Editor’s Note: Six days ago, Virginia Brown Keyder posted a comment that read like the first paragraph of a fabulous novel in response to a 2018 Splash Pad article by Kathleen Boergers about the space that housed Charlie’s Tobacco Shop; was later leased by Peter Brady; subsequently Wilde Brothers Coffee and now Red Bay Coffee. We’re happy to report that Virginia has accepted our invitation to become a regular contributor from her current residence in Istanbul, so she’s now officially our very first “Foreign Correspondent”!
Remembrances of Oakland’s Past
by Virginia Brown Keyder – Born in 1948, I grew up on Valle Vista Avenue, one block from Charlie’s Tobacco Shop. I spent my summers in the Grand Lake Theatre (children could see movies for three Seven-Up bottle caps, or 25 cents). I always bought my candy at Charlie’s and remember well his slightly reddish face and mop of curly brown hair. He also sold books, mainly (I hesitate to say exclusively) paperback novels by Pearl Buck. I read every one of them. They were a refuge from a tumultuous alcohol-soaked family life. I came to love China (which was always more real to me than Massachusetts for sure) from those books. I think of Charlie now and then, and of his rival Tobenkin, a gruff Holocaust survivor across the street who… CONTINUE READING
Grand Avenue Merchant News
by Ken Katz – If you shopped the Farmers Market on Saturday, you likely saw the Grand Avenue Business Association (GABA) booth with a gorgeous chalkboard poster as its centerpiece. Kudos to Lorenzo Galvan, an employee at Ikaros, for stepping up to the plate at the last minute and hitting a home run. Thirteen Grand Avenue businesses will be participating in the Art Walk on Thursday, November 2! To enjoy this event, you can use the the above map (which will be posted at each location) or join the guided tour led by Tracey Williams of Urban Furniture (meet at Michael’s Chocolates at 6pm). Michael will be offering free tastings of chocolates and gelato and a 15% discount on all purchases. Next door, at Panorama Framing, Ted Dively will… CONTINUE READING
The Autumn Lights Festival’s Evolution
by Ken Katz – From 2012 to 2023: a focus on the quality of the exhibits and the technology used to produce them, with a nod to the cameras used to record them. Since its launch in 2012, ALF has evolved tremendously. Moore’s Law states that “the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles about every two years.” Under Tora Rocha’s stewardship, the ALF equivalent (Tora’s Law) states that all aspects of the event, including its size, initially doubled every two years; now, it’s the quality of the electronics and artistry that is increasing exponentially. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the 238 photos in my Flickr Autumn Lights Festival album from 2012 to the present will graphically illustrate that point. CONTINUE READING
Grand Lake Neighbors October 2023 Meeting Minutes
by Eric Hughes
1. Report on Walker Avenue parking lot security system
2. Update on plans to ticket vehicles parked on sidewalks on narrow streets
3. Anti-crime initiatives
4. And much, much more. CONTINUE READING
Splash Pad Park – November 2023 Update
by Ken Katz – Two months ago, in the second of a two-part series of articles, I bewailed the fact that the Splash Pad fountain was still inoperable as a result of being vandalized. As you can see from the above photo which I snapped on a whim during the Farmers Market’s 25th Anniversary, that’s happily no longer the case thanks to PWA employees Taurus Ringold and Stennis Raymond who’ve been doing a superb job maintaining the fountain for the past four years. Looking at that photo, I can’t help but marvel at how beautiful and how vibrant that scene is despite the underlying infrastructure issues and, for me, that’s all the more reason to preserve and protect the park as much as possible. CONTINUE READING
Farmers Market Update – by Ken Katz
This month’s update is dedicated largely to the Agricultural Institute of Marin’s celebration on October 21 of the Grand Lake Farmers Market’s 25th Anniversary. A market that started with maybe a dozen farms under the freeway has since been named the Best Farmers Market in the East Bay year after year. Javier Ledesma who has the distinction of being one of the original market participants was one of the speakers as was AIM’s CEO, Andy Naja Ries. Council President and District 2 Representative Nikki Fortunato Bas read a proclamation honoring AIM which she then presented to Andy. Jerry Barclay, representing the community as the former Chair of the Farmers Market Advisory Committee spoke about the extent to which… CONTINUE READING
November 2023 Calendar
by Sheila McCormick –
Sheila’s Top Picks:
1. November 3, Friday, 7-8pm *ZOOM* Rotary Nature Center Friends. The Mystery Oyster of San Francisco Bay.
2. November 8, Wednesday, 5:30pm *YouTube* Book Passage. The Museum of Scent: Exploring the Curious and Wondrous World of Fragrance.
3. November 29, Wednesday, 9am *ZOOM* Harvard Radcliffe Institute. Gertrude Stein: An Afterlife.
For full month’s calendar, click on this link.