You know, I went to the Bay Area about a month ago, and had the best vacation I'd ever had in my entire life. And I've had some pretty cool vacations. It's just that it was a combination of things... The weather was perfect, crisp and clear and sunny. The people were, as always, friendly and interesting and nutty. The entertainment was endless, it seemed. There was no traffic (everyone leaves the Bay for Memorial weekend) plenty of parking, and lots of great food and shopping. What more could a girl want?
So, Day One: Oaktown. I drove up and went straight to my friend's shop, Zosaku, where any cool piece of jewelry I own came from. My crashpad, Kitty, wasn't home yet, so I blew some time shopping on 4th street in Berkeley till she called. 4th Street (a few blocks from the fabled Gilman Street) was an industrial area under the freeway near the Berkeley pier for a long time, filled with squatters and artists and a diner here or there for the fishermen working during the day. Some warehouses started fancying themselves up for the public, and then the next thing you know it was all cute and full of boutiques and restaurants. I started working there along with some other friends. We were the tattooed kids with piercings and fake hair... At the time, I had platinum hair (for a Latina with jet black eyebrows and olive skin, it made an impression), tattoos and a nosering. Okay, I still have the tattoos and the nosering, but they are very subtle. Most of my friends that worked on the street were in the cafe or diners, also fiercely tattooed and scruffy looking. The rich folks just loved to mix with us. It was very: "Oh, they may look scary, but they are very nice. That one serves me mocha every day!"
Once Kitty got to town, we hit up Telegraph Ave. for a little bit of thrifting and had dinner. Then we went to Ajax's for some BBQ and soft rock. Ajax and Russ were really rockin' the soft rock, as friends stood around the firepit just chillin'. It was hilarious. Hilariously SATISFYING, that is. After that, we zipped over to some Oakland warehouse space called The Breathing Room, I think. There was some art, there were some bands, there were some people... so we took them with us to Radio and The Golden Bowl in downtown Oakland. The Golden Bowl had dancing, but Radio was the dive bar where we made our home. DJ Joe Quixx was spinning, member of the Oakland Faders and compadre of DJ Shadow. We hung out there till we got kicked out... which was late since we knew everyone working at the bar. Bonus!
It was awesome. The East Bay felt really alive and vibrant that night, and I wasn't even drunk most of the evening. There was so much creativity around town, people hanging out, good feelings... It made me really sad to have left the place. So if you ever go to the Bay Area for a visit, don't dismiss the East Bay as just a parking lot for SF. It fucking rules.