Sunday, April 18, 2010

percolating along...

It continues to be a fun ride over here in the north o. We've been working on a bunch of stuff, and I'm really excited about the coming months.

Firstly, our May first Friday show (May 7th) is going to be a great one. Brian Richardson, a longtime local, is showing a new exhibit of his photography entitled "Spirited Decay". He makes crumbling structures and junk-strewn fields look like colorful shrines. Great stuff. DJs Garlynn and Joe Rice will be slanging discs, and Comfy Chair ( will be providing the live entertainment. Yessir.

Next, on May 15, we'll be screening a series of short films made by Charlotte Buchen for, of a series called Street Portraits. One of the films is about me and the Cafe, filmed shortly after we opened. Blurbs for all three are below.

Terri Saul paints impossible childhood fantasies on canvas. Inspired by her Choctaw-Chickasaw roots as well as memories of childhood bike rides through the outer edges of Los Angeles, many of Terri’s paintings combine classic Tour de France imagery with the regalia of Native American dancers. And now, her daughter Lydia, too, is taking to the magic and independence of the bicycle.

Sal Bednarz believes in creating community, so when he opened a new cafĂ© in his beloved neighborhood in Oakland, he gave it bike-friendly features. But Sal’s not trying to make a statement – he just thinks bike parking should come standard.

Antonio Mendoza has been living in Oakland and sending money home to Mexico for 13 years, but these are especially hard times. For him, riding his bike is a way to relieve stress, get around, and stay fit at the same time. Bicycles are also one way he can stay connected to his son in Mexico: They haven’t seen each other in over a decade, but whenever he can, Antonio fixes up a bike and sends it home so that his son can have something that his father’s hands have touched and loved.

We'll have live music by The Marshmallows (featuring Elliot Warren, who composed some of the soundtrack for the films), and Even Taylor.

The screening will also serve as the kickoff for Saturday night live music at the Cafe. I'm frantically listening to and booking bands in pretty much every free moment these days. In the month of May, we've got Go Kart Mozart ( on the 22nd, and Annah Anti-Palindrome ( on the 29th. More to come.

Also in May, we'll be starting to do some workshops on Thursday nights. Kendra Poma (aka girl on bike, whose recycled bike-tube earrings have been selling here for a couple months) will be doing a workshop on making jewelry from recycled bike tubes. Alison Tharp (yay, Alison) will be doing a shadowbox shrine-building session. More of these coming as well. If you're interested in hosting a workshop or group activity, say so. There are a helluva lot of Thursdays lying around here.

We've got some fundraising activities happening, too - on May 1, we'll be hosting a jewelry sale to benefit Team in Training. I've spoken to a couple AIDS/Lifecycle riders who are interested in doing some fundraising activities here as well. I've got a particular soft spot in my heart for physical challenge fundraisers like these, because they serve the dual purpose of raising money for folks who need it and helping motivate people to push themselves physically farther then they think they're able to go. I'm a four-time ALC cyclist, and I'm sad to not be riding this year. ALC was the thing that turned me from a casual, around-town rider into a pretty strong long-distance cyclist. If you're participating in these or other events and want to host a fundraising activity here, I'd love to hear about it.

All the above stuff is on our calendar (, which you can subscribe to with RSS/iCal or Gmail. It gets updated more often than the Facebook event pages, for various reasons.

We made a couple minor adds to the menu recently - bagels and bacon. Yum.

This weekend, we're also kicking off our new brunch menu, featuring belgian waffles (including our delicious bacon/parmesan version), mimosas, and a thing we call the Bloody Tire, with our housemade bloody mary mix and Fat Tire ale. 9-3 on weekend days.

We're making some minor changes to the interior of the cafe - adding a couple more seats, shuffling some things around - trying to make it a bit easier for us to do music without moving too many things every time, and just making the place more comfortable and usable.

Our Sparkle Motion bike-powered video player is on its way to Rock Paper Scissors for the month of May; it will be part of a show called Beyond Bikes (, full of human-powered things that will probably be pretty darn cool.

The weather is beautiful. Great for bike-riding, which I'm actually managing to do once in a while these days. Hope to see you all out there, and in the Cafe.