downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Posts from — November 2011

Back in Black

November 25, 2011

Downtown Oakland’s independent merchants have come through an extraordinarily difficult several weeks. While not everyone will fully weather the storm, and not all the damage has been done, choosing to do a little more shopping downtown can go a long way toward maintaining the DTO’s positive momentum. Pro tip: wear some plaid for surprise discounts!

In addition to scattered discounts for plaid-wearing local shoppers, several stores are offering discounts and promotions today. Farley’s East (31 Grand Ave) will give a 10% discount to everyone who shopped at a local independent retailer – show your receipt to get your discount. Oaklandish customers spending over $75 will get a free classic T-shirt (1440 Broadway), and a discount from Fivetenburger’s truck parked outside. Last but not least, EntreZ Open House, a store selling gifts and home furnishings in Uptown, will have a raffle for today’s customers. The store is definitely a must-see this holiday season, as it has been a retailing pioneer but is nearing the end of its lease.

Old Oakland’s Pop Up Hood, an ambitious attempt to seed a thriving retail district in what is arguably downtown’s most suitable shopping corridor, officially begins on December 5 but several shops are already open for business. Check out Manifesto Bicycles (831 Broadway), Marion and Rose’s Workshop (416 9th St) and Sticks + Stones Gallery (815 Broadway), housed in some of the oldest buildings in the Bay Area. Nearby, the Bookmark Bookstore (721 Washington) is offering discounts today.

Blackout Oakland, an anti-corporate local shopping celebration, combines an artisans’ fair and local shopping promotion with a heavy dose of radical rhetoric. Nonetheless it should be a fun and crime-free event at Frank Ogawa Plaza this afternoon.

In a similar vein, the Catholic Church is sponsoring a fair trade holiday market with free hot cider at the Cathedral Plaza (2121 Harrison at Grand). Ad while you’re downtown, don’t forget about the charming shops of 17th Street, and Chinatown’s unique gift selections centered on 10th and Webster.

Last Looks

Two art exhibitions worthy of a look are up for one last week in Uptown. Machine Language, mixed-media collages depicting Oakland scenery as urban robotics, is at Era (21 Grand) for one more week. A selection of Day of the Dead-inspired ofrendas at SMSHBX / Betti Ono (1804 Telegraph) will hang only for this weekend.

Shopping Indie in the City

For Oakland to get back some of its tax revenues lost to Occupy-related business loss and security expenses, shopping across the city needs to get a healthy bump for the City to see a significant rise in tax revenues. Fortunately, local indie merchant collaborative Oakland Grown is offering an easy gift solution – a gift card redeemable at numerous local businesses. Check out OaklandGiftCard.com for a list of participating stores.

And the started-in-Oakland tradition of Plaid Friday is encouraging merchants throughout the city to offer discounts and promotions today and through the weekend. See a full list of Plaid Friday deals at PlaidFriday.com.

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Occupy the Night

November 18, 2011

Downtown Oakland is still going through a rough period but tensions have eased somewhat with the quieting of the Occupy movement. Tonight and the next week offer fun ways to enjoy downtown and support its small retail and entertainment businesses.

Music for all tastes

The Uptown hosts an indie-rock show featuring Mister Loveless, The Hundred Days, Holy Rolling Empire, and Tremor Low.

For different tastes, the San Francisco Funk Fest comes to Oakland with the 45 Sessions at Disco Volante tonight, spinning funk and rare groove at this well-regarded restaurant-cum-nightclub.

And yet another musical direction, hip-hop stars Foreign Legion play with a live backing band at Vitus tonight, 2nd and Broadway.

Art on Saturday

Tomorrow supporters or those interested in the Occupy movement can see an art exhibit featuring works by Occupy protesters in Oakland and SF, with a discussion about the movement and its relationship to the arts. It’s not downtown but Occupy has impacted downtown more than anywhere else, so the reader may be interested. Noon Saturday (Nov 19), at GZ | Soulye Studios, 2615D Magnolia St in West Oakland.

Also Saturday afternoon, six galleries of the Art Murmur open their doors for a curated tour starting at 2pm at Mama Buzz Cafe, 2318 Telegraph.

Though a certain protest movement will try on Saturday to pick a fight in Uptown, many are optimistic that things will have been taken care of by nightfall, and a great way to celebrate peace in the DTO is at the official Goapele record release party at Era Artbar on Saturday night! Pre-sale tickets available at a discount.

Dueling retro gaming tournaments

Next week sees dueling retro gaming nights in the DTO – pick your pleasure, 8-bit video or mechanical pinball! Tuesday, the new Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment hosts its first Fight Night, a tournament of retro fighting arcade games (think StreetFighter).

On Wednesday, Vitus in the Jack London District will host another of its popular, biweekly pinball tournaments. Vitus is fast becoming a regional destination for pinball, with four well-oiled machines and plenty of room to play. Vitus also boasts the most popular pinball machine of all time, Medieval Madness. Scroll down the Bay Area Pinball League’s tournament page to learn more.

Occupy downtown business

Finally, get ready for Oakland’s official holiday Shop Local event in downtown. Recent events have hit downtown businesses hard. Next Friday will be a fun-filled day to celebrate our local merchants and get a start on holiday shopping with local businesses.

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