You remember the story I wrote in January about no nightlife in downtown Oakland? I said that might be changing? Well, Friday night — art murmur night — it was changing. We’ll see how it looks this weekend, but on Friday, 14th Street between Broadway and Franklin was livelier than it has been since the lights started getting not “so much brighter there.” No disrespect, Petula Clark, but downtown has been more ghost town than O-Town for a long time. If a lack of parking is any indication of the area’s future success, downtown is going to see a revival.
Friday the Awaken Cafe on 14th Street stayed open late while droves of Burning Man rave types waited in line for what is supposed to be some of the best java in town. I just wasn’t into it. My boyfriend and I were ready to fall asleep standing after three days of moving (how the hell does one woman collect so much stuff???). Besides, I was all excited that finally the cafe/gallery/performance space (used to be the Golden Bull bar) renovation was ready. But when we arrived it turned out they were operating only the daytime coffee-to-go business. Oh well. Still, it was good to see the life bursting out of the cafe storefront like an overflowing candy jar. Next door, Joyce Gordon’s gallery was pulsing with art hipness at the reception for artists Chris Trueman, Sam Nejati and, in the photo gallery, Michael Johnson. I’ve never seen so many white folks in the gallery before. Come to think of it, I have never seen white artists displayed there. Whatever.