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"Memory" by Georgianna Krieger

For the first two weekends in June, more than 400 Oakland artists will open their studios to the public. East Bay Open Studios has brought audiences to artists since 1979. The art walk’s organizers say 14 cities will represent and draw more than 50,000 art lovers.

Glenview’s own Georgianna Krieger is one of those artists. She’s at stop #389 on the East Bay Open Studios map and says this about what she has in store:

“I’ll be showing sculptures in kiln cast glass, bronze and other cast materials, oil paintings and original drawings.  My show spans ten years of art making and includes new work for 2010.  I strive for a balance between the universal human experience and the personal in my themes, which are always about life.”

You’ll find more neighbors on the map…drop in and say hello June 5–6 and June 12–13, from 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

This week organizers of Glenview Elementary’s Read-A-Thon, Co-Chairs Megan Simmons & Suzanne McKaig-Laber, announced that the festival raised more than $35,000. And the donations are still coming in. Eric Londgren, a Glenview Elementary parent who photographed the event, shares his images with OaklanderOnline.

Glenview Elementary students make bookmarks and door hangers in the library.

The Dr. Seuss classic, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” marked the theme of Glenview Elementary’s 12th Annual Read-A-Thon, which kicked off on what would have been author’s 106th birthday. For two-weeks, students gathered sponsors for their after-school reading.

Readers log their book hours to raise money for school enrichment programs.

Back in February, Oakland Tribune columnist Martin Snapp posted on his blog that one Glenview Elementary’s second grade teacher reprised his promise from last year. Mr. Miller pledged that if his students clocked 2,000 hours, he would shave his head.

Snapp quoted Mr. Miller: ”We won’t have to sweep up afterward. The kids think a clump of my hair would be a great souvenir, so they scoop it up as soon as it hits the ground.”

The Glenview Elementary PTA organized the event to "to inspire the importance of reading as a fundamental skill."

The culminating event came on March 16 with “Celebration of Literacy Day.” Students sporting their PJs brought sleeping bags, pillows and books to every classroom, as if to stage a Read-In. Every hour students spent with a book translated into funds for enrichment programs that were impacted by state budget cuts.

KPIX-TV (Channel 5) anchor Wendy Tokuda made an appearance on Celebrating Literacy Day.

Neighbors, parents and local celebrities came out in support of literacy. Glenview resident Jon Carroll, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, dropped by Mr. Miller’s portable to read. He shared a picture book about a farmer named Mr. McGreeley, whose garden had a bad case of hungry bunnies.

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll reads to Mr. Miller and his class.

As for their goal, Mr. Miller’s class fared very well in its efforts. They came just a hair short of the 2,000 needed to win the bet.

“But, I figured in this economy we did really well,” Mr. Miller told the class. “So soon the lady who owns the Cutting Place will come by to shave it off.”

Carroll introduced himself as someone who has loved his job for thirty years. “I like to write about my cats,” Carroll shared with the group. One student responded, “Will you write about the Read-A-Thon?”

And the next week, he kept his promise. The March 26 issue of the Montclairion pictured an exuberant crowd of second graders surrounding Mr. Miller’s new buzz cut. Eric Londgren returned to photograph the event:

LeAnn from the Cutting Place performed the head-shaving in Mr. Miller's classroom.

The hair shearing continued as second graders looked on.

The last lock of hair was shorn…

The students sweep up their souvenirs…

Students swept up their souvenirs…

…and Mr. Miller has another year to grow until his next Read-A-Thon challenge.

Overall, Glenview Elementary’s Read-A-Thon was a success, surpassing its goal by more than $5,000. The students brought in more than 90% of the total raised; other sponsors included businesses like Ultimate Grounds. The neighborhood coffee shop hosted the kick-off event, which donated a coffee and bagel for each $20 donation.

Event Co-Chair Suzanne McKaig-Laber said this was her second year participating in the event. She said she appreciated that the Read-A-Thon spans two weeks.

“It’s very cool to have this concentrated period of time for the community businesses to get involved in donations,” she said, “and kids to really hunker down and focus on reading as a priority. This event really got my 1st grade daughter reading on her own which was exciting.”

McKaig-Laber also noted that the Celebration of Literacy Day was a highlight. “Hearing personal stories about how moved the readers were,” she recalled, “and seeing how inspired the students were made for a truly energizing community event.”

Slow shopping isn’t just organic, it’s good for you.

It’s a lot better than heading to the mall, anyway. Holiday highway traffic and box store crowds are hard on your health. Take a look at Black Friday, with its long tradition of Cabbage Patch Kid stampedes and Tickle Me Elmo crazes. This year shoppers didn’t hit stores in their usual rabid fashion, though. Black Friday sales rose only 0.5 percent higher in 2009, even as Americans spent $10.66 billion the day after Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday brought up online purchases by 14% from 2008, indicating people stayed indoors after turkey day, pointing-and-clicking.

Let Oakland suggest a more festive alternative. Whether you wore black or plaid last Friday, this week bring out the green; find holiday gifts made and sold in Oakland. You’ll get out, stretch your legs (earning you an egg nogg) and see the streets decked out in holiday decor. Crisp air and sparkling lights beckon more brightly than the glow of a computer screen.

In a time of year when instances of road ragers and QVC sales increase, shopping locally will lead you to the perfect gift in little time. And it will help keep your neighbors in business. Here are some spots to check out…

December 5–6:

Holidayland Reception
Blank Space and Compound galleries continue their Paul Bunyan-themed artist sale, featuring the artwork of over 100 local artists, designers and craftspeople. In case you missed the sale launch last week, stop by for Oakland Art Murmur this Friday and take your picture with Paul’s ox Babe; your $5 mug shot goes to support Oakland high schools. Also in store for First Friday are tamales by Tina Tamale of La Borinquena. Sip on Mexican Hot Chocolate, munch on a green bean tamale and peruse the fine art for sale. Emily Sevier creates ornaments to wear on site.
Reception: Fri., Dec. 4, 6 p.m.–10 p.m., Sale through Dec. 20, Blankspace Gallery, 6608 San Pablo Ave., 510-547-6608, blankspacegallery.org.

CCA Holiday Fair
Students and alumni of the California College of the Arts, will turn the campus into an arts bazaar Saturday morning. Have your pick of original paintings, jewelry, textiles, paper media and more. As you browse, enjoy complimentary jazz and treats.
Sat., Dec. 5, 11 a.m.–2:40 p.m., California College of the Arts 5212 Broadway, glee@cca.edu, cca.edu.

Piedmont Avenue Tree Lighting Ceremony & Holiday Stroll
Merchants along one of the city’s oldest business districts show some holiday flair for the shopping season. L’Amyx sells its quality teas (and accoutrements) at a 10–25 percent discount, and feature musician Michael Grandi plays jazz guitar and Cascada de Flores some Cuban folk tunes from 6 p.m.–10 p.m. The tree lighting ceremony (one of three scheduled in Oakland this week) begins the festivities, near the clock tower towering over the Mexican-American diner, J’s Hamburger & Such.
Sat., Dec. 5, 5 p.m. to closing, 41st St. and Piedmont Avenue, piedmontavenuemerchants.org.

Annual Pottery and Craft Sale
Studio One Art Center offers the best of both worlds during the giving season: gifts and a good cause. Purchase any art piece and all the proceeds go to fund Oakland’s youth programming.
Sun., Dec. 6, 12 p.m.–4 p.m., 365 45th St., 510-597-5027, oaklandnet.com/parks.

Fourth Annual Holiday Reception & ArtWalk
Back in the days when corporate plants dominated the landscape, the factory workers used to jangle their pay in-pocket, earning the neighborhood the name “Jingletown.” These days the arts drive the industry here instead of Ford Motor Company, and the products are more climate-friendly. Don’t miss photographer Jan Watten‘s portraits, Sarah Swell‘s metal-wrought jewelry or the Institute of Mosaic Art, whose gorgeous tile murals tag the warehouses on Chapman Street. Download an ArtWalk map here.
Reception: Fri., Dec. 4, 6 p.m.–9 p.m.; Gallery 4:20, 420 Peterson St.; ArtWalk: Dec. 5–6, 12–13, 11 a.m.–6 p.m., when you’ve reached the intersection of Peterson and Ford streets, you’re in the epicenter of ArtWalk, jingletown.org.

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December 12–13:

Holiday Buy Night
Pro-local Oakland Unwrapped and Oakland Grown are just two of the merchant organizations sponsoring this “Mall-ternative” to box store shopping. Products at this evening fair have more variety than a box of See’s candy, with everything from candles to kayaks for sale. Linden Street Brewery keeps customers warm with the launch of its Bleeding Heart Lager, a name that characterizes the most die-hard of Oaklanders.
Dec. 10–11, 5 p.m.–10 p.m., Jack London Market, 55 Harrison St., oaklandunwrapped.org.

Holiday Gifty Art Sale
The Crucible, largely responsible for the upsurge in the Oakland’s art scene, hosts more than 70 Bay Area artisans for this annual gift fair. Each booth standing on their 56,000 square foot space holds new surprises without the high retail prices. Also, sale-goers see demonstrations of what makes the Crucible tick year-round; glass blowing, metal casting and blacksmithing demonstrations wow crowds (11 a.m.–3 p.m.), between live performances and Santa’s appearance (1 p.m.).
Dec. 12–13, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., 1260 7th St., thecrucible.org.

Winter Arts Fair
Join Mercury 20 gallery to select artfully rendered pottery, mixed media, tote bags, jewelry and more. One of the several artists to participate is Chela Fielding, who brings her mixed media to the sale. One of her installation pieces, the charming and stark “Memory Drawers,” was pictured in a book called “Memory Boxes” by Anna Corbin. The hidden objects give the work a nostalgic feel, like a well-loved advent calendar. No chocolate Santa Clauses here, though. Cheer and refreshments however will be served.
11 a.m.–5 p.m., 25 Grand Ave., 510-701-4620, mercurytwenty.com.

Second Annual Temescal Holiday Skate & Stroll
The outdoor ice skating rink takes center stage at this neighborhood fair, with sales proceeds benefiting Good Cents for Oakland and the Emerson School. Once you’ve reprised “The Nutcracker” on ice, peek into the charming stores in the Temescal. All weekend long, hear carolers and dunk candy canes in hot chocolate. On Sunday, artist Mark Brest van Kempen unveils his city-sponsored art series—“Views of the Greenbelt”—sculptures that reflect the flora and fauna of the Rockridge-Temescal neighborhoods.
Dec. 12–13, 12:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m., Telegraph Avenue and 49th Street, temescaldistrict.org.

Local Love
Manifesto Bicycles is just one of the retailers spicing up 40th Street for holiday consumption. On Saturday it fetes 40th Street with the Local Love collective, a band of block merchants, including the Rowan Morrison Gallery, 1-2-3-4 Go! Records and the city’s premier mag shop: Issues.
Dec. 12, 6 p.m.–9 p.m., 40th Street and Broadway, 510-595-1155, wearemanifesto.com.

Fourth Annual Holiday Reception & ArtWalk
Back in the days when corporate plants dominated the landscape, the factory workers used to jangle their pay in-pocket, earning the neighborhood the name “Jingletown.” These days the arts drive the industry here instead of Ford Motor Company, and the products are more climate-friendly. Don’t miss photographer Jan Watten‘s portraits, Sarah Swell‘s metal-wrought jewelry or the Institute of Mosaic Art, whose gorgeous tile murals tag the warehouses on Chapman Street. Download an ArtWalk map here.
ArtWalk: Dec. 5–6, 12–13, 11 a.m.–6 p.m., when you’ve reached the intersection of Peterson and Ford streets, you’re in the epicenter of ArtWalk, jingletown.org.

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Out-of-town & Ongoing:

Renegade Craft Fair
Oaklandish represents The O in SF with its line of pop-historical wear. This homegrown outfit makes the best threads for those tapped into Oakland’s cultural underbelly. And Oaklandish is just one of hundreds more Bay Area vendors setting up shop at Fort Mason, which hosted the wildly successful Slow Food Festival two summers ago. Renegade’s combination of small businesses and big markets provide ample tasting of the region’s indie art.
Dec. 19–20, 11 a.m.–7 p.m., Fort Mason Center, Herbst Pavilion, San Francisco renegadecraft.com.

Berkeley Holiday Artisans Open Studios
This recurring gallery crawl has an Oakland Art Murmur feel, and this winter it comes in holiday dressing. A self-guided tour leads you through every type studio shop and material imaginable, from leather to glass to semi-precious stones.
Dec. 5–6, 12–13, 19–20, Berkeley, 510-845-2612, berkeleyartisans.com.

Holiday Warehouse Sale
Fair trade goods are in abundance at this warehouse sale. It’s hosted by the World of Good, an organization and think-tank that works to improve living conditions for women living on less than $2 a day. World of Good helps millions of women and adolescent girls in the developing world. You can help by purchasing a gift at the sale; items are as little as $5 and discounts as great at 90%.
Dec. 5–6, 9 a.m.–6 p.m., 6315 Doyle St., Emeryville, worldofgood.org.

Oakland Artisan Marketplace
For those who miss this year’s slow shopping events, swing by this marketplace year-round. Each weekend Oakland artisans open up their folding tables and display their wares. More often than not, you’ll find Paula Chan among the vendors; her line includes handcrafted jewelry and frame-worthy cards and she’s always working on something new.
Fri., 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at Frank Ogawa Plaza; Sat., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. at Jack London Square; Sun., 10 a.m.–5 p.m. at Jack London Square, oaklandculturalarts.org.

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