find a thing
Whew, that was a lot, wasn’t it? If you’re like me, and a person who, “reads the internet” - I don’t even know where to begin. The last week and a half jammed in more awful news than anyone can reasonably manage and all while the world is battling the uncertainty of an ongoing pandemic and widening economic divide. And frankly, if you live here in the east bay, you don’t even have to read the news to catch the wafting smell of burning historic forests slipping through the cracks of your windows. It was a lot.
And the next six months or so are likely to continue to be a lot, and so now feels like the proper time to tell you: take a deep breath and find a thing. What do I mean by ‘find a thing’? I mean find something that puts your mind at ease a bit, gets you in a state of flow and that’s not your job and that is just for you.
A thing could be anything: seeing how many books you can read before the end of the year, starting a podcast, volunteering your time, newslettering (this is my thing, but you can start one too), truly mastering a skincare routine to the point that everyone you know asks you for advice on how to have perfect skin like yours (like my friend Grace), baking, building a backyard oasis (like my friend Rebecca), walking (this was also my thing, pre-off the chart AQI’s), mentoring someone, being the kind of person who commits to a daily nap, learning chess, launching a cookware line. Whatever works for you.
It feels like we’re all going to be in this covidgatory a lot longer than we initially expected, so probably a good time to add something new to your life. Because one day we’re all going to look back on 2020 and tell younger people all the crazy tales of what we did that year, and we’ll be strangely nostalgic for it, so put yourself in the shoes of your future self, and give eventual-old-person you something cool to talk about.
Which brings me to a local guy who found a thing: Greg Fulcher is the creator of the new Bridge and Tunnel Coffee co - currently a coffee shop on wheels in the unlikely locale of Moraga. Greg recently retired from a 30-year career as a filmmaker and decided to give it a go bringing together two of his passions: coffee and community. I always say you can’t find good coffee east of the Caldecott but Greg is trying to change all of that. You can find Bridge and Tunnel by following their instagram - they’re usually out in the east bay Thurs-Sun and will be at the Moraga Farmer’s Market every Sunday.
And here are some ideas to nurture your own passion and hobbies:
Join an arts community - there’s a beloved little spot in San Francisco called Piano Fight. Its an incredible mixed arts venue that works with local and independent creatives to produce everything from comedy shows, film screenings and cabaret. The group just announced that they’ve expanded to Oakland and signed a lease on a 99-seat theater on Broadway. Given the current environment, you probably can’t see a show there anytime soon, but if you’re a creative and looking for access to equipment and space for photo/film shoots, rehearsals or podcast recordings - you can gain access to monitors, audio interfaces, microphones and lighting, to run a class, record your podcast, or live stream your band. If you’ve been toying with the idea of trying something new, this could be the place - to reserve space, email BookingOAK@pianofight.com
They say having a well-balanced gut is the key to happiness. You can sign up online and learn how to make Kombucha from a Berkeley-based expert. Who knows, nurturing a ‘SCOBY’ (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) could be your life’s work.
Oakland-based FARMcurious has a mission to support “urban homesteaders” to create their own food and help people get educated on living a more sustainable life. They offer online classes to teach skills like cheesemaking, fermenting and charcuterie - and they even have some quirky courses for kids like “unicorn cheese making which is only $6.99 via zoom. More tips for homesteaders here.
Get into natural wines. Berkeley-based Donkey and Goat has re-opened for outdoor tastings with a limited number of socially distant tables, they have some events coming up like “Dine for Democracy” with chef Cal Peternell - and they’re also offering their upcoming fall release to go in Sept.
Go green. I feel like everyone wants to be more green, but never has the time. Well Zuleyka Strasner is solving that for you and created Zero Grocery to reduce plastic waste and provide customers with a convenient zero-plastic grocery store. The company drops off groceries in nice looking glass containers and picks them up with your next delivery. Order online for delivery west of the tunnel in Oakland, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Albany and Richmond with more locations coming soon.
Learn to cook some fancy stuff with Truffle Shuffle. Former French Laundry chefs teamed up to offer truffle-based cooking kits. You can sign up for a cooking class and they’ll mail you a kit so you can prepare the meal at home while you watch the chefs live online. A portion of the profits go toward 1% for the Planet.
Other news and things to know in the East Bay:
🏀The NBA cancelled their playoff games to raise awareness of the systemic racism in this country after the shooting of Jacob Blake. This spurred a host of athletes to join in, including tennis star Naomi Osaka and our very own Giants and A’s also opted to not take the field. Former Golden State Warrior Chris Webber gave an incredibly powerful and moving interview. To have this kind of raw and open conversation on live TV took courage and leadership and I highly recommend giving Chris a listen.
Read Oaklandside’s tribute to Chadwick Boseman, the star of Black Panther, gone too soon at the age of 43.
📺Boots Riley is working on a new show called “I’m a Virgo” set in Oakland starring Emmy-winning actor Jharrel Jerome. Riley wrote and directed the 2018 hit Sorry to Bother You, so this should be a treat too!
🥯 SF-based Wise Sons just announced that they bought Oakland-based Beauty’s Bagels. They’ll be taking over Beauty’s Uptown location but sounds like they’ll leave Temescal as is. Bagels are hot these days - I still think Oakland’s Boichik is the best in the game right now - but there’s also an at-home bagel shop called Hella Bagels getting some buzz that I have yet to try - but he makes about 100 a week and sells out within seconds. Let me know if you’ve tried them!
🍔Did you know there are restaurants on Treasure Island? I had no idea. Mersea looks like they have a good burger, though. Please check it out and report back.
🍕Arthur Mac’s Tap and Snack has re-opened their beloved beer garden. They’re also giving away 200 slices of pizza every Sunday to people in need and are running a campaign so you can donate pizza to local healthcare workers.
Bay Area-HQ’d Slack is running a campaign to raise up to $200k for Year Up and all you have to do to participate is send a tweet. “Year Up estimates that 5 million adults are left out of the workforce due simply to a lack of opportunity. And with the impact of Covid-19, there’s an even bigger gap in access to jobs that allow people to work from home.” I’ve mentioned them before, but Year Up is an incredible organization and does a lot of great work here in the Bay Area, check them out if you’re looking for a new organization to support.
A new project is underway via a GoFundMe campaign to create the first Black Women’s Freedom Sanctuary in Oakland. The aim is to create a sanctuary space equipped with healing waters to support deep relaxation, beauty, and a connection to the natural world. I can’t think of a better time for a space like this to come to life.
And you presumably didn’t miss this, but just in case: Oakland-born Kamala Harris is officially the VP pick for the Democratic ticket.
Thank you, firefighters. For the rest of us, please consider supporting the firefighters and their families. Cal Fire Foundation provides emotional and financial assistance to families of fallen firefighters.