The Tragic Kingdom of Gwen Stafani lasted until her death in the mid-21st Century, according to Kathy Aoki, who walked an audience through the reign of the pop pharaoh at SWARM gallery Thursday night. Pharaoh Gwen took the reigns of pop power after the death of Michael Jackson, Cher and “The King.” (Cher, Aoki tells us, never actually conceded power.)
You can see the show, Museum of Historical Makeovers,” for yourself. Aoki went to pains to create a future universe in which cute culture consumerism triumphed and ultimately led to Pharaoh Stefani’s demise. Maybe the universe is not so distant future. Aoki makes her point about gender, beauty and our own worship of pop through consumerism in several ways besides the Stefani “burial artifacts” (stellae, burial objects etc.). She also tweaks 19th century medical illustrations and art to comment on our pursuit of beauty. But my favorite, the one piece that stopped me in my tracks, was her picture of data painstakingly “recovered” by historians of the future from a USB pin drive: a picture of a cutsie doll figure with some insipid inscription. I will let you draw the conclusions and read better accounts than I can provide about Aoki’s show that is subtle and funny but packs a punch. The show runs until Oct. 25.
If you’ve ever enjoyed a stroll or biked or walked your pooch on the Mandela Parkway/Bay Trail in West Oakland, there are three people, Stefanie Parrott, Ellen Wyrick Parkinson and Bruce Beasley (and more) to thank. Today’s Tribune has a story about the parkway so check it out.
Check out this amazing story of how a group of West Oakland residents successfully resisted the state’s attempts to rebuild the Cypress Freeway through the heart of their neighborhood after the Loma Prieta earthquake.
Dellums’ office just announced Oakland is the fourth greenest city in the nation when this blog post from Civil Eats popped up: “In Oakland, California last week, the political momentum seemed to clearly and perhaps irrevocably shift to formation of a sustainable food system for the nation. Hailing from three western states and Washington DC, 120 leading activists (from farms, ranches, philanthropy, businesses and NGOs), 15 USDA officials, and two important northern California mayors focused on the issues of food security, foodsheds, and public-private partnerships to accelerate change.” Read on for more…
I was trying to give you some NYC flavor from last night. I can’t tell if the video is wacky bc of my connection here or bc of the low light I shot the video. The streets were shut down so people parked their lawn chairs to soak in the sights.
Got a problem with potholes, sewers, graffiti or sidewalks? The Public Works Dept. has a new online public works customer call center. Users can fill out an online form at http://www.oaklandpw.com/Page71.aspx or call 510-615-5566 to report problems. I heard that it worked well but maybe the comment was planted by a City Works employee (just kidding…I hope!).
Pro Arts is moving from Second Street this month to downtown and re-opens June 23 in the Oakland Art Gallery with “Bay Area Currents 2009.” The artists’ reception is 5-8pm June 25. Also, the Last Fridays Concert Series picks up in the new gallery on 7:30 pm June 26. No word yet on what will replace Pro Arts that occupies the space next to Swarm Gallery, which is staying put and is ready for East Bay Open Studios 2009, which began last night. Here’s a glimpse (okay, a badly shot one…sorry) of the opening party last night at Pro Arts, when the move was announced. (Tell me too, do you think the Oaktown Night Owl moniker I am using on Twitter and Qik — see embedded logo on video below – is too annoying?)
So it looks like the city is moving a bit closer to the idea of using an empty lot next to the Fox Theater for public art instead of a parking lot.
Which is to say, city staff has not ruled it out as infeasible, anyway, according to an email from Jonathan Bair, chair of the city’s bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee. Bair was at Wednesday’s Planning Commission meeting when city staff gave an update.
Developer Forest City is supposed to build housing on the lot at 19th Street and Telegraph Avenue, but asked for an extension due to the economy. In exchange, the city asked Forest City to construct and operate a temporary parking lot there.
That idea didn’t fly with the community members who want more pedestrians and fewer cars on the streets around the Fox and other uptown venues. They lobbied City Hall and lo and behold, the council voted to let the community come up with an alternate plan.
Right now it looks like the desire is use the space to display large public art….. what better way to get pedestrians to hang around and enjoy the street-level view???