Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

First Friday arts, Constant Drummer

By awoodall
Monday, December 7th, 2009 at 12:51 pm in Art Murmur, Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl.

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.

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