Category Archives: Oakland

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!

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.

Macworld

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Had a good time at Macword. Ran into Irina Slutsky of GETV and was interviewed about cosmic subjects! Saw demos of Apple’s iLife updates and was impressed with the updates to iPhoto and iMovie. Glad to see that iMovie got back many lost features from iMovies 6 and more.

Surprised I didn’t see as many people I knew then I ran into a Howie from my MaCruzer (a MUG) days in Santa Cruz. He sold me my second Mac, a IIcx back in the early 90′s.

Near the end of the day I saw Merlin Mann, who was very funny on MacBreak Weekly and then my favorite conspiracist and curmudgeon, John C. Dvorak.

RIP Ron Asheton of the Stooges

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From Rolling Stone Magazine today:
“Ron Asheton, guitarist and founding member of the Stooges, was reportedly found dead at his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan this morning. He was 60.”

“As the guitarist for the Stooges, Asheton crafted some of rock’s most memorable riffs, including “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” “No Fun” and “TV Eye.” Guitarist Asheton, along with his brother Scott, Iggy Pop and original bassist Dave Alexander formed the Stooges in Detroit in 1967. The original lineup released two albums, The Stooges and Fun House, before Ron Asheton shifted over to bass guitar for 1973’s Raw Power. All three LPs made Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, ranking at Number 185, 191 and 125 respectively. Asheton was also Number 29 on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”

In the late 80s, when I played guitar with friends, my favorite songs to play were frequently Stooges longs. The Stooges were also probably the biggest influence of one of my all time fave bands, The Ramones.

Buzz Buzz

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Being a Java Junkie always in pursuit of quality coffee has led me to a few places to mention. One that is very good and closest to home is Mama Buzz on Telegraph and 23rd. An adjoing room has a gallery and 50s style kitchen furniture to kick back. Free Wifi is available and the coffee is dark and rich! They also have some quality beers including Boont Ale. If you order a snack you will be surprised at the quality. Tomatoes on your sandwich are fresh ripe and tasty. An extra bonus is that they usually play a lot of old school spooky music (Virgin Prunes, Bauahus, Joy Division).

Mama Buzz is in an emerging little boho Booze, Art and Coffee zone. Being neighbors to The Stork Club and Rock, Paper, Scissors art collective. FYI, there’s still plenty of crack activity on the corner and nearby Valley St.