Category Archives: oddity

Hipster Animals

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These wood blocks are found on the bottom of utility poles in the Glenview neighborhood (how is there any space left between the gnomes, the tiny dog paintings and the alien/kitty cat/robots?).  Locals have dubbed these the “hipster animals.”  Rumors abound (okay, it was mentioned on the Glenview facebook page) that these have also been spotted in Jack London Square.  These seem to only be clustered on Wellington Street, near Vista and La Cresta.  Artist is unknown.


Alien/Robot/Kitty Cat blocks

Okay Oaklanders, let’s review.  Please refer to my previous blog posts, Utility Pole Gnomes and Tiny Dog Paintings of Glenview.  Fresh outta the Glenview neighborhood comes the alien/robot/kitty cat wood blocks found on assorted utility poles on Wellington and Everett Streets –

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Then comes a double gnome/alien-robot-kitty-IMG_0540


Then – BOOM! – a trifecta of gnome/tiny dog/alien-robot-kitty cat IMG_0149

Tiny dog paintings of Glenview



People, something is afoot in the Glenview neighborhood.  Guerrilla artists are turning utility poles (ssshhhhhh. . . don’t tell the big bad utility company) into a gallery for very small works of art.  First, the iconic gnomes came.  Now there’s a smattering of tiny paintings of dogs.  To be featured in the future on this blog (stay tuned!) – paintings that the locals have dubbed “the hipster animals” and works I can only describe as Alien/Robot/Kitty Cats.  If you want to tour the dog paintings, here are some locations: Glen Park near Excelsior, Woodruff near Excelsior, Glenfield Avenue near Park, La Cresta and Wellington near Glenview Elementary, DImond Street by Dimond Park.

Gothic rest for all

columb The glorious columbarium at Chapel of the Chimes (4499 Piedmont Avenue, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily) is a required Oakland experience, especially for those seeking quietude and/or an inspiring strange atmosphere. And the vibe, you ask? Part Julia Morgan-designed neo-Gothic flourishes of arch and stained glass, part odd cremain-urns-as-law-library ambience, with just a hint of 1940’s glamour pools and fountains mixed in towards the back.

Wander up and down curving staircasettes into small interlocking antechambers and atriums, find a quiet corner to sit and write, ponder the urns or the names of the various chapels, catch live music on site, or celebrate either solstice (we kid you not).

And the timeliness factor of this posting? Well, the Chapel of the Chimes will be offering historic tours of the columbarium beginning Saturday July 26th from 10-12 noon.

Chapel of Effulgence, anyone?        



King Baby stickers



We spotted these stickers in Adams Point (inside the mailbox at the corner of Bellevue & Grand) and in Uptown (on a bike rack outside Mua).  We have no idea who is behind this or what this means.  We fantasize it’s the work of a roving gang of rogue psychoanalysts, riffing on Freud’s theory of infantile narcissism (loosely summed up by his phrase “His Majesty, the baby”).

Oakland Cat Video Festival


On May 10, 2014, an estimated 6,000 people gathered at the Great Wall of Oakland to explore the low-art form of internet cat videos in community. Last year during the festival, a resident stepped out on his balcony and serenaded the crowd with a sincere, haunting rendition of “Memory” on his sax. Maybe it’s our toxoplasmosis talking, but we loved it. All proceeds from this kitty wonderland benefit the East Bay SPCA.

The utility pole gnomes


How could we not start our love affair with Oakland without paying homage to our City’s most charming residents, the 2,300 gnome paintings affixed to the bottom of utility poles throughout Oakland. An anonymous artist and his dog go out every night putting up small paintings, bringing magic and enchantment to our sidewalks. In one of his few statements, the artist said, “I’m a resident of Oakland who simply thought this would be a nice way to make my fellow Oaklanders happy and proud. . .We see too much garbage on the streets here, too many shootings, too much violence, not enough that makes one stop and smile. … They were meant to be an ongoing gift to my community.” We thank you.