Category Archives: Culture

Love Them Chandeliers!

I’ve noticed the chandelier motif is very popular – similar to the baroque style wallpaper backgrounds you see everywhere in the design world.

Here’s three recent samples I’ve seen right here in the SF Bay Area.

Citizen Space – a co-work space I’ve used in the South Park area of SOMA.
Citzen Space SF

Beauty parlor in Berkeley’s 4th St. shopping district.Bare Escentuals

And last, but not least, Pesto Bar Café  in Sebastapol. (I’m trying to dig up a photo of their chandelier featured sign.

Oaklavia

I participated and rode my bike around the streets Oakland – what a blast! Maybe this should become a permanent Sunday event? Downtown Oakland is mostly a ghost town on the weekend anyway.

SubRosa Café – The Place to See and Be Seen!

My new favorite café is SubRosa located near our neighborhood on Oakland’s 40th Ave between Telegraph and Broadway. This little vibrant spot also sports the excellent Manifesto Bicycles and indie-collectible record shop, 123 Records.

While getting my daily cup today, my bleary eyes noticed this interesting looking guy with spiky gray hair poking out of the bike shop with a folding bike. He looked like he was seeing if it was safe to go outside as he looked up and down the street. As I was thinking this guy looked familiar a woman walking down the sidewalk exclaimed, “are you who I think you are!”, it was then I realized it was David Byrne!

He told me he was waiting for a cab, and I explained  that they are pretty pokey here in Oakland. He ended up hanging out where I was sitting the sidewalk benches. He went in a got some coffee and the ladies inside were super happy. Mr. Byrne was gracious and let me take a couple of snapshots with the shop owner’s iPhone.

David Byrne at Sub Rosa Cafe

David Byrne Designs Bicycle Solutions

After running into David Byrne yesterday while getting my morning coffee, I was curious to see he was getting a folding bike from Manifesto Bicycles next door. Turns out, he’s an avid cyclist and loves to cycle around his native New York City as well as the cities he visits while he is on tour. He has turned his creative attention toward advocacy of urban cycling as well as urban design.

He’s been designing some urban bike racks as well!

Obama on “Check Please…”!!

I just discovered that Barack Obama, then a little known Illinois State Senator, was on a pilot episode of the Chicago [original] version of Check Please… The San Francisco version on KQED is one of my favorite shows. The show features three regular people that share their favorite restaurants and the other two guests check it out and share their opinions.

Bob Wilkins – Thanks for the Memories

Creature Features host Bob Wilkins passed away last week. I finally got around to finding some clips from Creature Features and Captain Cosmic, two of his shows on KTVU Channel 2 here in Oakland.

Bob was quite unique in the horror show host genre. A droll guy with glasses and a big cigar. I saw the very first preview of Star Wars on his Creature Feature show. It was quite a moment and created so much anticipation of the film. They showed that clip over and over in the Spring of ’77. Wilkins sometimes would come down to Santa Cruz and do a meet ‘n greet at the local comics store, Atlantis, then on Pacific Avenue.

Another great memory was when he would feature Williard and show preview clips with all the rats.

Crazy Nights in Oakland

Helicopter over Oakland - Photo by Thomas Hawk

Helicopter over Oakland - Photo by Thomas Hawk

It has been noisy with helicopters constantly in the air. The downtown streets started filling up with protesters two nights ago. After a grocery trip, I followed one of the helicopters towards Lake Merritt. I turned down Madison and then at the intersection with 14th St., I saw a dozen police cars, and scores of OPD. Smoke was in the air. A dozen or so bystanders were on the sidewalk. I parked and started to check out the scene. I talked to a street journalist guy with pro Sony headphones and a microphone who was interviewing people to see what was going on. He told me it was that this is where the Fruitvale BART protest ended up and that there was rioting.

I went back to my car and sent out a couple Twitter messages. A bottle crashed to the pavement a few feet from my car. Time to get out!

Helicopters circled the city all night. I checked tv to see if there was any coverage. The local Oakland station? Nope. The only station doing some live coverage before 10PM was KRON. The most news I got was from doing searches for ‘riot’ and ‘Oakland’ on Twitter’s summize.com.

Though there are reasons for the community to be upset about the tragic New Year’s Eve BART shooting, trashing the struggling business of downtown Oakland doesn’t seem to be the answer. The businesses and citizens of Oakland had nothing to do with this incident. There seemed to be an anarchist element that came from out of town that helped create the violence, arson and property damage that happened that night.

Broken dreams? Photo by Thomas Hawk

Smashed dreams? Photo by Thomas Hawk

It was only two months ago these streets were full of joy and hope after Obama was elected. Now there are boarded windows and burnt cars in the streets.