Art & Wine Fest on Park Street This Weekend

The annual Park Street Art & Wine Faire will be celebrated on the Island over the coming July 30-31 weekend. Activities take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day and include live music, a kids’ area, arts-and-crafts vendors, food vendors, and beer and wine sales.

“The Park Street Art & Wine Faire is fun for the whole family!” said Rob Ratto, executive director of the Park Street Business Association, which organizes the event each year in July.

According to Ratto, there will be more than 250 arts-and-craft booths on Park Street, between Buena Vista and Encinal avenues, with vendors offering items like ceramics, metal art, paintings, photography, wood crafts, toys, handbags, clothing and jewelry.

Bay Area favorites will perform a wide range of music, such as classic rock, bluegrass, funk, jazz and soul, says Ratto. The line-up includes Zebop, Stung, East Bay Mudd and local rockers the Mighty Neptunes.

In addition, there will be four beverage booths serving beer, mimosas and wines from Alameda-based vintner Rock Wall Wine Company. “We will be featuring Rock Wall’s wines exclusively and are happy to have a local winery involved in the fair,” said Ratto.

Park Street’s Art & Wine Faire differs from the district’s Spring Festival in a few ways, according to Ratto. The art and wine festival includes two stages rather than one, for instance, and it features up to 100 more vendors.

The crowd could hit 100,000 over the entire weekend, Ratto say. “But if you come early, between 10 a.m. and noon, it’s less hectic and all the vendors are still open,” he shared.

On Saturday and Sunday morning (starting at 10 a.m.), the Piccolo Puppets will perform on the Encinal stage. And from about 3:30 to 6 p.m. both days, the Santana-tribute band Zebop will perform. The kids’ section, adds Ratto, will feature a bounce houses, a giant slide, slot cars, face painting and a petting zoo.

Merchants in and around Park Street will be open for business on July 30 and 31 while the fair is taking place, Ratto says. “Many of them will be running specials during the weekend, so we encourage residents and visitors to take the time to visit their shops,” he explained.


‘Hairspray’ to be Staged at Alameda Town Centre Today

A group of Alameda kids will be performing Hairspray from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. today, Saturday, July 23, on the outdoor stage at Alameda Town Centre (formerly South Shore).

The group had been rehearsing for three shows at another location, but these plans fell through.

Today’s show will be performed on the shopping center’s stage in front of Zeytini Restaurant.

Organizers say the performers have spent four weeks rehearsing. Along with parents and other adults, the group also organized a sound system and purchased costumes at a thrift store to showcase the kids’ talent and hard work.

They would like to thank Loard’s Ice Cream Parlor and Alameda Town Centre South Shore Center for organizing and providing the location, Orange Hair Salon for hair styling, and all the parents, family and friends who have been sharing their time and talents to make the show happen.


Alameda Gets New Pet Shop

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Alameda See Spot Run will be hosting a grand -opening celebration from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, July 23 and 24.

The shop is located at Santa Clara Avenue, next to Asena Restaurant and Mason Management (between Everett and Broadway streets).

According to the store owners, the grand-opening celebration aims to introduce area residents to Alameda’s newest urban pet store and will include music, a barbecue, a raffle for pet food and pet toys, an owner/pet vintage photo shoot, free samples of pet products, and free personalized pet-name tags made on the premises.

In addition, the shop’s management says it will be taking orders and offering free delivery in Alameda.

According to its website, the store specializes in Australian Grass Parakeets, as well as canaries, finches, guinea pigs and hamsters.

Meanwhile, from 12 to 3 p.m. this Saturday, July 23, Dog Bone Alley, at 1342 Park Street, will be holding pet adoptions. The Oakland-East Bay SPCA will be visiting the Alameda store with dogs and cats available for adoption.


Rally (and BBQ) Aim to Bring Lab to Alameda

Alameda’s efforts to bring Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s second campus to Alameda Point culminate tonight, July 13, at 6 p.m.

A community barbecue is being hosted by the City of Alameda on the mall area across from the Auctions by the Bay Theater, 2700 Saratoga St., on Alameda Point.

At 7 p.m., immediately following the barbecue, there will be a public meeting with representatives from LBNL at Auctions by the Bay Theater.

City officials are urging residents to attend the meeting and add their voice to community support for the project.

For more information, see a website set up to help bring LBNL’s second campus to Alameda Point.


Alameda’s CompoClay Expands to Web, San Francisco


Alameda-based CompoClay opened an online business on Monday, July 11, after recently inaugurating a showroom for its gardening and home-decor products in San Francisco and hosting a green mixer for interior designers to promote the use of eco-friendly products.

The new showroom at 60 Post Street (in the Crocker Galleria) in San Francisco is meant to complement the company’s “green resource center” at 2536 Santa Clara Avenue in town (shown above).

The Post Street space is being shared with other green businesses.

The company says its updated website has information about its products and can be used for ordering items online.


St. Vincent de Paul’s Adds Art Studio & Gallery

Saint Vincent de Paul’s thrift shop in Alameda is soon going to be home to Redux Studios & Gallery and will feature artwork and merchandise made from reclaimed materials.

The opening of Redux, 2315 Lincoln Ave., will take place from 5 to 7:30 p.m. this Thursday, July 14.

Redux came into existence as a means for Saint Vincent de Paul to engage and support local artists and will offer retail, gallery, and workspace for artists working with salvaged and reclaimed materials. (The studios provide affordable workspace and access to resource materials, while the gallery and retail store offer opportunities for artists to show and sell their work.)

The store hours are 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday.


Full Story on Bike-Trailer Caper

Note: A shorter version of this story appeared in the Alameda Journal today, Friday, July 8.

An Alameda resident recovered a stolen bike trailer just two days after it was taken recently, thanks to the efforts of a fellow member of the Alameda Parents Network, an online support and information group. Other items recovered with the trailer, however, apparently were not handled correctly by Alameda police, prompting criticism from the woman who retrieved the stolen items and a review of the matter by the department.

Mary Grace Basco, an Alameda resident (above right), realized her bike trailer was stolen early on Friday, June 24. She’d seen her bike and the trailer in the courtyard of her condo complex on Lincoln Avenue the night before. (The bike was locked, though the trailer – attached to the bike by a hitch – was not.)

“I didn’t think someone would just walk around town with a bike trailer. It’s too conspicuous,” Basco shared.

After a police report was filed by her husband, Basco went to a flea market at the Oakland Coliseum, as well to recycling-redemption centers in town, with a photo of the lost trailer. “I had a hunch that someone might use it for their kids, sell it or use it to for hauling.”

Basco also posted a notice about the missing bike trailer on the Internet-based Alameda Parents’ Network. Through the network, she was told that Jennifer Solomon (above left), another Alameda resident and an attorney, had her bike taken from her San Jose Avenue residence early on Saturday, June 25, and was looking everywhere for it. “I sent her a photo of my trailer,” said Basco.

Though Solomon visited several flea markets over the weekend, she didn’t find either her bike or Basco’s trailer. But as she crossed the Park Street Bridge on Sunday, June 26, Solomon thought she spotted the trailer near a parking lot on Blanding Avenue and immediately called Basco and the police.

Basco identified the helmets in the trailer and the trailer’s flags. The police then asked if she wanted to press charges against a woman sitting near the trailer in the Park Street Landing mall, who had apparently filled the trailer with bags of other items.

“I decided to press charges,” said Basco. “It was a difficult question given the person’s condition. I thought this would allow police to make a more complete record of the incident and perhaps that person would get a shower, get fed and have some access to services for the next 24 to 48 hours.”

Police identified the woman as Dianna Ware, 25, a transient. “We made the arrest, and she was charged with possession of stolen property,” said Lt. Sean Lynch, head of the investigations bureau.

Though the issue of the stolen bike trailer had been resolved, Basco and Solomon soon realized that several bags of items from the trailer had been left in the area. “We went through the stuff and then called the police, because we found lots of stuff, including some controlled substances – prescriptions,” said Solomon. The police returned and took the bag of drugs, she said, “but the bulk of the items stayed there.”

Solomon returned to the area the following day, Monday, June 27, only to find that many items still had not been removed. “I found a new cell phone and a charger,” she said.

It took Solomon more than an hour to get in touch with the owner of the phone. “But there were so many bags with dozens of items in them,” she explained, such as phone cords and video-game devices.

“Tuesday, June 27, I drove by to see what was up and saw bags still there,” Solomon said. “I then took the stolen property to a City Council meeting that evening and expressed my concerns. First, an officer had left the scene with controlled substances still in the area, and I wanted to know what the police policy is about this. Also, why were other things left there?”

According to Lt. Lynch, the Alameda Police Department is now reviewing the matter. “Our policy regarding the handling of property, recovered or stolen, was apparently not followed,” he said. “We are taking administrative action accordingly, which includes the appropriate training and discipline for such an issue.

In general, the police department’s policy is designed to ensure that recovered property is “properly handled and documented,” Lt. Lynch explained. “We do our best to handle each call to the best of our abilities,” he said. “If we fall short, we will take corrective steps to meet up to the standards.”

Solomon says the police department and residents could benefit greatly from a community meeting. Advice on how to avoid having items stolen and the importance of keeping track of serial numbers is always helpful, for instance. “If there is more we can do as residents to help the police, we would like to do it,” she said. “When it comes to crime, everyone is touched by it.”

Lt. Lynch says APD has resources and activities in place for community- oriented policing, and it engages in outreach via neighborhood-watch groups and other means. “We try our best to inform the public and get public input on these issues. We take them seriously,” he said.

For her part, Basco says she appreciates the help of the police department in recovering her bike trailer and is very grateful to Solomon and the Alameda Parents Network for their help, too. “She is like my hero, my vigilante bike-trailer hero!” said Basco. “This experience showed me that you need cooperation to move ahead.”


Second Summer Concert at Crab Cove Set for Tonight

West Alameda Business Association (WABA) and the East Bay Regional Parks District are hosting the summer’s second Concert at the Cove from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. tonight, Friday, July 8.

The free event features the return of “Foreverland”, a popular Michael Jackson cover band that packed the Cove last year. Residents from across the Island and their friends, family and kids should expect to have a wonderful Alameda experience, according to WABA.

Eight food vendors will offer their wares, many are which are Crab Cove favorites. There will also be new treats on tap. Hula Hawaiian shaved ices will be served, along with Miggy’s Island Kettlekorn and Croll’s Pizza slices.

Paul’s Paella will bring some of its signature dish, and Wes Cafe will make its debut at the Cove, serving coffee drinks, lemonade,iced tea, sandwiches and sweets. Ben Bussell of Frog & Fiddle will be serving pulled- pork sandwiches.

A wine and beer garden will offer local wine favorites, Rock Wall Winery and R&B Cellars, as well as Drakes Brewery’s specialties.

Free valet bike parking for attendees will be provided by Bike Alameda.

Sponsors include: Bay Ship & Yacht, Catellus Development, Alameda County Industries, Alameda Theatre & Cineplex, Back to Health Chiropractic, Bill DeMar Office of Edward Jones, Bladium Sports Club, Perforce Software, Trans Pacific Bank, along with Rock Wall Winery, R&B Cellars and Drakes Brewery.


R&B Cellars, Rock Wall Host Fund-Raiser, Ribs Event and ‘Food Truck Frenzy’


Alamedans interested in enjoying the summer and supporting Alameda Meals on Wheels may want to mark Sunday, July 17, on their calendar.

From 1 – 5 p.m. at Rock Wall Wine Company, 2301 Monarch St., Alameda Point, R&B Cellars will be celebrating the memory of Meals on Wheels’ supporter Martha Killebrew with a wine-tasting event. A suggested donation of $20 will be requested at the door.

Swing and jazz music will be played by Three O’Clock Jump, and a silent auction items will take place for fine wines, gift baskets and vacation destinations. Local restaurants will share hors d’oeuvres.

In addition, there will be a kids’ area, including some carnival activities.

R&B Cellars says this is the biggest fund-raiser of the year for Alameda Meals on Wheels.

This coming Saturday, July 9, from 2 to 5 p.m., R&B Cellars will be hosting ZAP’s 1st Annual Rib-O-Rama at Rock Wall. Advance tickets are $45; $55 at the door.

From 5 to 9 p.m. on July 15, Rock Wall Wines will host Food Truck Fenzy, with an array of food trucks serving unique cuisine. Wine will be available for purchase from the wine bar, and there will be live music. RSVP online.

R&B will also participate in the East Bay Food Fight in Jack London Square from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on July 23.

This event features chef battles, culinary demos, 40 top restaurants, VIP judges and a live auction. Only six wineries were invited to pair with this food fight affair, so R&B is delighted to be among them.

Tickets are $25-$40.


Alameda Theater Draws Pro-Union Protest

This Sunday, July 3, union organizer and Alameda resident Martin Lipow and another member of the IATSE Local 169 held protest signs and spoke with movie-goers outside the Alameda Theater and Cineplex.

Lipow says he stages protests here on a regular basis to draw attention to the fact that the theater pays “substandard wages and uses inexperienced operators.”

He and other members of Local 169 are motion picture projectionists and technicians. The union members staff the Grand Lake theater in Oakland, Landmark Theaters, AMC Theaters and other theaters in the Bay Area.

Along with United Artist theaters, the Alameda Theater is one of only a few cineplexes that are non-union workplaces, according to Lipow.

Changing films, lightbulbs and other materials takes training and skill, he says. Also, since the city invested $30 million in the cineplex, the Alameda operation should have enough funding to support professional projectionists, the union argues.

Plus, Lipow says, Alameda theater patrons would really see a difference in the overall quality of films shown at the local cineplex if union workers were hired.