Oakland North has been up and running for about five years now, and in that time we’ve gotten to meet quite a few of our neighbors — and they’ve had some amazing personal stories to tell.
Collected here are some of our very favorite profiles of the people who make the town what it is. Some of them are pretty famous, like comic artist Daniel Clowes and radio host Glynn Washington. Some of them are people you’ve probably run into on the street, like the blue-wigged Bakesale Betty or Rick Butler, better known as the “Glad Hatter” of the MacArthur BART station. But most of them you know because of what they do, not because of their well-known name or outfits — they’re the people who in some way make this town a more beautiful, interesting or exciting place to live.
And, well, one of them is a boat.
Click through to read — and watch — their stories. Have an idea about an Oakland person whose story needs telling? Email us at staff [at] oaklandnorth [dot] net.
The bearded barbers of Temescal – by Justine Quart
Comic artist Daniel Clowes – by Marta Franco
Willie Gutierrez, Bay Bridge toll booth collector – by Amina Waheed
Gary Shields, owner of God’s Gym – by Adam Grossberg
Forensic diver Steven Day – by Gregory Thomas
The Oakland Kochavim, the city’s Jewish Orthodox ice hockey team – by Steve Fisher
Bakesale Betty – by Theresa Adams
Sign painter Derek McDonald – by Justine Quart
Kendra Scalia-Carrow, power soccer athlete – by Jamie Goldberg
Fetlework Tefferi, owner of Cafe Colluci and Brundo Culinary studio – by Ryan Phillips
Family Radio founder and Judgement Day predictor Harold Camping – by Jill Cowan
NPR’s “Snap Judgment” radio host Glynn Washington – by Ye Tian
Music teacher Giles “Bud” Cropsey – by Karmah Elmusa
Jazz Hudson, spoken word poet – by Vanessa Carr
Joseph Moreno, vintage costumer – by Catherine Traywick
Rick Butler, the “glad hatter” – by Ye Tian
Jewelry designer Laura Bruland – by Jessie Schiewe
Ayodele Nzinga, founder of the Lower Bottom Playaz – by Dylan Bergeson
Steve Sparkes, founder of the My Yute soccer camp – by Jill Replogle
Stanley Garcia, founder of the East Oakland Boxing Association – by Paula Lehman
Tara Esperanza, owner of Tara’s Organic Ice Cream – by Whitney Pennington, Terria Smith, Teresa Chin and Nicole Jones
Francisco Ballesteros, the Oakland Hills shepherd – by Dara Kerr
Bob Patenaude, the director of the Marxist Library – by Mario Furloni
Frank Snapp, the secret gardener – by Shannon Service
Bike Man Dan – by Dara Kerr
Javier Delgado Jimenez and Jim McCarthy, tombstone engravers – by Dara Kerr
The Sea-Wolf, Oakland’s fireboat – by Abby Baird