Moto Velo

Cars and bikes will coexist peacefully at this Friday's Art Murmur.

Four years ago, a group of scrappy, underfinanced, low-rent-paying
artists created a new vision for Oakland by launching the inaugural
First Friday Art Murmur. Over time, a huge swath of the city’s downtown
— namely, two contiguous neighborhoods known as “Uptown” and
“Oaksterdam” — evolved into a different kind of civil society.
Now the bars have art on the walls, the restaurants source all their
ingredients locally, and, increasingly, people travel from place to
place by bicycle. Not to mention that Art Murmur has expanded to
include a lot of venues that aren’t galleries per se. In addition to
the myriad art receptions happening this Friday, you can find live
comedy and burlesque at the Stork Club, a no-cover indie-rock show at
the Uptown, and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition’s first winter party at,
of all places, an auto shop.

Initially, the idea had political underpinnings: Descend on auto row
and colonize one of the abandoned car dealerships. “Car culture out,
bike culture in,” said East Bay Bicycle Coalition organizer Carrie
Harvilla. But when the bikers’ eyes alighted on Uptown Body and
(401 26th St., Oakland), they had a change of heart. Uptown
owner Giovanna Tanzillo isn’t your typical car mechanic. She holds art
shows, boosts local nonprofits, and has a copious tea selection
alongside her espresso machine. Last month she hosted a puppet show in
auto shop — a retelling of Cinderella that required
multiple costume changes for the puppets. Moreover, Harvilla said,
Uptown provides an ideal setting for bike parties, with its huge
carport and exposed brick façade, right at the lip of the Art
Murmur corridor.

Friday, December 4’s Velo Wonderland event will feature
bicycle-themed and recycled works by nine local artists. Jill Contretas
will show some of the stuff she makes out of inner tubes, including
floggers. Nan Estep (aka B. Spoke Taylor) will exhibit her custom-made
bike apparel and hopefully bring a sewing machine. Curator Margo Rivera
Weiss will display her watercolor still lifes of fruits, along with a
large kiwi made of bottle caps and ginger ale cans. DJ Olga T will help
get the party started. Add to that several kegs of Velo Wonderland
Winter Lager, brewed by Adam Lamoreaux at Linden Street Brewery, and
pedicab service courtesy of Oaksterdam University — so partygoers
can ride back to the Art Murmur galleries in style. Harvilla says they
hope to prove, once and for all, that bikes and cars can indeed share
the same space. In so doing, East Bay Bicycle Coalition will bring a
new element into the Art Murmur fold. 6-10 p.m., free.


Newsletter sign-up

eLert sign-up

scattered clouds
59.7 ° F
62 °
57 °
51 %
40 %
60 °
60 °
55 °
54 °
53 °