Quirky Berkeley – the book – is out! Published by Heyday, the dare-I-say iconic Berkeley publishing house. Available all over Berkeley, and at online book dealers such as Amazon. What a perfect gift! Rush out. Check it out. Give serious consideration to buying it.
The blurb: “When it comes to landscaping, why stop at plastic flamingos? Based on Tom Dalzell’s blog of the same name, Quirky Berkeley pays tribute to the boldly imaginative artwork on display in front of, on top of, and engulfing residents’ houses all over the city. With full-color photographs and a pithy wit, Dalzell shares his discoveries of the unexpected: the giant orange on Spruce Street, a house shaped like a fish, bowling balls as lawn art, enormous dachshund sculptures, and the birdhouse pyramid on Sacramento, to name just a few of the oddities. Created, installed, and maintained at great expense—not just of money, but of time and creative energy—these are all free to view, all gifts to the street. Included in every write-up are profiles of the artists, whom Dalzell is careful to portray not as stereotypical “Berzerkeleyites” but as individuals who have found their true north of exuberant self-expression. While the very uniqueness of each of these sites invites us to focus on the individual creators, the book also considers what the abundance of such art says about a community and its values. This love letter to idiosyncrasy champions the revolutionary idea that we can build a vibrant community not by demanding conformity but by celebrating difference.”
And – now – Volume 3. The gag is that we didn’t have enough material for volume 2 so we went to volume 3. Ha! Also Available all over Berkeley, and at online book dealers such as Amazon.
Here is Amazon’s blurb: “Following the success of Quirky Berkeley, “arbiter of the eccentric” (The New York Times) Tom Dalzell returns to take readers on a tour of even more artwork that peppers the proudly idiosyncratic Northern California city. Stroll along iconic Telegraph Avenue for views of painted-metal portrait sculptures of figures ranging from Rasputin to Mario Savio—even Heyday’s founder, Malcolm Margolin—at the Mad Monk Center for Anachronistic Media. Hike up Marin for views of the steel skeleton forever riffing on a tenor saxophone. Dalzell points out murals honoring the Sandinistas and bas-relief sculptures of legendary Oakland Athletics on the home of a member of the Great Tortilla Conspiracy. And just where can you find the quirkiest garden ever? Included in every write-up are profiles of the residents, whom Dalzell is careful to portray not as stereotypical “Berzerkeleyites” but as individuals who have found their true north of exuberant self-expression.
For 50 years – I repeat, 50 years – Al Geyer has run Annapurna on Telegraph. It’s part head shop, part import emphasis on Nepal. He is a saint, angel, martyr and holy man. The store is quirky bliss.
To borrow from the words of a spiritual, in quirk there is no east or west, no rich or poor. It’s everywhere – here in the flats, home of our vanishing economic diversity.
Five new murals – trippy, trompe-l’œil, graffiti-style and historical/glorification of Berkeley values. I love them all. They come, they go. These have come.
Kitsch. Historic photos. Folk art. Aztec and Mayan images. Bright colored tiles to die for. This is the material culture from five Berkeley Mexican restaurants. Added bonus – intermittent sound track.
Alice Schenker dug up more material from the Print Mint circa late 1960s when she had her late husband Don rocked Berkeley with posters, comics, and framing.
Doug Heine made this great and quirky silhouette fence for his friend Rob Garross – both Quirky Berkeley royalty. Plus updates on Doug’s art.
We got out the black and white camera for a tour of Berkeley gas stations, old and former. Example – this almost-Googie Coast Gas station in the shadow of the Claremont. Going, going, gone.
I anticipate some debate here, but I find private mail box centers to be quirky. I can’t put my finger on why – but I do. Here are five – two have great exteriors, others have busy signage. I declare: quirky.
The early 1970s indoor mall at Telegraph and Blake is a magical time capsule, encapsulating a Berkeley that is slipping away. It’s facing the wrecking ball. Can’t we do better?
Found objects – trash from the streets of North Berkeley. Assembled. Photographed. The genius part – retrieved and brought home by Darwin. A cat. Through the window at night. Sadly updated here.
And, lest we forget:
The 593rd Quirky Berkeley post! Old school plus the new tendency – a little more history of unconventional Berkeley.
The greatest hits of ’17, a year in which in addition to traditional quirky material culture, I started looking at old businesses, our cultural and political elders, and the de-beautification of Berkeley.
A look back at 2016 and the most popular and significant posts from the 50+ I published. Plus – a little philosophy on how Quirky Berkeley is evolving.
A look back at the stuff I found and people I met. It was a hecka quirky year.