Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Archive for February, 2008

Have I got a deal for you…

By awoodall

Like I said, I mean no disrepect but this was a good one:
Shoppers can find just about everything on eBay, including state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata’s Dodge Charger that he drove until he was carjacked at gunpoint in December near North Oakland. The candy-apple red roadster with 22-inch rims, 21,200 miles and leather seats was found in Richmond a day after the theft.
Perata was unharmed.
“Yes indeed, this is Senator Perata’s infamous Charger,” wrote the seller, “yerpaljerry,” evidently a San Francisco resident who provided photographs. The license plate has been removed from the Charger.
Perata’s spokeswoman Alicia Trost said the vehicle identification number matched the Charger.  After the carjacking, the state-leased automobile was sold at auction for $17,800, according to Trost.
The starting bid on eBay was $19,800. The “Buy It Now” price is $22,800. “Low monthly payments” are available. Phone calls to eBay were not returned.
No offers appeared to have been made as of early Wednesday evening, about five days after it was listed on eBay. But potential buyers still had 16 hours to make a move and the seller was kind enough to add a link to the vehicle history report.
“Check this vehicle’s history before you buy, and protect yourself from hidden problems,” suggests the eBay Motors site.
But information about the Charger was not available.

Posted on Wednesday, February 27th, 2008
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Invisible Cities

By awoodall

Mercury 20′s current exhibit “Invisible Cities” has been previewed on Gallery Crawl, KQED’s video podcast. The monthly show is a quick portrait of current activity in the San Francisco Bay Area’s thriving gallery scene. Maya and Antonio, the artists, have some interesting and insightful things to say about painting, identity, and living in the city. Check out the video here. Invisible Cities continues for the next two weekends–Fridays and Saturdays from noon-3pm.

Posted on Thursday, February 21st, 2008
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Living Civil Rights history

By awoodall

Stagebridge storytellers are the “living history” of Civil Rights. Listen to their stores and share in a discussion Monday about the road the country has traveled and the road still ahead. From 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25  at the Golden Gate Branch of the Oakland Public Library. www.oaklandlibrary.org for more info.

Posted on Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
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Is your piggy bank empty?

By awoodall

Okay. This public service announcement isn’t normal night owl territory. But if the answer to my question is yes (join the crowd), you might want to  check out the monthly investment workshop “Planning Your Future” at the Golden Gate Branch of the Oakland Public Library’s Folks. The workshop, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. every second Saturday,  covers topics like taxes and planning for your child’s eduction and, hopefully, surviving a recession while your 401K tanks. www.oaklandlibrary.org for more info.

Posted on Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
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Is tonight a full moon or something?

By awoodall

Right after sunset, a woman was attacked by a bunch of thugs on foot and bike who roughed her up before taking off. Then came the report of a 10-year-old boy driving a Mazda around Foothill Boulevard. Two teens in hoodies were shooting off paintball guns. A woman called Tangerine was raving about her family. And it’s still early…

Posted on Monday, February 18th, 2008
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The Aaascahs at the Speakeasy

By awoodall

Tickets for the Oscar bash at the Parkway and Cerrito speakeasy theaters are on sale now. They went fast yesterday but there’s still some left for you stargazers who want to spiff up for the Academy Awards Feb. 24 on the Speakeasy theaters’ HD big screens. No hipper place to be, I say.
The Parkway will be open 3 p.m. today and the Cerrito opened 1 p.m. Advance tickets $20, limit four per customer, ages 18 and over only.
The Cerrito Oscar Bash will be hosted (with trivia, contests and prizes) by Will the Thrill and Monica Tiki Goddess downstairs http://www.thrillville.net/ and Mr Lobo and the Queen of Trash upstairs http://www.cinemainsomnia.com/
Both screens at the Parkway will be hosted with live skits, trivia, costume contests and more. Doors open 4 p.m. The show goes on 5 p.m.

Posted on Monday, February 18th, 2008
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Valentine’s Day

By awoodall

390589695_593cfeb07a.jpgI can’t help it. I love Valentine’s Day. The kitschy hearts and arrows and cupids. The chocolates and flowers and all that. I was a hard-bitten cynic until about 3rd grade, when a boy by the name of Kelly gave me my first mass-produced, silly card spilling his romantic guts. What a pushover!
But, since my boyfriend is far way in Manhattan this first year, I went out in search of some stories that might cheer me at Cafe Van Kleef, one of the few bars boasting of a special Valentine’s Day cocktail. The “Je t’aime” didn’t quite make the mark for me. Peter Van Kleef said the vodka, ginger ale, grenadine mixture was so named because I love you doesn’t quite sound the same in Dutch. 
He said he got a poem from an erstwhile sweetheart that went something like “You have to like me. You ought’a kiss me.”
So what had I missed out on this Feb. 14? I’m rusty after 15 years of a less than romantic relationship (we chalked it up to a cynical dislike of commercialized holidays but in hindsight I think it was an excuse on his part and a compromise on mine).
Kay Lynn Shreve had the right idea, though. She’s single at the moment but that didn’t stop her from rallying to the occasion by handing out chocolate candies to friends and strangers. A woman who loves Valentine’s Day, Schreve said she didn’t want being single to make her “lie down alone at home.”
Her friend, Alisha Blau and boyfriend went to Alameda’s absinthe tasting bar St. George to toast the romantic holiday that has gotten a bad reputation among other less enthusiastic revelers. Valentine’s Day is “overrated,” said Sarah, who said she refused to shop on Feb. 14 out of principle because the holiday was hyper-commercialized. But she brought her friend Joel (as in the Bible) risotto because he had to work all night while others smooched. Well, their relationship was new and he got her chocolates. But I liked his idea of dressing up in a trenchcoat and serenading her with a boombox. “You looked like you were going to fall in love with him,” Sarah joked, referring to my gaze at his description before I realized it was all a cruel farce. “So was I. But now it’s too late,” she added.
Why can’t these guys put these fantasies into action?
Ray Peretti had the right idea: He handed out chocolates to all the ladies, which got Brigitte Censullo’s attention because it was the first Valentine’s Day gift she had ever received. Her ex-husband’s birthday was Feb. 14, so he got all the attention, said Censullo, who was sipping a grayhound cocktail.
Ahna Coker was wooed the right way by Daniel Awand, who gave her a list of five options — from laser tag to mini golf – for Valentine’s Day. Van Kleef’s was the fifth option and that is where they “somehow ended up” drinking grayhounds and Catholic Protestants. They were adorable.
Lucky girl, Violetta Angel (a name too good to be real?). Her beau Melvin Laird (another great name) escorted her and her blue low-backed blue polyester dress (he was dressed in a trim suit she bought for him) to Quinn’s Lighthouse for a rousing performance by the Pirates. The candy and roses (I was positive he was the candy and roses type) were missing, however. “I don’t care about that,” Angel said. “That was last week, right?” Laird added. He said the flowers were being let to bloom. Was that a secret code? They were both sipping Maker’s Mark and soda.
A friend of mine could teach everyone a lesson that I’ll pass on to you all for use next year. Here’s the recipe that I have modified with my own suggestions: One bunch of red, heart-shaped balloons, one frilly box of chocolates, one card and one bottle of champagne. Place at loved-one’s bedside early morning before he/she wakes. Add one serenade or at least a YouTube song in an e-mail. Top with Chinese take-out at home or at a deserted fountain.  For dessert, pop that champagne served with raspberry muffins.
One bride-to-be gave her fiance some “very progressive” playing cards. That’ll do. He seemed to like them, anyway.
I, on the other hand, was “stale turduckin,” a “linguistically fun phrase” handed down to me by Jeff Pringle — no relation to the meat or potato chip empires – to describe a time when one is not quite as festive as the holiday warrants. His erstwhile sweetheart had come down with bronchitis. “Turduckin, turduckin. That’s what it all comes down to,” Pringle replied when I described my Valentine’s Day disappointment. “It’s a first year kind of thing,” he added.  Yep.  So, I toasted the night and my Spanish Harlem boyfriend with a Manhattan.
(No that snap is not of me. It comes from AlmostPhony, who was about as enthusiastic about Valentine’s Day as I was.) 

Posted on Friday, February 15th, 2008
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Oakland paper, Oakland people

By awoodall

This week just has not been going well, which is strange because it should be considering how beautiful the weather is. Friday night Oakland felt like it was about to blossom after the foul rain and wind that battered us for what seemed like forever. I was out at Flora — my first time, but seeing as it is THE hot-spot right now and I’m writing a follow-up story about the Uptown area, I pulled up a stool at the vintage-style bar and ordered a “Dark and Stormy” cocktail, which would describe this week so far. Maybe it was a sign of things to come?
Enough has been said about Flora, good and bad, so I’ll only comment that it felt like Bogart and Bacall might show up any minute. That’s the kind of vibe the bar and exterior have. The restaurant is different.  So there I was, a little tired, leafing through the Trib when Ira, who’s on the Fox team sidled up to the bar. I have to say the New Yorker brightened the mood. So did seeing a young man and his father sitting next to us reading a story about the reopening of the Fox Oakland theater I had just written in the Trib. What a grand sight. Oakland paper, Oakland restaurant, Oakland folks.
I was testing the renaissance hype about how Flora and the Fox, along with the Paramount, are going to ignite the area and draw people to the existing clubs, like Van Kleef’s and the Uptown, where I headed next. People were indeed out in numbers and looking good that balmy evening for a Jill Scott/Raheem Devaughn show at the Paramount and the band at the Uptown (sorry, forget the name of the band but people were definitely rocking out). The place was packed with night owls, including a reader — a librarian from the East Coast – who was there for the first time having won tickets for the show. It’s interesting to get a perspective from folks that have recently moved here because, seems to me, things are changing fast.  They’ll never know the experience of bountiful parking the way it used to be. Okay, I’d rather sacrifice parking (which I did that night) for some nightlife. But that’s just me. Anyone else noticing this? Are you ready for the trade-off?

Posted on Wednesday, February 13th, 2008
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Afro-Peruvian Cultural Night Saturday

By awoodall

Saturday, February 16
Doors at 8:00 p.m.; Dance lesson at 8:30 p.m.; Show at 10:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 ($12 in advance).
Ashkenaz hosts an Afro-Peruvian festival with food, dance and music. After a dance lesson given by Gabriela Shiroma and Carmen Roman, De Rompe y Raja offers the best of its Afro-Peruvian music and dance repertoire. Come and enjoy the energy of Festejos, the cadence of Lando accompanied by tasteful and syncopated cajones, quijadas and cajitas in an evening designed to uplift spirits and souls. www.derompeyraja.org
I stumbled across a CD of Afro-Peruvian music a while ago and fell in love with the sound.  
Advance tickets are available during evening shows, or (for a fee) through Ticketweb, http://www.ticketweb.com or 866-468-3399. http://www.ashkenaz.com

Posted on Wednesday, February 13th, 2008
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Calling all you history buffs

By awoodall

Here’s another e-mail from a reader to share a tip:

Dear Ms. Woodall;
As a long time Oakland resident, I enjoyed your recent piece about the FOX Oakland theatre restoration, along with other interesting Oakland theater information. Via my interests in Oakland’s history and preservation, I attended the FOX auction in 1978; my kitchen clock (large neon advertisement for ’4 Wheel Brake Oakland’) came from my winning bid at the
late T & D Theatre’s auction circa 1976.
(The T&D was a super swank place that opened in 1916 on 429 11th St. with a Pompeian Room and ladies’ tea parlor where tipping the help was forbidden, according to Theatres of Oakland. Originally the initials stood for the owners, Turner and Dahnken. Later T&D was short for “Tough and Dirty,” a nickname that should tell you something about the theaters fate.)

I’m currently engaged in a personal project documenting and researching
small town movie theaters throughout the US. I’m combining my professional
past in the local film industry with a passion for photography: http://www.rushcreekgallery.com/lfop/index.html

Posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
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