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Some mornings in Madison Square Park, you’ll see a flock of ladies in mandarin jackets moving in sync. It’s a nice breather amidst a commuter landscape of BART riders and racing cars. Some of the hundreds who use the park to exercise practice qigong—a 1,700-year old Chinese exercise that promotes health and longevity. It’s like a cousin to tai chi and it’s a combination of self-accupressure, yoga and meditation. Just an hour of moving through it leaves me with a heightened sense of well-being.

I started practicing “Wild Goose” qigong at the Park Boulevard Yoga Center. I’ve learned each of the 64 movements and I’m getting more graceful with each session. It’s the best thing I’ve done for my health to date; my body is more flexible, my mind more able to concentrate and stirrin’ up my qi gets me high.

Starting next month, you can earn your wings with instructor and accupuncturist Kirstin Linquist. She’s an amazing teacher who dove-tails her knowledge of Chinese medicine with direction on physical form. More details below:

qigong-flier

Kirstin has been a licensed acupuncturist since 1993. She was certified to teach Dayan (Wild Goose) Qigong by Master Hui Liu at the Wen Wu School of Martial Arts. Master Hui Liu is the disciple of Master Yang Mei Jun, the world’s foremost practitioner of Dayan Qigong. Master Yang enjoyed excellent physical and mental health until her death at age 108 in China.

Cost: $225/15-week session. Class size is limited. Please pre-register to reserve your spot: 510–597–9923.

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A few days ago I received an email notice from ColorofChange.org. It was nothing new, as I’ve been a member since they began in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Now at a time when the Oscar Grant controversy is still at high tide, I got word that the Bay Area-based group that they had plans for the District Attorney.

The objective was to knock on Tom Orloff’s door on Feb. 10 to demand he prosecute Officer Tony Pirone for his role in the assault and murder of Oscar Grant. Over a day has passed, and there’s no mention of the petition in the local news, Oakblogosphere or the ColorofChange website.

At any rate, I would like to forward some donation info. I’ve seen on the interwebs that are set up to help the late Oscar Grant’s family. ColorofChange co-founder Van Jones, who also founded Oakland’s Ella Baker Center for Human Rights has set up a fund. You can lend your support to Oscar’s mother, Wanda Johnson, through the center, located at 344 40th St., Oakland, CA, 94609.

oscar-family1

Oscar Grant and his daughter Tatiana
Photo courtesy of Attorney John Burris

Pastor Dion Evans of Chosen Vessels Christian Church has set up a trust fund for Oscar’s daughter Tatiana, “so that she can go to college despite the loss of her father.” All donations can be made to the Tatiana Grant Trust Fund, account number 3879027641, Wells Fargo Bank, 950 Southland Drive, Hayward, Calif., 94545. I think I could go out for one less meal and put the money toward the cause.

A little closer to the Glenview is a drive for the Brothers on the Rise organization. They need magazines for an after-school program at Edna Brewer. Executive Director Jon Gilgoff gives details on the project:

For our after-school group at Brewer, our boys are making a collage
which will present images of manhood, identity and culture. We are
aiming to collect magazines so the students can look through them and
cut out words and pictures that present both “in the box”
stereotypical presentations of manhood and more “out of the box”
representations. This will build their media literacy skills and
give them a great opportunity for self-expression.

Please if you have magazines you can spare, drop them at Edna Brewer
Middle School for Daniel English, our Site Coordinator there.

Thanks so much for your on-going support of our program, our boys and
our community!

I’m almost through my stack of commemorative Obama magazines. They’re full of images featuring a leader whose identity will undoutedly inspire. Once I get through the tribute article by John Edgar Wideman, I’ll drop the ones I can’t part with by the school.

It’s been a rough week for education, with Republican congress opposing a Stimulus Package that builds schools and a California governor that proposes cuts in education. Even if you don’t have the cash flow for a bailout, these are small but significant ways to give.

I’m a big fan of urban gaming. Before the city of Oakland cracked down on Urban Capture the Flag matches, I used to put on war paint and run around Frank Ogawa Plaza. Gamers of all ages darted around City Hall trying to out-fox the other team into losing their flag. I remember one guy used to run for enemy territory yelling, “Jesus is my Savior!” and when he got thrown in jail, he’d climb the bench and blow on this bone horn, Braveheart-style. The characters came out, for sure.

This weekend, crowds will gather for another temporary take-over of public space. The Great San Francisco Pillow Fight will throw its annual free-for-all for Valentine’s Day, as a peaceful way to express one’s “lovey-rage.” It has attracted over a thousand gamers armed with goose down over the years. The plentiful online video footage reveals the hilarity in full.

pillowfight

Director Maya Gurantz, who has worked with the Shotgun Players, once told me that “the Bay Area’s biggest export is the party.” The pillow fight is one of these; at least, it’s the most popular. And it’s peaceful, as long as you follow the rules, stated in the above poster. If there’s rain, put your pillow in a plastic bag. Oh, and be sure that you bring only pillows filled with natural materials (like cotton, hemp, and down) and not synthetics which will wash into the Bay and harm marine life. And as the Urban Capture the Flaggers have done, leave no trace. So clean up those feathers.

On the Oakland side of things, I’m going to bust out my bonker ball skills with 4 Square East Bay on Thursday. They hold court in the Rockridge BART parking lot on Mondays now, too, even with in the cold season. It’s been awhile since I rolled a “high wire” at Joaquin Miller School (remember, A?). But I can’t miss an opportunity to show a random act of urban-ness.