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.”
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.
If I were giving out frequent flyer miles for appearances in this blog, Jon Balderston would be happily flying free. He has a show of his paintings in Alameda and Quirky Berkeley says – go check it out.
For Labor Day we visit Vicente A. “Bobo” Banuela Jr. and his astonishing collection of electric line equipment and models. Decades of a passionate pursuit by a passionate man.
For my fifth post about San Pablo Avenue, I present photographs of the signs of San Pablo Avenue in Emeryville, part of a joinery from end to end of our funky Boulevard.
Montoya has been ours for 23 years, but in a sense he is of California. of Aztlán – an artist grounded in Chicano and Apache cultural traditions that have informed his art,
Part rant, part lament – a look at what replaced an undistinguished but affordable Craftsman bungalow on a perfect southwest Berkeley block. Three units well north of a million bucks each. OUCH
These days, just everybody – tout le monde – is talking about the mysterious medallions that are appearing in Berkeley’s sidewalks – spoof historical markers. Here are the ones I know of. Send me more!
Underground comix deity R. Crumb is not ours, but he has had connections with Berkeley for 50 years. Here he smooches with Janis Joplin at a Berkeley gallery opening.
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.