Thursday, February 3, 2011

signs of the times

video store, anyone?

The economy is still struggling, both here and around the world. But at least we're not digging out from a blizzard, facing sub-zero temperatures, trying to oust a dictator, or facing a major typhoon. We've been having some unseasonably beautiful weather, and things are slowly getting better.

Even though I didn't vote for her, I'm already happier with Jean Quan as mayor than Ron Dellums. She may still screw up the budget and the situation with the police, pensions, and Chief Batts, but damn it, at least she's interested and involved in Oakland.

But things are a long ways from fixed, which has led to some creative approaches. Tonight, there's a fundraiser for Mama Buzz Cafe.

Similarly, people have been trying to resurrect the Parkway Theater. Part of their fundraising has been more conventional, but part was crowd-sourced, asking folks in Oakland to invest a few dollars to make the re-opening happen. A lot of work needs to be done to the Park Blvd. location, and despite the economy, the landlords seem reluctant to do the work and get a tenant. So the New Parkway may happen somewhere else, or maybe not at all. But hats off to those trying to make it work.

Speaking of questionable landlord tactics, even areas like Montclair have had a serious downturn from the economy. Montclair Village has a number of empty storefronts, so you'd think landlords would be willing to talk -- a lower rent is better than no rent, right? Well, Montclair Village Hardware is now going to move to nearby Piedmont Pines -- something that's been feared since last fall. As that's my nearest hardware store, I'll definitely miss having them so close.

But despite those things, I'm hopeful about Oakland. The Oakland Museum, after a super successful run of the Pixar exhibit, is launching The Oakland Standard. It's all about some interesting art projects. Oakland is full of interesting art, from the OMCA to graffiti to . And the OMCA is launching the Oakland Standard with style -- a big party. Read more about it at Living in the O.

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