Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Archive for January, 2008

So So So Sad

By awoodall

OH man. Tonight was just too much. I always walk away from a crime scene (the Night Owl also includes covering night crime) with a feeling of sadness and regret. For the first time tonight, however, I feel the way many people at the crime scenes describe: like violence is out of control. A young man was gunned down about 5:30 at a community park, the Linden Street Community Plaza on 43rd and Linden, right behind a charter school and the Destiny Arts Center.  When I looked up and saw the Destiny Arts banner it really hit me in the gut. My children spent several years at Destiny’s Teddy Bear Club, when the center was over on San Pablo.  That’s why I didn’t expect to see the banner.  The center is all about helping our kids rise above the violence that seeps into their lives. But there were more than 50 children in the building when the five shots rang out.
The victim evidently was shot outside the park then went inside, near the playground, where he was found.
The director of the school and artistic director of Destiny really stepped up in a way that I think showed their true colors. They’re the ones who called 9-1-1. The artistic director made sure the kids were safe, including the victim’s niece who was attending a Destiny program, then talked with them and worked through the incident (they’ll continue to do so). The school’s director went out with some Destiny staff and stayed with the victim for 20 minutes until an ambulance arrived. That says a lot to me about their spirit and that they “walk the walk,” for lack of better words. 
Just a few hours earlier and less than  mile away from the Linden Park shooting, a man was gunned down around the 3800 block of MLK, right down the street from Marcus Books and a house with Food not Bombs and Stop the War slogans in the window. I heard that a witness called police from Marcus Books. What an irony. Two shootings near places that are trying to make the city a better place. Even though it wasn’t my family or neighborhood, for the first time the violence feels barbaric. And I feel angry and sort of hopeless. It’s the first time I have an inkling of what people slammed by shootings feel  when they say they feel like the violence is out of control. I have been in places recovering from war, so I know Oakland is not a war zone. But after tonight I understand a little more how people can say that it feels like a war zone. It’s feeling like nowhere is safe, that violence can hit anywhere at anytime. That their lives are unsafe. How can you not when a shooting happens at a park (which police said was usually quiet) right behind an organization so dedicated to helping people rise above the violence and create peaceful lives for themselves and their communities?  That’s just f’ed up. I love O-Town, think it’s a brilliant city, wouldn’t be anywhere else. But tonight was so so so sad, folks.

Posted on Wednesday, January 30th, 2008
Under: Uncategorized | 4 Comments »
Leave a comment

Freight & Salvage goes downtown

By awoodall

Just in from the folks over at The Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse: The longest-established full-time folk and traditional music venue west of the Mississippi River, has started renovation of a 70-year-old building at 2020 Addison Street in Berkeley’s Downtown Arts District, transforming it into its new, 18,000-square-foot green performing arts and teaching facility. entrancefsalvage.jpg
The nonprofit organization’s new home, slated to open in early 2009, will have a 440-seat listening room, double the capacity of its existing venue. The plans also include an additional performance space seating 60-70 people, a state-of-the-art sound system, a café, and six classrooms. The all-ages, family-friendly operation plans to expand its music education program, offering workshops, lessons, and master classes.
You’ll surely be hearing more about this in The Trib.

Posted on Wednesday, January 30th, 2008
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Leave a comment

Last minute activist soiree

By awoodall

The ”Focus the Nation” teach-in inspired effort will kick off 7 p.m. Wednesday night, Jan. 30, at the Nomad Cafe with “2% Solution,” a Webcast produced by the National Wildlife Federation and aired by the Earth Day Network.
Panelists will include actor Edward Norton, Stanford climate scientist Steve Schneider, Hunter Lovins, CEO, Natural Capitalism and environmental justice leader, Van Jones, executive director, Ella Baker Center in Oakland, Calif.
The Green Café Network and Nomad will host a free screening of “2% Solution,” followed by Q&A and discussion.  They will also screen a 20-minute film, “The Story of Stuff,” produced by Free Range Studios with host Annie Leonard. 
After screening the “2% Solution,” participants will be encouraged to vote on what they think are the top five solutions from a list of 10 that are available at www.focusthenation.org. Vote results will be presented nationally in mid February. All students who vote on the Choose Your Future ballot will be eligible to win a $10,000 leadership scholarship for a project to be completed by end of August 2008.  The Nomad is located at 6500 Shattuck Ave.  The tel# is (510) 595-5344.

Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2008
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Leave a comment

Last chance saloon: Voodoo Hoodoo at the Lucky Ju Ju

By awoodall

“Mythos” by Kevin Evans at the brilliantly named Lucky Ju Ju Pinball Art Gallery (713 Santa Clara St., Alameda) ends  Wednesday, Jan. 30. Get it while you can.  

Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2008
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Leave a comment

Overheard: A really bad night

By awoodall

“He’s bipolar, an alcoholic and he has a knife” — reported to Oakland police Monday evening.

Posted on Monday, January 28th, 2008
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Leave a comment

Rock-and-Bowl

By awoodall

497200859_45e7ce0155.jpgPicture yourself beginning 10 p.m. Mondays with a pitcher of Bud and a bowling ball playing out your suburban, stationwagon-driving fantasies at the Albany Bowl.
Schlemiel! Schlemazl! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated! It’s a steal at only $1.50 a game.  Albany Bowl is located at 540 San Pablo Ave. (Albanybowl.biz)
Actually, I happened to pass by there yesterday from the Cerrito Speakeasy, where I saw a matinee of “Sweeny Todd” (I am the only person I know who actually liked the film), and was stunned at the bustle in that little section of El Cerrito by the BART station. The Cerrito, three cool cafes, the big shopping center, little stores, a hardware store that is NOT Home Depot, etc. It used to be dead over there.  Closer to Solano Ave. (which is its own success story), are the Albany Bowl, stores, cafes, shops and Kingman’s Ivy Room, which, as I told my daughters while driving by, my mouth agape, used to be a pretty murky bar at times. I’ve meaning to get to the Ivy Room since it changed ownership. I remember Kingman from the days when he ran a cafe on Lakeshore and I lived up on Mandana. I practically studied my way through college there, when they were waiting to just get a beer and wine license. Then came Kingman’s Lucky Lounge on Grand and now he has pretty much built a hip empire of hooch.
(BTW, photo is by Thomas Hawk)

Posted on Monday, January 28th, 2008
Under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
Leave a comment

Missouri Loves Company

By awoodall

After I finished up the story about Downtown Oakland nightlife for today’s Trib, I headed to what I think is destined to be one of my favorite bars: the Missouri Lounge. Basic beer, honky-tonk feel, old-time gritty Blues on the juke box, velour sofas(!) and a pool table. What more could a night owl ask for?  It’s a pretty cool little shack (“the most elegant dive bar in Berkeley”) with what definitely is my all-time favorite drink special — $5 whiskey & a can o’beer. I don’t want to drink it. Just love the way it sounds all stripped down to the divey bones. Bartender Charlie said the lounge, which new owners brought up from a seriously seedy bar in the middle of no man’s land down there, has a DJ about every night and the customers are cool and constantly new.  Since I had forgotten the address (2600 San Pablo), I had to search pretty hard until I finally spotted the plain beige facade that faces the BofA instead of looking out on the San Pablo corridor. It was dark, stormy and I was tired, so there you go. If you haven’t gone down to the Missouri, I suggest doing so soon. No telling how long  a dive bar will last around that now condo-prone neighborhood.

Posted on Friday, January 25th, 2008
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Leave a comment

Write your heart out Jan. 28

By awoodall

Ever feel inspired by the necklace of lights around Lake Merritt? Jan. 28 is the next installment of the monthly writers workshop at the Lakeview branch of the Oakland Library from 6 to 8 pm. gertwalk.gifWatch out Gertrude Stein, here I come!
The library is located 550 El Embarcadero.
The Web site is www.oaklandlibrary.org and the phone is (510) 238-7344.

Rock out, book worms!

Posted on Friday, January 25th, 2008
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Leave a comment

Get to know your Bay Area writers Jan 27

By awoodall

I admit it. I’m a book worm. So this caught my eye: Famous members of the Bay Area literary community pay tribute Jan. 27 to our writers who died in 2007. Friends, relatives and colleagues of the authors celebrate their work and lives with readings, personal stories and reflections. Gerry Nicosia is the host for the event that begins 1 p.m. at the SF Public Library in the Civic Center, 100 Larkin St, http://sfp14.sfpl.org, (415) 557-4400.  Write on! (hopefully the pun worked…)

Posted on Friday, January 25th, 2008
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Leave a comment

aka It Won’t Rub Off, Baby!

By awoodall

That’s the alter-ego title of the film Sweet Love, Bitter showing at the Pacific Film Archive Jan. 24 in Berkeley as part of the Cool World: Jazz and the Movies festival. Here’s what the curator has to say about the film: A recently retrieved gem from the sixties, Sweet Love, Bitter shadows the life of Charlie “Yardbird” Parker with radical black comedian Dick Gregory in the solo spot. Gregory’s character, Richie “Eagle” Stokes, is a saxophonist of misunderstood repute, a mind-blowing bebopper whose real love is in vein; we first meet him in a pawnshop, where he is swapping his sax for the next fix. But it’s not drugs that are his downfall, nor jazz, but racism, plain and simple, and all the humiliation and injustice it carries. Sweet Love, Bitter righteously plays the race card with a trio of beat buddies: Dave (Don Murray), a dropout professor who befriends the agonized Eagle; and Della (Diana Varsi), a white hipster in love with Keel (Robert Hooks), a black coffeehouse owner. With all his ability to blow off the beat, Eagle just can’t get in step with society. For this alto giant, there’s no place to go but the lower registers. Read more about the festival and the films scheduled on the PFA Web site.

Posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Leave a comment