downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Category — sobo

No redevelopment, just a good time

March 4, 2011

Once again it is the First Friday of the month, and despite threats to the Redevelopment funding that has been at least partly responsible for downtown’s resurgence, there is no shortage of new business and optimism about the direction of the DTO. For your partying pleasure, I offer an edited guide to what’s new and happening this (hopefully) sunny March weekend.

Uptown’s newest retailer, the somewhat controversial upscale sex shop Feelmore510, gets in on the First Friday action with a display of erotic photography, and across the street on Telegraph, Uptown’s newest watering hole, Bar Dogwood, offers an artsy atmosphere with nods to taxidermy. The New Parkway is exploring an Uptown venue – if you like it, be sure to offer your input!

Over in Old Oakland, Levende East has expanded its hours and offerings, with brunch on Sundays and a First Friday reception featuring the drawings of local favorite Obi Kauffman. Newish gallery Chaparral City brings fine art to 9th Street with a painting and photography show. Jack London Square’s Swarm Gallery on Sunday will host an open house of the work of artists in their studios, expanding the DTO’s artiness to the normally-slow weekend.

With new surface parking lots downtown formally nixed by the Planning Commission, Oaklanders can look forward to more productive development in the central core. The Kaiser Center has submitted a bid for the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, which could be a new job center and lead to spin-off companies selling innovative technology.

In restaurant news, SOBO’s Disco Volante is getting great buzz for its eclectic yet affordable menu, while Flora is moving forward with the next-door bar and restaurant, positioned to be more affordable and casual than the Art Deco mothership.

And today’s headline event, Uptown’s Art Murmur, features numerous galleries as well as a fun atmosphere. Highlights include a retrospective of 60 years of printmaking from California College of the Arts, an art show inspired by female anatomy at Warehouse 416, and the Great Wall’s interactive projection at the intersection of West Grand and Broadway.

And if you’re willing to venture outside of the DTO, don’t forget about the White Elephant Sale this weekend – but be warned, apparently shopping trips to Fruitvale are newly controversial.

Though the snow snafu has made many wary of forecasts, I will venture a prediction – tonight’s Art Murmur will be fun and dry! See you in Uptown – I’ll be the guy without an umbrella.

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Fifth Year of First Fridays

January 7, 2011

Today, the first Friday of 2011, is the fifth anniversary of the monthly celebration of arts and culture known as the Art Murmur, which began in January 2006. The event has grown from a few participating galleries to include institutions like the Oakland Museum, and art galleries and performance spaces have opened in the blocks surrounding Mama Buzz Cafe, where the Art Murmur was planned. With 23rd St closed to traffic on First Fridays since 2007, this loosely-organized event draws thousands of people to Uptown. Today, the fifth anniversary of the Art Murmur features art shows in the evening and music at night.

Here’s some highlights to help you plan your evening:

The map of participating galleries
Free indie-rock show at the Uptown
Funk Revival Orchestra does a tribute to Roy Ayers at New Parish
Burning Man artist David Best speaks at the Oakland Museum
Art Murmur After-Party with DJ Joe Quixx at Era
Art show and after-party at The Den at the Fox
Spice Monkey joins First Friday with live music and extended hours

In addition, the Pacific Coast Brewery has re-opened after a renovation.

See you in Uptown!

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