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Downtown Oakland circa 1910

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February First Friday fetes Fox, the sequel

February 4, 2011

Today’s First Friday roundup includes an expanded Art Murmur, another party for the Fox, and cross-town competition. Here’s what you need to know to enjoy tonight’s artsy festivities:

The Art Murmur has included galleries below Grand on their map, and rumors have spread of an enhanced collaboration with the Midtown Arts District. Midtown highlights include the upstairs Branch Gallery’s photography show (475 17th St, Ste. 301), and an installation at ProArts that’s “a quiet critique of urban transitional space.”

The Fox Theater celebrates its second anniversary of reopening with tours and a party from 5 to 8pm.

On the other side of downtown from the Art Murmur, the Oakland Museum has chosen First Friday as their day to launch The Oakland Standard, a new arts-oriented website. Talks by local luminaries like Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City, and a DJ set by Mia Moretti, an Oakland native the museum says is a fashion industry favorite.

If you don’t want to miss the Art Murmur for the museum, The Uptown nightclub will host a free show featuring local inde-rock acts Grass Widow, Human Baggage, Death Sentence, Panda, and Bam!Bam!

14th Street’s new eatery-cum-nightclub Disco Volante opened for dinner this week, and is getting rave reviews. Read more at Eater and Inside Scoop. Look for punk-rock pianists during happy hour, and a cocktail menu debuting next week.

The Business Times reports on the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation’s plans to build affordable housing on the DTO-West Oakland border, the currently blighted strip of San Pablo known as Ghost Town.

Old Oakland’s Levende East brings back Sunday brunch, beginning this weekend, with DJs spinning soul and a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar. According to Facebook, menu items will include “our signature Crab Cake Benedict, Stuffed French Toast, Pulled Pork Omelet and Cajun Ham Scramble.”

Tomorrow, the last survivor of Old Oakland’s boutique-y heyday will close for good. Studio510 (831 Broadway) will go out in style, with a party featuring electro acts, dance DJs, art installations and Linden Street brews. The event begins at 6pm on Saturday.

Have an artsy, fun weekend! And look forward to even more fun spots opening in Uptown this year.

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February First Friday fetes Fox

February 5, 2010

Uptown’s long-awaited Era Art Bar opens today at 4:30pm. Created by the impresarios behind several Old Oakland spots including B Restaurant, Air Lounge, and Tamarindo, Era promises to be a uniquely styled club. Era boasts hand-crafted cocktails, carefully-chosen wines, two floors for lounging, top-flight DJs, and stunning interior design. See what the buzz is about at 19 Grand Ave.

Tonight the Fox Theater celebrates its anniversary of reopening as a live-performance venue with a party at the Den. Despite not having any dedicated parking, the Fox has sold out almost all of its shows and was the top Google search term in San Francisco in 2009. Joined by the New Parish at 18th and San Pablo, the Fox is establishing Uptown as a live-music destination, though there is a growing perception the Paramount is falling behind (a position disputed by a boardmember in a recent OakBook column).

Downtown’s good news is not just about bars and nightclubs. The DTO, or more specifically Uptown, has seen several new restaurants open this short new year. Though we’re still waiting for Bakesale Betty, True Burger has opened on the same block as the erstwhile bakery, and Hibiscus at 18th and San Pablo adds a sweetly Southern note to downtown dining in a handsome historic building with a focus on Creole foods and unique cocktails.

With the announcement of Barnes & Nobles’ closure in Jack London Square, some observers mourn the passing of yet another bookstore, while others see potential for destination retail to emerge in the prominent space. On the other side of downtown, the Broadway Specific Plan, meant to outline the transformation of Auto Row into a “lifestyle” shopping center, is seeing fierce criticism from both anti-development types led by the Oakland Heritage Alliance who are critical of the goals of the project, and from urbanists who are very uncomfortable with the huge amounts of parking called for in the study (more parking than retail, actually).

Today is of course the First Friday of February, and without rain, it’s likely tonight’s Art Murmur events will be crowded. Highlights include local cityscapes at Pro Arts Gallery, a multimedia exhibition by French artist Pierre Alain Clauzin at Hatch Gallery, and a retrospective of late graffiti artist Mike “Dream” Franciso at the New Parish. From Jack London Square to Midtown to Uptown, the DTO offers art and entertainment tonight for any budget, or no budget. See you at the hot dog stand on Telegraph!

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