Business

Temescal sets up holiday ice rink–without ice

by ANNA BLOOM Dec. 20–Snow on Mt. Diablo was one thing, but ice skating in Temescal… without ice? The Temescal Telegraph Business Improvement District is making no small plans to attract holiday shoppers to their neck of North Oakland this weekend. Beyond the usual good cheer, Santa and Christmas carols, the district’s first annual Holiday Skate and Stroll will feature an ersatz ice rink at 49th and Telegraph. Saturday and Sunday, as many as 30 will be able to glide,…

O.N. opines! On politics, on creepy comedy, on Xma$…

In these commentaries, Oakland North writers weigh in on 1) keeping Black Friday in perspective; 2) keeping certain kinds of humor in the back room, where maybe it ought to stay; and 3) how the new secretary of state selection looks through the eyes of a journalist raised in West Africa.

Local merchants: Black Friday slid by sort of gray

by MELANIE MASON and HENRY JONES Dec. 1–While retail sales the day after Thanksgiving exceeded expectations, most independent retailers here in North Oakland were removed from the spending frenzy of Black Friday. It wasn’t because of the economic troubles, necessarily—they typically miss out on the action. “Everyone gets drawn away to the big stores,” said Carlo Busby, president of the Temescal Merchants Association and owner of Sagrada boutique, of Black Friday. “As an independent business, we can’t do the deep…

A fragrant shop helps Ethiopians far from home

by ISABEL ESTERMAN Inside Oakland’s Albo African Gift shop, at the corner of Alcatraz and Telegraph, a deep herbal aroma wafts from a row of colorful bottles labeled ‘frankincense.’  Ethiopian Singer Hamelmal Abate’s mournful vibrato pours out of the stereo, crooning over an incongruously lively beat, while the store’s owner, Genet Asrat, sits behind the counter, her black sweater brightened by a bold patterned scarf with a yellow border.  The phone rings nearly continuously, and Asrat switches back and forth…

With development looming, old Burley’s hangs on

By MARTIN RICARD  There’s an invisible line on West MacArthur Boulevard that divides it these days into two different worlds. On one side of Telegraph Avenue, in the up-and-coming Temescal district, the corridor is full of activity. Up near Broadway and Piedmont Avenue, a new Kaiser facility is being erected, which once built, will literally become a beacon of light for that part of North Oakland.  On the other side, a lone church shares another two blocks with a dilapidated…

Artist Liz Maxwell invokes nature, math, flight

by SAMSON REINY A few times a year, Liz Maxwell drives from her home in Rockridge up to Calistoga, in the Napa Valley.  For the past 40 years, she has walked the scenic little town for inspiration.  She’ll bring a point-and-shoot camera and snap everything around her.  “It might be a cracked road, moss growing on rock, or the patterns that are left on a wall from dead ivy leaves, they all give me ideas,” she says.  But sometimes she…