Shirley Lau

New center opens to teach sustainable living practices

What used to be a simple dirt lot in a residential neighborhood at San Pablo Avenue and 65th Street, will soon be a haven for residents who share a common interest in sustainability and preserving the environment. From classes about urban gardening and herbal salve making to monthly crafts nights, the PLACE for Sustainable Living will provide Oakland residents with resources and knowledge on how to live a greener lifestyle.

Children of all ages attend annual Old Fashioned Easter Egg Hunt

Though Saturday ended with rainfall, the early afternoon hours were sunny and the perfect weather for this year’s annual Old Fashioned Egg Hunt & Games at Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate. Children of all ages roamed the meadow in search of Easter eggs (which they later traded in for Pixy Stix and chocolate), had their face painted, and took a ride on the ponies.

Earth Day starts early in Oakland with murals, gardens and weeding

This past weekend, Oakland celebrated Earth Day a bit early with 79 volunteer sites set up all around the city. We were out gathering photos, but we couldn’t be everywhere, so send your Earth Day pictures to and we’ll publish them in our second annual community photo slideshow on the “official” Earth Day, Friday, April 22.

Artists find inspiration in lingerie-clad models at Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School

Burlesque dancers in Oakland now have a new way of showing off their fishnet stockings and sexy lingerie—as models for Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, an international alternative drawing movement. The East Bay branch of Dr. Sketchy’s had its premiere event Saturday afternoon at Layover Lounge, where more than a dozen artists—and even those who were a bit artistically-challenged—gathered to sketch three members of the local dance troupe, the Can-Cannibals.

A quick tour of Art Murmur’s handmade treasures

Antique jewelry made from objects found with a metal detector, miniature paintings depicting animals with humanistic behavior, sunglasses with bling added by hand. These are just a few of the quirky wares for sale at Oakland’s monthly Art Murmur.

Turf dancing workshop teaches Oakland dance culture, individual style

Turfing was born in Oakland in the early ‘90s, but it wasn’t until a 2009 YouTube video called “Dancing in the Rain,” produced by YAK Films, that turf dancing started receiving national attention. To bring turfing back to the local level, and to encourage local dancers of all skill levels to start, the Eastside Arts Alliance’s Oakland Hip Hop Institute is offering a six-session workshop.

Pet owners walk in support of animal advocacy groups, against domestic violence

The first Walk for Whiskers, a charity event raising funds and awareness for domestic abuse and animal advocacy groups in the Bay Area, was held at Lakeside Park at Lake Merritt on Saturday morning. The cold temperatures and gusty winds had participants and volunteers–and even their pets–bundled up in sweaters and scarves as they made their way around the lake to show their support.

So you think you know Lake Merritt?

This interactive tests your knowledge on the history of Lake Merritt. See if you’re an Oaklander who knows the roots of one of the city’s most prized landmarks.

Oakland Museum’s White Elephant sale gets a preview

Early morning rain didn’t stop thousands of people from swarming into a 96,000-square-foot warehouse for the annual preview of the White Elephant Sale, benefiting the Oakland Museum of California. Bargain-hunters scoured the donated goods–from bundles of utensils and slightly charred frying pans to vintage jewelry and ‘80s-style clothing.

Chinese charter school to open in East Bay this August

Oakland resident Wallace Lee crammed himself into a small room in Oakland’s Chinatown with nearly three dozen other parents on Saturday afternoon to hear plans for what many East Bay residents see as an unfilled gap in the area’s education system: a public school with a Mandarin-English curriculum.

Oakland collective hosts auction for Prisoners Literature Project

Each year, 24,000 novels, dictionaries and books of poetry are packaged and shipped around the country by volunteers of the Berkeley-based Prisoners Literature Project. For nearly 30 years, the volunteer-run organization has provided books to prisoners in an effort to nurture rehabilitation and encourage education among this sometimes-forgotten population of society.

Oakland Museum foundation aims to cut ties with city

For nearly 20 years, the Oakland Museum of California has operated under a public-private partnership with the City of Oakland and the nonprofit Oakland Museum of California Foundation, sharing the $15 million annual budget and control of operations. But now city officials may remove themselves from that partnership, leaving the nonprofit foundation to run the 41-year-old cultural institution.

Thanksgiving a week away, but the giving is slow

Four three-foot high barrels resembling oversized soup cans sit at Spice Monkey Café and Restaurant in downtown Oakland. Each is emblazoned with photos of smiling children and has “Donate Food Here!” stamped across the black and red label. One barrel is filled with nonperishable canned goodies. Another is half full. And two are completely empty.

Oakland exhibit shows social movement through posters

Michael Rossman amassed 23,500 progressive social movement posters throughout his life as a free speech activist who also dabbled in arts, politics and science. Rossman died after a short battle with cancer in 2008, but his legacy will live on through his mammoth collection—the Oakland Museum of California recently acquired it. Check out this interactive to see a selection of posters and learn about the history behind them.

Concert pays tribute to ‘Wild Women’ of jazz

Combine two parts jazz music with one part history and a dash of visual stimulation. Toss it together and you have a Bay Area vocalist’s multimedia performance, paying tribute to female singers and songwriters of the Tin Pan Alley era.