Splash Pad Park
In the last couple of newsletters, I’ve been bemoaning the lack of rain and it’s impact on California’s agricultural industry. Today, I’m in a rather awkward position – complaining that, if it does rain tomorrow morning, the turn-out for our Earth Day celebration will likely be less than we’d anticipated.
After much soul-searching, we’ve decided to go ahead with our original plans but, just in case, are scheduling a second work day for the following Sunday, May 4th. Both work days will start at 9:00 and end at Noon with lunch. Tomorrow, we’ll be serving pizza donated by Lanesplitter; fried noodles donated by Lin Jia; oranges donated by Hamada Farms and salad donated by Happy Boy plus bottled water compliments of Ken Betts. Please consider joining us for one or both days.
The plans below (drafted by Mary Jo Sutton, our California Native plant maven) depict the landscaping plans for the two Dogwood beds that we are converting to California natives. The one on the left is largely planted but over the next two weeks, we hope to finish planting both while adding a cardboard weed barrier plus 4-6 inches of compost to help keep down weeds and conserve moisture.
As the photos below demonstrate, the California Native garden is already looking better than ever thanks in part to the addition of flowering annuals. By this time next year, we’re expecting visitors to the park to be bedazzled by all the color – not to mention a healthy complement of bees and butterflies.
GRAND AVENUE MERCHANT NEWS
After a sabbatical that lasted three years, the Grand Lake Smoke Shop should re-open in the next week or so. Like the Alley and the Grand Lake Theatre, the Smoke Shop is very much a local landmark. It opened in 1931 and, for years, was known as “Charlie’s Smoke Shop” where you could purchase newspapers, magazines, candy and tobacco products.
After Charlie passed away, Peter Brady took the helm and remains the business owner. Paul Hlebcar (the talented musician who plays two nights a week at the Alley) will be returning as the shop manager. Leo Havea, who has been busy cleaning, sorting and arranging the vast quantity of memorabilia that has accumulated over the years, will also be working part-time.
Next door (at what was most recently the Day of the Dead coffee shop), Modigliani Cafe is about to open in the next week or so. I’m not entirely sure of the menu but I do know that everything is going to be house-made with top quality ingredients. There will be an open kitchen and some counter seating. Decor features the artwork of the namesake artist.
Yesterday, I talked to Lidia Wallenburg (owner of Grand Flowers) and she said that she’s “very excited” about all the renewed activity at her end of the block. She is confident that there will be far more pedestrian traffic which will boost security and also the financial bottom line.
The Grand Opening party on April 5th for the Alchemy Bottle Shop was very well attended. Balloons, food, champagne and lots of animated conversation transformed the upstairs gallery/tastings room into the festive gathering place that Peter and Tova envisioned. As detailed later in the newsletter, paintings are about to be installed in time for the First Thursdays event on May 1st. There will also be an artist’s reception on Saturday, May 10th.
Studio Grand continues to roll out an incredible array of concerts, classes, and readings that feature some of the best and brightest talents in the Bay Area including Valerie Troutt. Here’s the event calendar for May or to volunteer, visit this site.
Newfangles at 3223 Grand has re-scheduled their “INDOOR BLOCK PARTY” for Sunday, May 18th from 1:30-5:30. They’ll have music, henna painting and refreshments.
Urban Furniture continues to bring in all kinds of great merchandise. They currently have a leather sofa is superb condition as well as this ornate lamp that was accompanied by a framed photograph of Liberace’s mirror-lined grand piano. Was the lamp once his? Only The Shadow knows for sure.
FIRST THURSDAYS ON GRAND
This month’s edition of the First Thursdays art walk falls on May 1st. Hours are 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
- Alchemy Bottle Shop launches its second-floor gallery on May 1st with a show of oils by Ashley Garcia from a series entitled “Renewal: Exploring and Renewing Connections to My Heritage”. Hours are 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. Grand Opening artist reception to follow on May 10th.
- Studio Grand’s show entitled “Random Parts: Paint Plethora” continues through May 24th. The First Thursdays art festivities coincide with the 510 Journal Launch Party co-sponsored by Studio Grand and 510 Journal – a new Oakland-based literacy program. Highlight of the evening will be readings by four of Oakland’s Youth Poet Laureates. Hours are 6:00 – 8:30.
- Newfangles show of artwork by Juliet Evans continues through the month of April. Juliet is also organizing the Indoor Block Party scheduled for May 18th.
- Panorama Framing will be hosting a reception for a new show entitled Color and Place featuring the artwork of Judy Levit, Jane Norling and Lorrie Fink. Refreshments will be served.
- Jaujou Studio will be showcasing abstract oils by Tori Berghoff. Show is called “Hey, Bud!” A 15% discount on store merchandise is offered from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. during First Thursdays.
- Kingman’s Lucky Lounge now has a curator – the Bird’s Jive Room Art Collective. They will be hosting an artist’s reception for artist, Samuel Renaissance on Friday, May 9th from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Samuel’s artwork will also be on display at the First Thursdays event during which beer, wine and well drinks will be half price.
- Urban Furniture has a special show through May 29th timed to coincide with Mother’s Day entitled “The Power of Motherhood”. The show is curated by Valerie Medina. Artist reception with refreshments will be held during the First Thursdays event.
- Better Homes and Gardens Realty has hosted a number of First Thursdays events – mostly coordinated by me. Lately, I’ve had so many irons in the fire, I haven’t been able to take this on. If you’re interested, send an email to email@example.com.
Additional information is available on the First Thursdays on Grand website. Photos from last month’s First Thursdays event are posted in the gallery below. More still are available on my Flickr page.
LAKESHORE AND LAKE PARK AVENUE MERCHANT NEWS
Pending receipt of Pamela Drake’s Lakeshore BID blog for the month of April, allow me to provide a few highlights:
- Michel (the new French Bistro) at 3343 Lakeshore is open and getting great reviews.
- Lin Jia is one of the Oakland restaurants participating in Veg Week. Tomorrow (Sunday) is the last day the special menu will be available.
- A big round of applause please for the Lake Park Avenue Bank of America branch and/or the City of Oakland for fixing the sidewalk out front.
- A New York Times’ video about Oakland fashions has been making the rounds. Locations filmed include Lake Merritt, the Farmers Market and Cana’s dance floor but the interviews were mainly filmed in the alleyway between Top Dog and the Beauty Center. Grand Lake resident Dipak Pallana (screen credits include The Royal Tenenbaums and Rushmore) was one of the first to post the link. Another Grand Lake neighbor, Charlie Haas, posted somewhat later. Charlie is the author of The Enthusiast and his screen-writing credits include Gremlins 2 and Over the Edge in which Matt Dillon made his screen debut. Me? I was one of the Oakland residents filmed for the NYT video but my segment ended up on the cutting room floor – as did the film editor. I’m told he couldn’t stop laughing. OK! I made that up but I’d note that the last person interviewed described Oakland fashion as “anti-normal”. I invented that decades before it became cool.
GRAND AVENUE — WEST OF 580
This month’s blog provided by our intrepid, Grand Avenue – West of 580 reporter has the makings of a Hollywood feature film with romance and allusions to Star Trek. The subject: California Document Preparers may seem mundane but I promise, it is not. Without further delay, here’s LZ’s April blog.
The first of this year’s stone fruit crop just arrived in the market. I saw apricots, peaches and cherries. According to Tanya Small from the Agricultural Institute of Marin, blueberries should arrive next week.
Tanya also announced at the meeting Wednesday night of the Splash Pad/Farmers Market Advisory group that AIM has again obtained a special grant that will allow eligible individuals to double their purchases up to $10. Program should kick in within the next two weeks.
May 1st: Jim Steinke and Paris Musique
May 10th: Asheba
May 17th: David Gans and Jimbo Trout
May 24th: OPEN
May 31st: Diego Jameau
ODDS AND ENDS
Last month, I wrote about the donation bins and I’m happy to report that the City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to ban all new bins and a proposal for an ordinance mandating stringent controls for the existing bins is currently in the works. Thanks to all who took the time to contact members of the council. For more information, including a list of legitimate Oakland non-profits that welcome donations of used clothing, books and other such goods, please visit the DonateOakland.org website.
OakTechRep, the award-winning student theatre company of Oakland Technical High School, will perform American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose May 1st -3rd, 2014. This will be the first ever student production of American Night, by special permission of playwright Richard Montoya of Culture Clash. Click HERE for details.
The very talented art group responsible for the mosaic trash cans in Adams Point are proposing to decorate the exterior walls of the public bathroom adjacent to the Lakeview Branch Library. They will be making a presentation at the next meeting of the Friends of the Lakeview Library on May 6th at 6:30 p.m. in the library. To whet your appetite, check out this collection of photos depicting the planters they recently installed at 48th and Bancroft Avenues.
Congratulations and a huge shout-out for Barbara Newcombe who was awarded the KCBS Jefferson Award earlier this month. If you don’t Barbara, I can guarantee that you don’t frequent the stairs at the Cleveland Cascade. The KCBS video is posted HERE.
If you haven’t been to the Gardens at Lake Merritt recently, do so soon as Spring has sprung and the gardens are full of flowers and activity. It’s a feast for the eyes and an open invitation for photographers to do their thing. For a taste of what awaits you, view this set of 18 photos I posted on Flickr two weeks ago.
- Thursday, May 1, 6:00 – 9:00 pm: Grand Avenue First Thursdays
- Friday, May 2, 5:00 – 9:00 pm: First Friday Art Murmur
- Sunday, May 4, 9:00 – Noon: Volunteer work day at Splash Pad. Lunch follows.
- Friday, May 9, 7:00 – 9:00 pm: Artist Reception at Kingman’s Lucky Lounge.
- Saturday, May 10, 10:30 am: Mother of the Year Award to Lisa Klein at Morcom Rose Garden
- Saturday, May 10, 5:00 – 8:00 pm: Artist Reception at Alchemy Bottle Shop
- Sunday, May 18, 1:30 – 5:30 pm: Newfangles Indoor Block Party with music, henna painting and refreshments
- Saturday, May 24: Eastlake Music Festival at Lake Merritt Blvd. Ampitheater
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