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Grand Avenue was very much in the news the past several weeks beginning with a July 9 article in Eater SF revealing that Penrose had been sold to the Executive Chef from Flora, who had previously worked for Charlie Hallowell at Pizzaiolo. According to their reporting, the name may change but the menu and interior will, at least for the time being, remain much the same.
That article also mentions in passing the Grand Fare Market space next door. I’ve heard that a deal is in the works but not yet finalized.
The other big story on Grand (filled with celebrities) was the World Premiere of “Blindspotting” at the Grand Lake Theatre. I was fortunate to get a “heads-up” an hour before the event started and scored a “preferred parking” space for my bike just a few feet from the drop-off spot for the chauffeur-driven limousines. My attempts to get a press badge, however, proved futile. Nonetheless, I met some nice people (including very briefly, Daveed’s father) and came home with the photos displayed here plus lots more posted on Flickr.
While the assembled crowd was clearly celebrating the debut of a highly anticipated and highly rated film, it also seemed as if we were simultaneously celebrating the fact that Oakland was belatedly being portrayed in a positive light for our contributions to the arts – not only for “Blindspotting,” but also for “Sorry to Bother You” and, before that, the “Black Panther.” It was a theme that was spelled out in detail in a truly wonderful article in the New York Times. FYI: The header to that article is a photo of Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs taken at the Taqueria Sinaloa food truck on International Blvd. If you want to know how that relates to a current vacancy on Lakeshore Avenue, you’ll have to follow the link below to the LakeshoreAvenue.com website.
CLICK AND SAVE THE GRAND AVENUE BUSINESS DIRECTORY
LAKESHORE AND LAKE PARK AVENUE
As mentioned in last month’s newsletter, Kira Pascoe is the new Lakeshore BID co-director in charge of social media, and she’s been doing a fabulous job. If you want to be apprised on a regular basis as to what’s happening on Lakeshore and Lake Park, we highly recommend that you follow their Facebook and Instagram feeds.
Kira’s monthly summary has just been posted on the LakeshoreAvenue.com website and it includes details about the following and more:
- A very poised, Sarahjane Bernhisel was featured in a KPIX Channel 5 “This is SF” segment filmed at Bay-Made.
- The storefront vacated by Subway is about to be filled.
- Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal were guest baristas at Peet’s.
- Councilmember Abel Guillén donned an apron behind the counter at Starbucks
- Extensive remodeling at Lin Jia is nearly complete and they’re hoping to reopen by Friday or Saturday.
The lead story regarding the Grand Lake Market is the community meeting on the 23rd hosted by Abel Guillén and AIM’s CEO, Andy Naja Riese. It was preceded a couple of days earlier by an email from Jerry Barclay (the Chair of the Farmers Market Advisory Committee) announcing that his group was withdrawing its request for an RFP after receiving a non-binding agreement from Andy in support of most of the Operational Guidelines previously spelled out and with the further understanding that the details regarding other provisions would be subject to further discussion. Parenthetically, the market management has already begun to implement many of the requested changes. Most notably, they’ve hired a third staff person to help with the market supervision and clean-up. In addition, market shoppers should have already noticed lessened congestion, particularly along the decomposed granite pathway near the east end of the market.
The meeting itself was attended by just over thirty community stakeholders and the overwhelming consensus was that the evening was quite productive. A highlight was Andy’s presentation, which focused on what he saw as AIM’s major goals. Food justice issues were high on that list, but it also included a commitment to building a partnership with, and providing support for, Grand Lake businesses.
The next step in the process is for Abel to ask the Property Management office to draw up a proposed lease and submit it to the City Council for their approval. I’m also anticipating that Jerry will be resuming regular meetings of his community advisory group. If you’d like to be added to that email list, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll forward it to Jerry.On July 14, a film crew from KRCB’s “North Bay Bountiful” arrived at Splash Pad Park very early in the morning to document the Farmers Market’s set-up process. They stayed to interview a number of people, including Javier Ledesma, one of the few remaining vendors who began selling under the freeway circa 1998. On the 23rd, the crew also covered the stakeholders meeting referenced above. Footage from both days has been edited into an 8+ minute YouTube video titled “The Ins and Outs of Managing a Farmers Market” that we highly recommend. The full 28+ minute episode of “North Bay Bountiful,” that was broadcast on July 30, is about Bay Area markets in general and it’s available for viewing on THIS LINK.
There’s been another change in the Grand Lake Farmers Market management. For ten years, Dan Foster has been working Saturdays and Sundays and he’s long been yearning to spend more time with his children on weekends. Accordingly, AIM has transferred management responsibilities back to Jon Ruiz.
Before Dan’s departure, he provided invaluable assistance in a major upgrade of the SplashPad.org VENDOR LIST which is now, for the first time in a very long time, up to date. Please note that we used as a header one of a series of images created by Rick Wise from photos he took last month at the farmers market. Rick, whom I wrote about in the November 2017 edition of the Splash Pad News, also a did a series of similar images depicting Lakeshore Avenue that Kira Pascoe is using on the Lakeshore Avenue BID website and Facebook pages.
To virtually no one’s surprise, the Grand Lake Farmers Market was again named the best in the East Bay in the readers’ poll conducted by the East Bay Express.
The Bay Area is widely recognized as a hotbed for the creative arts that are very well represented at the Grand Lake Farmers Market. David and Reed Bowman are long-time market vendors and are well-known for their jewelry and larger wall pieces. When they pulled into the park at the conclusion of the market a couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t resist a photo. It turns out that they are especially attached to this vehicle since it possesses the kind of patina they replicate on their own artwork.
The above photos are of two of the most recent additions to the market’s ranks – Mother Know’s Best Kombucha and Perfusion Vineyard. A third, Ale Industries, is profiled at length in the following post.
The newest vendor at the Grand Lake Farmers Market is Ale Industries. According to owner and brewmaster, Morgan Cox, his first exposure to brewing was as an employee of E.G. Phair Brewing, where he started out cleaning drains and, eight years later, ended up as their brewmaster.
On March 3, 2009 (a date obviously etched in Morgan’s memory), the first bottle of Ale Industries beer emerged from the packaging line in their original Concord location. Three years later, the brewery and taproom moved to their current location in Oakland on E. 10th – just off Fruitvale.
Asked why they moved, Morgan noted that he is an Oakland resident and felt that, in terms of locally brewed beers, Oakland was badly underrepresented…
SPLASH PAD PARK
Most of the California native flowers that burst forth with the onset of spring have faded, but the Tar Weed, to quote a source I can’t quite recall, “is as high as an elephant’s eye” – but a lot more colorful.
A couple of weeks back, the Grand Crew volunteers got together for some socializing over a dim sum lunch organized by one of its members, Eliza Wong. Their next 4th Sunday work day is scheduled for August 26. Please email Mary Jo Sutton (MJmatrix2@gmail.com) to volunteer or for more information.
Pestec, the company working under contract to Oakland’s Public Works Department, has been making major progress in its campaign to help eradicate the long-term rat infestation in the park. They’re doing so using totally non-toxic measures including traps and smoke cartridges that are dropped down burrows. The two fern beds in proximity to the freeway will, however, require more drastic measures since the ferns have fibrous roots and form clumps, characteristics that are particularly attractive to rodents. Sometime soon, we’re hoping to remove the ferns entirely and replace them – possibly with more California natives.
FIRST THURSDAYS ON GRAND
Two shows that debuted last month are up for a month-long encore that begins this Thursday, August 2, and both address highly relevant, contemporary issues.
The show at Panorama Framing entitled, “Awareness and Activism in Textiles,” consists of more than a dozen quilts created by local artists. The postcard advertising the show says this about the content:
“Textile artists have spent centuries creating from the heart. Quilts are not only made for warmth. Quilts are made to celebrate love, to keepsake a memory. There are also quilts created to document a statement in time.”
The quilts in this show are indisputably meant to document “the recent years of political turmoil,” and they do so with a cutting edge.
The show at Urban Boutique and Furniture features paintings by Araceli Espinoza. While I confess I initially viewed her painting of a “Granny with an assault rifle” with some bemusement, I quickly wiped the smile off my face when Araceli explained that all her paintings in this series were based on real, very strong women who took up arms to defend their Mexican villages from the drug cartels.
510 Brand will be featuring new works by Aaron Mountain, Rachel Dobos, Natalina Simi, Shelia Schroeder, Seluster Lane and more. It will also be the last opportunity to view paintings by Culling Cahayag, who tragically passed away on June 25. He will be very much missed.
A complete list of all the participating gallery spaces is available on our FIRST THURSDAYS ON GRAND web page.
ODDS AND ENDS
Construction around the entrance to Lakeside Park and Fairyland is nearing completion and in this Facebook post, Fairyland’s Director, C. J. Hirschfield recently revealed a link to a photograph of the whimsical handrails that have since been installed. A new sign apparently comes next and, speaking of upcoming events, their annual “Fairyland for GrownUps” is scheduled for August 17. Sponsored by Oaklandish, tickets are still available at THIS LINK.
Last month, when I checked out the Opening Night Reception for Urban Boutique’s show of paintings by Araceli Espinoza, I also had the pleasure of meeting two Oakland-based photographers who have been actively engaged in documenting current societal and political issues. On July 4, Amir Saadiq documented a protest in San Diego against the Trump administration’s Zero Tolerance immigration policies. His photographs are, however, primarily shot here in the Bay Area focusing on people, streets, and protests. Harvey Castro has recently returned from a trip (at his own expense) to Puerto Rico where he graphically documented the extent of the hurricane damage. His previous travels included a tour of Cuba, which provided the photos now on display at Ale Industries – as mentioned above. Most recently, he and Amir covered the protests arising from the tragic murder of Nia Wilson – the first protest at the MacArthur BART station and a later protest at KTVU.
Together, Harvey and Amir are working to help promote Urban Boutique and Furniture. They’ve put together a website called “Beacon of Light,” where director Tracey Weaver posts blogs that accompany photos by Amir. At some point in the future, they hope to turn this effort into a book.
We’ll be updating our new WordPress Calendar on a regular basis. If you know of local events you’d like listed, please email email@example.com. Here are a few highlights:
- The July Grand Avenue First Thursdays event takes place on the 2nd from 6 – 8 pm.
- The Oakland Municipal Band‘s summer concert series ends August 5 at the Lake Merritt bandstand from 1 – 3:00 pm.
- Grand Lake Neighbors meeting, August 15 from 7 – 8:30 at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church
- Fairyland for GrownUps on August 17 from 7 – 10 pm.
- Splash Pad Work Day, August 26