Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in photos

Another fun, busy year in Oakland. I did lots of familiar things like walking urban paths walks, checking out the Oakland food scene, and exploring Oakland's burgeoning art community. But I also met lots of great new people in Oakland, and was introduced to things like curling, rowing and glass blowing. Mostly I saw people out enjoying Oakland and working to make it better.

Oakland is a pretty darn awesome place to live. Here's hoping 2013 is happy, peaceful, and prosperous for Oaklanders, and it becomes even more awesome.













Friday, December 28, 2012

upcoming Oakland events

There are lots of New Year's Eve events, so many I won't try to list them all. For a more complete list, check Oakland North. I have listed a few that I was told about or otherwise caught my attention.


ZooLights at the Oakland Zoo - nightly, 5:30-9pm. The annual show of lights at the Oakland Zoo. (with admission)

The Wizard of Oz at the Paramount - Friday, December 28, 8pm. Classic movies at the Paramount Theatre are always fun, plus you get to check out their awesome sign in action. It's the classic The Wizard of Oz, which my mother-in-law saw at the Paramount in 1939. ($5)


Winter Extravaganza at MOCHA - Saturday, December 29 and Sunday, December 30, 1-4pm. Join the Museum of Children's Art for a winter celebration of art. ($8)


Dinner and NYE Party at Miss Ollie's - Monday, December 31, various times. A fundraiser for The People's Kitchen. Read more at Oakland Local. ($10-$40)

New Year's Eve Ramen - Monday, December 31, various times. Get a taste of the new Ramen Shop on College, and celebrate New Year's. ($50)

'Save Tigers' & Silent Disco - Monday, December 31, 8pm. A unique dance and New Year's Eve celebration, as a benefit for the Rainforest Action Network's efforts to save the tigers campaign. ($5/$10)


Find the Golden Latte - January 1-10. A fun treasure hunt at Oakland coffee shops, and a chance to win a lifetime of clothing from new Oakland company, Famous Four Colors Clothing. There are 5 areas around the bay involved including Oakland, and over 200 coffee shops.

ongoing events:

Art Murmur (1st Friday)
Saturday Art Stroll (Saturdays)
Mt. View Cemetery Tours (2nd and 4th Saturdays)

looking further ahead:

Oakland Wiki Sunday History Edit-a-thons - Sundays, starting January 13. Bring a computer or note-taking materials to the Oakland History Room and hang with your fellow local history nuts as we research and add historical content to the Oakland Wiki. (free)

Oakland Restaurant Week - January 18-27. Celebrate the thriving culinary scene in Oakland with ten days of special deals. Restaurants all over Oakland will offer prix fixe menus at $20, $30, and $40.

In the Name of Love - Musical Tribute to MLK - Saturday, January 19, 7pm. A musical tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., featuring Jennifer Holliday, Tuck & Patti, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir,
and Oakland Children's Community Choir. ($8-$45)

photo of the week: El Campanil

Itook advantage of yesterday's gorgeous weather to run some errands and do some exploring. After years of telling people about El Campanil at Mills College, I finally went to see it myself. It started with the donation of the 10 bells by David Hewes. It was designed by Julia Morgan, and was one of the first reinforced concrete structures west of the Mississippi. The tower was a donation from "Borax" Smith and his wife.

More pictures from the Mills campus:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

signs: Oakland Police

Oakland Police HQ

Istarted writing a post the other week when the big news was that the federal judge had approved the deal between Oakland and the civil rights attorneys that stops just short of federal receivership for the police department. Instead, there will be a "compliance director", with the power to fire the chief and demote deputy and assistant chiefs. And ironically but not surprisingly, Oakland proceeded to hit 122 homicides for the year. (Now we're at 127, and the year isn't over yet.)

They've got a lovely sign, but as the article in Oakland Local says, it's been "A bad year for the Oakland Police Department". Here's hoping for all our sakes that 2013 is better for OPD, and brings reduced crime and particularly reduced violence for Oakland.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

food: Nido

Last week K and I checked out Nido, the relatively new restaurant on Oak Street in the Jack London district. I helped support their Kickstarter project, and now it was time to receive our thank-you. Nido features farm to table Mexican food, and source their food locally: breads and bagels from Authentic Bagel Company in Oakland; beer from Linden Street Brewery and Dying Vines; pies from Pietisserie which shares the space with Nido.

The restaurant is in a small, modern space, with an urban chic reminding people of its location near the waterfront. Parts of a shipping container decorate the walls, and the tables and other decor are simple but homey. It was mostly lit by candles, which made it a bit dark, but it was a warm, inviting space for a rainy night.

I'm normally a beer or wine drinker, but Nido recently got their liquor license and Christina Mitchell of East Bay Dish recommended trying the cocktails, so I went with a margarita. I didn't look at their wine list, but they feature local beers on their beer list. Some tasty chips, pico de gallo and guacamole kept our margaritas company while we decided on our main courses.

We started with some delicious squash and celery root soup. Then K had some very tasty fish tacos, and I had one of the few vegi options on the menu that night, a yummy chile relleno. Everything was very tasty, and the service was great, but I'd love to see more vegetarian options on the menu. After we'd finished, Cory, one of the co-owners came out to thank us personally for the Kickstarter support. He and Sylvia are planning a "grand opening" in January, now that they've got all of the pieces in place. I'm looking forward to trying more there, as they also serve breakfast, lunch and brunch.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

happy holidays!

Happy holidays, whatever your beliefs. Here's to a more peaceful 2013 for Oakland, our country, and the world.

Friday, December 21, 2012

photo of the week: December showers

April showers may bring May flowers, but here in the Oakland hills, December showers bring the ferns and mushrooms back to life. They die back in the dry summer months, then start popping up when the rains start in November or December.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

upcoming Oakland events

Idon't know if there are fewer events than normal or if I've just been too busy with work to note them. What events are there in Oakland this week that you know about?

Update: After many delays, The New Parkway is opening on Saturday!


Celebrate the Holiday Season on Lakeshore - Friday, December 21 and Saturday, December 22 - 4-6pm. Celebrate the holidays on Lakeshore. Free Carriage Rides, Santa Visits, Face Painting and more! (free)

ZooLights at the Oakland Zoo - nightly, 5:30-9pm. The annual show of lights at the Oakland Zoo. (with admission)


sunrise hike in the redwoods - Saturday, December 22, 6am. Take a 4-5 mile hike in the redwoods, starting at Chabot Space and Science Center.

Oakland Ballet presents The Nutcracker - December 22, 2pm; 23, 2pm; 24 11am. Join the Oakland Ballet for the holiday classic, The Nutcracker.

Cocoa, Cookies and Christmas Lights on Xmas Tree Lane - Saturday, December 22. 7-9pm. Picardy Drive in Oakland is transformed for the holidays with lights aplenty. Neighborhood residents will have cocoa and cookies for visitors, too.

ongoing events:

Art Murmur (1st Friday)
Saturday Art Stroll (Saturdays)
Mt. View Cemetery Tours (2nd and 4th Saturdays)

looking further ahead:

Monday, December 17, 2012

signs: The Toy Shop

Anice sign along MacArthur in the Laurel. I'm not sure if this is Komodo Toys (which is what shows up in Google Maps) or a newer toy shop that replaced it, or just a rebranding. In any event, it's a nice sign when lit.

Friday, December 14, 2012

photo of the week: Oaksterdam mural

Lots of people in Oakland were surprised, even those who aren't marijuana supporters, when the beautiful Oaksterdam mural was painted over earlier this week. According to Matthai Kuruvila on SFGate, Oaksterdam University moved out of the space in November after the building was sold. The new owner apparently didn't want to be associated with Oaksterdam and the medical marijuana community.

If you look in Google Maps Street View, it shows the mural, as well as various photos of it. But if you walk by in person, all you'll see is a blank beige wall. That's what it was for a long time, and was frequently tagged with spray paint. Then it was a large, collegiate-looking Oaksterdam University sign, which apparently fell afoul of city regulations regarding the size of signs. The mural was partly a response to that, by creating something that highlighted all of Oakland. Sadly, even the mural got tagged (with large red letters), which was probably part of the new landlord's decision, as fixing the mural would have been extremely difficult.

Read more about the mural and the original controversy, and see some pictures of the painting in progress in an old post on Living in the O.

Here's a closer look at the whole mural:

Note: I fully intend the new photo of the week feature to be, well, a photo from the current week. And while I have some photos that would work, it seemed appropriate to include this one from last year's walking tour of Uptown since the mural was painted over this week.