downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Category — art

First Friday reconvenes, and a cafe reopens

March 2, 2012

It’s First Friday, downtown’s monthly mass gathering of arts and culture worshippers, and even with exciting events for the weekend, there are still new shops to report on!

San Francisco’s 7×7 magazine inaugurates a First Friday column with a nice writeup of some of the highlights in the 23rd & Telegraph area. Take a look to plan your trip tonight, and also check out the official gallery listing at

Oaklandish, in addition to hosting their monthly dance and art party tonight, is having a Spring Cleaning sale on almost all merchandise, starting tomorrow and running until last season’s wares sell out. In addition, the T-shirt company is debuting a new Art Murmur-themed top. Look for it tonight and at Grand Lake Market tomorrow!

Awaken Cafe, which earned a loyal following in its two years on 14th St., opened in a City-owned retail space on Broadway at 15th St. The large space offers plenty of room for socializing and meeting, unlike Awaken’s previous incarnation, and beer and wine (and champagne) join third-wave coffee and vegan doughnuts on the menu. Downtown residents are especially pleased by the early and weekend hours. Tonight the cafe celebrates its grand opening with music and fun. 1429 Broadway.

As regular readers know, there are more than a dozen restaurants, cafes and bars planning to open in the downtown area this year. One aspiring entrepreneur has turned to Kickstarter to fund what he hopes to be downtown Oakland’s first artisan bakery – and intrepid reporters have discovered that the erstwhile baker once worked as Michael Jackson’s personal chef, so that’s something. If Kickstarter – or carbohydrates – are your thing, check out the campaign.

Something else to anticipate is the Oakland Running Festival, on the last weekend of this month. The route has been rejiggered to reduce the traffic and transit blockades that snarled the city last year, but it will still have a major impact on travel throughout the day of the marathon (March 25th). Check out the map so you won’t be caught unaware!

The sun is back out and the buzz from 23rd and Telegraph is already growing louder. See you in Uptown!

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Change comes as downtown brightens

February 10, 2012

Our humble central district is perhaps more peaceful and more quiet than it has been recently, yet more loudly buzzing with positive energy and new attractions.

The year is starting strong for investors in downtown’s older commercial buildings, as the San Francisco Business Time reports. Several office buildings have traded hands recently as busineses seeking space are taking advantage of good deals. This will hopefully presage continued strong employment growth downtown, as the City and private businesses work to make the area safer and more vibrant.

But even as things are looking up, it’s the last weekend of lovely downtown furniture and housewares shop Entrez Open House (1645 Telegraph), which is closing after five years as an anchor of Uptown. Though the shop closes after Sunday, there will be a final farewell party on Feb 26th.

Though cool stores can close, others can appear or change, and nearby sex retailer Feelmore510 (1703 Telegraph) is celebrating its anniversary this Sunday with a party at the newly-renovated Hibiscus (1745 San Pablo), which now boasts a “dance wing.” Get the details on Facebook.

As part of a statewide series, Laney College hosts a celebration of black choreographers this weekend, with performances and lectures. See ticketing site for details.

La Borinquena’s Tina Tamale hosts a Tamales y Vino party at Urban Legend Cellars (621 4th St) tonight. Tickets and information are here.

Old Oakland’s Sticks + Stones Gallery (815 Broadway) is holding a reception this evening from 5:30 to 8:30, entitled War, Women, Whiskey and More. The gallery is showing the works of Sean Dietrich, best known as a live painter.

The Art Murmur’s Saturday Stroll of mellow gallery exhibitions is now every Saturday, not just the first. Running from 1-5pm, a highlights is the Slate Gallery (473 25th St), and others listed on

Enjoy this unseasonably warm weather with a weekend in more peaceful downtown! See you in Uptown!

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