GRAND AVENUE MERCHANT NEWS
Alyce on Grand has a special trunk show scheduled for today, October 1 from Noon – 6:00 PM featuring handmade leather goods imported directly from Ethiopia by UNOETH.
The trunk show also coincides with an opening reception for a show of vibrant photographs by Geoff Wycoff which shoppers can view while listening to a DJ and sipping free mimosas.
Ethan Fletcher’s updated review of Grand Fare Market in this month’s Berkeley Monthly is thoughtful, long and extremely flattering. Fletcher concludes by noting that everybody appreciates a “A Good Comeback Story” .
Oak Common was honored with an equally flattering review in last month’s Oakland Magazine.
Studio Grand’s calendar lists twelve events in October featuring lots of great music including three album release parties plus another celebrating the release of Arisa White’s book entitled, “You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened”. There’s also a couple of Peruvian Dance classes that just started but Studio Grand’s Director Vanessa Camarena is mostly jazzed (pun intended) by a Master Class on October 8 led by two hugely accomplished vocalists, Gretchen Parlato and Rebecca Martin. The class, which is entitled, “The Methods, Process, and Practice in Singing and Songwriting” is scheduled for October 8th from Noon to 3:00 PM.
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LAKESHORE/LAKE PARK MERCHANT NEWS
Things are pretty quiet right now on Lakeshore but there’s three new businesses preparing to open starting with “The Cat House” in the space last occupied by The New Easy. Last week, I walked into Panorama Framing and happened upon Hana Hayashi who told me that she and co-owner, Hortensia Mitura, were putting the finishing touches on the interior. Since I don’t get out much at night, for all I know, they may already be open.
EDITOR’S POSTSCRIPT: The Cat House is, in fact, and Hana Hayashi was behind the bar Monday evening. The interior is very inviting with two Victorian sofas against the back wall and an assortment of large potted plants.
A couple of weeks ago, Eric Hughes and I did a presentation for the Lakeshore Business Improvement District talking about what the Grand Lake Neighbors Survey had to say about Lakeshore and Lake Park Avenues. The good news is that Lakeshore continues to rank higher than Grand on most indices but the bad news for the BID is that Lake Park Avenue continues to rate the worst. The one exception to that rule revolves around the Lakeshore sidewalks which are physically in far worse shape. The explanation is fairly simple but the solution less so. Grand and Lake Park mostly lack the mature street trees (and invasive root systems) that bedevil Lakeshore but also help make it what many survey respondents describe as a more “intimate” and “pedestrian-friendly” space. Our recommendation is to do whatever is necessary to minimize tripping hazards as they develop but also to encourage property owners to preserve that intimacy long-term by planting new trees as the old ones die off.
- Steam clean sidewalks on a more regular basis
- Fill the big, hazardous hole in front of Merritt Bakery
- Repair or replace the heavily damaged grate in the bulb-out in front of Chipotle
- Fill in the many gaps in the landscaping on public and private property
- Get the dumpster and Sprint trash cans off the sidewalk and street on Rand
- Remove any abandoned, blighted news racks
- Find a way to revive the Lakefest Street Festival
- Whenever possible, give first preference to locally-owned businesses
We were pleased to see that a relatively small section of sidewalk was, in fact, cleaned just after these photos were taken – but we’re hoping to see all these issues resolved sometime soon since they have far more resources than does Grand.
LZ’s GRAND AVENUE – WEST OF 580 BLOG
GRAND AVENUE FIRST THURSDAYS
Organizers are making a big effort to expand the monthly First Thursdays event and make it more inclusive with the tag line, “Art, Music, Fun”. Over a dozen restaurants and shops (including Star on Grand, Romanat and Shogun Sushi) have recently signed on as participants and most will be offering discounts of 10 – 20% or special incentives with your purchase. The Grand Avenue First Thursdays website has all the details for the participating merchants and the gallery spaces as well.
510 Brand will be participating as a gallery for the first time and will be showcasing the work of three employees: Nina Simi, Culling Cahayag and Natasha Reh. They’ll also have music, refreshments and a 10% discount on store merchandise from 5:00 – 9:00 PM.
I’m especially looking forward to the Opening Reception for the exhibit at Ruth Stroup Insurance. Long-time residents may remember Stephen Bruce selling at the Grand Lake Farmers Market ten or twelve years ago -but back then, he was working as a sales rep for another artist. Now, he has his own studio at American Steel and is working in a unique medium – coloring large sheets of copper with multi-colored swirls created with acids. If you’re a TV fan or movie-goer, there’s a good chance you’ve seen his work in the set backgrounds.
Gallery spaces are all open between 6:00 and 8:00 PM but some start earlier and/or close later.
510 Brand: (3324 Grand) – Works by Nina Simi, Culling Cahayag, and Natasha Reh. 10% off all merchandise 5:00 – 9:00 PM + music + refreshments.
Studio Grand: Displaying traditional Pacific Islander Tapa Cloth – 6:00 – 8:00 PM.
San Francisco Fiber: (3711 Grand) – Lou Grantham extends an open invitation to try your hand at weaving and spinning.
SPLASH PAD PARK
These photos were taken by the Grand Crew’s California Native Plant Guru, Mary Jo Sutton, at our 4th Sunday Work Party on September 25. Victoria Barbero (pictured on the far left) is one the Grand Crew regulars and she also gets exclusive credit for pruning the relatively new street trees in front of Cana and Lanesplitter – as well as the ones on the corner of Lake Park and Lakeshore. The photo on the far right is of me and Jennie – who I came know back in 2000 when she purchased eight or nine t-shirts to help raise funds for the Splash Pad fountain. Other regular volunteers pictured include Diane Hicks and Suzanne Cubbison plus a first-time volunteer, high school student, Casey Luo.
Together, we installed about twenty-five plants on the 25th and more still are on tap for our next work day on October 25. As is usually the case, work starts at 9:00 a.m. with lunch served at Noon. New volunteers are always welcome regardless of experience but RSVPs are requested.
By the way, we’re hoping to finish installation sometime in October of the long-delayed decomposed granite walkways at the perimeter of the Plaza. If you’re available to volunteer on a weekday, please send an email to email@example.com.
Two weeks ago, Councilmember Guillen led a walk-through of the Farmers Market accompanied by Richard Raya, staff from the City’s Property Management Division, management from the Agricultural Institute of Marin plus me, Arvi Dorsey and Jerry Barclay, Chair of the Splash Pad Farmers Market Advisory Committee.
The agenda was based largely on concerns that had been raised previously but given added substance based on the results of the Grand Lake Neighbors Survey. In our opinion, the FARMERS MARKET GUIDELINES that we’ve proposed are reasonable and needed to address the lack of public parking, over-crowding inside the market and also to ensure that the park infrastructure is adequately protected. To date, the market manager has taken several positive steps to ease crowding by moving at least one vendor to another location and to protect the plaza by requiring that vendors serving food have tarps under their booths. We’ll have to wait and see how they respond to the remainder of our recommendations. Either way, we’d want these guidelines incorporated as an addenda to a city contract to ensure long-term compliance.
ODDS AND ENDS
Last month, I wrote about the havoc created when a car traveling down Lake Park at a very high speed crashed into the median across from the Bank of America and proceeded to do even more serious damage across the street. I was quite pleased that Public Works quickly replaced the parking pay station and the twenty-foot tall street light. However, there’s no word yet as to when (or if) the custom-made lamp post in Splash Pad Park will be replaced. Same is true for the Queen Palms in the median – the number of which has been reduced from nine to just four in the past decade.
The fundraising campaign for the Astro Tot Lot Revitalization has reached the $98,000 mark thanks, in part, to a “commitment of resources from AT&T, Waste Management and the city’s ADA Capital Improvement Program”. This is just $2,000 short of the $100,000 required to match KaBOOM’S original $100,000 matching grant. You can help close the remaining gap by donating online and, in the process, enter a raffle to win tickets to the October 9 Raiders game. In addition to contributing financially, you and your kids can also help in the design process on October 5 from 5:00 – 7:00 PM at Cleveland Elementary School.
“The first hour of the meeting will be for children up to 12 years old to provide their input, with the second hour dedicated to parents’ perspectives. Food and child care provided. RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org“.
The Tot Lot isn’t the only Oakland project benefitting from KaBOOM’S generosity. The Oakland group that’s been busily transforming ugly trash receptacles into stunning mosaic works of art was one of fifty groups nationwide named as winners in KaBOOM’S Urban Play Contest and one of nine whose designs were featured in this New York Times Article. Since were on the subject, the trash can in Splash Pad Park directly across from Merritt Bakery is one of the ugliest around. Is anyone other than me willing to help turn the exterior into a mosaic? A veggie and fruit motif might be appropriate or, perhaps, a landscape depicting the marsh that occupied the site late into the 19th century.
There was yet another story in the New York Times with an Oakland bent. In “An Expanding Universe“, SF Chronicle columnist Vanessa Hua relates how she managed to squeeze in exercise while raising twin boys. The venues included Lake Merritt and what was obviously the Davie Tennis Stadium.
Peter Lee’s name may or may not ring a bell but he’s chiefly responsible for dozens of murals here in Oakland including the giant one next to the Trader Joe’s parking lot and at least three or four others here in the immediate neighborhood. Peter re-invented himself as “Peter Lake” and moved to Southern California a number of years ago where he now works on canvas. Here’s a painting he did recently inspired by another Michael Phelp’s victory in the recent Olympic Games. More of Peter’s artwork can be viewed on his Facebook page.
The Fifth Annual Autumn Lights Festival in the Gardens at Lake Merritt should be better than ever this year and, with two added days, lines should be somewhat shorter. I’ll be there Thursday with camera and tripod in hand.
This Sunday (October 2) marks the debut of the First Annual Oakland Nature Festival which is described by organizers as a “celebration of the nation’s first wildlife refuge & the biodiversity in the heart of the Oakland. The event will feature dozens of environmental organizations, wildlife rescue groups, live animals, local merchants, and nature artists.
Sponsored by student chapters of the San Francisco Bay Area Wildlife Society, this sounds like a wonderful, FREE event keyed to adults and kids alike.
Next year, the Plant Exchange will be celebrating its 10th Anniversary. From its humble beginnings in founder Odette Pollar’s front yard on Lakeshore, it’s grown into a year-round non-profit “which encourages reuse, recycling, organic living, resource sharing, and information exchange”. If you have plants or cuttings or garden accessories you’d like to exchange, next Saturday is your perfect opportunity.
- Sunday, October 2, 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM: Oakland Nature Festival at Rotary Science Center at Lake Merritt
- Thursday, October 6: Grand Avenue First Thursdays
- Friday, October 7: Art Murmur Uptown District
- Saturday, October 8, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM – Second Saturday Work Day at Morcom Rose Garden
- Saturday, October 8 – The Plant Exchange at Ability Now Bay Area on Lincoln Avenue
- Wednesday, October 12, 7:00 – 10:00 PM: VIP NIGHT at the Autumn Lights Festival
- Thursday, October 13 – Saturday, October 15, 6:00 – 11:00 PM: Autumn Lights Festival
- Sunday, October 16, 5:30 PM: Otsukimi Autumn Moon Viewing Festival, Lakeside Gardens
- Wednesday, October 19, 7:00 – 8:30 PM – Grand Lake Neighbors meeting at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church
- Sunday, October 25, 9:00 AM – Noon – Splash Pad Volunteer Work Day
- Tuesday, November 8: ELECTION DAY – DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!
- Saturday, November 26, 1:00 – 6:00 PM: Ancestral Apothecary Herbal Craft Fair: A Cecemmana Fundraiser, Studio Grand