downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Posts from — April 2011

Freebies on Tax Day?

April 15, 2011

It was Benjamin Franklin who said that there’s nothing guaranteed in life but death and taxes. And monetary theorist Milton Friedman once titled a treatise, There’s no free lunch. This blog won’t disprove either of those aphorisms, but on this Tax Day, there are freebies and deals galore in the DTO.

The Free B shuttle, funded with some of those taxes you’re paying, gives something back this month (in addition to free rides across downtown, that is). Until April 29 you can pick up “Freebie” coupons on the shuttle to use at participating restaurants. Details are available online – take a few-block ride and get your discounts!

Speaking of good deals, Jack London Square winery Urban Legend Cellars holds No Tax, Relax, Release Day this evening from 6-9pm, a charity event supporting Tour De Cure with tastings of newly-released summer wines. $10, 621 4th St.

Those property taxes that you paid two weeks ago include pass-throughs to pay for capital improvement bonds. Some of those bond funds will go to renovating and redesigning downtown’s sad-sack Snow Park. A Better Oakland explains the changes and how you can offer your input – for free!

As if their full bar and well-edited wine list weren’t fun enough, Old Oakland institution B Restaurant is teaming up with neighboring Trappist to offer a series of Beer Dinners, a fixed menu paired with imported Belgian ales. The first dinner is this Sunday, April 17th – check B’s Facebook page for announcements of future Beer Dinners.

The Oakland – East Bay Symphony presents The Height of Romanticism tonight at the Paramount, performing pieces by Tchaikovsky and Alfred Hitchcock collaborator Bernard Hermann, as well as the world premiere of Fade to Orange by Scott Amendola. The cheap seats are $20.

Oaksterdam University’s beautiful, place-making mural is nominated for an Oakland Indie Award. Can award-winning art be seen for free on the streets of the DTO? The answer is yes!

With all these freebies and good deals downtown, maybe you’d like to give some of your time this tax weekend to giving back. Earth Day celebrations across the City include cleanups of public parks. If you’d like to help out the DTO, show up at 9am Saturday at the Lake Merritt Boathouse.

Next week: Placemaking redux

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A new season brings new beginnings

April 8, 2011

The area north of Uptown, controversially called Upper Broadway, is set for a major makeover into a hoped-for retail district. A coalition of advocates for livability, affordable housing, labor rights and the environment outlined their vision for A Better Broadway in Upper Uptown last night. City planners announced to the large crowd that the stalled Broadway Specific Plan would be restarted this month, with a public meeting to unveil new alternatives for the future of Auto Row (after the last round of alternatives met with support from basically nobody).

One of the establishments looking to open in Uptown this Spring is spin-off of Brooklyn scenester lounge Death & Company. Check out their website for a preview of what is coming to 1741 Telegraph.

Hotspot Disco Volante is featured in the Chronicle’s Bar Bites. Come for the food, stay for the live music and a film screening by one of Oakland’s best-known rap groups, Foreign Legion.

Era Artbar celebrates its anniversary with a bash on Saturday night. The beautifully-built arts-inspired dance club has become a touchstone for social functions, civic fundraisers, and Art Murmur after-partying. Saturday’s party features a hosted Ketel One bar and music by DJ Hector.

Art will come to Uptown outside of a gallery or nightclub in the next year. The temporary sculpture garden across the street from the Fox Theater is a go, and will be installed and open to the public in the Fall. Meanwhile, Oakland’s cultural department has planned an artsy makeover of BART’s dingy alley between Broadway and Telegraph near 17th St, and expects its completion next year.

With recently-opened establishments succeeding and new ones on the way, the DTO continues its trajectory toward a revitalization anchored by culture.

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