Sunday’s (as in Aug. 26) Radio Regatta was so tranquil, even Pooh Bear the chihuahua was mellow. And, folks, it takes a lot for those puppies to relax.
People were grooving out in the the long lines for beer that stretched out of the boathouse onto the patio. The monstrous waits for the gondola rides complete with gondoliers in custume singing love songs were, however, a drag.
The wait for a gondola kept me and my daughters at the Lake Merritt boat house until nearly the end of the regatta, which was a cheery boat party organized by Oaklandish — the city’s unofficial and somewhat rogue historical society. I wanted to say that the merry band of historical pranksters have put the hella in “I hella love Oakland.” But that might be overdoing it a bit, although Jeff Hull, the group’s founder, might disagree.
The crowd seemed to be a mix of those who showed up for the novelty of guerilla radio broadcasts on boats and those, like Pooh Bear’s owner, who stumbled across the event while walking at the lake.
He moved to Oakland from the Northwest via San Francisco, which he said he outgrew and liked less than our fair city. “Oakland has so much potential,” he said, as a man dressed in a Leningrad Cowboys T-shirt passed by and a toddler danced to the tunes.
The only element at the Radio Regatta missing was the radios. I didn’t spot a single boat on the water listening to the guerilla FM radio broadcast of music coming from DJs at the boathouse.
Maybe they should make it the iPod Regatta next year.
The land-lubbers were tuned in, though.
A busty woman dressed in a yellow dress grooved on the patio to ”Sexy Girls in Oakland,” a funk tune by Rodger Collins (now known as Hajj Sabrie) who still lives in Oakland. http://indangerousrhythm.blogspot.com/2007/08/rodger-collins.html
About half-way through the afternoon delight, Hull – dressed like a rogue yacht captain – halted his frantic hussle even though the beer — a special lager for the day that went fast but got low marks for a bitter taste – began to diminish to dangerous lows. He was not about to budge from feeding his 8-month-old son.
The day was saved with backup supplies of beer and the keg action was up and running again.
Keep your eyes open for a repeat appearance of Oakland’s own lake monster, Hull announced as the day waned on. My daughters and I passed the time still waiting for a gondola ride trying to think up a name for our own Lock Ness “Nessie.”
Lassie, Odette, Cassie and KoKo were the front runners. I was partial to Odette, but KoKo was pretty clever. In honor of Lake Merritt’s pristine water, one man later suggested “Messie.” Then, again, how about “Oakie?”
We finally gave up on the wait and headed home about 6 p.m. The gondolier had been paddling all day and was hoarse from belting (I presumed) “O Sole Mio.”
On the way out, I noticed a cyclo with a sign that read “No one on bored.”
Good slogan for the day.