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.”
Back by popular demand – more photos of objects that are no longer commonly used or in some cases even understood. From police call boxes to military surplus to corner stores – and more.
A rule-breaking visit to Hillsborough to see what is new with the “Flintstone House.” Son of Berkeley Eugene Tssui has been hired to do work on a quirkier-by-the-day house in Hillsborough.
Reid’s has given Berkeley joyful noise for 75 years, but October will be the end. Its success reflects a good, old Berkeley. Its closing reflects another victory for gentrification. Plus – a brief farewell to Mac McIlroy.
Today – March 31 – would have been the 92nd birthday of Cesar Chavez. On a work trip in late March, John Storey and I spent a few hours in Delano, which was for a few years the home of the United Farm Workers.
Once again John Storey got out his black and white camera and we visited six funky bars on San Pablo Avenue, bridging Berkeley, Albany,, and El Cerrito. Plus two that are gone.
This post is built upon a brilliant concept – depictions of Jeeps in Berkeley. There is chaff with the wheat, I know, in the end the post promises more than it delivers, which is why it asks for YOUR help.
Three-dimensional and two-dimensional images of elephants in Berkeley. Plus an explanation of why I don’t use the term pachyderm.
Another post of black and white photos – Berkeley’s liquor stores, from the bland to the hopelessly romantic funky cool. Plus a little rant on what is good for the oppressor.
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.