Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Archive for December, 2007

Day 365 of one hellish year

By awoodall

Midnight: Can’t sleep. Finally doze off 5 a.m.
10 a.m.: Wake up to news from my dentist’s office that they’ve sent my prescription (which keeps me from heart failure during dental work — long story but sufficient to say the antibiotics are sort of mandatory) to Kaiser Hayward’s pharmacy. I’ve been in Hayward about three times in my life.
10:30 a.m.: Finally get some heat in my apartment that feels like Antarctica. I grab a maintenance man I hear rummaging around in the cellar to relight the pilot light — it went out Friday when I tried to put the cover back after the last maintenance man ignited it.
11 a.m.: Call Kaiser to get prescription sent to Oakland. I can pick it up tomorrow but will have to wait while they fill it — even though it was originally called in to Hayward nearly a week ago.
11:15 a.m.: Feel dizzy and begin seeing distinct shapes of wavy, gaseous shapes out of the corner of my left eye. Spreads to both eyes and now fully halucinogenic.
11:17 a.m.: Turn off heater.
11: 19 a.m.: Dizziness and blurry visions stop.
12:30 p.m.: Discover flat tire while taking car for SMOG inspection — new $400 tires less than a month old. 
12:31 p.m.: Ask self “Am I cursed?”

This has been a hell of a year. I ended a relationship of 15 years + two children; moved into an apartment about the size of the livingroom in my old house (but not before my laptop was ripped off from the house before I moved); started a new job (here at the Trib); then had my laptop and cameras stolen from burglarized apartment. That wasn’t enough. My car was broken into and not only did the thieves rip out the dashboard to get my new radio out but they took my sports bras (any woman knows how expensive those suckers are). Then my boyfriend moved away for six months and I cracked my femur, which still hasn’t healed. Surgery is planned for January, but I’m not taking any chances: I’m planning to put a big bulls eye on the correct leg. I only have one left one, you know. Then my transmission went the day after Christmas and I had to spent $1,700 for a new one. Well, at least I passed the SMOG test.
So, I’m hoping for a much better year in 2008. Message to the Universe, which is apparently having a blast messing with me: I’ve had enough.

Posted on Monday, December 31st, 2007
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Awaken your love for O-Town

By awoodall

awakencafesticker.jpgMove over Oaksterdam. Here comes SOBO (South of Broadway  – the new buzzword for the boutique haven  around the 300 block of 17th Street, between Franklin and Webster, and, of course, surrounding streets). The latest addition to the fancification of downtown is the ephemeral Awaken Cafe, whose motto is (see the bumpersticker) ”I love Oakland. Awaken your Pride in Oakland.”  People are literally paying $1000 in advance to replace the Golden Bull Cocktail Lounge at 414 14th St. with the slick, hipster Awaken Cafe . Construction is running a little late (maybe they should drink more coffee?), according to the Web site and blog, but when it opens, the cafe is supposed to wake folks up with the stuff that people expect from a cafe — coffee for instance – as well as offer a beer and wine bar, organic eatery, art gallery and performance space.
I know it’s for the better, but I was sort of sad to see that truly funky Golden Bull lounge go ( I already said I know it’s for the better. I guess I just they could co-exist). But the new neighbors should make Joyce Gordon happy. The art gallery pioneer has been like an island over in the dark corridor.
BTW, in case you were burning to ask Where can I get one of those I Love Oakland stickers, the answer is e-mail the folks at Awaken Café — cortt@awakencafe.com or kari@awakencafe.com.  They’ll tell you all you need to know.

Posted on Sunday, December 30th, 2007
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While we’re on the subject…

By awoodall

Speaking of sounds, here is something groovy to balance out the last post about Dan Deacon (No disrespect…Just making sure you all got options).  Kev Choice is supposed to be down at the Black New World on Pine Street midnight Jan. 4.  for this months installment of his Junction hip-hop show. Cool.  

Posted on Friday, December 28th, 2007
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Bending with Mr. One-Man Band

By awoodall

This guy, Dan Deacon, is great! He’s a one-man band from my second (or maybe third) favorite city, Baltimore. He’s like the Superman of sampling and totally addicting. Warning: This is not dance-safe music. (BTW, Oakland is my first favorite.)
deacon.jpg

Posted on Friday, December 28th, 2007
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Popped in Oakland

By awoodall

You guys ever see this? ”Popped in Oakland.” The film is aging fast but the sentiment on the streets is about the same.  

Posted on Friday, December 28th, 2007
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NYE the Eritrean way

By awoodall

Something different for some of us. The “Official” (Eritrean) New Year’s Eve Party at Sweet’s Ballroom (1933 Broadway, Oakland). Ring in the New Year to the sounds of the tiny but hella spunky East African country with Wedi Zager, Haile Ghebru, Habtom Debessai, Yemane Kidane and Efrem T/Yesus. I don’t know who these guys are but I bet plenty do and the rest of us can look them up on the Web. Doors open 8:30 p.m. and tickets are $30 ($40 after 11 p.m.) according to the flyer I picked up at a little Eritrean cafe called Alem’s on Claremont Blvd., across the street the DMV and next door to the mysterious Columbo Club. I liked it better when it was Diego’s. On the other hand, now they have tasty Eritrean treats and old Eritrean men who speak Italian (Eritrea was once an Italian colony).  
Anyway, the Web site to see for more info is www.bahlnaproductions.com or call (510) 681-3000.
Ciao.  

Posted on Friday, December 28th, 2007
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The “Billgrimage”

By awoodall

From the official Clinton House Web site: The “Billgrimage” is an exciting opportunity not only to see sites related to President Clinton’s time in Arkansas, but also to experience the beauty and charm of his home state as you make your way from one site to the next. An Arkansas Passport featuring the four Clinton cities, Hope, Hot Springs, Little Rock and Fayetteville, has been created to help you enjoy your visit.  The passport has information about Clinton site seeing opportunities in these cities.  
At each of the four locations you will get your passport stamped with a unique stamp representing that site.  
AWESOME!

Posted on Thursday, December 27th, 2007
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THe Hit and Run dept.

By awoodall

There were three hit-and-runs within as many hours around the East Bay. No injuries, acc. to CHP’s Web site. But still…The first one happened 4:41 p.m. in Oakland on Westbound I-80, then came the next one at 7:07 on Freedom Avenue at 150th Avenue (also in Oakland). That one was followed by a David and Goliath collision five minutes later, when a big-rig car carrier hit a Nissan in Dublin at the Northbound Hopyard Road onramp to Westbound 580. I’ll stick to flying, thanks.

Posted on Wednesday, December 26th, 2007
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Ballet Nation

By awoodall

You can say one thing about Oakland: We appreciate our ballet. You couldn’t miss the love for The Oakland Ballet Friday night at the opening night of “The Nutracker.” I’ve never heard so much clapping and cheering for ballerinas. I almost expected them to holler something like “Hello Oakland! You ready to get down?” like rock stars at a reunion concert. The crowd would have roared “Yeah! Bring it on!”  The Oakland East Bay Symphony, playing Tchaikovsky’s score, was on fire. The Paramount Theatre, glowing in all its Art Deco glory, was packed in the center section, and the wings were pretty full too, with fans in everything from hoodies and hip-hop baggy jeans to elegant black dresses. (Although two women went a little too far with their hats that we had to insist they take off for the sake of our view.) I heard German speakers, Spanish speakers, city-slang, high-brow discourse and lots of laughter. 

The audience went ga ga over the “Arabian dance” (the “coffee” piece), which the dancers turned into a sultry duet. Someone called out suggestively — humorously though. The music alone is beguiling (try to find Duke Ellington’s version of it, called ”Arabesque Cookie”). And the Pad de Deux near the end was languid and romantic. You’d hear someone burst into applause even when the timing was wrong. But it was nothing compared to the ovation for the dancers and their maestro Ronn Guidi, likened by one fan to a Don Quixote in ballet slippers for his role in reviving The Oakland Ballet. (How many ballet directors have a fan base?) Anyway, it was great fun to see our city all turned out for the ballet. We have the Raider Nation and the Ballet Nation.

Posted on Sunday, December 23rd, 2007
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A jazzman turns 100

By awoodall

Rhythm guitarist Lawrence Lucie, who is the last living person to have played with Duke Ellington  at New York’s Cotton Club, was living it up this week to celebrate his 100th birthday, according to the New York Times. Happy Birthday, Mr. Lucie, who played with Benny Carter in 1934 at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem — the year black customers were allowed inside, as well as with Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson, Coleman Hawkins, Jelly Roll Morton and Billie Holiday, the NYT article said. His advice for longevity (his last gig was 2005) as quoted in the story: “I didn’t have but one woman at a time. I didn’t drink a lot of whiskey. I did what my father (a jazz musician and barber) told me to do.”

Posted on Wednesday, December 19th, 2007
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