Oakland’s art galleries are kicking off 2013 with a round of new exhibits, from abstract sculptures and bold paintings to photographs and seemingly mundane objects portrayed in a new light. Art enthusiasts can roam Oakland from Alcatraz Avenue to the waterfront this month in search of inspiration, distraction or a fun outing on a weekend afternoon.

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Mama Buzz, Telegraph

While Oakland’s Uptown residents search for a place to pretend to do work while chain-smoking and listening to obscure punk, John Mardikian is busy scrubbing, painting, fixing plumbing, and doing general repairs on the space where Mama Buzz—and before that, Papa Buzz—had been in some form or another for over a decade.

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Nearly full on a Monday night, Mua Bar and Restaurant is at the center of Broadway Auto Row's transition from auto hub to cultural enclave.

Once a hub of automobile commerce, Broadway Auto Row is fast becoming a cultural enclave, thanks to the gentle prodding and financial investment of an eclectic group of gallerists, restaurateurs and niche shop owners who are mixing the old (and big) with the new (and small) to create a hybrid commercial corridor that keeps money flowing through the street from day to night and back again.

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The Nightcap is a new series that will feature a favorite Oakland drinking establishment every Friday afternoon. This week, it’s Kim’s Backyard. Kim Okwa Janke opened up Kim’s Backyard, a bar on Telegraph at 24th Street, because she was retired and wanted to party. She insists it’s really as simple as that.

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grilled cheese

To Michael Davidson, aka The Grilled Cheez Guy, the secret’s in the brick. This local purveyor of gooey, honest-to-goodness grilled cheese sandwiches cooks his comfort food under a brick wrapped in foil—the pressure, he says, ensures the sandwich cooks evenly and has his signature, perfectly crisp exterior.

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