How Quirky is Berkeley? Kitsch abounds

1106 Colusa Ave. Photo: John Storey

After years of shunning kitsch, I recently did a big old pivot and embraced kitsch fully and without qualification as an acceptable manifestation of Quirky Berkeley. I have published five posts directly or indirectly about kitsch, condensed here.

The front yard at 1106 Colusa Ave. is remarkable. There are two beach-trash sculptures by neighbor Mark Olivier, and there are dozens of little examples of kitsch.

1106 Colusa Ave. Photo: John Storey
1106 Colusa Ave. Photo: John Storey
1106 Colusa Ave. Photo: John Storey

A block north on Colusa is La Escuelita.

Carlos Baraza. Photo: John Storey

It is a pre-school run by Carlos Baraza. The front yard is kitsch on steroids.


1017 Colusa Ave. Photo: John Storey
1017 Colusa Ave. Photo: John Storey
1017 Colusa Ave. Photo: John Storey

This place really rocks quirky kitschy on holidays.

Wandering around Berkeley, here are a few more examples of lovely kitsch.

1779 Sonoma Ave. Photo: John Storey
1615 Ward St. Photo: Tom Dalzell
1341 Addison St. Photo: Tom Dalzell
2202 Spaulding Ave. Photo: John Storey
1521 Oregon St. Photo: John Storey
2828 McGee Ave. Photo: John Storey
10 Terrace Walk. Photo: John Storey
1190 Bancroft Way. Photo: John Storey

Lastly, I did entire post on artificial flowers, which are quintessential kitsch.

691 The Alameda. Photo: Colleen Neff
2634 McGee Ave. Photo: John Storey
1733 Sixth St. Photo: Tom Dalzell

Aren’t we glad that I went for Big Tent Quirky Berkeley, seeing kitsch as a legitimate expression of quirk? I think that I largely shied away from the embrace of kitsch for fear of appearing judgmental. I welcome kitsch to the family.

For a fuller version of this post with many more photos, see the posts of kitsch at 1106 Colusa, 1017 Colusa, a kitsch combo, Olivia Hunter’s pink and purple house and artificial flowers.

Tom Dalzell, a labor lawyer, created a website, Quirky Berkeley, to share all the whimsical objects he has captured with his iPhone. The site now has more than 8,000 photographs of quirky objects around town as well as posts where the 30-plus-year resident muses on what it all means.