A hearty welcome to everyone who subscribed in the past month, with a special shout-out to Jack and Kim, my new next-door neighbors. FYI: I told them we’re lucky to live in such a great neighborhood where people are actively involved and there’s a real sense of community. Please, please, please – carry on that legacy.
Urban Furniture and Panorama Framing both have new shows about to open this week but, since this month’s First Thursday falls on July 4th, both will be hosting Opening Night receptions on Saturday night instead.
The show at Panorama sounds like a blockbuster – featuring quilts designed by middle and high school students in workshops coordinated by the Social Justice Sewing Academy. Here’s a copy of the group’s mission statement:
“We believe that in times of uncertainty- when students are surrounded by disinformation and division- that art is more than beauty or decoration. In our quilts, art becomes a shield and a weapon, a megaphone for unheard voices, a bridge to unite communities. For us the simple union of ideas and cloth and thread creates a compass pointing to a future we want to live in, and that we want our children to live in. SJSA is focused on more than art. Our goal is to build an American identity rooted in equality, dignity, diversity, truth, and beauty for young people not used to seeing themselves in history books and or on the walls of classrooms. Our hope is that the simple, yet urgent messages contained in these quilts will be carried with the maker and the viewer for the rest of their lives while helping young people today feel spoken for, and listened to. In our workshops and on display, the art of quilting is a tool for connecting youth and community to ideas. It is a tool to empower us all to make the change we want to see in the world.”
Several local students involved in the creation of these quilts will be in attendance at the reception on Saturday evening.
The following Saturday, July 13, from 5 – 7 pm, Alchemy Bottle Shop will be hosting their own Opening Night Reception for a show of watercolors by Molly Champlin titled Signs and Signals. The above painting (titled Lake Tower) is in keeping with her artist’s statement:
My art explores the disconnect from the physical world caused by a deepening reliance on technology. Presently, the primary subjects of my paintings are abandoned and outdated technology: old TVs, circuit boards, recycling centers, junkyards, and cluttered storefronts.
Earlier that same afternoon, Alchemy will be pouring samples of Family Coppola’s Great Women Spirits, from 2 – 5pm.
A couple of weeks ago, as I was walking up Grand, I was somewhat concerned to see that the mural on the back wall at Studio Grand had been painted over and the adjacent walls were being painted as well. When I checked back the following week, I was informed that Studio Grand was going to be sharing the space with a not-for-profit group with offices in San Francisco and San Jose called the Young Women’s Freedom Center. This is an organization that has, for very many years, provided counseling and other services to young women of color who’ve been incarcerated. As you can see from the above photos, YWFC has done a fabulous job painting and decorating the interior and I believe the track lighting is new as well.
On Wednesday evening, YWFC celebrated the opening of their new Oakland location with an exhibit of photographs titled She Free/We Free that were taken by the very talented, Jean Melesaine, who was the subject of this 2016 Women to Watch profile on KQED. I’ve reached out to contacts at Studio Grand and also at YWFC and haven’t yet received a reply with information about future concerts, classes, and special events sponsored by Studio Grand. Currently, nothing is on their future calendar and I’m hoping that’s not an indicator of what’s to come.
A couple of weeks ago, my older son and I celebrated Father’s Day, a week early, with brunch at Almond and Oak. When it comes to restaurants, Adam is a pretty tough critic. Nonetheless, after two bites of his Pork Belly Benedict, he said, “I don’t say this very often, but this is very good food.” I concurred wholeheartedly as my scrambled eggs with bacon and potatoes were delicious. The highlight, however, were the beignets, which were otherworldly. Playing the role of the dutiful father, I insisted he take the two that were left over. On the way home, I had second thoughts.
If you’re hankering for some paella, today’s the day beginning at 5pm at Ordinaire.
Just a reminder that East Bay Eats still has tickets available for a special fundraising dinner at Boot & Shoe Service on July 21. One hundred percent of the proceeds benefit the East Point Peace Academy, which is grounded in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King. Working with previously incarcerated youth, this grassroots organization is helping to create a culture of peace through training, education, and hands-on practice in the arts of nonviolence and conflict reconciliation.
Lynn and Lu’s Escapade Cafe has an application for a beer and wine permit posted in their front window (as does Rico/Rico) over on Lakeshore.
by Kathleen Boergers
I wanted to write about a new-to-me local business, specializing in services for underserved communities. Sage Staggs, offers acupuncture and related care, including an on-site herbal dispensary. I spoke to Sage about her practice, her experience in Oakland, and her hopes for the future in our neighborhood.
Sage has been practicing in Oakland for five years – of which four years have been on Grand Avenue including eighteen months at her current location, 3535 Grand.
Her practice is interesting to me because of her focus on women’s health. She has many clients seeking fertility support, and she also offers pre- and post-partum care. This includes home visits! She described a wonderful tradition in Chinese medicine of Warming Care for a new mother. I definitely would have welcomed that after my deliveries. And, of course, crucially for our neighborhood, her focus on women’s health includes LGBTQ clientele and care. I think this is really important and interesting as we as a society are learning more and more about how women, especially women of color, often have poorer outcomes under traditional medical practices. A specific focus on care for women is one way to help address that.
Another interesting feature is that Sage is also an herbalist. Traditional Chinese Medicine includes the use of herbs in treatment. Sage has a dispensary on site so she can customize the appropriate herbs right at her office. In addition, she integrates Chinese herbs and Western herbal medicine – utilizing herbs that are local, organic, and grown in California and, in keeping with her focus on post-natal care, she can offer herbs safe to use during breastfeeding.
Finally, Sage described her vision for her practice now and for later expansion in our neighborhood. She offers Mother-centered and person-centered care, which is focused on listening and meeting a person where they are. In addition, she is working to make this type of care more affordable and accessible in the community so that is can benefit people that are historically underserved by conventional medicine. For example, she has been strategizing with local midwives and doulas to expand the reach of her pre-natal and post-natal care. One idea is to implement a group acupuncture pop-up in a local prenatal care facility. Finally, she continues to work on sourcing her herbs locally. She would love to help develop a community garden growing medicinal herbs.
Overall, it was lovely to hear about Sage’s practice and I am glad to help spotlight a local neighbor working in our community!
Lakeshore Avenue shined in June with its support for the community, collaboration and giving back. Several Lakeshore merchants showed their support for LGBTQ Pride month, gave and fundraised for local non-profits, greater neighborhood stewardship and collaborated with each other. Bay-Made is expanding to include classes for kids, and Hipline is expanding to include Team Building. It was an energetic June, read all about it as we head into the lovely, long days of summer.
PRIDE on Lakeshore
June is LGBTQ PRIDE month, and a stroll down Lakeshore shows merchants proudly supporting PRIDE and celebrating the LGBT community that helps make Lakeshore Ave and the City of Oakland a wonderful, diverse community.
The snapshot of merchants to the right includes Arizmendi, Dress Best for Less, Shakewell, Proposition Chicken, Buckingham Wine and Spirits, Adventure Toys and Learning Center, Peets Coffee, the non-profit Oakland LGBTQ Community Center , and there is so much more!
National Day of Play on Lakeshore
Gymboree had a fantastic National Play Day, and several Lakeshore merchants showed their support! Neighboring businesses Dress Best for Less, Shakewell, Flipside Burger, and European Wax Center supported Gymboree’s National Play Day by contributing fabulous prizes. We love seeing Lakeshore merchants work with and support each other!
HADDON HILL and CLEVELAND HEIGHTS
A Cleveland Heights Neighborhood Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 9 at the FM Smith Recreation Center (1969 Park Blvd @ Newton Ave). The agenda includes: approval of by-laws, a list of issues important to the community – three of which have to be selected as priorities for their OPD Community Resource Officer, and a discussion regarding the need to make FM Smith Park safer. Recreation Center representatives have been invited to speak at the meeting, which begins at 7 pm.
The future of the original Parkway Cinema space on Park Blvd. has been the subject of a heated debate. The latest information about the proposal for a cannabis dispensary and movie theatre/lounge space with on-site cannabis consumption, has just been posted by District 2 Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas and is available at THIS LINK.
An Oakland Heritage Alliance tour of the Cleveland Heights/Haddon Hill neighborhood is scheduled for August 10. Tour leader and neighborhood resident, Page Yarwood, told me that he’s preparing to talk about the history of twenty to thirty homes, and is hoping to get permission before then to include a peek inside of the interior of one of the key properties. Unfortunately, that key property isn’t the Henry J. Kaiser home at 664 Haddon, which was included on a prior tour in 2005. It’s been in the news recently after being purchased by Kaiser Permanente, which has filed an application for historic landmark status. They’ve also made a commitment to restore the historic and structural integrity of the house, while maintaining its legacy as a nod to Kaiser Permanente’s history and Henry J. Kaiser’s presence in the Oakland community. According to Page Yarwood and another Haddon Hill neighborhood resident, Paul Garrison, Kaiser has been meeting with neighborhood stakeholders to keep them apprised of their plans, which will include small medically-oriented conferences and meetings. It also appears likely that it will also be available for other public functions and/or tours.
While we’re on the subject, the Haddon Hill tour is one of SIXTEEN TOURS scheduled by the Oakland Heritage Alliance over the next two months. One other should be of special interest to Splash Pad News subscribers: “The High Road Along Trestle Glen’s Key System B Line” on July 13.
GRAND LAKE FARMERS MARKET
The second in a series of Harvest Talks on June 8 drew a decent sized crowd for a panel discussion about CalFresh, California’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The Diggin’ at the Market education booth, which was staffed by Courtney Fisher and Ellie Burke, also attracted quite a bit of interest.
A June 17 article in Mission Local reported that Mission Pie, after twelve years in the same location, was going to shutter its doors. The reason cited: their inability to pay salaries sufficient for their staff to afford housing in a market where the average 1-bedroom apartment rents for $3,600. This was also a major factor that contributed to the demise of Camino, and it’s almost certainly a trend that will continue. I don’t remember an exact date, but Grand Lake Farmers Market Manager Jonathan Ruiz confirmed that they’ve given notice.
When I spoke about the history of Splash Pad Park and the Farmers Market at the dedication of the Grand/Walker mural, I specifically mentioned that one of the associated benefits was the opportunity for community activists to lobby for change. The example I cited was the 3,200 signatures that neighborhood stakeholders gathered over two Saturdays in 2004 in opposition to a McDonald’s drive-thru across the street. This group of young people promoting the Green New Deal are carrying on the same, valued tradition.
Last month I mentioned the continuing success of the Crying Uncle Bluegrass Band, which has performed at the market on at least a couple of occasions. They’re in such demand, I wouldn’t count on them returning anytime soon. Where are they now? Would you believe that they’re booked for three different gigs in Finland in the next eight days?
A list of Grand Lake Farmers Market vendors is available at THIS LINK.
As you’re probably already aware if you shop at the Farmers Market or drive up Grand, two of the three original bike rack sections on Grand Avenue were damaged beyond repair as a result of an accident early in the month. According to my source with the City, their preference is to remove all three sections and replace them with their standard circle racks, which are less expensive and apparently hold more bicycles more efficiently.
The Grand Crew’s regular 4th Sunday work day will be July 28. We’re always looking for additional volunteers.
The EvGo Electric Vehicle Charging Stations are on hold while they’re waiting for PG&E to install a large transformer to the left of the parking lot entrance. We’ve made an informal proposal to install some landscaping to help screen the transformer from the street. First indications are that we may get some resistance. If that’s the case, don’t be surprised to see park advocates at the Farmers Market with petitions in hand. Please see the above section as a point of reference.
FIRST THURSDAYS ON GRAND
Being that this month’s First Thursday falls on July 4th, this month’s art walk is going to be a bit more challenging than usual. I haven’t spoken to everybody but I do know that Alchemy Bottle Shop will be closed on the 4th – but their current show stays up for another week or so. Panorama Framing and Urban Furniture may or may not be open on the 4th, but both will be hosting opening night receptions for new shows on Saturday, July 6. Five-Ten Brand is the one shop that definitely plans to be open on July 4, and they have a pre-fireworks party planned with lots of new artwork adorning their walls. Hours are 6 – 8pm unless otherwise noted.
The Opening Night Reception at Panorama Framing on Saturday, July 6, sounds like a blockbuster – featuring quilts designed by middle and high school students in workshops coordinated by the Social Justice Sewing Academy.
510 Brand is focusing this month on three artists: Natalina Simi (the Shop Manager), Alex Sodaci and STITCH. On July 4, look for a nice spread with complimentary drinks and snacks. 6 – 9 PM.
Urban Boutique and Furniture will be hosting a reception on Saturday, July 6, with snacks and beverages, beginning at 6:30 for a show of paintings by Zoe Oliver-Grey.
Alchemy Bottle Shop will be closed on the 4th but their show of highly detailed artwork by Oakland-based artist Kayleen Dejesus will be up for another ten days or so – to be replaced in time for a July 13th Opening Night Reception featuring paintings by Molly Champlin. Hours are 5 – 7 pm.
Jau Jou Studio is continuing to exhibit contemporary photographs that look vintage by Kait DeAngelis. The show is titled “Bay Area Nostalgia.”
The Libertine is continuing to feature Josh Stevenson’s nudes printed on aluminum that focus on the interplay between light and shadows.
ODDS & ENDS
The completion of the Grand/Walker mural was celebrated on June 23 with plaudits for Stefen, the artist who also did the mural in the Trader Joe’s parking lot, a round of speeches and lots of good food and drink provided by Neecha Thai, Ikaros, and Grand Lake Market vendors, including East & West Bolani, Marshall’s Honey, Point Reyes Cheese & Extreme Juice. Honored guests included most of the major donors: Carla Betts (Ken’s wife), Marcia Lam from Lin Jia, Rick da Silva from Oakland Parking Partners, Andy Naja-Riese from the Agricultural Institute of Marin, Ruth Stroup and residents of Grande Terrace, the condo next door. Two major donors were unable to attend: Grand Lake Veterinary Hospital and former District 2 Councilmember Abel Guillen.
Let me add a few footnotes regarding the content of the mural. In his remarks to the assembled crowd, Stefen said he typically doesn’t paint people but, in this case, the farmers market would have looked pretty forlorn without shoppers. Moreover, he insisted that he never paints portraits of real people because it’s “too political” and he hears complaints, after the fact, that so-and-so should have been included. Again, in this case, he opted to make some exceptions to these rules, most graphically in his portrayal of the project organizers, Randy and Lucy Glover, dancing in the plaza. If you look closely, you’ll also see Javier Ledesma, one of the original Grand Lake Market vendors going back to about 1997. Lastly, Stefen used a fair amount of artistic license. Just in case you’re wondering, the two extra fountains don’t really exist – although the one that includes an elephant wearing an A’s cap is a subtle nod to the Stomper statue that was stationed for a number of months at the entrance to the Grand Lake Theater.
I was honored to be offered a speaking slot to summarize the history of Splash Pad Park (which you’ll find on our (Splash Pad About Page). I welcomed this opportunity to recognize Caroline Kim, whose East Shore Park Preservation Association kept the park from becoming a commercial strip mall in the late 1990s. Her group was also responsible for starting the Farmers Market as a way of demonstrating that the park, with needed improvements, had the potential to attract community members despite the freeway looming overhead. After introducing Caroline, I spoke about the significance of those efforts. Specifically, it helped us create a park and a farmers market that, once a week, becomes a magnet for not just neighbors, but also for folks from throughout the East Bay. On Saturdays, it’s our town square, with people of all colors and ethnicities, mixing in harmony. That’s the comment that drew a round of applause.
Last month, Sheila McCormick shared news about the Oakland Youth Poet Laureate competition. I heard about the winner of the competition (and a $5,000 scholarship) this past week, thanks to a Facebook post by Mary Ellen Navas:
Oakland’s latest Youth Poet Laureate, Samuel Getachew, has talent, courage, and heart. In this YouTube video, he speaks to an incident on the shore of Lake Merritt when a black man was threatened by another visitor. The context he adds is important, as it parallels the storyline of the movie now at the Grand Lake Theater, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.” I love this program of the Oakland Public Library. Congratulations to all the finalists and especially to this young man.
I’d strongly encourage everyone to take three minutes out of your day to watch the above video. I can guarantee that, like me, you’ll be blown away by Samuel’s maturity, at age sixteen. If you’re not convinced, KQED columnist and freelance journalist Pendarvis Harshaw said this:
No need to look at his extensive resume; you can just look at his posture and poise as he delivers his poems. He’s confident and believes in his words, which makes his words believable to the audience members. He embodies what the competition is all about: the next generation of voices from Oakland.
The hugely successful Autumn Lights Festival returns to the Gardens of Lake Merritt Thursday, October 17, through Saturday, October 19. The organizers are accepting artist submissions with a July 30 deadline. The form is available at THIS LINK. Questions should be emailed to the Secretary of the East Bay Garden Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kudos to everyone who contributed to the restoration of the monster by the lake with a special acknowledgement to Susan Casentini and Kyle Milligan – the driving force behind the project. The re-dedication party, on Sunday, July 28, is in conjunction with the Oakland Municipal Band’s annual summer concerts at the Edoff Memorial Bandstand. This will be the fourth of five concerts, beginning with the traditional kick-off performance on July 4th.
- Oakland Municipal Band Concert at Edoff Memorial Bandstand – July 4, 1 -3 pm
- First Thursdays on Grand art walk – July 4 beginning at 6 pm
- OHA Tour – Trestle Glen’s Key System B Line – July 13, 10 am
- Alchemy Bottle Shop – Opening Night Reception for a show of watercolors by Molly Champlin, July 13, 5 – 7 pm
- Grand Lake Neighbors Meeting – Wednesday, July 17, 7 – 8:30 pm, Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church Family Room
- Splash Pad Volunteer Work Party – Sunday, July 28, – 9 – Noon.
- Mid-Century Monster Bash at Lake Merritt – Sunday, July 28, 11 am – 3 pm
- OHA Tour – Haddon Hill Hidden Homes – August 10, 10 am
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