Maybe it’s true that you really can’t judge a book by its cover — but, if the press release for Splash Pad’s 10th Anniversary is a valid indicator, this event is going to be a huge success. Kudos to Angela Jackson, the public relations manager for the San Francisco Visitors Bureau, for writing and distributing the release. Also thanks to Visit Oakland’s PR Director, Kim Bardakian for the quote from Mayor Quan and distribution to her own East Bay network.

Our volunteer graphic artist, Kim Kerry-Tyerman has also been doing double-duty — balancing 10th Anniversary deadlines while also working full time in her own business. In the last couple of weeks, Kim produced a party invitation, this banner and the pièce de résistance, this eye-popping postcard. Look for the postcards and the banner in our booth at the Farmers Market for the next three Saturdays. We will also have sign-up sheets for volunteers for our October 13th work day and for the big party on October 20th.

There’s a meaningful backstory behind the image on the front of the postcard and on our (not-yet available) t-shirts. It has, as its recurring theme, the diverse ways in which individuals (often with no fanfare) have expressed their support for the Grand Lake community in which we live.

To cite one example, the watercolor depicting the Splash Pad fountain was given to me by Kim and Augusto Cardoso as their way of saying “thanks” for the role I played as the community’s primary liaison in the park improvement process. Six months after the park opened, Kim and Augusto contributed in their own right, as part of a small group of neighbors who torpedoed plans to convert Kwik Way into a drive-thru MacDonald’s.

The artist responsible for that watercolor is Frank Rowicki whose singular donation to the neighborhood was The Grand Experience — the collection of his paintings (depicting Grand Avenue landmarks) that are displayed on the wall to the left of the Walker Avenue parking lot entrance.

Several years later, an ad hoc group removed the paintings, applied a new coat of varnish and re-installed them more securely. One of the many people involved in that effort was Gordon Shell who, in cooperation with Miron Murcury, continues to refresh the varnish annually.

Not coincidentally, Gordon’s generosity extends to Splash Pad Park. If you look at the bronze plaque in the plaza, you’ll see his name on a short list of major donors to the fountain. Last week, Gordon did an encore as he and Jim Maranan joined the list of the 10th Anniversary’s Major Sponsors. Other new additions to that list are the Henry Levy Group, the Lakeshore Business Improvement District and Oakland’s Parks and Recreation Department (as a co-sponsor).

I’m hoping that my recounting of the above good works may prompt you to follow suit and show your appreciation for Splash Pad Park, the farmers market it hosts and maybe, just a bit, for this newsletter. As we gear up for our big party on October 20th, there’s plenty of ways to contribute.

You can:

  • Make a deductible cash donation to help cover the full cost of our concert and community festival. Surplus funds will be used exclusively for new landscaping and other park amenities.
  • Donate gift certificates for meals, goods and services. Your donation will be acknowledged on our Silent Auction web page and sold to the highest bidder at the tail end of the festival.
  • Sign up for the October 13th volunteer work day — our last opportunity to make Splash Pad sparkle in preparation for it’s 10th anniversary. Last month, Michael Hasley, Jennifer Pope, Mark Luis and Jennifer Ting weeded the beds and got tons of work done. I’d love to see five times that number on the 13th beginning at 9:00 a.m. If you’re coming, please email me at info@splashpad.org so I can requisition gloves, tools and plan for a nice lunch at Noon.
  • On the 20th, to assure an adequate number of volunteers for the festival itself, we’re providing a free event t-shirt and beer/wine ticket for everyone who works a 2.5 hour shift or more. The early-morning shift begins at 7:00 a.m. and is most critical as we will be setting up the stage, tables, canopies, chairs and, as a special treat, a 20-foot diameter yurt that’s being loaned to us by Ilya Pinsky.
  • Later in the day, we’re going to need 25-35 volunteers to help provide security, work our wine and beer garden, sell Scarecrow popcorn, sodas from Traders Joe’s, bottled water courtesy of Ken Betts and our fabulous event t-shirts. If you’re available to work any of the above volunteer shifts on the 20th, please send an email with volunteer on the subject line and give us some idea of when you’re available and what you’d like to do.
  • About the above fore-mentioned yurt, it’s going to be the centerpiece of a kid zone that’s going to include face-painter extraordinaire, Jessica Gates. The yurt itself is going to provide a magical venue filled with kids who may be alternately transfixed, laughing or screaming in disbelief. We’re looking for a few more gifted storytellers, musicians, magicians or puppeteers for the “yurt stage”. Inquiries should be directed to Miriam Medow, the Children’s Librarian at Lakeview.
  • We’re also trying to nail down other kid’s activities outside the yurt. If you have an idea you’d like to share, email me at ken@katzpjs.com.


This month’s First Thursdays on Grand art walk on October 3rd will feature several new artists and ongoing exhibits at the balance of the gallery spaces.During the month of October, the newly-opened Studio Grand at 3434 Grand will be showing Teri Saul paintings including pieces from her Water and Bicycle series. An artist reception from 6:00 – 9:00 will include live music provided by the Future Oakland Jazz Trio plus wine tasting provided by the Temescal Urban Winery.Jaujou Studio’s October artist will be Luis Aguilera who has been participating in the Creative Growth Arts program since 1997.Latisha Baker will be exhibiting, on the First Thursday only, in Better Homes and Gardens’ main corridor. Latisha will be showing her distinctive notecards and “Ear Cookies” but it’s her wall pieces that are most remarkable. These are made from scrap pieces of plywood that Latisha transforms into amazing works of art using a wood burning tool and acrylic paints.Lorrie Fink’s oils on canvas from a series she calls “Wild Things” will remain up for viewing in the BHG gallery through tomorrow afternoon.

Up the street, Panorama Framing is extending its exhibit of paintings by Suzie Skugstad entitled “Dreamscapes” through the month of October.

Further up the street, Galleria Scola will likewise extend its showing of paintings by Carol Rudisill featuring views of Lake Merritt. Music will be provided outside by Harry Best and his steel drums.

Elida’s next-door neighbor, Rebooty, will be showing new works including furniture from the creative mind of Sam Raske. Cathy is promising sangria and other treats on Thursday. In addition, if you’re of my age and don’t have grand-children nearby, you have her permission to get your grand-parenting fix with Ginger and Colin who are always delightful.

When I snapped this photo in front of Kingman’s Lucky Lounge during the September First Thursday, they were gearing up for art walk visitors happy to partake of half-price beer, wine and well drinks from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. As a further incentive, they are exhibiting the works of five different artists. In addition, apparently they like the concept so much they’ve initiated they’re own First Friday event. At this point, I can’t confirm any details.

Left Coast Power Yoga will be showing artwork by Hadas Tal and will simultaneously be offering a donation-based class from 7:30-8:30pm with snacks and drinks to follow.

Urban Furniture will be exhibiting watercolors by Greg Wright and between 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. all merchandise in the store and boutique will be marked down 20%.

When visiting any of the above galleries, be sure to have your hand stamped to take advantage of the discounts participating businesses are offering that evening only.

Grand Tavern will continue to extend Happy Hour prices to 9:00 pm on First Thursdays. Last month, Drake’s Brewery brought several kegs that were served on the front patio where I wisely snapped this photo before polishing off my glass of Nyack Jack’s Barley Wine which was aged for two years in Jack Daniels whiskey barrels. At 10% alcohol, it packed a pretty good punch and was super flavorful.

For October, Grand Tavern is talking to Linden Street Brewery for this month’s First Thursday. Please check their Facebook page for the latest updates.


After an excruciatingly long wait, Ordinaire is celebrating their Grand Opening or, as they choose to say, “L’ Opening Grande” from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. tonight. In a happy coincidence, Ordinaire and the First Thursday event are the feature story (with a big color photograph) on the front page of today’s Montclarion. Reporter J.M.Brown describes Ordinaire and Panorama Framing as the most recent in a long chain of new businesses that have “sparked upper Grand Avenue’s transformation from a functional neighborhood marketplace to a hip dining and shopping destination”.

Ordinaire, Panorama Framing and Michael Mischer Chocolates (all of which were mentioned in the above article) are hosting a Wine and Chocolate Musicale on Sunday, October 13 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. This is a fundraising event to benefit the non-profit, James Toland Vocal Arts Program.

Russell Moore at Camino generally hogs the media spotlight even when he’s not roasting pork over an open fire. This month, his wife, Allison Hopelain was instead in the spotlight courtesy of the SF Chronicle’s article about how she dresses in style for dinner.

Studio Grand has just announced a series of seven Flamenco Dance workshops intended for children ages 6 to 12 that will begin October 30th. Classes will be taught by La Tania, a Grand Avenue resident with thirty years of experience as a Flamenco teacher/dancer/choreographer.

Oak Common was the subject of yet another glowing review. This time by virtue of a Diablo Magazine article.

Neighborhood pet owners are enthusiastic about to the return of Dr. Eleanor Dunn and Dr. Lauren Knoebel to Grand Avenue. They’ve purchased the Grand Lake Veterinary Hospital and will be re-opening shortly.

Day of the Dead Cafe has closed. According to Lydia from Grand Flowers, the new owners are planning to install an open kitchen and will be offering a limited menu based largely on their in-house sausages.


When you want to get hammered (and sickled), Scarecrow Popcorn is the place to be. Their Leninade soda is “a taste that’s worth waiting in line for”. While you’re at it, pick up a bag of popcorn. Jalapeno Cheese is one of Tish’s five current flavors.

Incidentally, when you get hungry at the 10th Anniversary celebration, there’s about forty restaurants, bakeries and dessert destinations within a two-block radius but, for a quick snack, you need to go no further than the SplashPad.org booth where we will be selling sodas from Trader Joe’s, bottled water from Ken Betts and a couple of flavors of Scarecrow popcorn.

Pilates ProWorks will be open the day of the Anniversary Celebration and will be offering free 20-minute Pilates classes between 12:00 and 2:00 p.m. In addition, free samples from their new Living Apothecary Juice Bar will be available. Details are in their flyer.

The bedding store next to Silver Lining is now closed and the space is available. Pass the word to anyone who might be interested.


This month’s Grand Avenue, West of 580 blog is about The Sacred Well at 536 Grand Avenue.


Peggy and Helen from Kassenhoff Growers return to the market this weekend with lots of lettuce and peas plus a small selection of herbs and flowers.

Anfilo Coffee — the very gracious couple who serve Ethiopian coffee and tea at the Farmers Market will be celebrating the Festival of Meskel in their brick and mortar shop at 35 Grand Avenue tomorrow evening (Saturday) beginning at 7 p.m. They will be performing the traditional Coffee Ceremony and will be serving freshly brewed beer and honey wine accompanied by music and merrymaking.


Tickets are now available online for the second annual Autumn Lights Festival. This is a truly magical event that serves as a major fundraiser for the Gardens at Lake Merritt. Dates are Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19 — 6:00 to 10:00 pm both nights. Here’s another photo that I took last year.

I met with Raul Audelo again last week. Raul is the webmaster for Earthjustice and he’s in the process of converting our antiquated Splash Pad website to a platform that will be far more attractive, readable and interactive. Once I get the hang of it, it will also be easier to produce. A few features (including the newsletter) have already been converted and will hopefully be online very shortly.

Shift Local’s Ideal Date Night Contest is a 3 week campaign to raise awareness of why it’s important to shift spending away from national chains, and spend more towards independent local businesses. Join the contest by posting your ideal date night on Shift Local’s Facebook Page – Facebook.com/shiftlocal. The grand prize includes: 2 passes to Grand Lake Theater, a gondola tour on Lake Merritt, $30 at a restaurant and a $300 Oakland Grown Gift Card.* Plus many more prizes!! Additional details are on their website.


Every Thursday, 7:30 – 10:00 pm: Jim Grantham’s Jazz Quartet at Monkey Forest Road.

Saturday, September 28, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Davie Fest at Davie Tennis Stadium

Thursday, October 3, 6:00 – 9:00 pm: First Thursdays on Grand

Friday, October 4, 6:00 – 9:00 pm: First Friday Art Murmur

Friday and Saturday, October 18 and 19, 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm: Autumn Lights Festival in the Gardens at Lake Merritt

Saturday, October 19, Noon – 4:00 pm: Lakeshore Neighborhood Plant Exchange, 3811 Lakeshore.

Sunday, October 20, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm: Splash Pad’s 10th Anniversary Celebration

If you’d like to comment on any of the above news, please do so on the Grand Lake Neighbors website

If you have friends or neighbors who may be interested in receiving this newsletter, please forward this link: www.splashpad.org/mostrecent.html and invite them to subscribe by sending an email to info@splashpad.org.