Witnessing Oakland, and musing over matzoh brei

Apr 18, 2014 / By admin
Posted in Culture Vulture / Good Ideas / Magazine / Oakland / Travel |

Eating a plateful of matzoh brei got me thinking. Not of the escaped slaves fleeing across deserts with no time for leavening, but of baseball. And Oakland.

Will the A’s stay or will they go? This question has been itching the back of my brain for years now, teasing with the taunts of Fremont, Jack London Square, and now the Coliseum City project, which is not quite settled.

After there seemed a lull in talk about the A’s moving south to Fremont, I was shocked back to attention when I talked to Peerless Coffee and East Bay Restaurant Supply’s second and third generation owners. They told me there was an idea of calling imminent domain and creating a new ballpark on their footprints in the eastern part of Jack London Square. It would be hard, even impossible for them to relocate within city limits.

Now, as our mayor Jean Quan enters the final stretch of her term, her prized appointee Jeff Blackwell is gone, left for a better offer in more visible San Francisco. He got going a deal for a redone stadium complex near where the current Coliseum stands. Now that deal is on shaky ground, and I am not talking about the fault line it lies above.

Sometimes I watch bad TV telling myself that the dramas are confined to the dollhouse world created on moving pictures. But other times I get the distinct impression that our world is every bit the daytime soaps we shiver to watch. All of those crazy things happen, and more, with slightly elongated shadows.

Professional baseball is another pastime I find ideal for unwinding. I admit it is a game clearly swayed by a team’s pocket book and ability to conceal dissemination of performance drugs. But even this unreal stage repeats in life with Jeff Blackwell, like we lost another great A’s player to the Giants.

If anything, I am continually activated by Oakland and the ebbs and currents of its becoming. Politically, culinarily, artistically. I love being witness, even it I get on edge at times.

I see the art scene here, which reflects the eponymous oak tree. Half of itself is visible above ground but an equally inspiring under layer exists below. The roots have been the creative furnace for decades, keeping Oakland’s artistic dialogue relevant and sought-after. This story is mirrored in the restaurant scene, the poetry scene, and other segments.

As a resident or as a visitor, there is entertainment for you. More than the sagas of sports teams. (Our food tours are a great way to become instantly infatuated.) To help navigate all the possibilities, there is new Visit Oakland site with lots of informative appeal. It represents one of the positive evolutions in the city’s progress.

Now I wait to see where the new A’s land. Also, how Oakland makes use of Kaiser Auditorium, if we can get more hotel rooms and better signage, how watershed issues are addressed… I like my front seat to this dramatic unfolding.