Oakland YouTube Zennie62 on YouTube.com

Oakland: Lake Merritt People On A Saturday


More at Zennie62.com | Follow me on Twitter!

Have you ever walked by a group doing something interesting and yet never stopped to, or perhaps feared to, inquire what they were doing?  If so, this video-blog is for you.  I'm in Georgia as I write this and visiting my Mom, but two Saturdays ago I saw a YouTube video of people playing drums under the "Columns" at Lake Merritt in Oakland, where I live for those of you reading this in, er, Japan.  I said to myself, and wrote on the Oakland Focus Blog , that if I ever encountered that group I was going to have my camera at the ready and interview them (if they let me of course).

Well that's what I did on that Saturday morning.  The group is called "Emeryville Taiko" at www.etaiko.org, and as Sensei Susan Horn informs us in the video, they were located in Emeryville, but are now at 27th and Harrison St, near the Whole Foods Market and near Lake Merritt.   But on Saturday's they have this Taiko class and jam session at the Columns.  Many people love their activity, except one Lake dweller that seems to have a problem with the sound, according to Sensei Horn.  Frankly, I love what they do; they're an example of why the Lake is such a fun place to live, with the vibrant energy of people creating art.

I suppose prayer could be considered an art form as well.  For those who need a prayer in this time of economic disaster, Melena and Bruno of the East Hills Community Church have set up a table near the corner of MacArthur and Lakeshore just for you to stop by and have a prayer said for you or share a prayer of your own.  The couple shared an interesting account where one man they prayed for didn't look well, so they flagged down a fire truck that happened to be passing by and the firefighters determined he was having a heart problem.  They got him the treament he needed.

If you want to help the Church visit their website at www.easthillscc.org

After that conversation I walked over to visit Scotty who runs the Hawaiian Coffee Roasters booth at the Lake Marritt Farmers Market.  Hey, Scotty makes the best coffee and the market's a hoot.  I just wished the organization responsible for the market was based in Oakland and not Marin County.  But that's for another blog post and I digress.  Scotty's more right of center than I, so I have to challenge his libertarian beliefs just to keep him intellectually honest, but it's all in fun and worth the price of the coffee.

As I walked through the market, which you should do on the hot days that are before us in Oakland, I noticed that two groups of people were standing on opposite ends of Lake Park in front of the legendary Grand Lake Theater and thought "they're back".   The "they" are two organizations that have opposing views on the Mid East.  If you've seen the women dressed in black they call themselves "Bay Area Women In Black" and are against the "occupation of Palestine" as one of them explained to me.  The group on the other side, "San Francisco Voice for Israel" was once led by my friend Dan Kilman who I met in 2007 on a video-blogging walk around the neighborhood where he gave this interview:

Part One:

Part Two:

Kilman organized at the corner to counter Bay Area Women In Black, which led to what I described as a "culture war" played out right in front of the Grand Lake under the collective nose of Lake Merritt dwellers (who sometimes don't stop to talk to each other, though that's changing).  Unlike many, Dan was always ready with not just a comment but a full explaination of what's happening in the Mid East and a strong defense of Israel's postion. As happens with my life, Dan and I were later in the same debate club in San Francisco called "SF Debates." 

But sadly, Dan fell to his death on November 25th and was found December 1st 2008 at the bottom of an elevator shaft in downtown San Francisco in an act that many friends feel was deliberate because Kilman was so outspoken, but was officially ruled an accident.   Dan's energy is missed, but his work lives on in the presence of San Francisco Voice for Israel in front of the theater each Saturday.

Finally there was a cool Capoata dance-off that spontaneously started by the International Capoeira Angola Foundation on the park lawn near MacArthur and Grand Avenue.  As they were so into their movements, I didn't want to interupt them with questions.  But if you want more information, their website is www.ficaoakland.org

The Lake Merritt neighborhood is a place rich with fun activities and interesting people.  I have to share that the majority of these group activities call for a fee if you want to participate, so one can say it's a way of making money in a recession.  At any rate, stop and talk to them this Saturday when you're down there rather than just walking by.  It may change your life.
Post A Comment
  • Blogger Comment using Blogger
  • Facebook Comment using Facebook
  • Disqus Comment using Disqus

No comments :

Popular Posts