Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Archive for December, 2009

Monaghan’s opens in Oakland

By awoodall

From the SF Marina District to the Oakland hills comes Monaghan’s, an Irish-themed pub and sports bar. The new location, ironically, is near the Mormon Temple, at 2820 Mountain Blvd. “Monaghan’s on the Hill” opened this weekend. More to come.

Posted on Monday, December 21st, 2009
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife | No Comments »
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Police patrolling West Oakland BART tonight

By awoodall

BART and OPD officers will be out in force  on foot tonight at the West Oakland station and an OPD van will be taking riders to the perimeter of parking lots.  I don’t know why that lot in particular but stay safe no matter what station you’re at.

 

We have done some media outreach and there has already been some
interest from the media!  Just another positive thing OPD is doing in the
community!       

 

Note: This program has been approved by Captain Toribio. (Area 1)

Posted on Friday, December 18th, 2009
Under: Night Owl, Oakland Police Department | No Comments »
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Velvet lounge hits a few snags

By awoodall

Lounge 3411 has replaced Velvet, perhaps the world’s only Raiders friendly gay bar. What is this world coming to?

Posted on Thursday, December 17th, 2009
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl | No Comments »
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Did you know?

By awoodall

I am irrationally exuberant over learning that Jack Soo, the wry, long-faced Asian American detective in the Barney Miller show was an Oakland native. The comedy cop show was a favorite of mine growing up. But I never realized how righteous Barney got during every episode or that Soo’s character “Nick Yemana” was the first Asian American character in a regular TV series.  Do you remember how his terrible coffee was a running joke on the show? 
The Oakland native got his start — after being interned during World War II – performing in nightclubs. His first big break was a part in the landmark musical Flower Drum Song. But the Japanese American had to change his name from Goro Suzuki to something more “Chinese” to get the part. Soo is closer to a Korean spelling than Chinese.  That’s why I thought he was Korean and decided to look him up while we were watching an episode the other night. Weirdly enough, we were watching his last episode before he died in 1979.  I would love to see a Warhol style painting (a la Marilyn, James Dean, etc) but with Soo’s face.
Okay, navel-gazers, who are the other famous Oaklanders we don’t often hear about? Surprise me, please!

Posted on Monday, December 14th, 2009
Under: Night Owl | 3 Comments »
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The best way to get to Encuentro (finally open!)

By awoodall

The “Holiday Buy Night” waterfront bazaar tonight on Jack London Square does not lack for creative indie merchants. But the food was a bit on the scarce side Thursday night. So here is my suggestion for making the most of the scene. Start with a tour of the bottom level of the market hall (given over to the bazaar for Thursday and Friday) then head upstairs for a glass of beer or wine and a tamale. Then circle the second floor. The shopping and credit card swiping will help you burn off the tamale and work up an appetite so that when you have found the perfect (PERFECT!) gift for all — even a Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig or Raiders action hero doll for Uncle Joe — you can glide by the nearby Oakbook gallery shopping-for-art show opening tonight, then stroll (or waddle if you have stopped off at Bocanova, Miss Pearl’s etc.) to Encuentro, the latest venture of Oakland entrepreneur and developer Merritt Sher, his daughter, Lacey Sher, and his fellow Metrovation real estate brain trust Linda Braz. The tapas cafe/wine bar opened Dec. 4 and has Millennium chef Eric Tucker at the helm. The boite on 202  Second St. has been in the making for quite some time and behind schedule at least a year, if I recall correctly, proving that the hurdles are high even for a three people with sway and experience. I have heard from others that the biggest hurdle is a certain Alameda County health dept. inspector. More on that later. The wait sounds worth peppered portobello mushrooms with caramelized fennel and onions and smoked goat cheddar or smoked pecan cheese with caper aioli (!!!).  I am such a sucker for capers. And, speaking of waddling, Miette’s retail store is open for cake orders and will open fully soon soon soon!

Posted on Friday, December 11th, 2009
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl | No Comments »
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A beer at lunch

By awoodall

Speaking of lagers, this recommendation comes from McSweeney’s. I thought it apt considering my last post:
A beer at lunch, just every once in a while
Have a lager, no an ale, no no: a lager. Every once in a while. It adds character to your meal and definition to your day. Try it at a sun-lit table away from the bar and looking out to the corner intersection. Take a gentle sip when you see that woman with the stroller cross the street. Set it down and grab another forkful of salad, another bite of pickle-topped burger, another ketchup-dipped fry.

Posted on Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
Under: Night Owl | No Comments »
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Bleeding Heart Lager

By awoodall

I suppose you have all heard that the East Bay Express has launched a signature brew: Bleeding Hearts Lager, produced by Linden Street Brewery. Now, journalists have long had a healthy thirst for drink even though few of them nip at work the way they did in movies.  Editors and reporters are as likely to rest their posteriors on an exercise bike as on a barstool. But EBX is keeping the idea of boozy newspapermen and women alive by slapping their name on a beer label. I do think a lager is inappropriate for a beer named after a newsweekly, however. Not because of the business relationship involved. No.  The product should, in all decency, be closer to a Pabst Blue Ribbon or at least much more bitter.  Anyway, Bleeding Hearts Lager is being unveiled Thursday and Friday at the ”Holiday Buy Night” market on Jack London Square, 5 to 10 p.m.  Crafts, food, drink, music, theater.

Posted on Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
Under: Night Owl | No Comments »
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First Friday arts, Constant Drummer

By awoodall

This weekend featured one of those nights when the art takes a backseat to the flourishing spectacle of First Friday. Constant Dancer was replaced by Constant Drummer, who provided the musical backdrop on his drum and suitcase to the bustle along with the band on the bus parked halfway down 23rd Street.  It was very Grateful Dead meets Cheech and Chong, or is that redundant?  
A woman lifted her arm to swig down the last gulp of whiskey from a pint as she passed me by. Luka’s and Franklin Square Wine bar were so full we couldn’t get a seat for dinner. We ended up at Levende East, which is not a bad compromise. Success is a double-edged sword, of which I was on the wrong side Friday. Rock Paper Scissors locked visitors out for some reason. Hatch was so packed that even if I could have squeezed in I wouldn’t have had a chance to look at the work on the walls before being propelled forward into the mass of humanity, of which a few smelled less than fresh.  Next door, a few pieces next door caught my eye but again it was so busy I didn’t have a chance to stop long enough to write down the titles and artists. The newest installment of gallery to fill the old Esteban Sabar space seems more commercially viable and abstract than I am used to seeing in that corner of Art Murmur. I see a lot of cartoon and illustration influence in the work of contemporary Oakland artists. I am seeing the effect rub off on my daughters’ work, which is a strange process to observe. One of them was part of the Oakland School for the Arts show Friday, which was about the only First Friday venue downtown (Fox Theater annex) to focus on…art. The students produced six or more pieces for the show, titled and priced them. And I have to say they turned out some work that rivaled other galleries. I am biased and fairly unqualified to make that judgment. But even I could see the distribution of talent Friday night was not even across the city.

Posted on Monday, December 7th, 2009
Under: Art Murmur, Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl | No Comments »
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Taste of the Paradiso

By awoodall

That was fast! Paradiso Lounge is up and running complete with cabaret license. The lounge on Telegraph Avenue near West Grand opened weekends this month. But Friday night was the official launch with a band that sounded like Fishbone and had heads bobbing to a pre-gangsta rap hip-hop mixed with Ska 80s sort of sound.  It was pure coincidence that I landed there Friday. My boyfriend and his family, who had come down for a bit of Oakland sightseeing, actually stumbled across Paradiso on the way to Tel and 22nd, where indie merchants and musicians had set up for First Friday. I thought I was supposed to meet them at 2022. I realized my error pretty fast: there was one group inside.  But I happened to strike up a conversation with the owner who was standing outside 2022 and who mentioned his club was having an opening night party. Of course, it was Paradiso where I was headed. I want to go back and see what the space looks like on regular nights. It was pretty crowded Friday night so I only got a taste of Paradiso, so to speak. I spent most of the time at the back of the main downstairs bar. Another smaller bar is upstairs in a separate room. Will reveal all in Friday’s Night Owl.

Posted on Monday, December 7th, 2009
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl | No Comments »
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More police news

By awoodall

I just finished an update to the Thursday night shooting, which turned out to be a lot more complicated than it sounded last night. That always happens to me: whenever I expect a shooting or otherwise fatality to be routine (excuse the expression) the story turns out to be more involved. That is because what sounds like breaking news often fizzles out. A car hanging from a bridge turns out to be a fender-bender. A body floating in Lake Merritt turns out to be a sandbag. I have learned to take a few extra minutes but in some cases the mantra is “you never know until you get there.” The biggest surprise last night was not the complicated shooting story but Oakland police. The new chief actually asked reporters if we needed a comment right away instead of waiting for the spokesman to arrive in half an hour or longer. And the officers were friendly. They escorted residents as best they could back into the building (the woman with seven or eight kids) or brought out children to frantic family.  They at least listened to people asking to get in. I have heard them more than once do little more than grunt at people locked out at night in the cold from their homes because of a homicide. The neighbors weren’t nearly as combattative, either. I haven’t had time to ask anyone about it yet. Could be a fluke. But I hope not.

Posted on Friday, December 4th, 2009
Under: Night Owl, Oakland Police Department | 5 Comments »
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