Marquis and Amber at Sole Space

Marquis and Amber at Sole Space

It wasn’t easy but we managed to keep a lid on the identity of the new tenant for the Citibank storefront until  Sole Space opened just a couple of weeks ago.  I suspect that shoppers on Grand knew that something special was in the works when they first saw a wonderful work of art in the rear corner painted by Aaron De La Cruz.  According to owner, Jeff Perlstein, other highly-talented artists will paint a replacement mural quarterly.

Jeff also explained that the Grand Avenue location is now Sole Space’s retail hub while his original location on Telegraph has become a clearance center to which  remainders will be moved and sold at steeply discounted prices.  The Grand Avenue shop is currently offering a store-wide 15% discount and a back-to-school sale will begin next week.

Grand Flowers,  under the new ownership of Parisa Hemmat, has been undergoing a face lift.  New canopies are in place with new signage and the doorway has been widened to accommodate better access to floral vases and other accessories.

Heavy construction is still ongoing at Grand Fare Market.  When I took this photo this past week, carpenters were framing a new wall that will extend the old facade across the length of the property.

I‘ve very much enjoyed my first six weeks at Arvi Dorsey’s Red Wagon antiques shop at 3654 Grand but I’m anxious to empty the shelves so I can bring in new merchandise and retire sooner – rather than later.  Accordingly, everything in my space will be reduced 20% next Thursday evening between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. in conjunction with the First Thursdays art walk when I’ll be exhibiting lithographs circa 1950 by Chinese artist, Chang Shu-Chi.

We’ll also serve tea and cookies and have a drawing for one $25 gift certificate good for merchandise in my space only.  Participants need not be present to win.    Red Wagon’s regular hours are Thursdays through Sundays from Noon to 6:00 p.m.

This month, Studio Grand welcomes a new artist in residence, Krystle Ahmadyar, a multifaceted vocalist, composer and performance artist who is on the bill with “Whales Wailing” on August 6 as well as in a concert on August 26.

Studio Grand’s event calendar for the month of August features a total of eleven concerts including a wonderful mix of jazz, folk and ethnic  music along with an array of dance classes.   Sign up to volunteer in exchange for free admission on THIS LINK.

On Wednesday, August 26, the Grand Lake Theatre will be playing host to the First Annual (Maybe) Block n Roll Film Festival – a program of short films by Bay Area community college students.

Steep Tea Brunch

Steep Tea Brunch

Thursday, we drove up to Santa Rosa for the Sonoma County Fair and then rushed back – hoping to make it to Shogun Sushi and Grill (3417 Grand) before they closed.  Turns out that we could have taken our sweet time as they are now open seven days a week from 5:00 p.m. until Midnight.

Friends of Bradford at Ordinaire have a company in West Oakland called Steep Tea.  They’ll be serving brunch al fresco in front of Ordinaire every other week.

Urban Furniture is hosting a fundraising dance party at the Lakeside Garden Center on two successive nights – Saturday and Sunday, August 29 and 30 from 7:00 p.m. until Midnight.  Details are on the Evite invitation.

This article posted on Facebook by Bon Appetit cites 11 good reasons food lovers should visit Oakland.  Grand Lake locations included on that list include Camino, Boot & Shoe Service , Alchemy Bottle Shop plus Bay Grape in Adams Point and Grocery Cafe in the San Antonio district.



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Chao Thia SaturdayLast Saturday, Chao Thai set up a table at the entrance to their courtyard and were providing small samples of Spring Rolls and fried bananas – both of which were extremely tasty.  Either item was available by the plate or in small quantities.

Although most of the neighborhood businesses are benefiting from all the pedestrian traffic on Saturdays, some are not and that’s particularly true of the restaurants.  I’d love to see Chao Thai continue what they did for the first time and hopefully others will follow their lead.

18/8, the men’s hair salon, in the space vacated by Silver Lining Jewelry,  just opened in the last couple of weeks. For more information about their services, visit their website:

Lakeshore Produce’s move up the street to 3312 Lakeshore – next door to Colonial Doughnuts is still in the works but may be delayed slightly.  Look for their re-opening in their new location is September or October.

Early in July, I watched with interest as a young woman photographed a trash container on the street in front of Foot Locker.  I became even more interested when she ventured into Arizmendi – only to return with one of the employee/owners in order to establish if the container in question belonged to Arizmendi.  Since it did not, she was prepared to declare it an orphan and have it removed by Waste Management along with seven other recycling containers that remained on the avenue 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Her efforts were part of an intensive campaign she mounted, on her own initiative, to get local businesses to put out their trash and recycling cans the night before they were to be picked up and bring them inside immediately after they were emptied.  Sure enough, the avenue isn’t perfect but it seems far cleaner than at any time in recent memory.  For more information about her anonymous efforts, please this summary.


LZ is “away from her office” this month – but look for a new blog in September.  Meanwhile, check out this archive of her previous blogs posted over the past two years.



This month’s First Thursdays Art Walk takes place August 6.   Hours are 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. unless otherwise indicated.

Panorama Framing continues its show of acrylics and monotypes by Irene Nelson entitled,  “MACROCOSMS”.    Refreshments will be served.

San Francisco Fiber  at 3711 Grand extends an open invitation to try your hand at weaving and spinning.  Sock yarn in variegated colors is discounted 50-70%.  Music outdoors will be provided by the Jim Grantham Jazz Quartet.

Studio Grand has extended its showing of “Eyes on the Movement” – a group show of photographers  documenting social movements in the Bay Area. Open 1:00 – 4:00pm and 5:00 – 7:00 pm only.

Urban Furniture  won’t have a resident artist in August but they will be open late with a  10% discount on all store merchandise.

Alchemy Bottle Shop is exhibiting bird paintings (primarily waterfowl)  by Kim Snyder.   Open to 8:00 p.m. only.

Jau Jou Studio will be exhibiting pet portraits by Sharon Squires.  They are open to 8:00 p.m. and offer a  15% discount on all salon merchandise.

Red Wagon Collectibles (3654 Grand) will be showcasing vintage prints (circa 1950) by Chang Shu-Chi.  Tea and cookies.  Drawing for one $25 gift certificate and 20% off on merchandise in Ken’s space. Open to 8 p.m. only.

Baraka Gallery (432 Santa Clara) features textiles and other ethnographic arts.  6:30 – 9:00pm only.

Alyce on Grand  continues its exhibit of recent works by artist,  Gale Madyun. Light refreshments served and 15% discount on all regularly priced merchandise.


The Grand Lake Market continues to offer an EBT market match ($20 in tokens for $10)  in effect until the funds run dry. Cherries and apricots are gone for the year but grapes and stone fruits are still in peak season while Rodriguez Farms had gorgeous artichokes last week.


The work day in July was even more productive than usual.  Nine volunteers weeded and pruned most of the California Native beds; put in half a dozen new plants and almost finished installation of the cardboard weed barrier in the Dogwood bed behind the fountain.  At Noon, volunteers were treated to a special lunch provided by Mary Jo Sutton that included pesto pasta, home-baked bread and farmers market watermelon.

Over the last several months, members of the Splash Pad Grand Crew have told me numerous times that they really look forward to our 4th Sunday work days.  This time around, those sentiments seemed even more heart-felt.

Please join us for our next work day, Sunday, July 26 from 9:00 until Noon.  RSVP’s to would be appreciated.


The Art & Soul Festival kicks off tomorrow at Noon and wraps up Sunday with headliner, Sheila E on the Main Stage.

The last of four Summer Sleepovers at Fairyland is August 15.  Admission includes rides, special performances, dinner and a continental breakfast.  More information and tickets are at THIS LINK.

The Second Annual Town’s Half Marathon is August 15th.  This year, the Oakland-based organizers are also introducing a Better Health East Bay 5k.

Since 1967, Clausen House, which has offices at the corner of MacArhtur and Grand Avenues, has been providing supported employment and educational services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Their 3rd Annual Walk for Independence  fundraiser is scheduled for October 10th.  You can help out by becoming a walker or supporter.


The proposed road diet for Grand Avenue was the subject of a well-attended community meeting and, last weekend, an onsite tour of the project area led by city staff and their traffic consultant.  I was initially very supportive of this proposal but now have some reservations after learning that the center lane can legally be used for left turns into parking spaces.  There’s also some question as to whether or not approval of the re-striping in its present form will complicate subsequent efforts to install raised medians and other such improvements.  Final opportunity to view the proposal will be on August 12 in Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church’s Barnett Hall beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Next meeting of the Grand Lake Neighbors group will be Wednesday, August 19 in the Lakeshore Baptist Church Library beginning at 7 p.m. OPD will be there to discuss recent crime statistics and answer questions.

I‘ve written about C. J. Hirschfield, the Fairyland Director, several times over the last several months and was really pleased to come across this podcast in which she was interviewed at length by Brock Winstead. This was one of 36 interviews in a series Winstead calls “The Eastern Shore”.  Some of the prior interviews have been with food writer, John Birdsall, Chef, Charlie Hallowell and Bike East Bay’s, Dave Campbell.

In addition to the podcasts, Winstead also publishes a blog. The one that’s received the most attention is his 5-part report on the history of the home he owns in Oakland’s Golden Gate District. It’s incredibly comprehensive and well worth the read.

Earlier this week, I rode through Lake Merritt with my grand-daughter and, for the first time, had an opportunity to inspect the work that’s been done around the Boat House.  I was really impressed with the results.  Here’s some background information about yet another beneficiary of Measure DD funding.


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