downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Category — construction

A new blog, but all the same excitement!

June 5, 2009

Yes, it is once again the first Friday of the month! That means open galleries and people out and about enjoying the beautiful weather of downtown Oakland. Artsy events in and around downtown include of course the Art Murmur, but also a Saturday crafts fair at ABCo in West Oakland.

East Bay Open Studios, an annual peek into the studios of the East Bay’s artists and artisans, begins today. Stop by ProArts, the organizer, for more information and a guide, and get started by visiting neighboring Swarm Gallery and Hive Studios.

Not everything to do is indoors, though. Saturday will see the Jack London Aquatic Center hosting their Summer Splash event, and on Sunday the Lake Merritt gardens celebrate their fiftieth anniversary.

Today’s the last day to register for the National Homebrewers’ Conference, to be held at the City Center Marriott June 18 – 22. Nearby beer temple The Trappist will surely be busy that weekend! Though perhaps not as busy as Uptown.

Though not an event, Jack London Square’s handsome The Bond building opened to the public this week. The large apartments include views, services, and that most coveted of Oakland amenities, a dog park.

Saturday, horns-driven funk band Damon and the Heathens releases their long-awaited album with a show at the Uptown. I included the Heathens on my Oakland mixtape for Rebecca Kaplan’s election to the City Council, not just because they are excellent, but because many of their songs touch on the Oakland condition (such as their live cover of Life During Wartime). The lyrics of Trite Life mention one of West Oakland’s most pressing problems, food insecurity:

Ghost Town is a motherfucker

So take your ass to the corner store

It says groceries but you will find

The only vegetables are waiting in line

Check out their high-energy show and great new album, featuring audio samples of disturbing news reports on Oakland compiled by V Smoothe, at the Uptown tomorrow. See you there!

UPDATE: A Better Oakland makes a pitch for enjoying the DTO on Saturday.

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Hidden openings in the DTO

May 29, 2009

In journalism, it’s called burying the lede. In dialogue, it’s an aside. This week, the juiciest information about openings in downtown Oakland came from a careful reading of an article and a blog. In a wide-ranging interview with Bakesale Betty herself, the Trib’s Dave Newhouse reveals the opening date of Uptown’s new Bakesale Betty’s bakery: in September! Meanwhile, an SF Weekly blog about Souley Vegan’s prepared dishes at the Grand Lake Farmers’ Market mentions that the vegan soul food cook hopes to reopen a downtown location this summer, at 3rd and Broadway.

There’s hidden information, and then there’s rumor and innuendo, which I suppose is a form of information. From the rumor mill, an Uptown steakhouse, and new dance club or two, and an Old Oakland take on hip Japanese cuisine are said to be in the works. Frozen yogurt is now being served in City Center, providing another place to get a sweet treat. With the Parkway perhaps getting a lifeline, it seems like anything is possible. Except perhaps a reopened Kaiser Auditorium.

Today, the Washington Inn continues its Friday night comedy series in Old Oakland; Mike Moto headlines. Jack London Square continues its nighttime dance lessons under the stars with American Tango. And Oaklandish is bringing back its Salsa by the Lake event this Sunday, though in Splash Pad Park to avoid Measure DD construction.

Finally, Mignonne Decor closes the doors on three charming years in Old Oakland with a sale today and tomorrow on vintage housewares and furniture. Though the store is, if anything, moving up in the world (it will soon find itself in West Berkeley’s furniture district), Old Oaklanders are disappointed that four gifts and clothing boutiques have closed in less than a year. But with some exciting things in the works for Uptown and other parts of the DTO, we hopefully won’t have to wait long for a new place to patronize! Sadly, though, we won’t read about it on OaklandGoods.

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