Wednesday, October 31, 2012

taphophile tragics - remembering the dead

The Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations are a way to remember the dead, whether at the cemetery or at a temporary altar built with photos and items to remember them by. Another way I've seen is with a memorial plaque, "this bench in memory of..." kind of thing.

While doing a test walk for the upcoming Oakland Urban Paths walk (November 10th, 10am), I came across something I hadn't seen before. It basically looks like a grave marker, but it's in one of the many public stairways and pathways around Oakland.

"The Great Fire of 1991" refers to the 1991 Oakland/Berkeley hills firestorm that destroyed the entire neighborhood (as well as several others), so the imagery of a phoenix rising from the ashes is fitting.

I haven't had time to find out anything about Ruth besides what's on this marker. Do any of my Oakland readers know?

For more taphophile posts from around the world, check out the Taphophile Tragics site.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dia de los Muertos in the Fruitvale

Sunday was the annual Día de los Muertos festival in the Fruitvale. It was a warm, sunny day, and thousands of people showed up to eat, have fun, and also remember the dead.

There were a wide variety of vendors, with many of them focused on traditional items like marigolds, face painting, skeleton figurines, and candy skulls. There were also at least three stages with performers, and people dancing to the music at a couple of them. And of course, one of the most interesting parts, the Día de los Muertos altars built to remember those who have passed.

It's a big, busy event, but definitely worth attending to experience a very Oakland festival in person.

Lots more pictures from Día de los Muertos:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

HellaWeen Fun Run

Saturday was the first ever HellaWeen Fun Run put on by the organizers of the Oakland Marathon. The 5 mile run started and finished in Old Oakland, and most of the runners were in costume. It looked like people had a lot of fun, before, during and after the run. Besides water stations, there was a beer stop at Linden Street Brewery. And after finishing, the runners and their fans were treated to a street party with live music. All in all, it was hella fun!

Lots of pictures from the HellaWeen Fun Run:

Friday, October 26, 2012

hometown premiere of "Cracking the Codes"

This is a guest post by Blake Paradis of World Trust.

World Trust Announces Hometown Premiere of Cracking the Codes on Thursday, November 8th

New Racial Equity Film Designed for Dialogue

A multi-city tour of Shakti Butler's new documentary film Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity comes home to Oakland with a film & community dialogue event on Thursday, November 8th at the Grand Lake TheaterCracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity, asks America to talk about the causes and consequences of systemic inequity. The film includes moving personal accounts that illuminate the system that perpetuates structural inequity. The film was developed in Oakland and features 23 leaders in the equity movement including many from the Bay including Josh Begley, Aeeshah Clottey, Ericka Huggins, Elena Featherston, Connie Heller, Ise Lyfe, and Hugh Vasquez. A critical mass of stories is supported by original music by local recording artist Amikeayla Gaston and spoken word by Oakland Poetry Slam finalist Y. Jelal Huyler.

"Cracking the Codes is designed to deepen and shift the framing of racial disparities in this country," said Shakti Butler, PhD, director of the film and founder of World Trust Educational Services in Oakland. "The current conversation is not only shallow, but actually harmful. When we talk about solving the issues of violence and poverty in Oakland, we often focus on individuals, when institutional and structural inequities are the bigger problem." Cracking the Codes is Shakti Butler’s fourth documentary film with cinematography by her husband, EMMY award-winner Rick Butler. Her films reach both head and heart with a critical mass of stories intertwined with music, art and poetry.

At the event, film clips will be braided with dialogue facilitated by Shakti Butler. The event is ideal for anyone yearning for change yet wary of conversation about race. "In these divisive times, one of our goals is to deepen the conversation," says Dr. Butler, "Film lends support by allowing folks to see the multiple ways we walk through the world. Dialogue rekindles our connection to one another and enables us to hold paradox: Your experience is different than mine. The world is not only the way I see it. To heal the wounds of racism and dismantle systemic inequity, we must be able to hold that paradox. And we can, for in our heart of hearts we all want to create a world that works for everyone."

"Cracking the Codes challenges us to build a world that works for everyone."
– Van Jones, Co-Founder, Rebuilding the Dream

Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity Film and Community Dialogue Event
Thursday, November 8th, 6:30-9:00pm
Grand Lake Theater 3200 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA
Tickets are $20, advanced purchase recommended

About Shakti Butler and World Trust

Shakti Butler, PhD is Founder and Creative Director of World Trust Educational Services, a nonprofit based in Oakland, CA. Through education rooted in love and justice, World Trust is a catalyst for racial equity. Using the powerful combination of film, dialogue, and transformative learning World Trust strives to create new understanding and build community. World Trust produces programs and seminars based on Dr. Butler’s acclaimed documentary films such as "The Way Home: Women Talk About Race in America" and "Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible." World Trust’s film-based conversation/study programs are in continual use at hundreds of schools, universities, nonprofits, faith-based organizations and government institutions nationwide. World Trust’s films, learning events and programs engage thousands of new people in racial equity each year. More information at

classic cars at JLS

Last weekend was another fun event at Jack London Square, featuring classic cars from different decades. There was live music, with covers of tunes from the 60s and 70s, and food for sale, too. It was smaller than many of the events at JLS, but was the perfect activity for a sunny, leisurely afternoon by the water.
More pictures from the car show:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Night of the Living Fed with the ACCFB

Dozens of people gave up their evening to help sort food at the Alameda County Community Food Bank. In keeping with the season the ACCFB encouraged people to come in costume. As always, they took good care of their volunteers. So we wouldn't go hungry while working to help make sure others don't go hungry, the Grilled Cheez Guy provided tasty grilled cheese sandwiches, soup, pickles and other tasty food. And because the Giants were playing in game 2 of the World Series, they projected the game on the wall of the warehouse so we could keep tabs on the game while we worked.

I've written about volunteering with the ACCFB before. It's a hella easy, hella fun way to help others in a very real way. You can also donate money (for every $1 donated, the ACCFB is able to buy $4 worth of food), hold a food drive, or even a virtual food drive. Remember: they serve 1 in 6 people in Alameda County who otherwise wouldn't get enough to eat, and a large percentage of those are children and the elderly.

More pictures from tonight's ACCFB event:

voting recommendations for Oakland

When asked what I write about on Our Oakland, I list a variety of things: food, history, art, maps, bicycling; "whatever catches my interest about Oakland." Rarely do I write about politics in Oakland, in part because they generally annoy me too much. But a number of people have asked me for recommendations lately, so I figured it was time to put them down in writing. Agree or disagree, here are my recommendations for the upcoming election.

If you're unsure which BART, AC Transit, or whatever district you're in, check out this web page from Alameda County, Districts Lookup. It will even tell you your flood control zone! Don't know your Oakland city council district? Check the Oakland City Council Districts map I made a couple of years ago.

U.S. Representative - Barbara Lee - Barbara Lee is the only one in congress who voted against a blank check for Bush to invade Iraq. She's also the only major politician who's never disappointed me. 'nuf said.

BART Board District 3 - Rebecca Saltzman - Rebecca Salztman is passionate about Oakland as well as transit, bicycling and pedestrians. She rides BART (& AC Transit) and knows the challenges facing BART. She's got a zillion endorsements from the Sierra Club to state senator Loni Hancock to much of the existing BART board, and for good reason. She's clearly the best candidate for the job.

Oakland City Council at large - Rebecca Kaplan - Many people have wondered why Ignacio De La Fuente is giving up his sure-thing seat in District 5 to run for the at-large seat. The only reason that makes sense is so that he can have more influence over the council and get wider support in Oakland for an eventual mayoral run. Which would be OK if he was up front about it, but he's running by trying to downplay the contributions of Rebecca Kaplan. And if his linking to his campaign site from his city council page isn't illegal, it should be. See also this EBX article. And this list of 10 reasons not to vote of Ignacio De La Fuente.

City Attorney - Barbara Parker - I was leaning towards supporting Barbara Parker because it seems like she's done a good job. Then the OPOA came out in support of Jane Brunner, and released some ads that lie about Parker's record. Then there's this gem about Brunner's plagarism. See the same EBX article.

Measure A1 - NO on A1 - I love the Oakland Zoo (while being somewhat conflicted about zoos in general.) The zoo is pushing A1 as "for the animals" and say the money won't be used for a controversial expansion into Knowland Park. However, the measure has a loophole you could ride an elephant through that would allow them to, and my trust in them dropped further when it was discovered the zoo has broken several election laws during the campaign, and is spending nearly $1 million to try to pass the measure.

Measure B1 - YES on B1 - It's always hard to vote for increased taxes during a down economy, but this is one I can support. There's currently a 1/2 cent sales tax in Alameda County that goes towards "transportation", which generally means roads and infrastructure for cars and transit. Measure B1 would extend the sales tax, increase it to 1 cent, but most importantly, specifies that 48% go to transit, 8% of the funds would go to bicycle and pedestrian projects, and 5% would go to sustainable land use and transportation projects.

Proposition 30 - YES on 30 - The state economy is a mess, and one of the no-brainer ways to help fix it and get additional funding for education is by increasing taxes on the wealthy (people earning $250,000 or more a year). It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing.

Proposition 32 - NO on 32 - It's a clear attempt by big corporations, PACs and their moneyed friends to try to limit the voice of unions, while they continue to spend lots on buying elections.

Proposition 33 - NO on 33 - Another attempt by insurance companies to increase their profits. They're spending $16 million to try to get their way.

Proposition 34 - YES on 34 - The death penalty doesn't work as a deterrent, is hella expensive to implement, and too many innocent people across the country have been wrongly executed. It's telling that most of the countries that still have the death penalty are ones like China, North Korea and Iran that we regularly ding for human rights violations. Even if you don't agree with the moral aspect of opposing the death penalty, the finances of it and its failure to work should be reasons enough.

Proposition 36 - YES on 36 - "Three strikes" was a good idea, but went a little too far. 36 will dial it back a little, by making it so the 3rd strike has to be for a serious or violent crime. It will save the state money, reduce prison overcrowding, and provide fairer sentencing for lesser crimes.

Proposition 37 - YES on 37 - This measure isn't perfect, but is a big step in the right direction. Genetically modified food hasn't been sufficiently tested to prove it's safe; some of the studies that have been done show unexpected side-effects. Consumers (that's all of us that eat food) deserve to know what's going into our food.

I live in city council district #4, which isn't being contested this year, but it also means I haven't been following the races in districts 1, 3 and 5 as closely. If there's something I haven't listed, the race either doesn't apply to me or I haven't figured out how I'm going to vote on it. Or I forgot.

Dia de los Muertos at OMCA

Sunday was a community celebration of Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA). The Day of the Dead is a traditional Mexican celebration, focused on remembering friends and family who have died. It traces back to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl, and has since spread across the world. In modern times, it frequently focuses on building memorials to remember the dead, featuring things the they liked, along with marigolds and sugar skulls. Sunday's celebration had music, dancing, memorials, food, face painting, and more. The really big celebration will be this coming Sunday, the 28th, in the Fruitvale.

Lots more pictures from the celebration:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

upcoming Oakland events

The big events coming up are around Day of the Dead, with the biggest of those being the Dia de los Muertos celebration in the Fruitvale, but there's the finale for OMCA Summer Nights, the Hellaween Fun Run, and more!

Peralta Junction - Popup in West Oakland - weekends through December 15, with events Thursday through Sunday. The empty space at Mandela Parkway and West Grand will be transformed into a creative community space filled with art and commerce. Art, food trucks, creative commons, and more.


Humblebee Grocery Pop-Up Farmstand - Thursday, October 25, 4:30-7:30pm. Come for the last summer heirloom tomatoes and romanesco summer squash, with fall newcomers organic rome beauty and fuji apples and more!

Poetry Slam - Thursday, October 25, 8:00pm. The poetry slam returns to Oakland, featuring Marc Marcel and with a open mic sessions. ($5-$7)

Fun and Volunteering at the Food Bank - Thursday, October 25, 5:30-9:00pm. Volunteer at the Alameda County Community Food Bank and help others. Wear a costume! Win prizes! With food from the Grilled Cheez Guy! (free)


Summer Nights at OMCA Finale - Friday, October 26, 5:00-11:45pm. The final Summer Nights program at the Oakland Museum. There's 1/2 price admission, and a chance to check out their intriguing Day of the Dead displays. In keeping with the theme, there's a Michael Jackson's Thriller dance lesson and the movie of the night is Night of the Living Dead. (with admission)

Bike-In Movie: "The Kid with a Bike" - Friday, October 26, 6:30-10pm. Join the East Bay Bike Coalition and Trumer Pils in Berkeley for a bike-in movie. There will be food trucks and more, and the first 125 people to join EBBC that night get a $10 food voucher. ($5)


Fix-It Clinic at the Tool Lending Library - Saturday, October 27, 12-4pm. Bring your broken, non-functioning things for assessment, disassembly, and possible repair. Don't replace, repair! (free)

Flash Mob Science at Chabot - Saturday, October 27, 10am-10pm. Free admission to the Chabot Space and Science Center, and free shuttle buses from Fruitvale BART. In addition to Chabot's interactive exhibits, hands-on demonstrations and planetarium shows, there will be "flash mob science." (free)

HellaWeen Run - Saturday, October 27, 5:30pm - 5 mile evening fun run in Old Oakland and West Oakland. Come out and show your creative side with a costume! Put on by the Oakland Running Festival. ($31+)


Hair Care Meet-Up - Sunday, October 28. Ms. Nyota Starr Koya will feature various aspects of The Natural Approach Professional Style Concept. Resources on how not to lose you hair to cancer treatments. What types of products to use before, during, and after, cancer treatments. There will be demos showing scarfs, wraps, and hat wearing tricks and treats. All this for "Breast Cancer" Awareness Month.

Dia de los Muertos Festival - Sunday, October 28, 10am-5pm. The annual Day of the Dead festival in the Fruitvale. Filled with live music, dancing, arts and crafts, international cuisine and more. Family-friendly and fun for people of all ages. (free)

Moon Market in North Oakland - Sunday October 28, 6-9 pm. Pepples Vegan Donut Farm hosts a nighttime art market, with food, jewelry, art and more. (free)

ongoing events:

Piedmont Avenue Art Walk (3rd Thursday)
Art Murmur (1st Friday)
Saturday Art Stroll (Saturdays)
Mt. View Cemetery Tours (2nd and 4th Saturdays)

looking further ahead:

Noche de los Muertos - Thursday, November 1, 5-9pm. A celebration for Day of the Dead with deep rooted Mexican traditions, Oakland style. A fundraiser for San Francisco Women Against Rape, with food by Tina Tamale, Fist of Flour Pizza, Boffo Cart, Oaktown Jerk and Big Wheel Cookie Co. Beverages by Linden Street Brewery and somaR Bar. (free)

Ghost Investigation at Pardee Home Museum - Saturday, November 3, 7pm-midnight. Professional ghost investigator and author Karen Zimmerman and her staff will lead a series of searches for evidence of spirits within the Pardee Home Museum. ($50)

Holiday Gifty Art Sale & Open House at the Crucible - Saturday, December 8, noon-6pm. Sunday, December 9, noon-4pm. The Crucible's annual art sale and tour. (free)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

history: lightship Relief

At the northwest end of Jack London Square, past the ferry terminal, past the U.S.S. Potomac, past the fire and police boats is an unusual ship. It's bright red, has a tall mast, and has "RELIEF" painted on the side in large letters. And if you're like me, you've probably wondered what its story is.

It's the lightship Relief, more formally known as Lightship WLV 605. Basically a portable, floating lighthouse, it was operated by the U.S. Coast Guard until more modern, unmanned devices took over in the 1970s. WLV 605 was commissioned in 1951 as the Overfalls and was stationed in Delaware until 1960. In the 1960s it moved to the west coast and was was stationed at Blunts Reef off the coast of Mendocino. Finally, from 1969-1975, it served as a relief ship for when other lightships up and down the coast needed to leave their stations for maintenance. It sounds like hard duty, spending weeks at a time floating in the same spot, often enshrouded in fog, listening to the foghorn sound every 30 seconds. The captain had his own cabin, but the rest of the 12-18 man crew shared a not overly large bunk room. Besides a galley, kitchen and radio room, there was a hobby room for the crew to keep their minds busy when not on duty.

Now the Relief is a floating museum operated by the U.S. Lighthouse Society, with tours available most Saturdays and Sundays. The tours are free, and take you all over the ship. For a nice virtual tour, check out the interactive panoramas from the Relief here.

More pictures of the Relief:

Monday, October 22, 2012

urban paths: Anza Trail

Earlier this month was a special Oakland Urban Paths walk put on in conjunction with the National Park Service. The tour featured the Juan Bautista de Anza trail, the route taken by some of the first European settlers in California. In 1775-1776, Lt. Colonel Anza of the Spanish army led more than 240 men, women and children 1,200 miles from what is now Mexico to Alta California here in the Bay Area. Prior expeditions had all been explorers, soldiers and priests, but these were some of the first families to settle.

We started the tour at Peralta Hacienda, which was fitting because Luis Peralta came to California on that expedition as a teenager. The tour was led by NPS ranger Hale Sargent, who handed us cards representing the settlers. And with a call that would have been familiar to the settlers, "¡Vayan Subiendo!", we were off. We crossed Peralta Creek and headed southeast to Courtland Creek.

We followed the creek up to Fairfax, where we heard more about the Anza expedition. Then we were treated to the stunning mosaics at Maxwell Park, and heard about the project from Nancy Karigaca, who spearheaded the project. Read more about the mosaics at Oakland Local.

Then it was up over the hill to Mills College. There we met up with local historian Dennis Evanosky, who told us about an earlier exploration by the Spanish. Captain Don Pedro Fages led six "bluecoat" soldiers and a muleteer. They camped at what is now Mills College, and were the first Europeans to see the entrance to the Golden Gate from contra costa, the opposite shore.

We returned to our starting point via the Laurel (where the Laurel Book Store had hosted a talk by Hale and Dennis earlier in the week) and Allendale. It was a long walk, but all the people and dogs managed it. The day wasn't over yet, though. Peralta Hacienda graciously opened their doors earlier than usual, so people who were interested could get a tour there to learn more about the Peralta family and the current community surrounding the museum. Another great OUP walk, and special thanks to Hale, Dennis, the Peralta Hacienda, and the Laurel Book Store!

Lots more pictures from the walk:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fruitvale Bike Tour

Sunday morning, the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) led a bicycle tour of the Fruitvale district. There was a small group led by OMCA docent Peter Barnett, who's been leading bike tours for the museum for over a decade. We met outside the museum, where preparations were under way for the a Dia de los Muertos celebration that afternoon.

We rode past the Kaiser Convention Center, which was used among other things as a temporary hospital during the 1918 flu pandemic. We crossed the channel to Lake Merritt and learned a bit about its history, then rode to Clinton Square park. There we heard about Milton Latham, who was governor of California for 5 days before resigning to become one of the U.S. Senators from California. That was precipitated by the previous senator, David Broderick, being killed in a duel with former state supreme court justice David Terry.

Our meandering path took us along the estuary, past Numi Tea and Coast Guard Island. We headed up Fruitvale Avenue, around Fruitvale Station, and up 34th Avenue to Peralta Hacienda. After some history about the Peralta family, we heard about nearby Patten University. It was founded in 1944 by Dr. Bebe Patten as the Oakland Bible Institute. We also heard some of the more colorful history; her husband C. Thomas Patten went to trial in 1950 for defrauding their followers. During the 3 1/2-month trial, he had a heart attack, and the trial was finished in a hospital on Pill Hill. He served time in San Quentin and died in 1958. Dr. Patten moved the institution to its current location on Coolidge in 1961.

Reminiscent of the 5 houses bike tour, from Peralta Hacienda we went to Cohen-Bray House. We rode back towards Jingletown to see the Cotton Mill Studios, and from there, back towards the museum.

Although I knew a lot of the information from the tour, I did learn things, and I enjoyed getting to know part of Oakland a little bit better.

More pictures from the tour:

Related links and things I told people about:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Skyline HS students, volunteers clean up Oakland estuary

Earlier today, the Student Conservation Association (SCA), Save the Bay, and the East Bay Regional Park District teamed up with students from Skyline High School and other volunteers to clean up part of the Oakland Estuary.

The Skyline students were led by environmental sciences teacher Catherine Kuhn and art teacher Michael Raytis. They were joined by other community volunteers, including a group from the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation. Amongst the other volunteers was SCA alum Jeff Chen, who is one of the co-founders of Pickup America. Jeff and others recently finished a 3,000+ mile cross-country trip picking up garbage. A lot of garbage. Over 188,000 pounds of it.

Today's cleanup was focused on the estuary near the Oakland Coliseum, where the East Creek Slough meets the estuary. (For reference, that's where Peralta Creek flows into the estuary, along with Courtland Creek and Seminary Creek.) The volunteers broke up into three groups. One group picked up trash along the shoreline; another removed invasive species like ice plants and fennel; the third group rolled out a barrier and mulched to help keep the invasive species from growing back.

Thanks to all who turned out to help clean up the estuary and make Oakland better!

Lots more pictures of the cleanup:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

upcoming Oakland events

An interesting and eclectic set of events coming up, including history, a shoreline cleanup, classic cars, a food treasure hunt, music and more! Anybody been to check out the Peralta Junction popup yet?

Peralta Junction - Popup in West Oakland - weekends through December 15, with events Thursday through Sunday. The empty space at Mandela Parkway and West Grand will be transformed into a creative community space filled with art and commerce. Art, food trucks, creative commons, and more.


Humblebee Grocery Pop-Up Farmstand - Thursday, October 18, 5-8pm. Come for heirloom tomatoes, cage-free pastured eggs, a new batch of Oakland honey from super-local hives, extra virgin olive oil from California groves, and more!

2.Oak Tech Innovator Awards - Thursday, October 18, 5:30-8:30pm in the Kaiser Center Roof Garden. Celebrate tech innovators in Oakland with 2.Oakland. ($10)

100th Anniversary of the Hotel Oakland - Thursday, October 18, 7-8:30pm. Join the Oakland Heritage Alliance for a lecture on the varied history of the Hotel Oakland. ($10-$15)


Shoreline Cleanup with SCA - Friday, October 19, 11:30am-2pm. Join the Student Conservation Association, Pickup America and the East Bay Bay Regional Parks District for a shoreline cleanup. SCA alum and Pickup America founder Jeff Chen will join students and others for a shoreline cleanup near the coliseum. (free; RSVP)

Sembramos 3: Art Party and Fundraiser - Friday, October 19, 7pm-midnight. At the Betti Ono gallery, there will be art for sale, food, beer & wine, music and fun, from By Any Dreams Necessary, a local non-profit that works to get art back into schools and create scholarships for area students. ($10)

The Seshen, Con Brio, & Bells at The New Parish - Friday, October 19. Con Brio brings their blend of soul, blues, and folk, and teams up with new bands The Seshen and Bells to play at the New Parish. ($9-$12)


Classic Car Jam at JLS - Saturday, October 20, 10am-4pm. Food, fun, music and classic cars from the 20s to the 60s. (free)

Harvest Festival with City Slicker Farms - Saturday, October 20, 1-4pm. Food, crafts for kids, urban farm tours, and more. (free)

Oakland Foodie Treasure Hunt - Saturday, October 20, 3-8pm. This sounds like a fun event and a great way to support local businesses. Join Famous Four Colors clothing for a food- and drink-based treasure hunt around Oakland, and explore Oakland businesses! (free; 21+; RSVP required)


OMCA Bike Tour: Fruitvale - Sunday, October 21, 10am-noon. Join the Oakland Museum of California for a tour of the Fruitvale district by bicycle. (free)

Native Plant Sale by Friends of Sausal Creek - Sunday, October 21, 10am-3pm. Native plants for sale, gardening workshops and more. (free)

Days of the Dead at OMCA - Sunday, October 21, noon-4:30pm. The OMCA hosts the 18th annual community celebration for the Day of the Dead. (with admission?)

ongoing events:

Piedmont Avenue Art Walk (3rd Thursday)
Art Murmur (1st Friday)
Saturday Art Stroll (Saturdays)
Mt. View Cemetery Tours (2nd and 4th Saturdays)
OMCA Summer Nights (last Friday of the month)

looking further ahead:

Block Party for The New Parkway - Wednesday, October 24, 6pm. Join neighbors to celebrate the opening of The New Parkway theater on 24th Street. Read more at the East Bay Express. (free)

HellaWeen Run - October 27, 5:30pm - 5 mile evening fun run in Old Oakland and West Oakland. Come out and show your creative side with a costume! Put on by the Oakland Running Festival. ($31+)

Dia de los Muertos Festival - Sunday, October 28, 10am-5pm. The annual Day of the Dead festival in the Fruitvale. Filled with live music, dancing, arts and crafts, international cuisine and more. Family-friendly and fun for people of all ages. (free)

Ghost Investigation at Pardee Home Museum - Saturday, November 3, 7pm-midnight. Professional ghost investigator and author Karen Zimmerman and her staff will lead a series of searches for evidence of spirits within the Pardee Home Museum. ($50)

Holiday Gifty Art Sale & Open House at the Crucible - Saturday, December 8, noon-6pm. Sunday, December 9, noon-4pm. The Crucible's annual art sale and tour. (free)

Sunday Streets Berkeley

Sunday was the first-ever Sunday Streets event in Berkeley. Similar to the Oaklavia event in Oakland a couple years ago, and modeled on Sunday Streets in San Francisco, it turned the streets over to the people. Over a mile of Shattuck Avenue was closed to cars, and made available for walking, biking, skating, scooting, dancing, music, cafe seating or just people watching.

Unlike a more traditional street festival, this was less about shopping and more about doing. There was a bike safety course for kids, rock climbing, dodgeball, zumba, chalk art, and a wide variety of music. Local brick-and-mortar stores took advantage of the large crowds by offering cafe seating and street vending.

It was tons of fun, and hopefully they'll be able to make it a regular event. And hopefully we'll be able to bring back Oaklavia! Thanks to Livable Berkeley for putting it together.

Lots more pictures:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Autumn Lights at the Gardens at Lake Merritt

Saturday evening there was a new event, the Autumn Lights Festival in the Gardens at Lake Merritt. Normally the gardens are only open during the day, but for the first time ever the gardens were specially decorated and lit for nighttime visitors. The event was put on as a benefit for the Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt, and the funds raised will be used to continue maintaining and improving the gardens.

There was a wide variety of art using LEDs and other light sources, fire demonstrations, and projected images. The most dramatic was the Snail Art Car, which you may have seen at other events around the Bay Area or at Burning Man. There were lots of quieter art installations, too, including carved pumpkins and gourds, tiki lamps, ceramic lanterns, and more. Luminary bags marked the pathways between the gardens, where visitors could take things in as never before. A variety of musicians played music to accompany the lights.

In addition to the art installations, there were plants for sale, food (via some food trucks) and beer & wine for purchase, and a silent auction with artwork and other items. All in all, it was a great event, and hopefully it introduced more people to the beauty available in the gardens at the heart of Oakland. Thanks to all the volunteers and city employees that put this together. I hope this becomes an annual event!

Lots more pictures from the festival:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Final Bites off Broadway for 2012

This evening was the final Bites off Broadway for 2012. It's getting dark earlier, and with the end of Daylight Saving Time in a few weeks, it will be dark really early. There was a fair-sized crowd, including some young people from nearby Oakland Tech HS after their football game with Castlemont HS was over. Music was provided by a small but mighty choir from the East Bay Church for Religious Science. Thanks for a wonderful year of food and fun, and looking forward to the 2013 season!

More pictures:

signs: Laurel Lounge

from the posted-before-but-much-cooler-at-night category

Laurel Lounge

Iwas in the Laurel last week for the National Park Service talk at Laurel Book Store about the Anza Trail. I've posted the Laurel Lounge sign before, but it's cool to see lit up at night, too.

And here's a a reminder about the Oakland Urban Paths walk on part of the Anza Trail on Saturday. It will be a 6 mile walk, leaves from Peralta Hacienda (yes, I've been there a lot lately), and is free! It's a great chance to explore some parts of Oakland you may not have seen.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

blog redesign

After almost 4 years and 600 posts, I decided it was time for a little redesign. A while back I got some business cards to hand out because I was telling so many people at different events about the blog, where pictures I was taking of the event would be, etc. that it was just a lot easier to have something to hand them. Those of you who have seen the cards will probably recognize the look of the new header. The logo harkens back to the first of what's now one of my favorite features, interesting Oakland signs. And the background of the new header represents one of my other favorites, Oakland maps.

I'll also take the opportunity to point out some little-known features of Our Oakland. First, there are a number of special URLs you can enter with Our Oakland to get shortcuts to specific things:,,, and of course, Another useful feature is that the Blogger code automatically checks if you're on a mobile device such as a smartphone, and gives you a specially-formatted version of the site that's easier to use on a smartphone. It gets rid of extra margins, automatically condenses posts on the home page, and allows various touch controls to navigate.

So if you see something that doesn't look right or work quite right, please let me know. Include which web browser and OS you're using.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

upcoming Oakland events

Still October, and still more interesting stuff than there is time to do it all. There are some great events at Children's Fairyland and Lakeside Park, a walk with Oakland Urban Paths in conjunction with the National Park Service, and even an event outside Oakland, Open Streets Berkeley. And of course, cheering on the A's!!!


Humblebee Grocery Pop-Up Farmstand - Thursday, October 11, 5-8pm. Come for pastured eggs, mixed heirloom tomatoes, ripe strawberries, Bicycle Coffee, gluten-free muffins, and more!

SoundWaves at JLS - Thursday, October 11, 5:30-7:30pm. Free concert at Jack London Square. This week's concert features Gaucho (gypsy jazz). (free)


Bites off Broadway - Friday, September 5, 5:30-8:30pm. The fun food truck event in Temescal. This will be the second to final event of the year! (free)

Magic Lantern at Children's Fairyland - Friday, October 12, 7-10pm. Another chance for adults (21+) to enjoy Fairyland without a little one. Magic Lantern at Children’s Fairyland is showcasing some of the Bay Area's most innovative video and projection artists, presenting site-specific artworks amongst Fairyland's fantastical architecture, sculptures, and amusement rides. Read more at Oakland Local. ($25)


Oakland Urban Paths: Anza Trail - Saturday, October 13, 10am. Explore the legacy of the Anza Trail in Oakland on a 6-mile walk in partnership with the National Park Service. The walk will be led by an NPS ranger (free)

Autumn Lights Festival in The Gardens - Saturday, October 13, 6-10pm. For the first time ever, see the Gardens beautifully and artistically illuminated at night. Each garden will feature light installations specifically designed for it. Fire art performers will also light the night. Attendees are invited to participate during the evening by creating luminaries and neon bubbles. Music and sound installations will fill the night. Refreshments, a silent auction, and food trucks will add to the festivities. ($25-$35)

Montclair Arts & Crafts Fall Fest - Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14. The annual art festival returns to Montclair village. (free)

City Slicker Farms Bike Tour - Saturday, October 13, 1pm. The bike tour is back by popular demand! For the last Second Saturday Tour of 2012, they'll bike to their farm sites and farm stand. Learn about City Slicker Farms and see the community growing urban farmy goodness in person! RSVP to: Anna at (510) 763-4241 or ($10)

Life is Living - Saturday, October 13, 10am-6pm. A celebration of urban life through hip-hop, inter-generational health, and environmental action in DeFremery Park. (free)

Peralta Junction - Popup in West Oakland - weekends through December 15. The empty space at Mandela Parkway and West Grand will be transformed into a creative community space filled with art and commerce. Art, food trucks, creative commons, and more. Read more about the food trucks in the East Bay Express.


Mini Maker Faire - Sunday, October 14, 10am-5pm. The 3rd annual maker fair for makers, DIYers and tinkerers. ($10-$15)

Sunday Streets Berkeley - Sunday, October 14, 11am-4pm. We had Oaklavia a few years ago, but now Berkeley is getting into the the open streets movement. Shattuck Avenue in downtown Berkeley will be shut down to cars, leaving it free to cycle, walk, dance or skate your way along. Food, fun, and lots of activities for kids. (free)

Sundays in the Redwoods! - Sunday, October 14, 2pm. A concert series featuring a variety of musical groups at the Woodminster Amphitheater in Joaquin Miller Park. This Sunday is Boney James. ($10)

ongoing events:

Piedmont Avenue Art Walk (3rd Thursday)
Art Murmur (1st Friday)
Saturday Art Stroll (Saturdays)
Mt. View Cemetery Tours (2nd and 4th Saturdays)
OMCA Summer Nights (last Friday of the month)

looking further ahead:

HellaWeen Run - October 27, 5:30pm - 5 mile evening fun run in Old Oakland and West Oakland. Come out and show your creative side with a costume! Put on by the Oakland Running Festival. ($31+)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

weekend reflections

This was going to be Friday reflections, but internet connection problems pushed it out to today.
Yesterday I dropped off my beloved e-bike in Berkeley, because after 3+ years and many hard miles of faithful service, it's showing its age. Whether it's repairable or I have to replace it, it's been a great investment for money, health and environment. With gas prices hitting record highs, we might be seeing more people riding them or regular bikes.

After dropping off the bike, a trip on the #72 bus downtown and a short walk took me to my next destination, but I was early, so I walked around for a while. I've written before how you can see more while biking somewhere than driving. Walking may not get you places as quickly, but you see even more and get a different vantage point of things. I took the opportunity to spend some quiet time in the Kaiser Center Roof Garden. Usually I'm there for an event like the Oakland Indie Awards and it's full of happy people, but on a weekday morning, it was quiet, with just a handful of people enjoying the lovely spot. I meditated and prayed for a while, letting the sound of the fountains wash away stray noises from elsewhere.

Then I explored a bit, since there are areas of the garden I haven't been in before. Speaking of seeing more, I don't think I'd ever noticed the plaque that marks the area as the "Former Site of the College of Holy Names 1868-1957". Or the map showing the location of various plants around the garden. Or the view of the cathedral towards the northeast.

I headed over to Hawker Fare for my lunch meeting, a debrief of the 5 Historical Houses Bike Ride that I helped lead recently. Good food, good beer, and good company. We discussed ways to make the ride better in the future and other Oakland-based rides we might do in the future.

After lunch, I walked over Grand Avenue, and after stopping for a call to check in on the e-bike, I meandered through Adams Point up to Oakland Avenue. After a brief wait, I hopped on a #11 bus, and was pleasantly surprised to run into @RebeccaForBART who was on her way home. After a nice chat with the driver (I was the last one off), I rode the bus as far as it would take me, almost but not quite to the edge of Montclair. From there I walked through the village, up the hill, and home. Part of the way was with a neighbor who clearly didn't walk up the hill very often, but walking once was a step in the right direction, so to speak.

I saw a lot of different aspects of Oakland during my day, good and bad. I try to focus on the good ones, but I can't ignore the bad ones. Violent crime, littering & graffiti, a police department almost in receivership, a city council that's lost its way. Sometimes the city seems irreparably broken. But then I remember other cities that have or are turning themselves around, and how much so many people love this city, that I can't help but have hope for the future of Oakland. Change is needed, and change will come. We need to keep pushing for change, but also be patient because lasting change usually takes a while.

Good words of advice: Keep Cool. Love Oakland. Today I'm off to enjoy this beautiful weekend, volunteer with Walk Oakland Bike Oakland, experience Oaktoberfest, and more.

More assorted pictures from around Oakland:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

upcoming Oakland events

There's a staggering amount of fun and interesting stuff to do in Oakland this week. There's a First Friday Art Murmur, Bites off Broadway, the Black Cowboy Parade, Oaktoberfest in the Dimond, plant swaps and plant sales, Rockridge Out and About, walking tours, concerts, the opening event for the Peralta Junction popup, and more. Even a Gangnam-style Flashmob + Dishcrawl combo! There's so much stuff in the next 2 days, I'm publishing before I'm done and will update later events as soon as possible.


Humblebee Grocery Pop-Up Farmstand - Thursday, Octonber 4, 5-8pm. Come for late season early girl and sungold tomatoes, opal basil, sticky-sweet melons, pastured eggs, Bicycle Coffee, gluten-free muffins, and more!

Latinos and the Environment: A Community Forum - Thursday, October 4, 5:30-8:30pm. The forums are open to the public and will announce the results of the CLCV's ground-breaking survey of Latinos’ environmental attitudes and concerns. (free; please RSVP)

SoundWaves at JLS - Thursday, October 4, 5:30-7:30pm. Free concert at Jack London Square. This week's concert features African Showboyz, a West African percussion ensemble. (free)


Bites off Broadway - Friday, September 5, 5:30-8:30pm. The fun food truck event in Temescal. This will be the second to last (penultimate) event of the year, and you can be part of the pilot of a new KALW 91.7 show called Chew On This. (free)

Temescal Autumn Art Hop - Friday, October 5, 6-9pm Come to the Temescal this First Friday for the Temescal Autumn Art Hop. Prizes, photo booth, 19+ art shows, music, and more! (free)

Artist Reception at the Bookmark Bookstore - Friday, October 5, 5-9pm. The last First Friday of the year for the Bookmark Bookstore, with a reception for a new two-month art ahow by Anthony Holdsworth. On view will be The Oakland Global Warming Triptych, which were censored by the San Francisco Federal Building in 2010, along with a cityscape of downtown Oakland and pieces that depict the new portions of the Bay Bridge going up from the Port of Oakland. Anthony will be in attendance, so you can come and meet and chat with the artist. (free)

Peralta Junction - Popup in West Oakland - kickoff event Friday, October 5, 7pm; weekends through December 15. The empty space at Mandela Parkway and West Grand will be transformed into a creative community space filled with art and commerce. Art, food trucks, creative commons, and more. Read more about the food trucks in the East Bay Express.

KONO CultureFest - Friday, October 5, 5-9pm. If First Friday wasn't big enough, the Koreatown Northgate BID (KONO) is having its 4th annual CultureFest. This is a community that is overflowing with talented artists, musicians, great food and diverse cultures! (free)

Great Wall of Oakland - Friday, Octoner 5, about 8pm. Now a regular part of First Friday, this week's Great Wall of Oakland will be featuring Behind the Pixar Screen, a never before seen collection of the personal works of several artists from Pixar Animation Studios. As a collection, these films give an "insiders look" into the creative talents of some of the artists who create Pixar's blockbuster animated films. (free)


Love Your Parks Day - October 6, 8:30am-noon. Oakland Parks Coalition is conducting its 7th annual all-city park survey Saturday, Join them at the Garden Center in Lakeside Park (666 Bellevue) and they will assign you to a team and train you before they send your team out to survey 3-6 Oakland Parks. "We love our parks and we want to know if they are getting the care they need so please help us find out!"

Plant Sale at Merritt College - Saturday October 6, 9am-3pm and Sunday Oct 7, 12-3pm. Join the Merritt College Propogation Club for its annual fall plant sale, featuring perennials and fall edibles. (free)

Decolonize Your Diet - Celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day - Saturday, October 6, 10am-4pm. Join Phat Beets Produce, People's Grocery, and others for a Indigenous Peoples Day, a celebration of over 500 years of cultural, culinary, spiritual and political resistance led by the world's indigenous peoples. Read more at Oakland Local. (free)

North Oakland Plant Swap - Saturday, Oct 6, 12-3pm. Join Swap It Oakland for a plant and gardening supply swap. Bring plants, cuttings, seedlings, starts, foraged plants, and seeds of edible & non edible plants to swap. (free with a plant to swap)

Financial Planning Day - Saturday, October 6, 9am-4pm. Free financial planning information. Don't worry, the city is only sponsoring it; the info comes from experts from the Financial Planning Association and highly qualified certified financial planners. (free)

Black Cowboy Parade - Saturday, October 6, 10am-4pm. The Black Cowboy Parade, held in memory of the black cowboys that helped to settle the American West, has been an annual event in Oakland for 37 years. The parade begins at deFremery Park where the festival hosts food vendors, entertainment and children's activities including pony rides. Read about last year's parade. (free)

Downtown walking tours - Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10am. The walking tours program goes through the summer, rotating through the 8 different tours. They're a great way to get out and see Oakland and learn about its people and history. Coming up: Saturday, October 6 - New Era, New Politics. (free)

Oaktoberfest - Saturday, October 6, 11am-6pm. The annual festival in the Dimond. Although it's centered on the beer tent, there's lots of music, food and family-friendly events, too. Check out coverage of last year's Oaktoberfest. (free admission; beer tickets available for purchase)


Rockridge Out and About - Sunday, October 7, 12-6pm. The annual Rockridge street fair, with food, fun and more. See pictures from last year's Out and About. (free)

Sundays in the Redwoods! - Sunday, October 7, 2pm. A concert series featuring a variety of musical groups at the Woodminster Amphitheater in Joaquin Miller Park. This Sunday is Jeffrey Osborne. ($10) - sold out

Music for People & Thingamajigs Festival - begins Sunday, October 7. Dates and locations vary. An annual event dedicated to promoting experimental music that incorporates made/found instruments and alternate tuning systems. Read more on Oakland Local. ($10-$15)


The Anza Trail and Laurel District History - Tuesday, October 9, 5:30–7pm at the Laurel Bookstore, 4100 MacArthur. A talk on local history with Dennis Evanosky, author of Oakland’s Laurel District, and Hale Sargent, ranger for the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. Attendees will receive a free copy of the new children’s activity book, Many Worlds: Native Life Along the Anza Trail. (free)


Food Crawl + Gangnam-style Flashmob - Wednesday, October 10, 7pm. Join Dishcrawl for a combination food crawl and Gangnam-style Flashmob! Weave through 3 hot and tasty restaurants and bars as we gangnam style flash mob Uptown Oakland! Read more at the East Bay Express. ($25)

ongoing events:

Bites off Broadway (Fridays)
Piedmont Avenue Art Walk (3rd Thursday)
Art Murmur (1st Friday)
Saturday Art Stroll (Saturdays)
Mt. View Cemetery Tours (2nd and 4th Saturdays)
OMCA Summer Nights (last Friday of the month)

looking further ahead:

Life is Living - Saturday, October 13, 10am-6pm. A celebration of urban life through hip-hop, inter-generational health, and environmental action in DeFremery Park. (free)

HellaWeen Run - October 27, 5:30pm - 5 mile evening fun run in Old Oakland and West Oakland. Come out and show your creative side with a costume! Put on by the Oakland Running Festival. ($31+)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A's Win! Best Day of Hooky Ever

Or: How the (AL) West Was Won
Igot a last-minute email from a friend from Oakland Urban Paths, asking if I wanted to go to the A's game today. Which started a bit less than two hours later. I thought about it, because I have a lot of worked lined up, but I decided to play hooky. And boy, am I glad I did!

The A's were down 5-1 early, but the way they've been playing, I wasn't even remotely worried. And sure enough, they came roaring back in the fourth inning to take a lead they never gave up. It's been a while since I've been to a live sporting event (beyond some college volleyball to watch our niece), and I'd forgotten what a rush it is to be part of a big crowd when their team is winning. The final was 12-5, and was hella fun to watch.

Let's go Oakland!

Coverage from the Tribune

Monday, October 1, 2012

Five Houses Bike Tour a success!

There was a good turnout for the first-ever Five Historic Houses Bike Tour. Thirty cyclists, including two children as passengers, and one skateboarder met at the Peralta Hacienda Historic Park to begin the tour. Annalee Allen of the Oakland Tribune and the downtown Oakland walking tours was our history leader, and Russ Nelson of the Pardee Home helped me lead the cycling part. With a warm, sunny day, we couldn't have asked for better weather.

As people arrived, some people took advantage of short tours inside the house museum before the ride started, while others explored the park grounds. Then we heard a bit about the history of Peralta Hacienda from executive director Holly Alonzo. While the Peralta House dates back to 1870, the family history in the area goes back much further. Seventeen year-old Luis Maria Peralta and his parents were members of Juan Bautista de Anza's 1775 expedition from New Spain to colonize Alta California. For "services rendered to the Crown of Spain" while serving in the military, Luis was given a land grant of almost 45,000 acres in 1820, stretching from present-day San Leandro to Albany, from the bay to the crest of the hills. Today the house offers regular tours, concerts, and special events, and is home to a community garden.

at Cohen Bray House

From there, we made the short ride down to Cohen Bray House. It involved a difficult left turn off of Foothill onto Fruitvale, but we eventually all made it. Annalee Allen told us about the Cohens and the Brays, and read from Oakland Landmarks, the book that she and artist Heidi Wyckoff created. The house dates back to 1882, and was built by Julia Moses and Watson A. Bray, for their daughter, Emma, upon her marriage to Alfred H. Cohen, attorney, on February 28, 1884. It stayed in the hands of the family until 1993, when surviving members formed a non-profit to oversee the future of the house. Today the house offers tours by appointment, and is maintained by the non-profit's volunteers.

Our next ride was the longest of the tour, along East 16th Street and Foothill, around Lake Merritt, to Camron-Stanford House. There we were greeted by house director Ann Swift, who had cookies and cold drinks waiting for us on the veranda. While we admired the amazing view of Lake Merritt and

at Camron-Stanford

enjoyed our refreshments, we heard about the house and the families who lived there. The house may have been built on spec by Samuel Merritt, whose own estate was nearby. The first family to live there were the Camrons, and later residents included Josiah Stanford, brother of Leland Stanford of university and "The Big Four" fame. More recently, the house was the city museum for Oakland until 1967. It was in danger of being torn down, but a dedicated group of citizens worked to preserve the house. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and opened to the public in 1978. Today the house holds regular tours, concerts and other events, and is available for rental for events like weddings.

A ride along 14th Street took us to the African American Museum and Library of Oakland, and nearby Preservation Park. Unfortunately they were set up for a wedding, and wouldn't let us go through the park, but Annalee told us about Preservation Park, which you can learn more about on one of the city walking tours.

at Pardee Home

Instead of going through the park, we walked around the corner to the Pardee Home. Kay, a volunteer with the Pardee Home, greeted us with cookies and cold drinks. The home was built in the 1860s by Enoch Pardee, gold rush immigrant, and later mayor of Oakland. More famous was his son, George Pardee, who was governor of California in 1906 when San Francisco was ravaged by an earthquake. Later he helped wrest the Oakland waterfront from the Southern Pacific Railroad and founded the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD). Today, the home is open for regular tours, concerts, and other special events. Kay told us about high teas, which are available for groups of 4 to 12 people. My co-leader Russ told us about some of the special events, including ghost investigations and concerts.

at de Fremery House

The final leg of our tour took us into West Oakland, to the de Fremery House. The James De Fremery family home was part of the Rancho San Antonio land grant. James De Fremery continuously landscaped the estate until his death in 1899. After De Fremery’s death, members of the family continued to live in the house until its sale to the City in 1910 when voters passed a bond issue to purchase the property. It is now the recreation center for one of the city's oldest parks. Sports legends Frank Robinson, Bill Russell and Curt Flood spent time there, as did modern dance legend Ruth Beckford, and many others. The Black Panther Party also used the park for community outreach programs, and rallies for jobs and against police brutality. The park was crowed when we were there, because a McClymonds High School reunion was going on. The park is frequently used for events; coming up next week is the annual Black Cowboy Parade which is a great event.

From there, people could either head over to the 16th Street Train Station for the Centennial Celebration, down to Linden Street Brewery, or head home. A couple of us headed to Linden Street a few headed for home, but most people went to the 16th Street Station for a chance to tour the remarkable interior of the station.

More pictures from the ride:

Thanks to all the folks from the houses who met us with drinks, snacks and history, and helped Annalee, Russ and I organize the tour. And thanks to the East Bay Bicycle Coalition for sponsoring the ride, and special thanks to Robert who brought up the back of the tour to help make sure no one got lost.

The Houses:
Peralta Hacienda Historic Park
Cohen Bray House
Camron-Stanford House
Pardee Home
DeFremery House

Other Links:
Preservation Park
Downtown Walking Tours
East Bay Bike Coalition
Once Upon A Time, Happily Ever After
Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail
Oakland 12th Street Project
Linden Street Brewery
16th Street Station Celebration (via Oakland North)
deFremery Family (Lives of the Dead)
Oakland Heritage Alliance
Oakland Urban Paths
African American Museum and Library of Oakland

Related Posts on Our Oakland:
10 (or so) Ways to Learn About Oakland History
A Brief History of Beer (OHA lecture at Linden Street)
Jazz Concert at Camron-Stanford House
Creek to Bay Day 2012 (at Peralta Hacienda)
Oakland Urban Paths: Jane's Walk
Preservation Park Walking Tour
The Lake That Isn't
Black Cowboy Parade
walking tour: West Oakland