downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Posts from — May 2011

Friday the 13th isn’t bad luck, downtown

May 13, 2011

It’s Friday the 13th but the DTO, if anything, is lucky. Though the Swig Company’s bid for a high-rise Lawrence Berkeley Lab didn’t make the cut, the Oakland Indie Awards tonight remind us of the many growing businesses downtown and throughout the city. Restaurant openings and new potential in a key DTO district are something to look forward to.

Oakland’s only Michelin-starred chef will open his mod-Thai casual eatery, Hawker Fare, at Webster and 23rd in Uptown next week.

Xolo Taqueria opened next-door to Flora and is enjoying a great welcome from Uptowners.

Plum is now serving brunch from 10a-2p Saturday and Sunday, with menus based on farmers’ market products.

Downtown’s Art & Soul Festival got a nice mention in the East Bay Express’s summer guide.

East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, the largest landlord in Old Oakland, has hired retail consultants to revitalize the moribund Swan’s Market. A cafe opened by a Chez Panisse alum is a taste of what is (hopefully) to come.

Also in Old Oakland, the Cock-A-Doodle Cafe is now open for dinner Thursdays through Saturdays, with a Cuban menu, while B Restaurant has restored lunch service.

What makes today lucky for some is that local favorite downtown-based band, horns-driven funksters Damon & The Heathens, are playing at Cafe Van Kleef tonight – as they do every Friday the 13th. What better way to reclaim bad luck then with a musical surprise?

Next week: Where is the DTO, redux

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May it be First Friday

May 6, 2011

It’s First Friday of May and the weather is beautiful! The Uptown Arts District will be crowded with art gawkers on foot, while Saturday brings walking, biking and partying to the mix. Below, your First Friday highlights:

New Old Oakland gallery Sticks + Stones presents a group show with artists Bert Yip, Hyde, D Kelly, Isaac Blackwood and J-Miah, with DJs and music from 6pm to 1am.

Branch Gallery, upstairs from Bar Dogwood (455 17th St #301), is showing the sculpture and large-scale drawings of Steve Barich through July 1st.

The official Oakland Art Murmur, newly reorganized, has an updated website with a Google Map showing participating galleries.

Hatch Gallery, at 492 23rd St in the heart of the Art Murmur, is showing “a new body of work from Oakland based artist Jeremiah Jenkins concerned with the exploration of the past, current, and projected mistakes and successes of civilization.” Sounds heavy.

Justin Kanalakis of Who Made Oakland will park his mobile display in the area to increase knowledge about the Monster of Lake Merritt.

And the fun doesn’t stop on Friday! Saturday sees walking events to commemorate Jane Jacobs, the founder of urbanism. Walk Oakland Bike Oakland inaugurates a Jane’s Crawl to experience urbanism within the context of watering holes along the Telegraph Ave corridor from Uptown to Temescal, while the City of Oakland leads a tour of the part of Oakland Jane Jacobs would be most likely to recognize, Chinatown.

Rock Paper Scissors Collective, a non-profit teaching organization that was a founder of the Art Murmur, debuts an art-focused bicycle ride touring galleries throughout the city on Saturday. Read more on the official website.

Whether you’re on foot or on bike, looking at art or just having a good time, May’s First Friday and First Saturday allows you to experience as well as discuss urbanism. See you in Uptown!

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