Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Art Murmur

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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Art Murmur-First Fridays

By awoodall

I hope the story in tomorrow’s Trib (online now) about the evolution of Oakland’s art scene doesn’t sound like I’m trashing Art Murmur-First Fridays. But I think it’s worth asking how they have changed and how the changes affect the overall picture.

Posted on Thursday, August 13th, 2009
Under: Art Murmur, Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl | No Comments »
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Irish artists in Oakland

By awoodall

How Do You Know
An exchange show at Blankspace Gallery on San Pablo of Irish artists curated by Gallery 126 in Galway, Ireland.

August 6 – August 30, 2009

Opening reception: First Friday, August 7th 7-10pm

Posted on Saturday, August 1st, 2009
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Firm says stop using First Fridays

By awoodall

So word has it that a group called FirstFridays.com (or something similar) is saying that no one can use the double-F moniker. The group, which was East Coast based but recently opened a branch in SF as I understand it, went so far as to call up the East Bay Express to complain about its list of First Friday venues. If the story and threat are true, the group is going to have a whopper of a time weeding out all the First Fridays around the country. A Google search for First Fridays brings up cities from Las Vegas to Kansas City to Philly. Even our Oakland Museum and the LA Museum of Natural History host First Fridays.
Art galleries carefully guard the “Art Murmur” label already. So other cities are turning to First Saturdays (in Berkeley) and Second Fridays (in Alameda) and the “Estuary Art Attack” (an Alameda-Jingletown corridor).  We could go for Fridays First if that’s not taken too. I have to look up the sites listing the trademarks to see what the validity of the company’s claim is.

Posted on Friday, May 1st, 2009
Under: Art Murmur, Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl | No Comments »
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Terry Furry makes boxers sexy

By awoodall

Mr. Furry’s show at Awaken Cafe…

Posted on Friday, May 1st, 2009
Under: Art Murmur, Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl | No Comments »
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Hot Friday night and more news

By awoodall

This Friday is going to be off the hook. It’s not enough that the Fox Theater is finally opening Thursday (swoon). Friday night (here is a full calendar) Social Distortion is taking the stage, followed Saturday by Michael Franti and Spearhead. Then, (my heart is pouding) Lee “Scratch” Perry – the maddest baddest reggae Kingston King who taught Master Marley a thing or two about cranking up the bass, way way up – will be standing right there Feb. 20 on the stage of the Fox. So will B.B. King, the Emporer of Blues, who is not too hip in his elder years to have a Web site, in April. Oh wait. That is so not all (should I be this excited?). Feb. 6 also is the ever-expanding First Friday and you know what that means. Every gallery, bar, restaurant, lounge and cabaret will be getting in on the act. Flora is going to be flooded along with — I presume – the Uptown, Ozumo, Mua, Luka’s, B Restaurant, Air Lounge, Levende East and every other place (Arsimona, Air Lounge etc etc etc) within a two-mile radius will too. The artsy lounge in the works in the Art Murmur heartland (Broadway and West Grand) is not yet open but Sidebar will be opening its doors Friday for the first time under the new ownership. Meanwhile, Kimball’s on Washington and 2nd streets is expanding. They want to put out tables on Washington and serve lunch and dinner. And the Cock-a-Doodle Cafe at Washington and 8th is applying for a liquor license. Now if we can just get some hotels built around here we’d be looking pretty fancy.

Posted on Monday, February 2nd, 2009
Under: Art Murmur, Fox Theatre, Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife, Old Oakland | No Comments »
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Rocking the art scene

By awoodall

Zines rock the art world. That’s what I wrote about in this week’s Night Owl that was held up a day because there was just no space for it in Friday’s paper. Between the resignation of the disgraced Emeryville schools’ chief to the tree sitters in Berkeley, it has been a hell of a busy week and I missed the opening party that I actually was looking forward to: A Love Supreme photo show at Bryon Malik’s studio on Market Street and maybe a few stops down on West Grand to check things out. Word is the ink will be dry on a lease to fill the space vacated suddenly this summer by Esteban Sabar. The new gallery (it’s too early to name names yet) should be open in September and ready to show in time for the October Art Murmur.

Posted on Saturday, September 6th, 2008
Under: Art Murmur, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife | No Comments »
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July 4 Art Murmur

By awoodall

It might be July 4 Independence Day but that won’t stop the first Fridays Art Murmur gallery stroll. Mercury 20 will be open from 6-9pm and invites folks to drop by after the picnic and before the fireworks for the opening of two shows: Fields of Disturbance, paintings by Joan Weiss and Misremembering You, mixed media and sculpture by Chela Fielding.
Visit the Web site for interviews with gallery artists. Can you guess which of Mercury 20 featured artists was the nanny for a famous feminist artist? Who hopped a train and rode the grain car to Sparks and back? Check out the interviews for answers to those questions and more:
Mercury 20 is at 25 Grand Ave (at Broadway) in downtown Oakland. For more info, call Kathleen at 510-701-4620 or email mercurytwenty@gmail.com.

 

Posted on Thursday, July 3rd, 2008
Under: Art Murmur, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife | 2 Comments »
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O-Town CALL FOR MEDIA ARTWORK

By awoodall

The Great Wall of Oakland film submissionsTHE GREAT WALL OF OAKLAND: The City of Oakland is now accepting works for possible screening on the “Great Wall of Oakland.” This 100 by 100-foot outdoor wall overlooks the busy intersection of Grand Avenue and Broadway in the bustling center of Oakland’s Uptown District, surrounded by restaurants, condominiums and galleries… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, July 3rd, 2008
Under: Art Murmur, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife | No Comments »
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Stop the spray and visit the artists

By awoodall

Okay. These aren’t your regular night owl haunts but there are two evening events that might be of interest to folks. And remember, tonight is the First Friday Art Murmur & Extravaganza. Galleries, clubs, restaurants, cafes, pubs…many of them in Oakland have something going on tonight. I’m caught between the Oakland Museum, the Linden Street Brewery, Awaken Cafe or the Stork Club’s burlesque show. What a dilemma! I have more to tell about the Old Oakland — or rather New Old Oakland as the marketing magicians are touting it now — Thursday night summer concert series. I’ll save it for a little later.

EAST BAY COMMUNITY TOWN HALL TO STOP THE SPRAY
Monday, June 23, 2008 7:00pm-9:00pmLocation: Lakeside Park Garden Center at Lake Merritt, 666 Bellevue Ave. Sponsored by Stop the Spray-East Bay and Pesticide Watch Toxic aerial pesticide spraying by the California
Department of Food and Agriculture is still planned for the Bay Area this summer. Successful lawsuits have stopped the spraying temporarily in Santa Cruz and Monterey but so far not in the Bay Area. For more information: www.stopthespray.org and eastbayinfo@stopthespray.org.

PRO ARTS EAST BAY OPEN STUDIOS IN JUNE
Scores of local artists will be showing their work at the Pro Arts East Bay Open Studios coming up the first two weekends in June. To see a sample of participating artist’s work visit the Pro Arts Gallery, 550 Second St. in Jack London Square – across from Cost Plus. Pick up a brochure for a guide to participating artist’s studios.

Posted on Friday, June 6th, 2008
Under: Art Murmur, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife, Old Oakland, Uptown | No Comments »
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