Who has not seen the UFO – replete with “Berkeley or Bust” bumper sticker and twinkling lights at night – on Vine Street just east of the original Peet’s Coffee at Walnut Street?
I went to Kingman Co-Op at 1730 La Loma Ave. on graduation weekend to photograph the front door for a post-in-progress about painted doors. On the way to the door, I found this wonderful toad mural on the garage door.
We find depictions of mermaids (no mermen!) in our yards, porches, sidewalks and restaurants. Our species’ fascination with aquatic humanoids dates back thousands of years, unabated if less literal today. In Berkeley, we come by our fascination honestly. (more…)
Melissa Mork is the fourth generation of the Mork family to work in the sheet-metal business started by her great grandfather, Walter Mork, a patriarch of Berkeley’s early 20th-century Finnish community. She grew up around the shop. Her father taught her about sheet metal, theory and skills. And then she took it away from HVAC and functional fabrication into art. (more…)
On the eve of its move to a new downtown location, Tom Dalzell lists all the reasons he loves Berkeley's Ace Hardware.
Driving up or down Marin, you will have seen the rusting steel skeleton playing a saxophone, adorned perhaps with flowers, TIG welding rods, an American flag and beads. You may have noticed many steel fish as well.
Elaborate wooden “structures” float from the ceiling in Leonard Pitt’s Grant Street home. They are one of the several passions that define his life — along with Detroit, Paris, chocolate, theater, Balinese masks, and Balinese dance. (more…)
You have perhaps seen this bench on Walnut Street just south of Live Oak Park, one of three benches on the block. Penny Brogden made the bench, and the five tiles. (more…)
For decades, Telegraph Avenue has been the Boulevard of Unconventional Berkeley — a Bohemian enclave, then the Free Speech Movement, anti-Vietnam War, People’s Park, hippies, punks, street people. Before the Big Changes of the late 1960s, on Telegraph you could buy out-of-town and foreign-language newspapers, croissants, espresso drinks, Turkish cigarettes and Gauloises.
The front yard of 1231 Curtis Street is ultra-Berkeley Quirky — peace signs, bright colors, tie-dye motif, happy words.
QUIRKY ‘SCULPTURE AND METALWORK’ BERKELEY WALK Tom Dalzell, who, if you’re a regular Berkeleyside reader, you may know better as Mr. Quirky Berkeley, is leading a walk on Sunday April 3, starting at 10 a.m. The three-mile tour of the Ashby corridor will focus on its “trove of sculptural quirk,” including Mark Bulwinkle’s installations on Shattuck and his fence-post ornaments, a collaborative project with students from Malcolm X School; Eni Green’s all-things-dachshund house; and Marcia Donahue’s indescribable Wheeler Street garden. Participants will also visit the Slingshot Collective’s cell-phone gate, Mark Olivier’s beach detritus creations, Julie Partos Clark’s creatures on Webster and Mike and Becky O’Malley’s fence of doors, with Mike’s ceramic figures peeping out the windows. Dalzell’s family will provide snacks, drinks, and an optional shuttle service back to the Ashby BART station. Meet at the south-east corner of Emerson and Adeline Streets on the Flacos lot. Details on the Berkeley Path Wanderers’ website. (more…)
In 2007, Ten Speed Press published Jonathan Chester’s Berkeley Rocks: Building with Nature. It is a beautiful and insightful book about how we in Berkeley have built our homes and landscaped around the large rock formations that are part of our geological heritage.
One of my original rules of engagement for the Quirky Berkeley project was that the material culture (a.k.a. “stuff”) that I recorded and photographed and presented, be visible from the street, public path, or alley. Seeing Will Squier’s South Berkeley apartment and his world of kitsch was the tipping point for me and the end of my absolute visible-from-the-street rule. His apartment is just too wonderfully quirky to ignore in the name of principle or rule. (more…)