Friday, December 31, 2010

Skywatch Friday: Walker's Concrete

Found on Peralta near Mandela Parkway a block from Monday's mermaid mural.  This uber-industrial  form is hard to ignore.  Looks like something out of Mad Max.  Can't tell if this plant is still in operation or not.  Visit Skywatch Friday for sky shots from around the world.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

comorants on display

Lake Merritt is a stop on the bird migration pathway.  Comorants love to sit on the lake perches facing the sun at the end of the day.  Yesterday I drove by and the entire lake was covered with all manner of birds.  Phenomenal.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

ABC Wednesday: X is for Xmas ornaments

X is the hardest letter in the ABC Wednesday alphabet.  So following the lead of others, I'm going with Xmas.  I love Santa ornaments but waited for the post holiday sales.  Hah!  By the time I got to the store they were already packed away for next season.  Let that be a lesson to me.  Please note the new URL for ABC Wednesday when you visit the meme.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

American Steel sculpture

Big Art Studios is located in the old American Steel factory on Mandela Parkway in West Oakland.  It is now home to many different artists.  You may remember a previously posted sculpture earlier in the year from the same studio.  Tash sent me her research results indicating it was made by Das Mann.  Many of his giant sculptures are now in a large yard behind the building.  Spotted this guy last week.  Must be 10-12 feet tall and an attention grabber among the several other giant sculptures on the yard.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday mural: mermaids and more

In West Oakland (on Poplar St., I think) is a huge metal recycling yard.  This year they had artists (Bode, Eya, Marley and Toad) paint murals on their block long security wall that faces the street.  Only when you walk to the other side of the street can you see the heavy equipment that moves the metal around.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Weekend Reflections: holiday reflections

Merry Christmas.  Sending best wishes to all of you. Enjoy the photos posted on Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

holiday decorations at the water

More scenes from Jack London Square.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

ABC Wednesday: W is for White Elephant Sale (WES)

It's that time of year again.  The annual WES sale to benefit the Oakland Museum is approaching.  Seventeen departments manned by 1000 volunteers in a 96,000 square foot warehouse.  We sell all manner of fabulous items (at fabulous prices) that have been donated by a generous public.  It's the biggest and best rummage sale in Northern California.  The last Sunday in January is the Preview Sale which charges a fee to shoppers to get the first peek at the offerings of the year.  The first weekend in March is THE big sale that is free to the public.  Checkout the website for all pertinent information about dates, donations and how to buy preview tickets.  If you're in the area, come by and see me in the Linen Department.  Questions?  Email me.  To see other W posts go to ABC Wednesday, a fun meme to visit and participate in.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

holiday fantasy

Window display on College Avenue.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday mural: our artistic heritage

The 580 freeway underpass on Grand Avenue has a complicated mural dedicated to a history of Oakland artists.  It is too large to photograph in total.  Here I've featured the portion with Jack London over a night scene of Oakland.  Sorry, the mime is unknown to me.  The mural was done in 1984 by Galvez and Sklar with others.  It's situated kitty corner from the previously featured Grand Lake Theater.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday Bridge Series: Glen Echo Creek resurfaces

Here's another pedestrian bridge over Glen Echo Creek on Richmond St.  This one has a pergola covered entrance that looks pretty old.  Several redwoods dot the woodland.  The creek stays above ground for about .3 of a mile in a small valley that opens to a vale before it goes under ground again.  Then out of no where are the support piers for the 580 freeway and we're back in urban civilization.  Taken a few days ago  before the current rain storms.  For more bridge views, visit «Louis'» meme, Sunday Bridges.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Weekend Reflections: shop lights

A shop on College Avenue in the Rockridge neighborhood.  For more reflections, check in with James' Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

for the birds

Just in case the birds can't find a place to nest?   Spotted in a small grove of redwoods where Glen Echo Creek surfaces on Richmond St.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ABC Wednesday: V is for Vespa

There's a Vespa store on College Avenue in the Rockridge neighborhood.  Every time I drive by they seem to beckon.  They're making them in candy colors now. But I'm holding out for 1950s aqua.  For more "V" posts, check out this week's ABC Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Camron-Stanford House

This fine Italianate house is the only remaining private home of many that once dotted the shores of Lake Merritt. The lake is behind the house.  It was built in 1876 by Samuel Merritt and was subsequently owned by a number of other families.  In the early 20th century it became a museum, the first such public museum west of the Mississippi.  By the 1970s it was falling into disrepair and in danger of demolition until a citizens group rallied to save it.  It is now a museum of the victorian home.  It is also available to rent for weddings and other events.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday mural: your freedom is in books

Spotted in East Oakland in the San Antonio District.  This mural is on the side of an adult education school on International Blvd.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Bridge Series: link to the estuary

Lake Merritt is a tidal basin fed by the tides in the estuary.  This water way is the link between the lake and the estuary.  It runs through the community college campus, under the Nimitz freeway, and on to the estuary.  Not exactly a picturesque connection, but a vital one.  Submitted to «Louis'» meme where you will find more bridge photos.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Weekend Reflections: yacht parade

Last Saturday was the 34th annual yacht parade.  This decorated boat at Jack London Square was getting ready to motor out to the Estuary to join about 35 others from various towns around the bay.  Enjoy reflections captured by cameras around the world by visiting James' meme Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Storybook style

Picardy Drive is near Mills College and is known for two things---its over the top holiday lights display every Christmas and its architecture. Most of the homes on this street are built in what is called Storybook Style, developed in the early 1920s.  Houses in this style typically have towers, pitched roofs, half timbers in stucco, rounded doorways, and stylized use of brick.  Storybook can be found in two or three small developments and many individual homes around town.  This picture was taken before today's rain storm arrived.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

ABC Wednesday: U is for urban scene

The view from Lake Merritt looking east to the hills.  For more "U" shots at ABC Wednesday, click here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away...

Nothing says Christmas quite like a visit from the Empire stormtroopers.  The Children's Parade included a contingent from the 501st Legion and Darth Vader himself.  What's the 501st Legion, you ask?  Check out their website and all will be explained.  Who knew?

Monday, December 6, 2010

holiday events

Saturday was the 11th annual Children's Christmas Parade downtown.  The stars of the show, besides Santa himself, are the Tap Dancing Christmas Trees.  They tap the entire route of the parade from 11th to 20th Street.   Even though they must have been chilled to the bone, they looked like they were having fun.  The gray and cold of the day kind of vanished as they performed.  Hmm, I think I want to be a tapping tree when I grow up.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

more details from the Paramount Theater

Here's another detail from that deco palace, the Paramount Theater.  I like these shots in black and white.  Somehow, they seem to fit the era better.  The nymph on the ram is in silver foil.  The ceiling light is frosted glass that gives it that Lalique look.  For more black and white photos, visit The Weekend in Black and White.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Skywatch Friday: uh, do not enter?

Don't ask.  I have no idea what this is about except maybe as an exclamation point on a Keep Out warning.  Found on 28th Street in West Oakland.  Submitted to Skywatch Friday where you'll find many other sky shots.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

unique living

The old warehouse district next to Jack London Square has been going through gentrification with old factories converting to loft/condos.  New condo buildings also fill the area.  The trend started with Jerry Brown, our former governor, former mayor, and now governor-elect.  Years before he ran for mayor, he converted a warehouse near here into a work-live loft and office for his Presidential campaigns.  He deserves credit for changing the face of Oakland's downtown housing.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Theme Day & ABC Wednesday: time

Time usually marches on but sometimes it stands still.  This relic milk depot is on Foothill Blvd. near 55th Avenue.  Click here to view thumbnails for all participants in this month's CDP Theme Day.   At ABC Wednesday T is for time.  You can visit ABC Wednesday to view other T posts.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

East Bay Rats

Don't know what would possess a motorcycle club to call itself rats; but there you have it.  Their website doesn't clear up the genesis of the name but indicates they've been around since at least 1997.  Their manifesto says they are dedicated to "riding really (bleeping) fast, drinking beer, eating red meat, and doing extraordinarily stupid things when drunk."  Despite all that testosterone, sounds like they have a sense of humor about themselves.  Spotted on San Pablo Avenue at about 30th Street.

Monday, November 29, 2010

cabin in the woods

While following yesterday's "trail," I came upon this tiny house.  It can't be more than 10 feet wide and maybe 15 feet high.  it looks like it is single wall construction and probably has been here since 1905-1910.   More contemporary houses muscle up to each side of this house.  Oakland used to be a summer rural retreat for San Franciscans due to it's better weather and plentiful redwood and oak forests.  It doesn't take much imagination to believe that this little structure was a getaway cabin back at the turn of the previous century.  Nestled in a little valley, it would have faced the quiet waters of Glen Echo Creek.  Somehow it persisted even as the street changed.  Whoever lives here now values a simple life on a peaceful street, away from the urban roar.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

footbridge over the creek

I decided to take a small street off Broadway to see where it lead.  Much to my surprise it turned into several woodland blocks where Glen Echo Creek runs above ground.  The sun was setting and I was barely able to capture workmen repairing a foot bridge over the creek.  The houses along this street are a funny mix of 1970s apartment buildings, and brown shingles from the early 1900s,  I couldn't believe that this quiet, rural setting still exists in our urban landscape.  In Sonoma County, maybe.  But Uptown Oakland?  For more bridges, visit «Louis'» Sunday Bridges series.

Friday, November 26, 2010

hazy afternoon

Lake Merritt is actually a tidal basin and this afternoon was low tide.  It's the first time I've seen the mussel colonies that grow everywhere in the lake and essentially feed the sea gulls.  The birds were out in force, as were tons of people enjoying the mild afternoon.  I had a long conversation with a woman who shared a lot of information about bird behavior.  Uptown office buildings are reflected in the late afternoon sun.  For more reflections, visit Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

autumn leaves

We don't have anything close to the autumn display you see in the east; but we do have the occasional flashes of color that so please the eye.  This is another reason to visit Mt. View Cemetery.  Happy Thanksgiving all.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

ABC Wednesday: S is for Sequoyah Road

Sequoyah Road in the East Oakland hills straddles that line between urban and rural.  The road runs through unexpected housing tracts, a hundred year old country club, steep canyons and open creeks.  I was quite taken by this 20s-30s house that reflects the influences of Spanish and early mission architecture.  This style home is found throughout the Bay Area.  Isn't it charming?  I'll bet the inside has interesting tile work and wrought iron details.  For more "S" photos, visit ABC Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

early freeway mural

This mural was created in 1977 by a group of students from Laney Community College.  This makes it one of the earliest murals in Oakland.  It is on Claremont Avenue under the Highway 24 overpass.  It was restored in 2003.  A small little park is across the street.  Surprisingly, the neighborhood uses it despite the whooshing sound of traffic above your head, and who knows what chemicals in the air.  Somewhat ironic given the theme of the mural.

Monday, November 22, 2010

glow in the cemetery

The light was just right to make it look like the inside of this family crypt was aglow.  Hey, I just realized I could link this to Mellow Yellow Monday.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

deco detail

Stair banister in Oakland's art deco Paramount Theater.  All the original metal details in this restored theater are made of aluminum.  Submitted to Weekend Reflections and Black and White Weekend.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Skywatch Friday: roof tops

The City Hall cupola peeks out from behind a modern roof line a block away.  A half moon watches all.  As you can tell, we've continued to enjoy fine weather during the day.  But the temperature drops dramatically as the sun sets.  Rain is in the forecast for the weekend.  For more Skywatch Friday offerings, click here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

fresh flowers

Across from the BART station posted yesterday is Market Hall.  It contains several specialty shops including a pasta shop, butcher, bakery, greengrocer, fishmonger, wine shop, gelateria, and coffee shop.  This flower stand brings some color to the sidewalk and draws attention to the building.  Upstairs is a well known restaurant.  There's lots of action around here all day long.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

ABC Wednesday: R is for Rockridge

Rockridge is an upscale neighborhood in North Oakland.  The Rockridge BART (our metro) station is on College Avenue which runs all the way to the UC campus in Berkeley.  This line takes you directly to downtown San Francisco and the airport without having to change trains.  This station is in the thick of a residential neighborhood along with restaurants, coffee shops, and all kinds of retail shops.  For more "R" photos from around the world, visit ABC Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

take the green bus

Just a couple of months ago the free, green shuttle bus was introduced with no fanfare.  It runs from Jack London Square to Lake Merritt with hop on, hop off privileges.  But only Monday through Friday.  I've read this is a precursor to building a trolley that is intended to run the same route.  A trolley would be cool, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

stay off the tracks

Both passenger and freight trains run down the middle of 1st Street, at the bottom of Broadway, along side of Jack London Square.   Even though they are a common sight, this is the first time I've seen a warning on a locomotive.  Four other trains came by while I was down there, but this was the only one with a message.  This may be in response to several accidents and suicides on tracks around the bay this year.  It definitely made me want to take a step back.  This is my first time linking to Mellow Yellow Monday.  Don't know about mellow, but it definitely qualifies for yellow.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sunday Bridge Series: Oakland ferry

This is the dock for the ferry to San Francisco from Jack London Square.  The trip takes about 35 minutes and makes a quick stop in Alameda before it heads to the SF Ferry Building.  While wandering about I was happy to see a (foot) bridge for «Louis'» Sunday Bridges meme.  For views of bridges around the world, click here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekend Reflections: USS Potomac

The USS Potomac was Franklin Roosevelt's yacht during his presidency.  It is now berthed at Jack London Square.  In the late afternoon, the sunlight reflected off the water shimmers on its port side; and the water shimmers with the ship's reflection.  Cool, huh?  For more photos with reflections, check out James' meme Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Skywatch Friday: cranes at the shore

This photo was taken at Jack London Square.  I never tire of looking at these behemoth cranes.  So Star Wars.  You can see that the weather has turned warm again and it was positively balmy by the estuary.  Visit Skywatch Friday for more heavenly views.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

ABC Wednesday: Q is for quarry

This photo was taken from St. Mary's Cemetery whose border edges the cliffs above the former quarry.  The lake, fed by Glen Echo Creek, is surrounded on two sides by high cliffs and then by a shopping center parking lot on the other two sides.  It's a curious blend of nature and asphalt.  The quarry lake was posted earlier from a ground level view.  The lake (which I don't think has a name) is often a stopover for birds flying from Lake Merritt to who knows where.  Visit ABC Wednesday for more Q photos from around the world.

Monday, November 8, 2010

divine deco at the Paramount

Took a tour of the Paramount Theater on Saturday.   The facade mosaic was posted a few days ago.  The entire building is so deco-licious it is hard to believe.  Tours are the first and third Saturday of each month, last two hours, and cost only $5.  Such a deal.  The restoration is historically accurate down to the most minute detail.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

muffler art

Now that the election season is over, time for a little comic relief.  This is one of several figures in front of a local muffler shop at 65th St. and Shattuck Ave. in North Oakland near the Berkeley border.  I especially like the dog.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

ABC Wednesday: P is for Paramount Theater

The Paramount Theater, with this gigantic mosaic, is another Art Deco building restored and preserved in Uptown Oakland.  It is next door to the deco I. Magnin and a few blocks from the Fox Theater.  This movie theater was completed in 1931 and now is home to the East Bay Symphony; it is also hosts popular music acts, the annual Christmas presentation of the Nutcracker, and occasionally shows vintage movies.  The next one is From Here to Eternity.  For other "P" photos, visit the ever interesting ABC Wednesday.

Monday, November 1, 2010

día de los muertos

The Day of the Dead has a big presence in the Bay Area due to our large Latino population.  Oakland has an annual street festival in the Fruitvale District and a special show at the Oakland Museum where local artists are invited to build altars.  Associated with All Saints and All Souls Days, the Day of the Dead has it's roots deep in Aztec culture.  They believed that at this time of year the veil between this world and the next lifts and the spirits of the departed can once again visit the corporal world.  In Mexico families use November 1st and 2nd to clean and decorate the graves of their loved ones and bring favorite food and drink as ofrendas to the spirits.  They also make temporary altars to pray, remember, and honor the dead using photos, flowers, candles, and personal artifacts.  Perhaps you have a similar tradition where you live?

A few years ago I decided to participate in the spirit of this tradition and create my own altar.  Every year since it has become a little more elaborate.  It's not at all traditional looking but it is filled with symbols that mean something to me.  It is a very emotional process for me that usually involves a fair amount of tears.  Every year I plant the flowers I use, and every year so far they bloom again at this time.  Having no pictures yet of the public events around this day, I thought I'd share a little of mine.  It's not a great photo, but you get the idea.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

trick or treat

Every year on the Saturday before Halloween, the Piedmont Avenue merchants sponsor a Halloween Parade and trick or treat event.  Part of the avenue is closed, music is performed, and kids (and their parents) in costume can find treats at many of the retail shops on the street.  Afterward, everyone makes their way to Mountain View Cemetery where a pumpkin patch, bouncy games, face painting, balloon animals and free food are offered.  It rained this year, but this did not discourage the turnout.  It did, however, discourage my camera.  So this photo is brought to you by Halloween past.  Have fun ghouls and gals.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chaos without Peace within

This long mural is across the street from Oakland Tech.  It was sponsored and funded by the Community Rejuvenation Project which is responsible for many murals around the city.  The Project uses street artists and local youth to design and create the murals.  Check out their website