Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Archive for January, 2010

Take off your pants on BART

By awoodall

BART and subway riders around the country will go pantless Sunday because…Well, because…I don’t actually know why. But it sounds fun, I guess. If you don’t have a subway to go pantless on during “No Pants 2010″ you can do it on the bus or even in your car. The solidary counts. In San Francisco, the pantless riders begin 3 p.m. at the 16th/Mission BART station. Where they go from there I can only speculate. Keep it clean, folks.

Posted on Thursday, January 7th, 2010
Under: Night Owl | No Comments »
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A baffling story about crime and Oakland nightlife

By awoodall

The Journal has to be kidding with this article: Oakland Tries to Stir Nightlife by Shaking Up Cabaret Laws
 “This city wants to heat up its nightclub and bar scene by relaxing local cabaret laws that govern its late-night venues. That’s raising safety concerns in a town that already has a reputation for crime,” according to the reporter. What? Since when?  
The reporter does not connect the crime rate to the nightlife except to say that the proposed changes intersect with Oakland’s “spotty safety record” and that “The city’s annual crime rate often places it among California’s most violent towns. While Oakland’s violent crime was down 13% for the first six months of 2009 compared with 2008, reported crime in the city still outpaces other Northern California cities of a similar size, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. For the first six months of 2009, Oakland reported 3,450 incidents of violent crime. In comparison, San Francisco reported 2,931 and Sacramento 2,046.” But the vast majority of those crimes — perhaps all but two or three cases — have NOTHING to do with entertainment. It may be premature to loosen up the cabaret laws but not because of Oaklan’d crime rate. PLLLEASE.

Posted on Wednesday, January 6th, 2010
Under: Night Owl, Oakland nightlife | 6 Comments »
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Can parking fees really solve cities’ budget crisis?

By awoodall

The word on the street is that cash-strapped Chicago is emulating Oakland by turning to parking meter fee hikes. Windy City residents did not react well to the news. We feel for you, Chicago.
I have always wondered why some cities, such as New York, do not seem to rely so heavily on meters, parking zones and have a far (FAR FAR FAR) more rational street-cleaning procedure. And the city is not going bankrupt. Where do they get the money???
Elsewhere, like Chicago and Oakland,officials are trying to suck out every dime they can from meters and 2-hour parking zones covering as many square inches as possible. I won’t even talk about street cleaning, expect to say that Oakland gets kudos for finally moving back the hours downtown. Park Street merchants, I noticed, took a different approach during the holidays by banding together to offer shoppers on the busy street several hours of free parking. (Meanwhile, the Grand Lake area merchants were still predicting doomsday because the city jacked up the parking rates.)
The same goes with public transportation. Why can most of the world provide reliable, cheap and fast subways, whereas the Bay Area relies on trains that run infrequently, shut down early and  are more expensive for a family of four than driving (RT from Oakland to Embarcadero, just a couple of miles, is $6.20 per person = $25. Driving costs at most $15 — even less if parking is not involved.) New York’s subway gets you from one end of Manhattan to Coney Island and back for about $5. That is a long distance. Really, Portland, New York, Boston, London, Paris, Sarajevo and Zagreb have better systems than the Bay Area.
Parking rates would not drive me away from Oakland or any other city. But that, coupled with a high cost of living, limited amenities and an expensive, weak, unresponsive public transportation system like BART makes me feel like the Bay Area just isn’t worth it anymore no matter how good the weather is.

Posted on Wednesday, January 6th, 2010
Under: Night Owl | 7 Comments »
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Oakland Shuttle is no night owl

By awoodall

I already covered this ground — the shuttle that will run between West Grand Avenue and Jack London Square — but here is an update from the Trib today. Despite the fact that the shuttle only runs until 7 p.m. the shuttle is being hyped as a way to lure people downtown. The city is still trying to come up with more money to extend the hours  beyond 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (nothing to sneeze at of course.)  In the meantime, or at least in May or June when the shuttle starts service, people will be able to get to those restaurants and theaters in the evening hours. But they’ll have to find their way back to point A. We’ll see soon whether the city’s taxis will be able to pick up the slack.

Posted on Tuesday, January 5th, 2010
Under: Night Owl, Oakland nightlife | No Comments »
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A new scene in Old Oakland

By awoodall

Considering the address — Old Oakland — Chris Klein could have picked a better name than Oaksterdam Tattoo. If he had put the tattoo parlor in Oaksterdam territory there might not have been much fuss. But putting it on Washington Street next to Ratto’s guaranteed neighbors would raise an eyebrow. And they did, according to Klein. That is to be expected when you slap the name Oaksterdam on anything, especially on a tattoo parlor. He said he still gets stray calls by people looking for the green stuff, and I don’t mean ink. But the critics have eased off.
Klein  opened Dec. 18, a couple weeks after the bitchy chatter on Internet sites (“First a tattoo parlor. What’s next? A brothel?” and “Are we that desperate for businesses?”) died down. You could easily mistake the parlor for a gallery except for the sign on the window written in the A’s signature green and white swish, which does not really reflect what is behind the storefront.  A Victorian-era ceiling soars above tattoo stations where “Priest” sat steadily transforming a man’s back into a riot of  multicolored flora and fauna. Paintings by the tattoo artists hang on the startk white walls. There are no drunken sailors or brazen hussies, at least not this afternoon. The sidewalk was filled instead Caffe 817 patrons soaking up the wan winter sun.
Klein, a musician and artist, has kept the front area open for people waiting to turn their skin into a human canvas, as well as for entertainment on Frist Fridays.  Nothing big.  At least nothing like in New Orleans, which is where he moved from.  Further on but not far are two more new (and evidently less controversial ) additions to the neighborhood. The white-walled Collect gallery on Broadway opened Jan. 2 with a screening of film shorts (Oh thank you great culture muse in the sky). Next up is Jan. 12.
Collect gallery on Broadway, OaklandCollect is the second storefront being filled by Leila Banijamali and Lauren Geremia. The duo’s other gallery around the corner on Ninth bears the latter’s name, Geremia Design. Together with pioneer FIVEten Studio (oh please don’t go!) the galleries and parlor create a sort of four-cornered Old Oakland art scene. Banijamali and Geremia call themselves San Francisco designers and entrepreneurs. Perhaps. But even if that is their pedigree why do they named the Web site CollectArtSF if both of their “well-appointed galleries” are in Oakland. Was CollectArtOakland taken? You might say I’m being unfair because it is the URL we’re talking about. But: Oaksterdam might be a poor choice of names for the neighborhood but at least the name reflects the city it’s in.

Posted on Monday, January 4th, 2010
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl, oakland a's, Old Oakland, Uncategorized | No Comments »
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