GRAND AVENUE MERCHANT NEWS
Studio Grand currently has eight events on their January calendar including “A Fresh Take on the Music of Django Reinhardt” with the Jimmy Grant Ensemble which should be fabulous. On the 30th, look for the opening night reception for a second wall-hung installation by artist-in-residence Sung Kim that will allow musicians to plug in and create live soundscapes.
As I’ve mentioned repeatedly in the past year, this non-profit art space is a fabulous asset to the neighborhood. While Holly Schneider’s friends and family are keeping her dream alive, they very much need our assistance through an IndieGoGo campaign that runs through January 26.
Ordinaire is now serving as a pick-up and drop-off location for Standard Fare. This is how Bradford described this new gourmet venture:
You may have heard murmurs of Standard Fare, the new project from Kelsie Kerr, the much-lauded alum of Chez Panisse, Café Rouge and Zuni. Think of it as Chez Panisse, but packaged in beautiful clay pots designed for you to take home and eat at your own kitchen table.
Citibank has totally vacated their Grand Avenue location and the property is listed with Steve Banker from LCB Associates. Right next door to Boot and Shoe Service, I suspect that it won’t remain vacant for long and, hopefully, the new tenant will contribute to the growing retail presence.
Silver Screen Video will remain open for a few more weeks as they continue to liquidate their video inventory. It’s closure was the subject of this Maggie Sharpe article in the Contra Costa Times. One tidbit highlighted in her report is that Scott Lafranchi’s family owns Nicasio Valley Cheese Company which is a regular vendor at the Grand Lake Farmers Market.
LAKESHORE/LAKE PARK MERCHANT NEWS
I’m very sorry to report that “Max” Patel, the long-time owner of Buckingham Wine and Spirits and Adventure Toys passed away last week after a long illness. Here’s an obituary shared by his daughter, Mira:
Ashok “Max” Patel, age 57, passed away on Saturday, December 13, peacefully at home after a courageous battle with cancer.
Max was born in India and settled in the Bay Area in the early 80s. He was the youngest of four, raised by his widowed mother. His dad had passed when he was less than a year old. He grew up with very little means and saw education not only as necessity but a valuable commodity to succeed. He earned his bachelors and masters degrees in Plant Pathology with “First in Class” or Valedictorian honors.
In the early 90s, Max moved his family to the East Bay and opened up Buckingham Wines. He loved to spend time reading the WSJ, gardening, listening to NPR, spending time with his family, and listening to old Bollywood songs. Max was a father figure to many and a friend to everyone.
He is survived by his wife, Jessie; daughters, Ami and Mira; and son, Raj.
I’d add that Max was one of my favorite people. Over time, I marveled at his ability to continue working without complaint as his body gradually betrayed him. His early passing is especially tragic considering how concerned he was for the welfare of others and how I never once heard him speak ill of anyone.
At some point, Jessie will return to work at Buckingham as will Ami and Mira on weekends and/or evenings. In Max’s memory, I’m hoping that the radio behind the counter will forever remained tuned to the local sports teams.
Silver Lining is scheduled to close on January 25 and prices on all merchandise are currently reduced by 40%. For later updates on their Going Out of Business Sale, check their Facebook page periodically or merely stop in to say “hello”. Regrettably, due to delays in publication of the newsletter, I was unable to publicize a Customer Appreciation event yesterday that Peggy and Carol hosted in cooperation with their neighbors at Collage and at the Bounce Blow Dry Bar. The latter provided Peggy and Carol with hair styling services earlier in the day and free blow drys for their clientele.
Easy has a new, extremely colorful mural adorning its facade painted by Beth Emmerich. I didn’t have a chance to talk to the management – but I’m guessing that, in honor of the new year, it’s out with the A’s and in with the new.
Arizmendi will remain closed until January 6 while construction is underway. Judging by what I saw through the partially covered windows, they’ll be boasting a newly refinished concrete floor.
I also got a quick peek inside Kwik Way revealing a Coke machine and two cake display cases and other cake shelving. By all appearances, Merritt Bakery must be viewing this site as an extension of their E. 18th St. location. We’ll just have to wait and see if they will be serving food as well.
Sway closed this past week suffering the same fate that earlier befell their locations in Santa Cruz, Alameda and Berkeley. This is a large space with a great interior and it should elicit lots of offers.
Last month, I included a photo of the overflowing trash cans on Lakeshore in front of Noah’s and Starbuck’s and asked you to share your own concerns via my SeeClickFix.com complaint. Thirty neighbors cast votes and ten of you provided graphic comments. As a result of this effort (combined with previous complaints by Eric Hughes and Pamela Drake) the trash cans are no longer overflowing – but they’re still out in the street creating an almost ever-present eyesore. The ultimate solution would be a parklet that includes a screened-off enclosure such as the one envisioned in the above rendering by neighborhood artist and designer-extraordinaire, Jeffrey Lim. Please take special note of the living roof over the enclosure that would house the trash receptacles.
GRAND AVENUE — WEST OF 580
LZ, our intrepid West of 580 blogger reports on the WORKING BODY and their impending move to a historic building on the corner of Grand and Staten. Here’s that LINK. LZ’s previous blogs are available in the West of 580 Archives.
FIRST THURSDAYS ON GRAND
This year, the First Thursdays on Grand art walk coincided with New Years Day and most of the gallery spaces opted out. The one notable exception was Panorama Framing which hosted a reception of works entitled “Persistence of Vision” by artist Jon Steven Walters. The show will continue through the end of February.
Studio Grand will be continuing its exhibit of instruments hand-crafted by their Artist in Residence, Sung Kim with an artist reception and additional wall-mounted installation on January 30.
The collection of my photos entitled “Grand Avenue, People and Places” will remain hanging in Alyce on Grand (nee: Newfangles) through the month of January. The photo set is also available as a Flickr album.
Alchemy Bottle Shop‘s exhibit of paintings and ceramic, marine animal sculptures by Lorien Stern will be up for a few more days. A new show of paintings by Hall Felker opens with an artist reception on Saturday, January 10.
Baraka Gallery’s featured show entitled “Tuareg: Nomadic Artisans of the Sahara” continues through January. New this month will be a collection of Bollywood hand painted posters plus new Patchwork quilts made from antique wedding textiles from India. During January, Shiffen will be open two Saturdays (the 10th and the 24th) as well as Sundays and Mondays from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. or by appointment.
GRAND LAKE FARMERS MARKET
Oakland was ranked #8 in Lonely Planet’s list of the top ten places to visit in the United States. This is what they had to say about our very own neighborhood market:
The food love continues Saturdays at the weekly Grand Lake Farmer’s market, a produce-themed party on the tip of Lake Merritt.
I‘m not big on sharing recipes (especially my own) but this easy-to-make dish was very well received at our annual Hanukkah party. Peel and cut into small segments 8-12 Fuyu persimmons. Add one 8-ounce bag of dried cherries from EGB Farms. Add freshly-squeezed Meyer Lemon juice to taste (about one lemon). Serve chilled.
Dave Bosch from Bosch Precision Cutlery Service is taking some time off for surgery on a gimpy knee. When he’s literally back on his feet, he’s decided to give up the Saturday market but will continue to work the Marin market which is closer to his home in Petaluma.
If you’re looking for other options, Golden State Sharpening is at Grand Lake Ace Hardware every other Tuesday.
SPLASH PAD PARK
With the heavy rains in late December combined with the holiday rush, Splash Pad’s Grand Crew took this past month off but will return to their regular 4th Sunday schedule with a work day beginning at 9 a.m. and ending with lunch at noon on Sunday, January 25.
A big shout-out to Pat Kernighan who officially retires this week after nine years of dedicated service as a council aide and as District 2 council member in her own right. Pat was honored last month with a party that was organized, in large part, by volunteers from the East Lake district. One of the highlights was this 14-minute video that talked about some of the many improvements that took place during her tenure. The Grand Lake District segment is covered in the first 3.5 minutes. I also highly recommend watching this short video in which the ever-charming Arvi Dorsey describes his first encounter with Pat.
As an aside, at the party in her honor, Pat reiterated that her overall approach to constituent affairs was to listen to concerns expressed by community leaders and to help facilitate solutions. This was how Pat and I first became acquainted while working on the Splash Pad project and it was the same approach I witnessed in the years that followed.
Pat’s successor, Abel Guillen, will be officially inaugurated on Monday, January 5 – along with our new mayor, Libby Schaff, and all other municipal office holders. The ceremony will be held at the Paramount Theater beginning at 3:30 with doors opening an hour earlier.
Mayor Schaaf will be hosting a week-long series of inaugural events including a “Made in Oakland” Festival at American Steel Studios from 3 – 7 p.m. on Sunday, January 11.
This event celebrates the artistry and maker spirit of Oakland through live music, a Burning Man-style sculpture exhibit, art cars, a curated art gallery, local filmmakers, aerialists, an interactive kids zone and more. A special performance by world-renowned vertical dance pioneers BANDALOOP will highlight the celebration that will also include a variety of local dance troupes. West Oakland’s Attitudinal Healing Center will host community conversations and performances centered on peace and unity. An array of great eats from popular local food vendors and trucks – in addition to Oakland wines and craft beers – will be available for purchase. The event is being hosted in partnership with American Steel Studios, Oakland Makers, Oakland Grown and Attitudinal Healing Center. Oakland’s own Glynn Washington, host of NPR’s Snap Judgment, will emcee the event.
Oakland will be the site of a Don’t Frack California March on February 7. I’ll be there since I have huge concerns over contamination of the underground aquifers if fracking is allowed to continue. If the petroleum lobby prevails, watch for Erin Brockovich II eventually coming to a theater near you.
In other environmental news, the Save Knowland Park group is circulating petitions that would allow Oakland voters to decide the fate of a proposal to expand the Oakland Zoo onto 53 acres of pristine native habitat. The opposition to this project is being spear-headed by the Sierra Club, folks from the California Native Plant Society and other concerned individuals who have proposed an alternate, less intrusive solution. This situation reminds me of what transpired right here some fifteen years ago when the fate of Splash Pad Park hung in the balance. I’d urge you to visit their website and/or talk to the volunteers soliciting signatures for more information. They need 25,000 signatures within the next two weeks.
Speaking of wildlife habitats, on Christmas Day, we took our grand-daughter for a hike up in Redwood Park and we were pleasantly surprised to find ladybugs swarming just off the paved roadway half a mile up from the nearest parking lot. If you need an excuse to go visit another of Oakland’s most valuable resources, this is it.
In my own back yard, we don’t see a lot of ladybugs but our Tree Dahlia put on an incredible show this year which was a major attraction for honey bees and for California Native bees as well. This particular plant grew from a cutting that I picked up from Ace Garden Center a couple of years ago. If you’ve got room and are interested, send an email to the firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment below, and I’ll set aside a cutting for you.
In addition to its inclusion of Oakland in its list of the top ten places to visit in the US in 2015, Lonely Planet also just published this complimentary/complementary article offering more reasons to pay us a visit.
In a recent article in National Geographic, Cynthia Gorney paints Oakland in a good light – explaining how grafitti art reflects the culture and values of given neighborhoods.
At the Grand Lake Neighbors’ meeting in December, Rev. Jim Hopkins’ report on the Cease Fire program had me glued to my seat and, at times, near tears. If you’re personally interested in becoming involved, the faith community regularly walks neighborhoods in East and West Oakland and they welcome concerned residents from throughout the city.
Also on the agenda that evening was a report from Michael Ford who is coordinating improvements to Oakland’s surface lots and parking garages. He indicated that variable parking rates should be instituted fairly soon and his recommendation is for parking in the Lake Park lot under the freeway to be reduced to $1 per hour which should make it a far more affordable and attractive option than it is now.
Next meeting will be Wednesday, January 21 in the Lakeshore Baptist Church Library beginning at 7 p.m. Agenda will include a monthly crime report from our Problem Solving Officers and a presentation from Andy Campbell, Dean Zumach and Mary Dooley – three newly-elected GLN officers who recently graduated from Oakland’s Citizen Academy.
Ending our New Year’s edition on a positive note, I’m sharing an article posted on Facebook by my son Ben which graphically demonstrates how the world is steadily evolving into a better place. Here’s hoping for more of the same in 2015.
- Friday, January 2, 6 – 9 p.m: Oakland Art Murmur
- Tuesday, January 5. 3:30 p.m: Inauguration of Oakland municipal officers, Paramount Theater.
- Sunday, January 11, 3 – 7 p.m: “Made in Oakland” inaugural celebration at American Steel Studios. Free.
- Wednesday, January 21, 7 – 8:30 p.m: Grand Lake Neighbors meeting at Lakeshore Baptist Church.
- Sunday, January 24, 9 a.m. – Noon: Splash Pad Grand Crew work day.
- Thursday, February 5, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m: Grand Avenue First Thursdays
- Saturday, February 7: Don’t Frack California March and Rally. Details TBA.