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”).



If you’ve ever looked in the window of 5600 Shattuck and wondered what was happening inside, June 20th and 21st, 3-7 pm is your last chance to find out. After that, Scott Hove is packing up his incredible cake dentata wonderland and moving to Los Angeles. Seeing the art is free!

The bell hooks feminist phone intervention line

Getting harassed by someone to give out your phone number?  Don’t feel safe to decline?  Give them (669) 221-6251 as your number – when they call or text, they will get an automatically generated quote by the great feminist author bell hooks.

This didn’t originated in Oakland but, gosh darn it, it’s our blog and we can bend the rules to suit our fancy.

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.

Stop Telling Women to Smile project


Formerly wheatpasted to a freeway overpass where Martin Luther King Blvd. feeds onto Route 24. Sadly already painted over.

But you can check out Brooklyn artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s awesome portrait project addressing gender-based street harassment at her site:

And this Bust article:

Oakland Urban Paths


Oakland Urban Paths is a group dedicated to preserving the hidden pathways and secret stairways tucked into the hills all over Oakland that were once part of Oakland’s Key Route public transportation system.  These walkers, planners, historians and fundraisers are working to preserve Oakland’s heritage through a variety of activities in partnership with Walk Oakland Bike Oakland (WOBO) and the City of Oakland.  Come join them on the second Saturday of every month for one of their docent-led group walks that explores the history of Oakland.

Phat Beets!



Phat Beets is a volunteer-based collective working to cultivate a more equitable food system in the North Oakland flats. They offer CSA boxes with food from urban micro-farms, a Saturday farmers’ market, Food n’ Justice workshops, youth empowerment programs and much, much more.

Check them out at :

Morcom Rose Garden


A gorgeous, wheelchair accessible garden tucked just a block off Grand Avenue, this formal beauty is a riot of color and fragrance when in bloom. April and early May are excellent times to catch the roses in their full glory. Oakland Mayor Frank Morcom planted the first rose here in 1933, and today the garden is tended by tie-dye-sporting volunteers called the Dedicated Deadheaders:

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.