Splash Pad Newsletter – October 2014


Studio Grand has an even dozen concerts on their October Calendar.  Look for lots of jazz  including Brazil Beat on October 16 and blues and jazz vocalist, Amy LaCour on October 26 plus a wholly new genre for this venue, the “Ukulele Experience” with Hiram Bell on October 4.Sung Kim Instruments

If you have not yet seen the display of custom-made instruments by Sung Kim, they’ll be available for viewing on the 2nd as part of the First Thursdays Art Walk.  If you want a real treat, plan on attending the October 11 Sung Kim performance where he will be accompanied by Key West.

In addition to all the concerts, Studio Grand is also expanding their list of classes for children and adults.  Last month,  I mentioned the Soca Rhythm Movement Dance Class that began September 14 but there’s also a Puerto-Rican Bomba Dance Class that debuted September 28 and a series of three art classes with Susan Matthews that starts this month.  Susan is the artist responsible for the fabulous show at Studio Grand that featured her larger-than-life images of Cuban dancers and musicians.

Stay tuned for details about their Day of the Dead Celebration on November 2 in memory of Studio Grand founder, Holly Schneider.

Urban BoutiquePeter Brady at Grand Smoke ShopPeter Brady’s Grand Avenue Smoke Shop is now open weekends – Fridays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.  An Inside Bay Area article about the re-opening and the shop’s history is available on this link.

Urban Furniture  will be celebrating its 5th anniversary on October 11 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Festivities will include speeches from urban university’s program graduates, tasty bites by Chef Nicole Martin and a special musical performance by The Alta All-Stars. Click HERE to RSVP.

 They say that “the best things come in small packages” which was certainly the case over at Ordinaire where Bradford Taylor and his wife, Nicole,  became the proud parents of little Francisco Swann Taylor.  Mother and son are doing fine.


Bradford also noted that Ordinaire has signed up a new chef and they will be serving dinners on a regular schedule Thursdays through Sundays.  For more details, visit Ordinaire’s Facebook page.

Musicale2014promoPanorama Framing will be hosting a Wine & Chocolate Musicale on Sunday, Oct. 5 from 3 p.m – 6 p.m.   It will feature vocal music from James Toland Vocal Arts.  Tastings of wines from Ordinaire and chocolates from Michael Mischer will be available for purchase. This event is free but donations in support of the James Toland Vocal Arts program would be welcomed.

The Citibank branch on Grand Avenue will be closing effective December 12. I don’t have any information on their reasons for closing but combined with the elimination of the Wells Fargo ATM machines a couple of months earlier, the nearest bank if the B of A around the corner.

Alchemy Bottle Shop now has a new website that includes a special event calendar and a blog on which wedding photos are currently posted.   If you haven’t ventures upstairs to their second-floor gallery, in addition to some great artwork, it now has quantities of offerings that wouldn’t fit downstairs.

This Saturday, Oct 4th from 2-5 p.m.,  they’ll be pouring samples of Square One Organic Basil, Cucumber, and Botanical vodkas.

stopped by Joe Huang’s JJ Burger  (3415 Grand) at lunch time yesterday and nary a seat was available.   That wouldn’t have deterred me but, since I’m still recovering from a nasty virus, what I really needed was soup – a need later satisfied with a steaming bowl of hot and sour soup from Lin Jia.

Happily, Ross Turner (mentioned elsewhere in today’s newsletter) was sitting by the door and he gave me an on-the-spot review: an 8.5 (on a scale of 10) for the fries and veggie-burger.  A 10 and a big smile for the milkshake which he said was delicious and, at $2.95, a genuine bargain.

David Thom at Pure 510
David Thom at Pure 510

Right next door,  Shogun Sushi and Grill is now serving lunch. Bento boxes are $8.95. Lunch entrees are $7.95 – $8.95 and are also accompanied by miso soup, rice and salad.

The Pure 510 T-shirt shop at 3224 Grand  is planning a Grand Re-Opening celebration for October 25. As you can see from the adjacent photo of manager (and new partner), David Thom, the shelving is up and new merchandise is in stock.


Editor’s Note:  As reported last month, since Pamela Drake, the BID Director, has been unable to provide us with a monthly blog on a consistent basis, I’ve resumed coverage of  Lakeshore/Lake Park Avenue businesses but I really don’t have time to do the subject justice.  If you have a flair for writing and are so inclined, please consider becoming our official Lakeshore/Lake Park blogster.

After 28 years on Lakeshore, Silver Lining Jewelry will be closing early next year. Owners, Peggy Woon and Carol Knight are ready to retire or, just maybe, ready to take on other challengea. In the meantime, look for some special values over the Christmas holidays followed by a liquidation sale in January. For the record, Carol and Peggy have been consistently the most stalwart of Lakeshore Avenue boosters – particularly when it comes to the Christmas, Halloween and Easter festivities.

P.S. If you know of anyone who may be interested in leasing the space, they should contact Steve Banker from LCB Associates. It’s going to be nearly impossible to replace Carol and Peggy – but we’d love to have someone on board willing to try.

On Monday evening, I attended a meeting to discuss proposed improvements for the Lakeshore Avenue parking structure.  Michael Ford, who is coordinating improvements for all the city-owned parking lots and garages, made a very informative presentation.

The improvements that are in the works will include enhanced lighting, new paint to further brighten the interior, and better security including eventually, security cameras monitored 24 hours a day from a central, downtown facility.

To cover the cost of these expenses, they’ve tentatively proposed issuing thirty parking permits on the second floor of the garage to Lakeshore employees and business owners.  The permits would be good Mondays through Fridays only and tentative cost would be $120 per month.

Before making the above recommendations, a subcontractor heavily monitored usage in the garage beginning several months ago –  just after they began enforcing a two-hour parking limit.   They determined that on Monday through Friday, on average, there was always a minimum of sixty-one spaces available on the second deck.  In addition to the thirty spaces in this garage, additional monthly permits will be available at the Lakepark lot under the freeway.  Cost for those remains $70.


Please click this link to access this month’s blog by LZ, our anonymous (by choice) reporter.  It’s about Cafe Loring.


This month’s edition of  the First Thursdays art walk falls on October 2.  Hours are 6 to 9 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Studio Grand will be continuing its exhibit of instruments hand-crafted by their Artist in Residence, Sung Kim, from 6 – 8 p.m. only.  As noted above, Kim will also be performing with Key West on October 11.

Panorama Framing  show of paintings by Mel O. entitled “Abstract With a Twist” continues for a second month. The artist’s reception will include refreshments with music provided by Adriana Rätsch-Rivera playing classical and flamenco guitar.

Urban Furniture hasn’t scheduled a new show for October but they will be open late and, as is usually the case, all store merchandise will be discounted 15%.

Jau Jou Studio ‘s exhibit of artwork by Lauren Ari ends on Friday. Ari’s works on paper include “Dictionary Pages” and “Animal Women”. A 15% discount on store merchandise is offered from 6 – 8 p.m.  A new show with art work by Danyol opens on Saturday.

Alchemy Bottle Shops exhibit of fabulous paintings by Roxanna Shohadaee entitled, “HabRitual”  continues for a second month.  Alchemy is open to 8 p.m. only.

Additional information is available on the Grand Avenue First Thursdays website.


Kassenhoff Growers is back  in the market probably through Thanksgiving.  Inventory will include a variety of lettuces and other greens plus broccoli and cauliflower as well as many ornamentals and herbs.  Incidentally, Kassenhoff and their “new digs” at the 16th Street train station are the subject of a very nice article in the fall edition of “Edible East Bay” – free copies of which are always available at the market’s Information Booth.

Brad Gates from Wild Boar Farms had a very bad couple of weeks. The interior of his farm home, which is 3 miles from the epicenter of the August 24 earthquake, was severely damaged. In addition, his acres of ripe and nearly-ripe heirloom tomatoes were decimated by blight and it looks unlikely that he will be returning to the market this year.

This is especially disconcerting  since (as I mentioned the month before last) Brad introduced many of us to heirloom tomatoes and gave David Gans the inspiration for his most recent CD: “The Ones That Look the Weirdest, Taste the Best”.Amber From True Family Foods


The newest vendor at the market is True Family Foods which is Oakland-based, utilizing a commercial kitchen at Uptown Kitchen on 22nd and Broadway.  Their “True Ferment” product line includes sauerkraut, kombucha, Dearborn turnips and their Fruitvale pickled carrots and peppers.

Look for Amber Petersen and/or her husband and two cute kids every Saturday on the perimeter of the Grand Lake Market  just east of the Liba Falafel truck.  They also sell at the Jack London Square Market and their True Ferment products are also available at a few, specialty shops.


Oaktown Jerk at GLFM
Oaktown Jerk at GLFM

Oaktown Jerk (the home of “Oakland’s Finest Artisan Beef Jerky”) has been at the market for about half a year but I didn’t get around to taking a photo of owner Randall Hughes and his sales assistant, Luis Oceguera, until this past weekend.  Their booth is right next to True Family Foods.

Katie Derrig, the volunteer you’ll almost always see in the Farmers Market Information Booth, recently posted a link to a segment on NPR’s Quest that asked,  “Are Farmers Markets good for their communities?”

Although there are a few remaining naysayers, this market is viewed overwhelmingly as a boon to Oakland, in general,  and to this neighborhood, in particular.  Here’s a link to the full broadcast.GMOTomato

Did you happen to see “The Big Tadoo Puppet Crew” recording a  video at the market a couple of weeks ago?  The subject was genetically-modified food products.  With that conversation fresh on my mind, I was delighted (and simultaneously appalled) to see a photo that a friend of mine in Portland had posted on Facebook.

Darise said that she had inadvertently purchased a GMO tomato two months earlier.  Since it still looked perfect, she decided to slice it and this is what she found.  It reminds me of a news report a while back about beef that was being packaged with carbon monoxide.  Left on a kitchen counter for several weeks, it was still as red and free of mold as it was on Day One.  Is it any wonder that the farm to table movement is growing in popularity.

On Saturday, October 25, the market management will be hosting a free jack-o-lantern station adjacent to the information booth.  They will be providing mini Cannonball pumpkins and cut up veggies with which to decorate them.  This is the same day as the Lakeshore Festival which starts at 10 a.m.


We had a fairly small turnout for our volunteer work day this past Sunday – but our dedicated Splash Pad “Grand Crew” got tons of work done including litter pick-up and weeding and pruning.  We also started removing soil from the two areas that will soon become decomposed granite walkways.

The next 4th Sunday Volunteer Day will be October 26 beginning at 9 a.m. and ending with lunch at noon.  We’d love to have additional volunteers that morning and, in addition, we’re likely to be working on the DG installation during the work week.  If you’re not already on our volunteer email list, please send an email to info@splashpad.sitedistrict.com.


HisBossSaidChances are that you saw the petitions being circulated this past month on behalf of Waste Management and know at least a little bit about the issue. If you subscribe to the Grand Lake Neighbors listserv, you undoubtedly know more than you wanted to know.  For those in the former category, here’s some background information:

On July 30th, the city council voted unanimously in favor of a contract with California Waste Solutions to collect garbage, recycling and green waste city-wide and re-affirmed that decision (by a vote of seven to one) two weeks later.  They did so because CWS was the lower bidder, an Oakland-based company and they supported Civicorps bid to collect food waste from commercial kitchens that would be trucked to the EBMUD’s digester where it would be turned into clean energy.

Waste Management cried fowl; filed two law-suits and brought in outside petition circulators – most of whom lied through their teeth about the content and purpose of the petitions.  These actions threw a monkey-wrench into CWS’s plans and, with the prospect of garbage being uncollected come July 1, Mayor Quan negotiated a compromise agreement that returned garbage and residential organic waste pick-ups to Waste Management with the recycling for the entire city going to CWS.

TJSignWaste Management’s last and best offer back in July turned out to be neither their last – nor their best.  During negotiations, they agreed to match CWS’s low bid for residential services and also signed off on the contract with Civicorps and EBMUD.

Yesterday afternoon, I talked to Civicorps Executive Director, Alan Lessik.  He said that every year, they will providing truck-driving training to eight disadvantaged young people from Oakland – most of whom lack diplomas and are currently unemployed.  The Teamster’s local is also involved and those who graduate from the program (and the overwhelming majority do) will be granted union apprenticeships.

Mr. Lessik said that they will be serving 1400 commercial kitchens daily and, possibly on some routes, Saturday as well.  Civicorps expects to be hauling 18,000 tons of food waste annually within the next three years.  The energy from the methane gas will be sold by EBMUD and the proceeds are expected to provide a reduction in our sewage rates.

In addition to all the other social and environmental benefits, I believe their daily service (combined with containers that range in size from 32 gallons to large dumpsters) may help to reduce the number of trash cans often overflowing with food waste that we see on Lakeshore.

On Wednesday, October 29th, in the waning days of a spirited election campaign, Zennie Abraham is coordinating a Mayoral Debate at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church beginning at 6 p.m. According to Rev. Hopkins, the sole subject will be the future of professional sports in Oakland.

By the way, when the A’s were in the midst of their downward spiral, I asked Rev. Hopkins (who is a devoted A’s fan) if he was ever tempted to pray for God’s intervention.  In retrospect, I now realize that, if God were to root for anyone, it would be the Angels.

Thanks to Eric Hughes for sharing Thrillist’s  list of the “Nineteen Things You Don’t Understand About Oakland (Unless You Live There).  Number 4:  “The Grand Lake Farmers Market is a contact sport”.  Here’s the full list.

Oakland’s Grand Lake District was recently featured in  a “7 x 7 San Francisco Magazine” blog by Sarah Medina.  Her list of nine businesses includes perennial favorites (Walden Pond and the Grand Lake Theatre) plus seven newer establishments.  Here’s that link.

Last month, I mentioned that the Grand Lake Theatre was one of the venues for the Jewish Film Festival.  What I didn’t know, at the time, was that Ross Turner (a Grand Avenue neighbor, graphic artist and a long-time Splash Pad supporter) was in a trailer advertising the Festival.  He’s the very first actor shown in the 30-second spot posted on YouTube. Also, if you watch TV, watch for the Honda commercial in which Ross appears very briefly as a school principal.

In the September issue,  I also mentioned that I hoped to be around long enough to paddle a kayak from Lake Merritt to the Estuary but that’s such a complicated engineering feat, I won’t hold my breath AND if I did, I definitely wouldn’t be around to witness its completion.

On the bright side,  biking and walking from here to there looks promising thanks to a $3.2 million grant that the City of Oakland just received for construction of a pathway under Highway 580 and over the railroad tracks that parallel Embarcadero. Details are in this East Bay Express blog.

Todd, Alexandra and JohnAt Love Our Lake Day, I took the photo to the leftt of Todd Blair, Alexandra Ismerio and John Colle Rogers posing between two of the 20 light panels that make up  “Undercurrent” – a work in progress located in the tunnel that leads from Lake Merrit to the Kaiser Auditorium.

The light panels (actually videos) had debuted the night before.  The wrought iron work above their heads will be later extended to all 20 light panels. This project was funded by Measure DD.

A video of the panels during the evening hours by Ray Chavez from the Tribune is posted on this link.  Broken Glass



The photo of broken window glass was taken yesterday in front of Shakewell.  I don’t the story behind this particular incident but the week before, someone posted on the GLN Listserv that she popped into Starbucks for a quick cup of coffee early in the morning and when she came out, the side window was broken and the cloth bag on the seat


Click once to open. Then double-click to enlarge.
Photos below taken at the Love Our Lake Day Celebration include West Coast Power Yoga, Ken Pitts Martial Arts and Jim Copes.


Click once to open. Then click twice to enlarge.
The week-long Ethiopian/Eritrean New Years Celebration.


Click once to open. Then click twice to enlarge.

Lakeside Gardens’ 3rd annual Autumn Lights Festival on October 17th and 18th is fast approaching.  This is a major fundraiser for the Gardens at Lake Merritt and a showcase for stunning lighting and artwork.

For advance ticket sales, click HERE.

The Plant Exchange that  Odette Pollar launched several years ago at her home on Lakeshore Avenue grew to the point that they needed more space.  The Spring Exchange earlier this year was the first at their new location – the First Presbyterian Church on the corner of Broadway and 27th Street.  Date is Saturday, October 18,  Noon – 4 p.m.

The 48th Annual Moon Viewing Festival at Lakeside Garden Center takes place this Sunday, October 5 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Admission is free but bento box dinners may be ordered in advance for $15.

Lakeshore’s annual Halloween Festival and Trick or Treat Parade is Saturday, October 25 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.


  • Thursday, October 2, 6 – 9 p.m:  First Thursdays on Grand Art Walk
  • Friday, October 3, 6 – 9 p.m: Oakland Art Murmur
  • Sunday, October 5, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m:  Moon Viewing Festival at Lakeside Garden Center
  • Wednesday, October 15, 7 – 8:30 p.m:  Grand Lake Neighbors meeting at Lakeshore Baptist Church.
  • Friday, October 17, 6 – 10 p.m.  Autumn Lights Festival at the Gardens at Lake Merritt
  • Saturday, October 18, 6 – 10 p.m.  Autumn Lights Festival at the Gardens at Lake Merritt
  • Saturday, October 18, Noon – 4 p.m. Plant Exchange (plantexchangeposter.jpg) (www.ThePlantExchange.com)
  • Saturday, October 25, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m: Lakeshore Halloween Festival at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church
  • Wednesday, October 29, 6 p.m:  Mayoral Debate on professional sport in Oakland at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church

To get email notification, email: info@splashpad.sitedistrict.com with “Subscribe” on the subject line.

All newsletters from 2007 to the present are archived HERE.



6 responses to “Splash Pad Newsletter – October 2014”

  1. Ken Katz Avatar

    A dozen years back, the play structure was in the shape of a flying saucer but (with sharp edges and such) it was deemed unsafe and removed. As far as I know, there are no plans to expand the playground.

  2. Neuritsa Lancaster Avatar
    Neuritsa Lancaster

    I am really impressed with this website. I grew up in a house behind the “little Safeway on Grand Av” and was taken to the playground now known as Astro Park. I took my new granddaughter to the swings the other day and was really disappointed that it looked so barren. It appears that there might have been two other play structures previously that are now just sand with concrete flowing around them. Does anyone know if the city has any plans to add to the playground? It is used by many, many families.

  3. Ken Katz Avatar

    Bob, Sheila,
    I stand corrected. There are no GMO tomatoes commercially available. On the other hand, if it’s a supermarket tomato, is it safe to say that it was most likely picked green; gassed to turn red; and arrived on the store shelves as hard as a rock?

  4. Sheila McCormick Avatar
    Sheila McCormick

    Re the comment below:
    “Darise said that she had inadvertently purchased a GMO tomato two months earlier. Since it still looked perfect, she decided to slice it and this is what she found. It reminds me of a news report a while back about beef that was being packaged with carbon monoxide. Left on a kitchen counter for several weeks, it was still as red and free of mold as it was on Day One. Is it any wonder that the farm to table movement is growing in popularity.”

    1) There are not any GMO tomatoes now on the market ( a transgenic (GMO) tomato (Flavr Savr) was briefly on the market (1994-1997).
    See http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/24/booming/you-call-that-a-tomato.html?_r=0

    2) It is quite common to have seeds inside of tomatoes, a phenomenon called vivipary. See

  5. I always look forward to this publication. Thanks for keeping us up to date on the neighborhood!

  6. Bob Dow Avatar

    When the natural hormone, abscisic acid, is reduced in an overripe tomato (GMO or NOT) mature seeds can break dormancy and sprout. The moist environment inside of a tomato allows seedlings to grow for a while without drying out. It is called Vivipary, (Latin for Live Birth). It is the term for plants that begin growing while still inside or attached to the mother plant. It is common in certain varieties of tomatoes, peppers, apple, pears, and some citrus.

    There are countless science based citations of this happening, and as a former produce guy in a commercial grocery store AND at a natural foods market, I have seen it quite a bit in vine ripened tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables on both ends of the farming spectrum.

    just a few example articles backing me up:




    I’ve seen a lot of “scare articles” about these tomatoes on several natural living websites with zero citations and zero research. If you just google tomato with sprouts growing inside, you get a mix of both. I’m going to go with science and facts on this one.