Rock Wall Throws a Party at Alameda Point

Ken Rosenblum and guests enjoy the second open house at Rock Wall Wine Company on September 26, 2009.

Kent Rosenblum (left) and guests enjoy the second open house at Rock Wall Wine Company on September 26, 2009.

The second Rock Wall Open House on Alameda Point took place September 26, with a big crowd of both wine and guests.

Rock Wall opened a year ago, and already its organizers are planning the next open house — set for December 5.

Kent Rosenblum of Rosenblum Cellars was the mastermind behind the concept of bringing small wine makers to Alameda Point, so they could share production facilities and the like.

The group now has 75 investors and aims to attract about 500 to 600 visitors for its wine-tasting events, which include live music.

With the broad selection of wines being offered and the fun atmosphere at the Point, organizers are pleased with how the project is going and with the community’s support. Cheers!


Live at the Library – A Big Hit in Alameda!

Live at the Library

The first Live@theLibrary concert on Saturday, September 26 was sold out, and organizers are hoping for a similar turnout at the next two shows, set for October 24 and November 21.

This past Saturday, jazz singers Kathy Moehring, Barbara Brown, Kevin Brown and Rick Dougherty entertained the crowd, along with musicians Kelly Park, Sam Bevan and Jason Slota.

“Ticket sales are going well for the next show,” said Sue Coberg, a library supporter and concert volunteer. “And all the money raised from ticket sales goes to the library.”

The packed house of about 120 people was particularly pleasing to concert organizer Ruth Belikove. “This is so fun to see a home-grown concert series take off at this venue!” she said.

“This is good for the library and for Alameda, since it shows what the community can do,” Belikove added. “We just gave it a shot, and it turned out to be wonderful.”


Library Showcases Talent of Mexican Potters

The Alameda Free Library celebrated the vibrancy of local and international culture on Saturday, September 26, with a pottery demonstration in the morning and a jazz concert at night. (Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog posting on the latter).

After a successful pottery exhibit last year, the library invited members of the Mata Ortiz Potters back to the Island. And about 50 residents of all ages came to enjoy the show put on by Ricardo Corona and his colleagues, including Marianne Guillen and her three children, who all were mesmerized by the demonstration and work on display.

Corona delicately shaped and decorated a pot in the style of the region where he works, the Sierra Madre of Northern Chichuahua, Mexico, which is inspired by pottery from the Paquime ruins — declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Corona is the son-in-law of Pilo Mora, who demonstrated his skill last year at the library.

“It feels like they do weaving on top of a pot,” shared Jennifer Rias, a local weaver and art enthusiast.

Like many other guests at the demonstration, Rias enjoyed watching the potter work and shopping for pieces decorated in orange, black and blue. Many of the pieces featured geometric designs as well as dolphins, butterflies and other creatures.

Many of the visitors commented on the breath-taking delicacy of the work and its rich heritage.

“It’s interesting to see what he actually uses in terms of materials and how he coils, washes and finishes the piece,” said Sylvia Giebitz, an Oakland resident, school teacher, and native of Argentina. “Corona told me that he didn’t finish high school so that he could join and support the family business.”

The show was organized by library and inspired by library volunteer Ruth Belikove, an avid pottery fan.


From Car Dealership to Art Space

Thanks to Leonard Goode, owner of the lot that used to house the Toyota dealership at Park Street and Clement, Alamedans can now enjoy a few classic cars and associated art work created by Alameda artist Philip Hall.

“I met the property owner, and we agreed that the space would be more rentable with something in it, rather than it being empty,” said Hall. “And Alameda now looks better because of it!”

With the empty spaces down near the Park Street Bridge, Hall felt the need to bring some life to the area.

“This is good for Alameda. This area used to be so vibrant, but without the car dealerships it can feel more like a ghost town to those entering the city,” he said. “It bothered me for so long.”

Fortunately, Goode feels the same way — it’s better to have car-themed art in the space than nothing at all. And Hall’s even added lighting.

“It’s about repurposing the space and trying to encourage people to reuse space for different things, so we can make the area more viabrant,” explained Hall, who has some work online.

For his art, which he calls fine-art photography, Hall works with photos of classic cars. He adds color and other features to the images.

Part of his inspiration are classic cars, like the Oldsmobile Cutlass, now occupying the car-themed space behind his work.

Such partnerships will hopefully inspire similar cooperation around this part of Alameda and throughout the Island.


Where’s the Alameda Beach Buddha?

Everyday for many months, walkers, bikers, stroller-pushers, puppies and more members of the Alameda community were treated with the calm presence of the Alameda Beach Buddha at the intersection of Broadway and Otis.

Many residents shared fruit, feathers and other gift of thanks with the Buddha, who looked out over the bird sanctuary and San Francisco Bay.

At special holiday times, some Alamedans would put a colorful plastic wreath or even a wreath made of flowers on the Buddha. Interesting objects found in the area were also given to the Buddha, rather than just being casually thrown away.

And for a time, there was a Buddhist teaching taped to the statue: “Today is only today,” it read.

That special message seemed to resinate with with many Alamedans who stroll by the Bay as often as possible to relax, take a deep breath or two, watch a heron resting nearby and appreciate our daily life on the Island.

The Alameda Journal would greatly appreciate any news on the Alameda Beach Buddha. The empty spot where the Buddha used to sit lies empty. But the wonderful reflection and open spirit it embodies lives on.  

Even without the Beach Buddha, there are ways for Alamedans to find out more about Buddhist teaching. The Orgyen Dorje Den, 2234 Santa Clara Avenue, practices Tibetan Buddhism. Also, the Buddhist Temple of Alameda, at 2325 Pacific Avenue, holds Buddhist services and events.


Elks, music school plant new roots in Alameda

A New Tree for a Great Causenew tree for a great cause

A new tree for a great cause

The community spirit in Alameda is a vital and exciting part of life on the Island, as most Alamedans appreciate. And it’s always fantastic to see it come to life in different ways and at different places everyday – as it did on Friday, September 18.

At 5:30 p.m., the Alameda School of Music donated a tree that’s been planted in front of the Alameda Elks Lodge on Santa Clara Avenue (next to City Hall). And the Elks showed their gratitude, as 103rd Exalted Ruler Tom Mickelic remarked, “by wearing their uniforms on the hottest day of the year!”

Staff and students at the music school, led by Barry Solomon, see the gift as a special way to say “thank you” to the Alameda Elks for letting them use their historic facility for recitals over the last three years. 

“For the past three years, the Alameda Elks Lodge has provided the perfect venue for the bi-annual performing recitals of the Alameda School of Music,” said Barry. “The recitals are free and open to the public, and it is always truly fun and heartwarming to see children of all ages, and even a few adults, performing their musical pieces that they’ve worked so hard of for the past few months.”

Between 75 and 100 students perform at each recital usually in December or January and June.

The Elks are indeed generous with their facility, their time and their support. In fact, nationwide the Elks are the second-largest organization in terms of scholarships given to students, after the government, according the local members.

Many groups from around Alameda, like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, work at the Sunday breakfasts that the Lodge organizes. This gives the groups additional support and the experience of busing tables for hungry Elks. One such event is being staged on November 8 for the Children’s Ballet, for instance. And past breakfasts have benefitted the Alameda High School basketball team and a walk to fight cancer.

The group has 675 members in Alameda. Its building was constructed in 1906.

The lodge’s new dogwood tree will take about two years to reach a height of 10 feet or so. And that means about 4 recitals will be held and 400 different songs performed by the Alameda School of Music students between now and then.

(The Alameda School of Music is located in the 1300 block of High Street.)