Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

By awoodall
Friday, January 15th, 2010 at 8:54 pm in Uncategorized

For days I have been running back and forth reporting stories on everything from mortgage loan modification software to a Cambodian Buddhist temple coup, and from TheatreFIRST’s upcoming show to the murder of Dewey Tucker, bassist for among others Lauryn Hill, The Coup, Kev Choice and Goapele. (Story will is on hold until Saturday online. In the Trib Sunday. Not totally sure why.)  Busy week. Then today the news popped up that Lorenzo Hoopes, who is pro-Prop 8, is a candidate for the Paramount Theatre’s board of directors. The way it popped up in my e-mail: “WTF. Dellums wants to appoint leader of local pro-Prop 8 campaign to Paramount Theater Board. Opposition mounting on Facebook.”
The “Paramount — No place for Homophobia” Facebook page (Sean Sullivan) explains the arrangement better. But just so there is no other mistake: Dellums cannot appoint anyone to the Paramount board.

Leave a comment

The Jackie Robinson of Hockey

By awoodall
Thursday, January 14th, 2010 at 9:02 am in Night Owl

This Friday, the Oakland Ice Rink will acknowledge Willie O’Ree, the first African American to play in the National Hockey League. I think it’s an Oakland School for the Arts event but thought a mention was due to Mr. O’Ree, the “Jackie Robinson” of hockey. Now that must be an interesting story. He would have to be one very tough guy.

Leave a comment

New joint on Broadway

By awoodall
Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 at 7:15 pm in Uncategorized

For months it was hard to tell what the incremental signs of activity meant for the old Metro Underworld Operahouse on Broadway and Second. Then the sign “Duke’s R&B” went up in the summer. But not much else happened while the dust gathered on the windows of the 200-person, two-floor “dinner club.” Finally, the new operators filed a cabaret permit today. Actually, they applied again. The original owner, Sam Conti, passed away in November after the first application was filed in May. The new operators are listed as Pacific Brokerage Inc., which is Mohammed, Nazem and Nader Ahmadi as well as Clinton Motta, all of Walnut Creek.  Their hearing is Feb. 18.
Speaking of cabaret permits, you might have noticed the article today in the East Bay Express. I have been writing about this (cabaret laws, ordinances, entertainment commission) for at least a year but it appears to have taken a cockeyed Wall Street Journal article to get the buzz going even though there isn’t really a lot of buzz to buzz about — yet. There will be though, knowing Oakland.
Contrary to the Journal’s article, the changes to the way Oakland does entertainment business has nothing to do with crime and everything to do with the fact that we have enough entertainment to regulate for the first time in decades. So I’ll toast to that while City Hall and the party police tinker. It’s about time.

Leave a comment

Mad Men party

By awoodall
Monday, January 11th, 2010 at 3:12 pm in Night Owl, Oakland nightlife

You have probably already gotten this update from Will The Thrill Viharo but I wanted to pass it on for everyone who is getting the shakes from Mad Men withdrawal: a Sixties, swanky, suave, sexy, sinister and scandalous party.  
WHERE: Kingman’s Ivy Room, 860 San Pablo Ave., Albany
www.kingmanscocktails.com
WHEN: Saturday, January 23, 9PM-2AM, no covermadmen
Episodes of the award-winning AMC television series centering on the lives and times of mid-century Madison Ave.’s  decadent denizens and lascivious lounge lizards will be shown on the bar’s two large television sets. There will be special prizes awarded to the Most Vintage Fashionable guests, as well as era-specific trivia questions, along with swingin’ 60s lounge, soul and rock ‘n’ roll music on the sound system, and best of all, live musical sets by the Bay Area’s theremin lounge band, Space Age specialists PROJECT PIMENTO http://www.projectpimento.com/
Naturally there will be classic cocktail specials to enhance the dreamy retro ambience. The Bay Area’s many hedonistic hipsters are strongly encouraged to attend, mingle, imbibe, and dance.

Leave a comment

INTERNATIONAL FREAKOUT A GO-GO

By awoodall
Thursday, January 7th, 2010 at 7:32 pm in Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl

presents…VERY BE CAREFUL at the First Church of the Buzzard. Friday night. What more do you need to know except that it is a night of “ass-shaking” music.
You’ll remember Very Be Careful from a previous  blog entry that I can’t find right now. But you might want the   hours (9PM until  3AM ) and the address: 2601 Adeline @ 26th St. Have fun.
Leave a comment

Elvis unites Oakland

By awoodall
Thursday, January 7th, 2010 at 2:04 pm in Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife

Elvis wants us to love each other so come feel the King’s embrace (uh-huh) Friday night at Godspeed for a celebration of what would have been his 75th birthday: 6 p.m. til’ ambulance.  Children are also invited for the  Elvis-inspired food (peanut butter and banana sandwiches?), elvismusic, pinball,  movies, go-go dancing, prizes, pool and cake. Booze optional for the underage and the designated drivers. Tattoos of the King only $7.50. Brought to you by the Elvis Underground church (“pirate religion and punk spirituality”),  the East Oakland Yacht Klub, Summer of Rust 2010 and the Oakland Pinball Mafia — all keeping Oakland sane and safe from completely turning into a suburban clone. See you all there: 5532 San Pablo Ave.  I might even get another  tattoo. (I find it strange that I already have a category for Elvis on this blog…)

Leave a comment

Take off your pants on BART

By awoodall
Thursday, January 7th, 2010 at 1:08 pm in Night Owl

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.

Leave a comment

A baffling story about crime and Oakland nightlife

By awoodall
Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 at 8:34 pm in Night Owl, Oakland nightlife

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.

Leave a comment

Can parking fees really solve cities’ budget crisis?

By awoodall
Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 at 11:11 am in Night Owl

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.

Leave a comment

Oakland Shuttle is no night owl

By awoodall
Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 at 11:02 am in Night Owl, Oakland nightlife

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.

Leave a comment