This edition of the Splash Pad Newsletter incorporates two changes. The publication date is being shifted from the end of any given month to its beginning. This should better correspond with the calendar-based content but it does mean that an archivist, in the distant future, may end up looking in vain for the June 2014 Newsletter that never existed.
Secondly, our broadcast email service is now being provided by Mail Chimp. Hopefully, this means that those subscribers who haven’t been receiving the newsletter on a regular basis will again be doing so.
SPLASH PAD PARK
On the fourth Sunday in June, Splash Pad’s “Grand Crew” did additional weeding and landscaping in the second of the two California Native expansion beds which are looking absolutely marvelous. At Noon, volunteers enjoyed a spinach salad and pizza from Arizmendi and for dessert, cherries and apricots (donated by EGB Farms) in a caramel/brandy sauce.
We’d love to have some new volunteers (or old ones we haven’t seen for a while) for our next workday – Sunday, July 27th from 9:00- Noon. My 7 year-old grand-daughter doesn’t know it yet but she’ll be joining us for part of the morning.
You can also help the cause by “liking” our Splash Pad Facebook page.
GRAND AVENUE MERCHANT NEWS
The above are a few of the cards crafted by some of Holly Schneider’s former students at Aurora School. They were displayed at a truly moving, memorial service held at Lakeside Park on Sunday, June 3rd. One of the above cards reads, “When I hear music, I think of Holly” – a sentiment that is helping motivate her many friends and family members to carry on the tradition she started at Studio Grand.
This month, they are initiating a collaboration with the “Oakland Freedom Jazz Society” that will be presenting twice-monthly concerts featuring original, innovative jazz performances. There are a total of thirteen concerts scheduled plus vocal and art classes including a kid’s reading and writing summer camp offered by Lark Books.
A full event schedule is available at this link. A sampling of photos taken at Holly’s memorial service may be viewed in this album. In addition, one of Holly’s dearest friends (Vanessa Camarena) videotaped the service and I’m hoping to see it posted online or otherwise shared.
Urban Furniture is working on a series of community workshops “intended to be learning opportunities to be delivered in collaboration with community based organizations, businesses and entrepreneurs. The first workshop is scheduled for August 16 in collaboration with the Non-Violent Cities Project.
For more information or to register, please visit the “I Can Change” website or stop by Urban Furniture and ask for Director, Tracey Weaver. Tracey would also welcome additional topic ideas for the pilot program scheduled to run through October.
Alchemy Bottle Shop has just received a permit that will allow them to offer distilled spirits tastings. Their first such event will be this Saturday, July 5 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Details are on this link. In addition, they have an artist’s reception scheduled for July 12 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm featuring a show of paintings by Rosa Page entitled “The Mind and Other Places”.
One of the last remaining vacancies on Grand Avenue at 3215 has just been filled by a psychic reader. Given the extent to which the avenue has been transformed over the past several years, it’s rather disappointing that it wasn’t leased instead to a retail business providing a unique product. For the record, I checked with Oakland’s Zoning Department and was told this was classified as an “educational institution” which is a permitted use. Earlier this year, I correctly predicted that the “Vape Shop” on Lakeshore would fail within six months. In this case, maybe I should drop in at 3215 and ask them, “What’s in your future?”
Newfangles had scheduled an exhibit of photographs by Scott La Rockwell for this week’s First Thursdays. Unfortunately, Scott had other commitments and the photos won’t be up until the following Tuesday. Shop owner, Alyce Preston will still be open late on Thursday offering a 15% discount on all regularly priced merchandise. She’s also started her own newsletter to update neighbors about upcoming events. The most recent included an indoor Block Party on a Sunday afternoon and a “Healthy Hair Hour” that was so successful, it lasted for three. To subscribe, stop by and say “hello” or send an email to: email@example.com.
GRAND AVENUE NEWS IN BRIEF:
Last month, I wrote at length about Gerry Mogg’s Modigliani Cafe which has since been the beneficiary of this flattering review by Luke Tsai in the East Bay Express.
Grand Fare has closed off most of its interior space as they begin alterations that will accommodate the addition of new foods and services. Meanwhile, they’re still serving coffee and the patio and foyer are still available for customers.
Ordinaire continues to draw crowds particularly on weekends and in response to their Thursday and Friday “pop-ups” from 5:30 to 10:00 p.m. featuring chef Chris Kronner.
I was very pleased with the photo I took of Peter Brady in front of his smoke shop but several weeks later, am disappointed that it has not yet re-opened.
LAKESHORE AND LAKE PARK AVENUE MERCHANT NEWS
In this month’s blog, BID Director Pamela Drake writes about parking issues plus the latest news regarding Shakewell, sidewalk repairs and more.
GRAND AVENUE — WEST OF 580
Bruce De Benedictis and his wife, Caroline Kim have been regularly dispatching reminders about the opening of the Oakland Municipal Band’s concert season on July 4th. LZ, our intrepid reporter for all things relating to Grand Avenue west of 580, is doing them one better with a blog dedicated entirely to the subject. It’s great reading and the concert sounds like a great way to spend part of the holiday afternoon. Here’s that link.
FIRST THURSDAYS ON GRAND
June Shows Above. Continuing and New July Shows Below
This month’s edition of the First Thursdays art walk falls on July 3rd. Hours are 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
Alchemy Bottle Shop will continue its show of artwork by Malena Lopez-Maggi and will be open until 8:00 p.m.
Studio Grand’s exhibit of gorgeous paintings by Susan Matthews entitled Rhythm and Image continues through August 22nd. After the art walk’s conclusion, stick around for a concert by Cabbages, Captain and King beginning at 9:30 p.m.
Panorama Framing will be showcasing “From Sea Level to the Stratosphere” – the artwork of Peter Odum and Monkeynaut. An artist’s reception will be held on July 3rd and again, on August 7th. Refreshments will be served and background music will be provided by Oluyemi Thomas.
Jau Jou Studio will be showcasing paintings by Betsy K. Gabriel. A 15% discount on store merchandise is offered from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Urban Furniture is doing something a little different for the First Thursday in July. Look for a special display of donated artwork – vintage and contemporary. All store merchandise (including the artwork) will be discounted 15%.
Additional information is available on the First Thursdays on Grand website.
Just in time for Father’s Day barbecues, sweet corn was back at the market. More importantly, for anyone on a budget, Market Match has returned as well. Simply present your EBT card at the Information Booth and you’ll receive $20 in tokens for half price. The program will continue until funds run out – most likely through the summer.
ODDS AND ENDS
In this month’s blog, Pamela Drake writes about the changes in the Trader Joe’s parking lot that have made parking spaces far more available. Yesterday morning, I emailed Michael Ford who is coordinating parking improvements in city-owned garages and open-air lots with some questions specifically about the Walker Avenue lot and the one under the freeway.
I was most interested in learning when the city would be instituting reduced, variable parking rates for these two spaces. Michael replied that the contractors who have been assigned operating rights will take over on August 1st and we should expect some improvements fairly quickly.
At the Lake Park lot, LED lights have already been installed; landscaping will be thinned; security cameras are under discussion and murals will be added. The assumption is that all these improvements will make the lots more attractive and more secure and, as a result, they will be used more heavily. Here’s what Michael specifically said about their timetable:
We have the authority to flex the meter rates down at the lots, but we’re not planning to reduce the rates until after the transition. We want to understand the impact that a well-managed parking facility has on occupancy numbers prior to reducing rates. My best guess is that we won’t reduce rates until November or December (assuming we determine that a rate reduction is warranted.)
In the past, I’ve been very critical of the city’s parking administration. The decision-making process that Mr. Ford has brought to the table is a refreshing change and also, hopefully, a harbinger of more good things to come.
ODDS AND ENDS IN BRIEF:
The forum for the five candidates running for the District 2 City Council seat was very well attended and the audience seemed to be universally appreciative of the level of discourse and the lack of rancor. An audio of the proceedings is available on this link to the Grand Lake Neighbors website.
If you’re thinking of volunteering as a mentor or tutor for youngsters here in Oakland, the Volunteer Fair on September 13 at Lakeview School is the perfect opportunity to explore your options. Details are on their event poster.
The Adams Point Neighborhood Association has received a $5,000 grant from Keep America Beautiful and Bud Light to plant flowers, shrubs and greenery around existing trees on Grand Avenue between Perkins and Bellevue. They are looking for volunteers on July 12 and July 26 to assist with this beautification project that will complement their mosaic-tiled trash containers. Details are on this link.
Speaking of grants, Hack the Hood (under the stewardship of Susan Mernit) recently received a half-million dollar grant from Google to greatly expand their outreach. If you or anyone you know has a small business that could use free assistance with a website and other online services, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. This program benefits local businesses but simultaneously teaches low-income young people (ages 16-24) tech and media skills.
- Thursday, July 3, 6:00 – 9:00 pm: First Thursdays on Grand Art Walk
- Friday, July 4, 6:00 – 9:00 pm: Oakland Art Murmur
- Friday, July 4: 1:00 – 3:00 pm: Oakland Municipal Band concert season begins at Lake Merritt Bandstand
- Saturday, July 12, 5:30 – 7:30 pm: Artist’s Reception at Alchemy Bottle Shop
- Saturday, August 2, Noon – 6:00 pm: Art & Soul Festival
- Sunday, August 3, Noon – 6:00 pm: Art & Soul Festival
- Saturday, August 16: The Town’s Half Marathon
- Sunday, August 17: Sunday Supper Charity Dinner at Penrose benefiting People’s Kitchen.
- Saturday, September 13, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm: Volunteer Fair at Lakeview School
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All newsletters from 2007 to the present are archived HERE.