Friday, May 28, 2010

Weekend Reflection: Veterans Memorial Building

I'm still traveling so this is from the archives.  Once more around the lake, my friends.  The white building is the Veterans Memorial Building, built in the 1930s, at the NE end of the Lake Merritt in the Adams Point neighborhood.  To the building's left is the narrow, little park I showed you where Glen Echo Creek runs above ground for a couple of blocks.  Hard to believe, right?  Especially since traffic zooms around this area like crazy.  The VM is now primarily a meeting place for various community groups, including the American Legion, a dance studio, and a senior center.  It also has an auditorium that is occasionally used for performances.  The most recent has been Battle of the Salsa Bands 2.  Rumor has it that the Grateful Dead had a concert here early in its career.  Visit Weekend Reflections for interesting photos from around the world.  I'm also linking to Monochrome Weekend for the first time.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Walking around downtown one day, this caught my eye.  These Italianate buildings date from around the 1870s.  According to that font of all information, Wikipedia, this MJB coffee ad campaign started in 1910; but there was no word on how long it lasted.  Don't know how old this particular sign is, but it is a well preserved blast from the past.  Somehow I don't think this ad campaign would do well today.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

ABC Wednesday: S is for silhouette

Here's a shot toward the western side of Lake Merritt from the eastern Embarcadero.  The building with the little cap and flag is the county courthouse built during the 30s.  To me the exterior has a post-war Stalinist vibe---all squat and bulky without much grace.  Happily, there are many deco grace notes inside.  The indoor public spaces are faced in marble, architectural details have stylish deco profiles, and there's deco lettering on signs.  (I think I've just talked myself into photographing the interior).  The buildings to the right represent some of downtown.  At the far right you can spy a bit of the Necklace of Lights.  Even at sunset, the lake draws lots of strollers.  For more S photos from around the globe, click ABC Wednesday.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Piedmont Avenue mural

This mural is found on the wall of Gaylord's coffee house at 41st St and Piedmont Avenue.  Muralist Rocky Baird developed “The Capture of the Solid. The Escape of the Soul” in 2006.  It represents the oppression of the Ohlone peoples at the arrival of Europeans.  It was a public activity to watch him on his scaffold draw and paint this large piece over a few months.  It became a cause célèbre when someone took offense of his depiction of a nude male and defaced the mural.  He was accused of stereotyping and insensitivity to native peoples, although he maintained that he consulted tribal leaders to have an authentic depiction of how people lived on the shores of the bay.  All the really polemical bits of the mural didn't cause a single ripple of concern.  At the inauguration of the mural a small contingent of native peoples showed up to protest, a blues band entertained the crowd, and most of us just gawked at the mural.  It's very complex and there's a lot to look at.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Weekend Reflection: somewhere near Lake Merritt

While circumnavigating the lake, I spied this reflection near Grand and Lakeside.  I was in a hurry and forgot to get the name of the building.  Only after I got home did I realize that there were two reflections in this shot.  For Weekend Reflections from around the world, click here.

FYI:  I'm traveling and still having difficulty posting pictures and leaving comments.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

ABC Wednesday: R is for Rio Motel

This cool neon sign looks to be in perfect shape despite it's age.  I really like it's 1930s sensibility, although I doubt the sign is that old.  The Rio now seems to be a residence motel and from the outside appears to be well kept.  It's located on West MacArthur Blvd., formerly a major thoroughfare through town, and now a down and out strip.  The Sage Motel is located on the same street but on the other end of town.  Mac Arthur Blvd. basically runs north-south and is the unofficial dividing line between the haves and have-nots.  But like everything else in Oakland, there are many exceptions to this "rule."  For other R photos be sure to visit ABC Wednesday this week.

Monday, May 17, 2010

painted ladies

There is an astonishing number of Victorian houses, especially in East and West Oakland, that continue to exist---if not thrive.  Here are two in East Oakland on the corner of 15th Avenue and Foothill that obviously show the care and love of their owners.  They are so cheerful that I had to stop and take a snap.

FYI:  I'm on a 3-week trip and my wi-fi isn't cooperating much with either posting or leaving comments.  Sorry.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Oakland Museum reopens

The Oakland Museum has just reopened after 2 years of renovation to the Art and History sections.   The natural history gallery is now closed for its turn at renovation.  The front has been relocated to Oak Street, as seen above.  The displays are well done, but I couldn't help wish the rich history of Oakland had a more prominent position in the telling of California history. That should not stop you from coming by for a visit.  You'll be glad you did.

FYI:  I'm on a 3-week trip.  My wi-fi is only occasionally allowing me to post pictures or leave comments.  Sorry about all this.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

river rock art

This sculpture of iron and river rock is one of many found on Grand Avenue at Jean Street.  Richard Botto, who owns this professional building, began making these rock sculptures for his own pleasure.  Once he began displaying them, he found a buying public to enjoy them.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Truth Gospel Church

Storefront churches have always intrigued me.  They are touching offerings of comfort, faith, and hope and are most often found in the hard scrabble neighborhoods of our city.  They express the calling and longing of those who build them and those who attend them.  This church at Foothill and about 15th Ave. is housed in what looks like a former garage or tiny store.  I wonder what the Chinese translation actually says?

Friday, May 7, 2010

urban creek

This is Glen Echo Creek where it surfaces in Adams Park along side the Veterans Memorial Building across from Lake Merritt.  I've driven past this intersection (Grand and Harrison) a zillion times never realizing this little strip of green contains a stream.  It's startling to find such a country scene in the middle of a high traffic zone.  The creek runs down from the hills, every so often popping up above ground for a few blocks, before it goes underground again.  This engineered channel contains the creek for a block or so until it goes under Grand Avenue.  But before it goes underground, it flows under this old timey-looking bridge.  You see where I'm going with this, right?  A reflection and a bridge can only mean that I'm submitting this photo to two memes this weekend.  For more reflections and bridges from around the world, please visit James' Weekend Reflections and «Louis'» Sunday Bridge Series.  And have a great weekend.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

ABC Wednesday: P is for Park Street Bridge

Can't help myself; it's the Park Street Bridge again.  There's something about the color and silhouette that keeps calling me back.  This time we even have pedestrians perambulating the path across the bridge.  Visit ABC Wednesday for other "P" subjects from around the world.

100 Strangers: Babu and Khan

Meet Babu and Khan.  I met them at the tire shop where I took the reflection photos posted on Friday.  Both of them volunteered to have their pictures taken.  (What a relief.  I have no trouble talking to strangers, but I find it really hard asking if I can take a picture).  Khan made me promise not to ask him to smile.  Babu is from a village near Karachi, Pakistan and is Khan's nephew.  Prior to coming here a year ago, he studied technical engineering at a Christian school in Karachi.  Babu grew up knowing that his uncle was sponsoring him for a visa.  It took 13 years of waiting before it was granted.  Hard as it must have been, he says he did not give up hope about this long journey.  I can only imagine how difficult a transition it must be given how different our cultures are.  Nonetheless, Babu is happy he's here and seems to have a positive outlook.  There was so much more I would have liked to know about both of them; but after all, they were at work.  And the shop was really busy.  It was a pleasure meeting both of these guys.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Theme Day: Statues

The first of every month is Theme Day in the City Daily Photo world.  This month's theme is "statues."  Mt. View Cemetery in North Oakland, established in 1863, is full of interesting statuary. This is one of my favorites.  The Crocker name is well-known in California, being associated with banking and the railroads.  This is the tomb of Henry S. Crocker who came to California during the Gold Rush but found his fortune in publishing.  Click here to view thumbnails for all participants in this month's Theme Day.