiday shopping in Oakland. Here are a few of the places I recommend.

Rockridge Home

Last year, I didn’t manage to write about Rockridge Home until after the holiday season, which I regretted because it’s my favorite place to buy presents. As I wrote last year:

And soon I realized Rockridge Home was one of the best places in Oakland to go gift shopping. They have a little bit of everything there – art, kitchen tools, books, music, toys, and all sorts of random fun things that you really want to buy for yourself but can’t justify spending the money on. Whether your budget is $5 or $500, you’ll be able to find something that’s just right. You can feel good about spending money there, as they recently became a Certified Green Business.

So whatever you’re looking for and whomever you’re looking to gift to, chances are that you’ll find something at Rockridge Home. And gift wrapping is free so you don’t need to worry about having time to do that yourself.

5418 College Avenue, Oakland
Open 11am-8pm everyday
Accessible by Rockridge BART or the 51 bus


There are tons of incredible Oakland-focused t-shirt artists, but only one of them is setting its truck up this Tuesday and Wednesday to help you finish your last-minute shopping. You can buy t-shirts, hoodies, and tote bags that celebrate Oakland for people of any age and size – from infant to adult. Head down to their truck tomorrow or Wednesday to support local artists while completing your shopping.

Piedmont & Pleasant Valley
Tuesday & Wednesday from 12-7

Awaken Cafe

Awaken Cafe is not just a great place to get a cup of coffee or an excellent chai, but also a perfect place to snag a few gifts for that coffee-lover in your life. Swing buy for an Awaken Cafe t-shirt or travel mug, coffee-brewing supplies, coffee beans in gift boxes, and more. While you’re there, drink a cup of coffee to fuel the rest of your holiday shopping.

414 14th Street (between Broadway & Franklin)
Monday through Friday: 7 am to 6 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8 am to 5 pm
Accessible by 12th Street BART station or many AC Transit buses

Gift Certificates to Oakland Stores & Restaurants

If you struggle with ideas for gift-giving, gift certificates are a great option. Just call your favorite Oakland store or restaurant and ask if they have gift certificates available. You’ll be supporting an Oakland business and could introduce someone you know to one of the great places Oakland has to offer. My favorite place to buy gift certificates is Piedmont Springs, since most anyone would appreciate an hour in an outdoor hot tub, a massage, or skin care treatments.

Telegraph Holiday Street Fair

This isn’t in Oakland, so I didn’t mention it in my last post, but the Telegraph Holiday Street Fair in Berkeley does feature many Oakland artists. If you can brave the crowds, you’ll find plenty of jewelery, glass art, clothing, ceramics, metal-work, and just about anything you can imagine. And this is one of the few places where you can buy gifts on Christmas eve, so if you’re a super-last minute shopper, this just might be the best solution for you.

Telegraph, between Dwight & Bancroft in Berkeley
December 23rd & 24th from 11am-6pm
Accessible by the 1/1R bus lines

May 25-31 Oakland Political & Community Events

24 May

Tuesday, May 26th – Walk Oakland Bike Oakland Monthly Meeting

Did you know that Oakland has a Bicycle Master Plan? Well, it does. Recently updated and approved in December, 2007, the Oakland BMP serves as the citywide, long-range policy document for promoting bicycling as a viable means of transportation and recreation in Oakland. Join Jason Patton (Bicycle & Pedestrian Planner for the City of Oakland) as we learn about the Oakland BMP and discuss how it can be used as a tool for advocates. (As always, grub will be provided – yum!) This meeting will be held from 6:30-8:30 pm at Bay Area Wilderness Training, 2301 Broadway, Suite B – enter on 23rd Street. For more info, visit WOBO’s website.

Wednesday, May 27th – AC Transit Hearing on Fiscal Emergency

Via Ride ACT: “Faced with rising costs and dwindling financial resources, the AC Transit board of directors recently called for a public hearing on May 27, 2009, as a prelude to possibly declaring “fiscal emergency.” A declared “fiscal emergency” would provide the district with the ability to make ongoing adjustments in service and operations to counter what is predicted to be a debilitating financial crisis… Despite the recent passage of Measure VV–a parcel tax measure that is expected to to yield about $14 million annually for the district–the ongoing weakening of the local economy and the catastrophic loss of STA funding is causing AC Transit to:

  • Adopt a fare increase, effective July 1, 2009
  • Scrutinize all expenditures
  • Institute a hiring freeze for all but essential positions
  • Direct staff to achieve operating/service efficiencies of 15 percent of the budget
  • Outline possible service adjustments which would be enacted later this year, pending a future public hearing and approval by the board.

The public is encouraged to attend the hearing on the fiscal emergency which will be at 5:00 p.m., Wednesday May 27, 2009, in the second floor Board Room, 1600 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA.” If you can’t make it to this meeting, take AC Transit’s service cuts survey to let them know which lines are most important to you.

Thursday, May 28th – City Council Budget Workshop

The Council will be meeting this week to discuss the budget in further detail. For background, I highly recommend checking out V Smoothe’s coverage of the budget, which is really the only in depth budget coverage you’ll find anywhere. This workshop will be held from 1-7pm in the Council Chambers in City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Friday, May 29th – Dancing Under the Stars at Jack London Square

Via Angela Woodall: “Free Outdoor Classes from May 1 to July so you can Dance the Night Away on Oakland’s Waterfront. On Friday nights this Spring and Summer, Jack London Square will see sizzling salsa, tight turns, and elegant waltzes. But on this dance floor, there will be no judges and no one will be voted out. Jack London Square today announced Dancing Under the Stars, a summer of free outdoor dance classes open to the public. Over ten Friday night sessions, visitors will be treated to professional instruction in a range of popular steps, all on Oakland’s waterfront and by the light of the stars. Dancing Under the Stars will begin at 8:30 PM each Friday at the foot of Broadway from May 1st to July 3rd.” This Friday, they’ll be teaching the American Tango.

Saturday, May 30th – Alameda County Democratic Party Candidate Training

If you’ve ever considered running for office (and I hope that several members of the blogoaksphere have), then you should check out this training on Saturday. The Alameda County Democratic Party is presenting a “pre-candidate” training focused on preliminary issues, personal impacts and information that someone thinking of running for office should consider. The program is a free event. Several successful candidates in last year’s election attended when this program was first presented last year. Four panels will be featured: “Do I Really Want to Run”;  “How do Campaigns Work”; Legal and Administrative Requirements; and, the Democratic Party.  The program will be held from 10am-1pm at the Peralta Community College Board Room at 333 E. 8th St. Email acdemtraining@aol.com for additional information.

Sunday, May 31st – Oaklandish Salsa by the Lake

This annual event is back, 100% free and kickin off the summer season with a bang. Oaklandish will be offering free Salsa dance classes and a live performance by Salsa band Rumbache. And while you’re there, check out some of their brand new t-shirt designs. This event is at the Splash Pad Park, across the street from the Grand Lake Theater from 1:00-6:00pm.

If only I could join Oaklandish at Lake Merritt this Sunday…

15 Aug

Instead, I’ll be digging through playa-dust encrusted boxes of supplies, getting ready for Burning Man. That shouldn’t stop you though. Here’s the info via an email from Oaklandish:


This Sunday, August 17, 2008 from noon to 5pm @ the Lake Merritt Sailboat House

We will be chillin’ and drifting lakeside… Take advantage of: 1/2 off boat rentals! Rowboats, sailboats, kayaks, and paddle boats. Free pontoon rides & gondola service! (space limited). Linden Street Brewery will be pouring their famous Common Lager to quench your thirst!

Live FM micro broadcast featuring: DJINTI, BLACKHEART, BOBBY PERU, DJ MarMar and DJBASTA spinning some summer jams. ((BYO radio)) to listen in while boating!

Also, our 2008 Innovators Award winner, Youth Spirit Artworks (YSA), will be celebrating the end of their semester by hosting an exhibit and silent auction of their furniture art throughout the event. YSA seeks to empower and transform the lives of homeless and at-risk youth through art, job training in furniture painting, and community art making.

Come out to see old friends and meet new ones! ** FREE FOR ALL AGES**

Map and directions

Email us at volunteer@oaklandish.org if you’d like to help out with decorating, signing people up for boats, handing out water, etc. Thanks!

If you’re not convinced yet, check out some of these pictures from the event last year:

It sounds pretty amazing, and if only I wasn’t swamped with Burning Man prep, this is how I’d be spending my Sunday. If you make it out to the lake, let me know how it goes.

Flooding the Market with Oakland Pride

1 Oct

Yesterday, I walked down to “Rockridge Out and About,” a street fair that closed off about six blocks of College from Claremont to well past the BART station.

The event was great. It was a beautiful, sunny and breezy afternoon. All three music stages were loud and lively. Cars were stuck trying to circumvent the major thoroughfare while pedestrians roamed freely. There were yummy samples of eight different kinds of local oil, and several kinds of cheeses. I even got to meet someone from ULTRA (Urbanists for a Livable Rockridge and Temescal Area) and got to ask about upcoming meetings.

But what struck me most was the multitude of vendors selling clothing and accessories featuring some expression of Oakland pride. For a while I’ve been meaning to write about this phenomenon, and now seems like the perfect time. First, I have to admit that I kind of have a problem when it comes to Oakland goods. I barely wear t-shirts anymore, except on the weekends, but I can’t help myself when I see a clever new Oakland design. Just take a look at mine and my girlfriend’s collection:

Oakland Gear

OK… now that we’re past my one weakness when it comes to shopping (alright, I do also have a weakness for local organic food), let’s take a closer look at some of what’s on the market.

There’s of course Oaklandish, which to my knowledge was one of the first groups of artists that started promoting the Oakland image through clothing (and other means, like movies and communal activities). From their website…


OAKLANDISH is a stealth multi-form public art & media campaign designed to illuminate the unique culture and history existing here in The Town. Since our first projects in 2K the now ubiquitous roots image has come to represent the strange luster and oddball spirit that is East Bay life.

Strangely, the Oaklandish truck was no where to be found at the Rockridge street fair yesterday…

The next artist I discovered was the man behind the now infamous Oakland cranes shirt, who runs The Girl and Rhino. He’s got lots of non-Oakland designs too, and I heard via his girlfriend that they might be retiring the crane design soon because they’re getting a bit tired of it. As you can see by our collection, my girlfriend and I are fans.

The Girl and Rhino

(It helps that the artist shows up to the Temescal Farmer’s Market every Sunday and we often chat.) Oh yeah – he has a newish bag that’s not up on his site: i 8 Oakland. You’ll have to find him at the market to snag one of these…

Yesterday, I stumbled upon some artists that have more recently embraced Oakland. The first was 35TH & MAC, who’s tagline is “Town Grown Flavor,” and they had some incredible designs, including these, that me and my girlfriend snagged:

Town Grown Flavor

They also had a nice design of the Oakland Tribune building. Unfortunately, their online store is not up and running yet, but I’m guessing I’ll see them again soon…

Like Minded People Oakland Citysape




Next was Like Minded People, whose designs I’ve seen in Fabric8, a great store in SF that features clothing from several talented Bay Area artists. Believe it or not, I managed not to buy anything from them, but I was tempted by this shirt featuring an old school downtown cityscape:


I hella heart Oakland


You still with me? I hope so because there’s a couple more jewels of East Bay gear I want to share. I really couldn’t write this post with at least mentioning the “I hella ❤ Oakland” shirts. If you haven’t seen these, well, I think you might be living in a cave, but I’ve included a picture just in case. More recently, someone has spun off this idea and created the “I Hella Bike Oakland” (with a picture of a bike). They’re sold at the Tip Top Bike Shop in Temescal, but I have no idea who makes them.

Upper Playground

OK, and here’s my last one (I promise). I was thrilled to find out that Upper Playground recently opened their first East Bay store, in Berkeley on Telegraph. And to celebrate this opening, they’ve released a new East Bay line. I was even more excited to find that one of their designs featured the bus I ride daily, old school orange and green AC Transit style.

Woo! That was tiring. Now that I’ve exhausted myself and anyone who’s still reading, I do have a couple thoughts on this phenomenon of wearing Oakland pride. First off, I think it’s pretty clear by now that I think it’s a good thing. I absolutely love wearing my Oakland pride, especially when I’m in SF or other cities. There’s still a large segment of the population that thinks of Oakland as just another run down city with a lot of crime. I’m happy to showcase the talented artists who make this city a bit brighter.

Besides spreading the word about how great Oakland is, I think wearing and buying Oakland goods in general does something else important -it supports Oakland artists and entrepreneurs. It’s difficult to make it as an artist. That’s why I have a day job and write in my free time. These artists are truly talented, and if Oaklanders are going to support them, who is?

For the three readers that have made it this far, what are your thoughts on this flood of Oakland goods hitting the market? Does it raise any concerns for you? Do you fully embrace it? I’d love to hear your thoughts.