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As Bob Dylan noted, “The times they are a-changing” and that’s very much the case regarding the Splash Pad News and our Splash Pad website. Thanks to the herculean efforts of Anca Mosoiu (owner of Tech Liminal) and Web Designer Eve Lurie, we transferred our site to a much faster host on Tuesday. Eve and Anca also upgraded our WordPress account to a much more reader-friendly theme and updated the home page (https://splashpad.org/) using a concept outlined by Editor/Contributor Keila Diehl. You’ll find that all the content now downloads much faster and is easier to read as the fonts are larger and the text, double-spaced. It’s also now easier to search by categories for articles by specific authors or on specific topics.
This month Sheila McCormick (who edits the Friends of Oakland Public Library Newsletter) shares a partial list of the huge variety of library events scheduled in April – including an assortment here at the Lakeview Branch.
LAKESHORE AND LAKE PARK AVENUE
According to my anonymous source, the Peet’s Coffee expansion is nearing completion and they’re hoping to rip out the interior partition and open the new space by April 2. I’ve been watching their progress with interest and am mostly pleased with what they’ve been doing. Specifically:
- They painted over the gaudy orange (?) paint on the rear wall – a remnant from the aborted Falafel Stop project.
- They removed the oversized sign on the facade – exposing the clerestory windows which is far more aesthetically pleasing and also admits natural light.
- They added a new rear entrance.
- The half that’s already in use is bright and spacious – which will be replicated in the other half.
What they haven’t done is to address the claustrophobic walkway that adjoins their building. Nor have they addressed the trip and fall hazard outside that I wrote about in the August 2017 News. Eric Hughes and I mitigated that problem by painting the curb red, but it’s a very temporary and inadequate solution. To be fair to Peet’s, both of these issues fall under the purview of Sansome-Pacific, the company that manages the private property that is home to Trader Joe’s and Walgreen’s. From what I understand, Peet’s would be delighted to have access to the triangular concrete parcel at the front corner of the property to use for outdoor seating and, if they did so, it would be relatively simple to eliminate the trip and fall hazard using a planter or a railing. And widening that impossibly narrow walkway would be in everybody’s interest. It’s possible that the latter could be addressed as a disability access issue – but I’m thinking that a petition campaign addressed to Sansome Pacific and Peet’s might be in order. Anyone interested in pursuing this sometime soon?
At Bay-Made, a highly successful show of new works by Gordon Silveria ends tomorrow, April 1, with an artist’s pop-up shop. Owner Sarahjane Bernhisel will be hosting a new show beginning Wednesday, April 3, with an artist’s reception scheduled for Friday from 6:30 – 8 pm. The show, entitled “Time Flows – Local Photomanipulations” consists of photo montages printed on metal by Calmar Avenue resident, Rick Wise. For the most part, the images were shot here in the immediate neighborhood. FYI: Rick was the subject of this Editor’s Notebook that I wrote for the November 2017 Splash Pad News.
In the “My How Time Flies Department”, Dress Best For Less will be celebrating its First Anniversary with a 50% OFF all merchandise, customer-appreciation sale beginning Tuesday, April 3 through Saturday, April 7. They’ll also have a raffle each of those five days for a $25 gift certificate with no purchase necessary.
I’d been a bit concerned about DBFL’s viability as their sales dropped markedly after moving from their long-time location on Piedmont. But the other day, I had an opportunity to talk with Shop Manager, Julia Kirakova, and she was brimming with enthusiasm – noting that they’ve begun building a loyal following of repeat customers. I was especially pleased to hear this as they installed an East Bay Children’s Book Project donation bin after reading about the program in Sheila McCormick’s article published in January.
The biggest and most unexpected news on Lakeshore this past month was the announcement that Michel Bistro was ceasing operations on April 14 and re-opening, under the same ownership, as Bardo Lounge and Supper Club. I initially read about this thanks to an article in the East Bay Express when I was down in San Diego visiting family. In answer to my email query, owner Seth Bregman sent me a list of three other sources:
Seth’s email also included the following message:
The short story is that we are very excited to be launching Bardo Lounge and Supper Club. We are grateful for the local support of Michel Bistro over the last year by our dear friends and customers, and appreciate our home on Lakeshore so much. We think the neighborhood is an ideal place for some extra vibrancy and style to go along with great food and cocktails. We will keep you in the loop on hours and other details as we get closer to re-opening.
For the historical record, Seth and his wife live right here in Crocker Highlands and he confided to me sometime ago that he was in a band that performed at the last Lakefest block party in 2008. I’m hoping that he and Tim Nugent from Shakewell get together to organize a revival.
Kathleen Boergers’ article last month about Wilde Brothers Coffee covered a lot of (coffee) grounds – but a couple of nuggets of information have since emerged. One was in the form of a comment posted by long-time neighbor and Splash Pad News subscriber, Syrell Sapoznick. Seems that, shortly after Wilde Brothers opened, she wandered in for a cup of coffee and Edwin, the barista behind the counter recognized her and her husband, Grant, as regular customers at a cafe where he poured coffee in a little town on the south coast of Australia called, Bawleiy Point.
I also picked up a couple of other details from Emeril, the other barista at Wilde Brothers. She told me that they purchase their coffee from Marin Coffee Roasters which operates out of a restored gas station in San Anselmo. The owner is a friend of shop owners, Chris and Sarah Wilde. Emeril also pointed out that, in addition to coffee and baked goods, they have a very good selection of teas – the most popular of which is Chai, which is personally blended by Edwin. What makes it especially satisfying is that the tea leaves are soaked overnight in honey. Wednesday afternoon, I was fortunate to catch Chris and Sarah as they were dropping off supplies. Chris said that they are working on their website and it should be up and running shortly.
Last month, I speculated that the Grand Bakery space at 3264 Grand had already signed a tenant. It turns out that rumor was ill-founded. Yesterday, I talked to the owner’s property manager, who said that they are about to list the space. As you can see from the photo taken a couple of days ago, its quite spacious (at 1,600 square feet); has a brand new sewer line; a new concrete floor and new walls and ceilings. Otherwise, it’s pretty bare and ripe for new paint and decorations. If you or anybody you know is interested, contact Dan Mulready at 650 342-3030.
Freya Prowe, who owns the Brother and Sisters Flower Shop , has just announced plans to move to the corner of 40th and Broadway – next door to the Copper Spoon Restaurant, which has been getting rave reviews. Freya says the new space is large with lots of natural light from skylights and, although she loves the Grand Lake neighborhood, her current location is iffy – particularly since the entire Grand Fare space is now up for lease or for sale and, according to Freya and also Alyce Preston down the street, it’s been generating lots of interest. All things being equal, she does, however, expect to remain here on Grand until about August. In the interim, they’ll continue doing occasional workshops. This month, on April 22, in honor of Earth Day, they’ve scheduled a Floral Arranging workshop.
Judging by Studio Grand’s calendar, the new Director has begun to spread her wings. There should be lots of concerts to choose from in April but it appears that the biggest buzz is being generated by a concert on April 29 featuring Diana Gameros and Dorian Wood – “An Intimate Evening of Latinx Chants, Sorrows and Storytelling”.
By the way, last month, I had made big plans to attend the Beaucoup Chapeaux concert but it was cancelled at the last minute due to the illness of one of the group’s members. Their appearance has been re-scheduled for June 24. It’s on the new Splash Pad calendar. Is it on yours?
Alchemy Bottle Shop will be hosting an artist reception on April 14 from 5 – 7 pm for a new show of unusual works by Sarah Misra, “Selections from the Herbarium”, dimensional collages picturing new hybrid flora that are purely creatures of her imagination. If you come a bit early, you can partake of samples of Chareau Aloe Liqueurs between 2 and 5 pm.
Pure 510 is looking forward to the arrival of Spring weather – for which they’ll be introducing a new line of sleeveless shirts, hats and Warriors apparel.
Up the street, Patrick at Panorama Framing tells me he’s open Monday through Friday, by appointment only through April 14, so he can catch up on a backlog of orders. Hours on Saturdays are 10 am – 6 pm and, on Sundays, Noon – 5 pm.
For an always up-to-date business directory, click and save the…
There’s significant news to report regarding the Grand Lake Farmers Market. As I may or may not have reported previously, the long-time Executive Director of the Agricultural Institute of Marin, Brigitte Moran, resigned and, while they’re searching for her permanent replacement, AIM has employed Beth Schecter as an Interim Director. Several weeks ago, she reached out to me and Jerry Barclay, Chair of the Splash Pad Park Farmers Market Advisory Committee and we ended up meeting for well over an hour at Splash Pad Park. Beth was accompanied by Gary Root, who Farmers Market customers probably know as the owner of Same Day Seafood. Gary has been on the AIM Board of Directors for just about a year and is now the group’s Treasurer. Both readily acknowledged serious concerns about the operations of all the AIM markets over the past decade and noted that their Board is looking to address those concerns in the short and long term. Please stay tuned for details.
SPLASH PAD PARK
Last month, I wrote about the park’s long-standing rat infestation and expressed hope that it was about to be resolved but we may now have more rats than ever. The only obvious change is to one of the fern beds that Crew Leader, Christian Boyle severely pruned at my request in order to get better access to the burrows that riddle the surface. Otherwise, we appear in limbo while awaiting a decision from the Facilities Manager as to whether or not the bid from Pestec is acceptable. If it’s not, Mary Jo and I have resolved to find an affordable source of dry ice pellets which we’ve been told are as effective as smoke bombs.
There is, however, good news to report. While the rest of Oakland will be celebrating Earth Day on Saturday, April 21, the Splash Pad Grand Crew will be doing so on Tuesday, April 10 and Wednesday, April 11, . The City appears ready to supply the materials required to install decomposed granite in the two areas (pictured above) that we excavated nearly two years ago in, and adjacent to, the Plaza. We’ll have assistance from Christian for one day, but this project won’t get done without substantial support from community volunteers. If you’d like to help and are available for at least a couple of hours on either or both days, please email us at email@example.com.
In addition to a host of other problems, the Splash Pad fountain remains dry. A couple of weeks ago, during the Farmers Market, I captured this photo of little ones who were convinced that splashing in a rain puddle was the next best thing to wading in the fountain. I must admit, now that I’m a Senior Citizen and poised to enter my second-childhood, I was tempted to join them.
The California Native Garden is looking spectacular as Spring blooms are starting to pop. The other reason, of course, is that the Grand Crew has been attacking weeds with gusto. The group pictured is from our March 25th work day with Diane Hicks front and center. Left to right in the back row: Susan Elliott, Jerry Barclay, Mary Jo Sutton and Dave Elliott. To Dave’s left is a Ceanothus in full bloom surrounded by bees and bumblebees – which as always, are a bit camera-shy.
GRAND AVENUE FIRST THURSDAYS
The Grand Avenue First Thursdays event this month is a bit smaller than previously but it does feature new shows at Bay-Made and JauJou Studio, plus new artwork at Pure 510 and an encore reception for Wesley Timms and Peter Odum at Panorama Framing.
ODDS AND ENDS
I was out of town for a week. When I returned, I was delighted to see that four of the massive street trees on Lakeshore had been pollarded and was hoping that was a sign that the City had come up with the wherewithal to resume street tree maintenance. Alas, that was not the case, as the work was paid for by Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church. I talked briefly with Rev. Hopkins as he and members of the congregation were cleaning and weeding the grounds in preparation for Easter. He said they were motivated out of fear that an over-grown limb would come crashing down on someone walking by, a congregant, or children enrolled in their pre-school.
I may have mentioned this already but I clung to my flip phone for years – resisting the siren call of the smartphones that have become ubiquitous. Now that I’ve had one for about six months, I’m positively delighted especially after discovering that my phone’s camera has an HDR feature. The photo above was one of the very first that I took using HDR. Never had trash cans on a public thoroughfare looked so innocuous. Accordingly, I’m now thinking out of the box. If we can’t manage to get the last eight or nine trash cans in front of Noah’s and Starbucks removed during the daylight hours, the alternative would be to provide shoppers with free HDR-tinted sunglasses.
In addition to the improvements mentioned in the opening Editor’s Note, we now have a calendar that can be viewed alternatively as text or in a traditional calendar format. We’re planning to update the calendar throughout the course of any given month and would encourage our readers to provide us with input – whether you’re a business owner scheduling a sale or special event or a musician or artist or community member. For the time being, please send your listings to firstname.lastname@example.org and include all relevant information including links to a website and/or Facebook page.
Some of the upcoming events included in the calendar are highlighted below: