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Oakland Art Murmur

by becca on June 12, 2010

There is no doubt about it: Oakland is awesome. I’ve heard people call it the Brooklyn of the Bay Area (which I disagree with mainly because the Bart stops running at midnight and a taxi costs way more than a Lower Manhattan –> Brooklyn ride). Nevertheless, it’s just over the bridge from SF. It has great restaurants, nightlife, and its very own beautiful lake — great for a 3.5-mile jog or an afternoon picnic. And while we were there, we had the privilege of attending the Oakland Art Murmur.

That Friday night we wandered through the streets of downtown Oakland weaving among hipsters young and old, (really cute) kids, and some perfectly average looking people. In my opinion, a great mix. All sorts of multi-wheeled transportation crawled through the crowds — I’m talking about really big bike type things with 4′ wheels that seat up to four people. The proud owner of snail-shaped iron contraption invited kids to hop in and pull a “reign” that blew fire from the snail’s antennae. Most of the art was all right, but there were some cool crafts, like miniature origami earrings and a guy with a 1920s manually operated sewing machine that would custom stitch names and shapes onto swatches of canvas for a dollar.

After a couple hours imbibing on a local gallery/bar patio, we headed a few blocks away from the crowds to Creative Growth. Creative Growth Art Center serves adult artists with developmental, mental and physical disabilities, providing a stimulating environment for artistic instruction, gallery promotion and personal expression. Artwork fostered in this unique environment is included in prominent collections and museums worldwide. And while I realize I’ve been out of the country, not in the epicenter of art culture like I was in NY, I still think that the art on display was the best I’ve seen in recent memory. The walls are covered in art — all for sale, but much of it already sold. I loved the paintings of jellyfish and birds, owls and cats. There were pedestals adorned with paper-mache masks and an entire warehouse full of ceramics. The place was inspiring and I’m sure the photos don’t do it justice.

Next stop was a place called the Fort Gallery. The neighborhood was a little questionable, and ironically I think it’s really close to our new place. There was a sort of make shift bar in the place selling two things: “Health juice” and absinthe. Evidentally “health juice” was a concoction distributed in very small quantities (less than half a solo cup), made of ginger paste, absinthe (minus the wormwood) and ginger ale. We had a great time watching music in this unique space, but the next day, after ONE of these absurdly named drinks, I felt like I got hit by a bus and struggled to maintain casual conversation.

All in all, fantastic night in Oakland. I think this experience sold me on kicking off our Bay Area residency in this sweet little city.

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Getting to know San Francisco

by becca on June 11, 2010

When moving to a new city, I think it’s important to do a round of touristy stuff to get to know the city from that point of view that you may never have again. While we stayed with Leah in April and May, we made sure to do just that.

– Clam chowder at Fisherman’s Wharf, check.
– Pier 39 to see the sea lions, check.
– Night tour to Alcatraz, not checked off just yet. We talked about it a lot and we sat on the bay and looked at the little island. Who ever comes to visit us first, you’re in for a treat ;)
– Musee Mechanique, check. This place is awesome. Just a warehouse full of vintage coin slot games.
– Street car ridin’, check.

I have a feeling I’ll do these things many times before it’s all over — and there were a few other little outings better fit for residents. Like enjoying Saturday afternoon in Delores Park or a day trip out to Marin County for a hike. Like accidentally strolling through the Tenderloin or checking out a new bike shop and taking a prototype for a spin on the Embarcadaro and around the Giants’ stadium.

Looking back at these photos makes me really excited about our big move to San Francisco in just under two weeks — so friends and fam start planning your visits!

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Road Trippin’ to Santa Cruz

May 5, 2010

Hop in the car with some of your favorite people. Roll the windows down. Turn up the music. Stop when you have to pee. Stop when you’re hungry. Stop when you see people kite surfing and you want to have a closer look. It’s a real road trip — something completely different from what we, [...]

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Sipping Our Way Through Sonoma

May 5, 2010

Decent wine and real cheese are hard to find in Southeast Asia. And while we wouldn’t call ourselves connoisseurs, we missed both dearly while abroad and thought it necessary to spend a few days catching up with our old friends. What better way to reacquaint ourselves than a day trip from San Francisco up to [...]

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Welcome to America!

April 27, 2010

We’re back in the states and experiencing less culture shock than anticipated. We arrived in San Francisco where we’ll spend a few weeks with the lovely Leah Wolfe (Nate’s sister, my good friend, and our match maker) who’s big smile and palpable energy greeted us at the airport. To our surprise, as we exited the [...]

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