Folk art and tiki and turtles fill the corner front yard at Ashbury and B. This is a reminder that quirk has no borders. Next week is back to Berkeley, but this week a peek at Albany.
More, lots more, from Amador Avenue with its front yard small world. Here – a club house and pirate cove and Fairyland and Fairy Bakery and miniature laboratory and Little Dog and the Urban Scouts.
Another in a series of occasional suggested spots for your acquisition of quirky material culture, the Antique Center at 6519 Telegraph. At least 60 years in business, son and mother, a cat that bites, and tons of quirk.
I confess: very odd on my part. I like the names of apartment houses. They speak of another time.
The premise is simple, if tenuous. The nse of artificial flowers in a natural-inclined place like Berkeley is quirky in a world upside down sort of way. Here I salute those who use artificial flowers outside their homes.
Steve Papai runs Automatic Response on Eastshore. They shred paper and destroy hard drives. He collects old office equipment – typewriters, comptometers, and check protectors.
Soon it will move. Before it does – I honor the building and trains and Homies and models and the Chuckles for sale. All hail Berkeley Ace Hardware! Be not forgotten!
In the hills of Oakland with several nexus to Berkeley – Donna Reynolds and Tim Racer and their art and pit bulls. What a deal!
Frank Bardacke was in Berkeley from 1961 until 1970, at Cal and in the streets. There wasn’t much in Berkeley in the 1960s that he wasn’t part of. His story reminds us of an older, prouder, principled Berkeley.
I have posted on quirky doors, garage doors, outbuildings, gardens, and bathrooms. Today – quirky beds. This post breaks almost every Quirky Berkeley rule. I will not hide behind rules. I will show you the beds.
The third chapter in my exploration of old Berkeley businesses – the fourth generation running a small Berkeley business, an element of what makes Berkeley Berkeley.
Another outstanding, upstanding, longstanding Berkeley business – Berkeley Typewriter on University, owned by Joe Banuelos whose life has been the repair, restoring, and selling of typewriters.
Another old business – Chris and Gerald Seegmiller, sons of Berkeley and their store. It was Sam the Vacuum Man, then Berkeley Hardware Vacuum, and since the early 1980s the Seegmillers. 10 out of 10.
On the southwest corner of Gilman and Ordway, Avi Black has translated his lover of all things Balinese into a backyard Berkri-la, as in Shangrila. Very Bali cool.
A compilation inspired by this photo and the suggestion of a reader. Body parts and mannequins from Berkeley and our holiday notional field trips. Ending with a popular culture quiz
Bowling balls as lawn art. I have three. Placed there by a neighbor. Plus one house using bowling pins!
Susan Brooks in her studio in the Sawtooth Building. It is must-go. She paints, makes jewelry, carves small clay figurines, and collects quirky things. She lives a life of quirk and art. Must go!
We love us our Buddhist iconography in our yards. And no, I am not saying that Buddhism is quirky. The iconography is part of the quirky fabric, that’s all.
A Thanksgiving post on Guanyin in our front yards. She is the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Her name means “Perceiving the Cries of the World.” There are cries of the world today.
A friend of Quirky Berkeley loosened flyer after flyer from a bulletin board, giving a glimpse of the culture of Berkeley in the 1980s and 1990s. It was a crazy idea and took lots of work. And boy did it pay off!
A guest post – Mykael Moss is fascinated by our bumper stickers. Lots and lots of photos of our bumper stickers. Right dab in the middle of the Quirky Berkeley ethos. You go Mykael!
Mykael Moss is at it again – unabated in her passion for Berkeley and fascination for the thoughts we express with bumper stickers. We care!
Another casual departure from Quirky Berkeley norms – Ken Stein’s extraordinary collection of Berkeley political buttons of the 1960s and 1970s. We had causes!
After a career at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, a division of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Roger Carr started making things for the sake of making things – and having fun.
Chimneys are Tier Two quirk. They may not be quirky material culture in and of themselves, but they add to the quirky feel of Berkeley. I only ask that you spend two minute with chimneys.
In which I start photographing columns, stop photographing columns, and then go gaga over these Camelia Street beauties.
In 1916, neighbors with help from the City built Codornices Park and at the top of the hill behind the slide a clubhouse for the Codornices Club. Maybeck played some role in the building, which was demolished in 1960.
Found objects – trash from the streets of North Berkeley. Assembled. Photographed. The genius – retrieved and brought him by Darwin. A cat. Through the window at night.
A fresh look at Berkeley doors – better photos and more photos and looser rules than the first-generation post I did on doors. Inspiration! A grand metaphor!
While mourning the loss of the mural at the old CIL on Telegraph, I celebrate here the public art at the Ed Roberts Campus – photographs and hand-painted tiles.
This post represents an open-arms embrace of what others might call kitsch. Bright, gaudy, sentimental art in front of stucco day care on Colusa. A gift to the street and quirky.
Liz Schultz and her daughter have created this fairy garden in front of their Parker Street home. There are fairies and gnomes and mermaids and a lizard of unknown origin. Enchanted!
We don’t just have fences and we don’t just have walls. We sometimes have quirky fences and we sometimes have quirky walls. Robert Frost sets the tone, and then we admire the quirky creativity of our fences and walls.
The carved redwood picket fence at 3102 Shattuck has a story that goes back to 1942. Here is that story, and the story of a Berkeley that drew young and struggling artists.
Painted fire hydrants, fire hydrants as lawn art, and traffic-calming barriers as art. What a combo!
Folk art, collected art, kitsch, and Bob Fischer’s photography and paintings fill his house. An inspiring hodgepodge of extraordinary things.
In 2010, Adolfo “Fito” Celedon Bravo died shortly after being shot at Emerson and Adeline during an armed robbery. The post is about love, death, and a public sacred place. Hint: the story has not ended.
Even in the loose-goosey world of Quirky Berkeley categorization, this one does not lend itself to categorization. Too random to be a small world, so, what? It’s fun. How about that?
We have a good number of free book exchanges in Berkeley. These are some of the rogues, those not sanctioned by the Little Free Library organization.
Free speech rebooted. Little free libraries, wish trees, note posts, bulletin boards. 1964 plus a few decades.
Stuff hanging from trees. More than you would think.
One can’t talk about the quirky in Berkeley without a visit to Games of Berkeley. Here, a look back at the old site on Shattuck and a look forward at the new site on Durant.
Photos of 14 painted garage doors. What a way to express yourself. Plus – a call to arms by my friend for spray-painted graffiti-style garage doors. Good idea!
Barbara Garson came to Berkeley from New York in 1962. Seven years later she left with fame in her pocket as a result of the success of her satirical play MacBird. This is the story of her seven years with us.
This is a two-fer, two rules broken. My rules exclude seasonal – here I present seasonal. My rules require Berkeley – here I present Oakland. Break the rules Tom!
A fellow traveler! Quirky Berkeley evolving! A glimpse at Ian Wood’s Instagram collection of photos of Berkeley garage doors. We are a movement!
I confess – I don’t have a clear definition of what is quirky when it comes to gardens. These are though – vertical gardens, green roofs, and eccentric containers.
Kitsch? Maybe. I like them. They’re in.
A debatable posting. An exercise in visual acuity. Look for grids. Collect them. Quirky!
Judy Gumbo, our most famous female Yippie, lives in a Berkeley co-housing community with material reminders of the 1960s and 1970s on every wall of her house. Her politics have not changed.
The premise – signs with a half in the number. The secondary premise – rock it old school using iPhone photos. Just like the old days.
It is a charming working class, economically diverse block just east of San Pablo Avenue. It’s about the change. This is the tale of how it is and where it is headed.
A charming, affordable block just east of San Pablo. But – a proposal to destroy a charming little bungalow court and go high-price ‘contemporary infill village’ butt-ugly imitation-Emeryville-or-is-it-Pleasanton? Really?
As a Son of Pennsylvania, I was thrilled to find my first hex sign in Berkeley. I found seven so far.
A wonderful memoir from Berkeley’s last days of folk music and Bohemian innocence and the early days of the shit getting real.
For years I have avoided kitsch in Berkeley’s yards. Reverse course! I embrace it. Here I present kitsch from half a dozen yards, plus an End War sculpture, plus a stunning array of bonsho, Buddhist bells.
I continue my embrace of Kitsch with a look at the über kitsch in the front yard at 1106 Colusa. What a manifestations of our creativity and individuality that function as gifts to the street!
The quirky action figure tableaux at Lanesplitter Pizza on San Pablo, plus a bonus look at quirky dolls I have encountered.
A QB friend suggested that I look at some of Berkeley’s older businesses. Good idea! Here is a look at Lasher’s Electronics, 57 years now on University.
For 55 years, Eli Leon made art and collected. Traditional quilts, Afro-traditional quilts, and kitcheniana were the main categories. Here – a view of his collections and a brief biographical portrait.
It’s been a while since I posted about a small world. Theresa Lipton’s front yard on Ada reminds just how clever and fun these micro-universes are. And bonus – nearby zebra action.
Metal lived and made art in Berkeley from the early 1950s until his death in 2007. Here – a look at his work, his life, his family. He epitomized the freedom of Berkeley before the Big Changes.
I went to 374 Vassar to re-photograph a whale weathervane and got my second big surprise on that street – a quirky garden and a Best of Berkeley couple, Suzanne and Charles McCulloch.
A collection of measuring devices, displayed publicly and in many cases used as lawn art.
Artistic depictions of aquatic humanoids in our yards, sidewalks, and restaurants. And our livery collars.
This started as an innocent look at Metro Lighting on San Pablo. It became so much more – a story of a young, just-married couple from Ohio coming to Berkeley to live the life that they were meant to live. Lucky us.
No theme. No category. No grouping. No rhyme. No reason. No unifying theory. Just miscellaneous. A mix.
It took some psychological heavy lifting, but I worked my way past my need to categorize everything and present here a couple dozen wonderfully quirky things. That don’t fit into categories. There – I said it! I did it!
There are two ways of looking at this. !) Healthy surrender of need to categorize and group. 2) Lack of vision. I’ll go with #1.
Melissa Mork, the 4th generation at Mork Sheet Metal, takes HVAC fabrication skills and makes sheet metal creatures. Check out the grotesques on the roof!
Images created with small pieces of colored ceramic tile, colored glass, stone, or other materials. From our front yards. Sacred and profane.
Urban Ore, Hygenic Dog Food, All Power Labs, and Michael Christian’s art. Quirky. Young and struggling and creative. An infusion of good maker DNA into Berkeley.
Front yards, front porches, signs, graffiti and murals – all depict music. A theme-based collection here, some of which you have seen elsewhere, some of which not.
Mark Haggitt is a collagist who uses detritus of all sorts in his exploration of things connected to natural forces. Not fancy. DIY. Wonderful!
Odds and ends, bits and pieces, remnants and scraps. The only unifying principle here is – Quirky Berkeley. One-offs and updates that have come my way. They are a variety pack of Quirky Berkeley. They made me happy.
Art by artists with developmental challenges. Creativity and independence through art and the human spirit and – instant quirk for the home, yard, or workplace.
Odds and ends, bits and pieces, remnants and scraps. The only unifying principle here is – Quirky Berkeley. One-offs and updates that have come my way. They are a variety pack of Quirky Berkeley. They made me happy.
The industrial and vintage oddities at Ohmega Salvage on San Pablo are PERFECT for DIY Quirk. Or just wandering and imagining. A great Berkeley hippie waste-not vibe.
An orange, mud hut, bale, shipping container, caboose, yurt, tree house, trailer, tiny house, Aistream, bunkie. And more. DIY!
Pal Joey (Sinatra) is given a one-way ticket out of Gold City, which gives us two technicolor views of Berkeley in the 1950s. Plus Oakland. And San Francisco. And a reflection on old weird glory.
I built a post about artistic depictions of palms around several palms on a cinder block wall at the Webster Poolside Apartments. It’s a reach, but I love the Poolside palms.
For 91 years, we have gone to Pettingell’s for our book binding needs, the last 23 of which Klaus Rötzscher has been the owner and binder. Beautiful things, beautiful tools and machines, beautiful materials. A treasure!
Pirate images from our front yards and some lightweight musing on our fascination with imagined pirates.
Detroit and Paris and chocolate. Balinese dance and masks. Theater. And intricate “structures” that dance through the air in his Grant Street home.
An extraordinarily whimsical house in the hills with ornate plaster work and carved doors and skylights and columns, with a history of artistic and political nonconformity to match.
It’s at 10979 San Pablo in El Cerrito. It is magic. Pure magic. All things Playland, a miniature circus, vintage pinball machines to die for. It closes Labor Day, for good. The end of magic. GO SOON!
On Milvia just south of University, post-it artists at Customer Lobby, Magoosh, and Everlaw have gifted the street with post-it art in the windows. Totoro. Khtulu. The Galaga starship shooter. More. Youth!
In 2016, a family had to move out of their rented home on Russell Street, dismantling as they left a great quirky curb strip and front yard. They moved to Prince Street and have made great new quirk.
Seen through glass – lots of blue bottles, art, junk.
No unicorns, but plenty of rainbows in Berkeley. Painted and in names. On walls and accessories. And a tease for the rainbow flag.
No rhyme or reason to the collection of stuff in front of 1608 MLK. Kanji! And a prayer for Wendy.
A big old mission creep here – but – who could resist? A man with great passion and a great collection of miniature souvenir buildings.
A posting on relief sculpture in Berkeley. Some of it is on its face quirky. All of it is an intrinsically quirky part of our fabric.
Join the flaneur as he walks six blocks south from University on Shattuck, documenting relief sculpture and facades, beauty for the sake of beauty.
In 1957, Ralph Shaffer introduced a resolution banning racial discrimination in fraternities to ASUC. It did not pass. But then came TASC,and then came SLATE, the HUAC demonstrations, the FSM. Etc. Starting here.
Images from Egypt, Greece Rome, the American southwest. Pre-Christian.
Garish/gaudy/hyperactive consumerism meets early 19th century movie theater/palace grandeur. The 99 cent Store on San Pablo just north of University – great bargains and incredible, well-preserved movie theater flourishes. Wow!
Buddhas on art car, nun in birdbath, Virgin Mary and gnomes, Virgin Mary and Snow White and Cinderella and Barbie. Undeniably (I think) quirky use of religious iconography. No offense to any religion intended.
These 20-something photos are of front-yard sculpture, gifted to passers-by (passerby’s?), all looking like what they purport to be – hence representational. The first of several posts on sculpture.
Rocks in bowls and in circles and stacked and painted and drilled. Rocks in our yards.
For the last post of 2017, we visit the development across the street from Doug Heine’s studio on Page Street to see the safety pin that Heine was commissioned to make, a reminder to protect the vulnerable in our midst.
I don’t pretend to know what modern sculpture is. But that doesn’t stop me from making this page – modernish sculpture in our front yards.
The former home of Magic Gardens Nursery is an impromptu sculpture garden with works from the Artworks Foundry. Still magic.
Mark Bulwinkle nominated the Star Grocery block on Claremont as the quirkiest block in Berkeley. Motion second, concur. A definite peaceful vibe. Four bookstores too.
A guest post! About a Very Far Out front lawn on Mabel Street, featuring sound sculpture by tinkerer and gadgeteer Sudhu Tewari. Quirky Berkeley has eyes on the street!
A look at 40+ years of Tyler Hoare’s art – in the bay, in his studio, and in his Berkeley home. Best known for Snoopy and the Red Baron, Hoare’s sculpture and collages are so much more.
From Ken Stein’s files – clippings mostly from Grassroots in the 1970s and early 1980s. Architectural heritage, “Carpetgate,” disability rights, and more.
Another stroll through Ken Stein’s collection of clippings from Grass Roots, these from the 1980s. There’s a touch of plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose here, and then some how far have we fallen?
Born and raised in Berkeley, Seabury has lived a life of music and art. From the start and going strong.
Ken Stein’s collection of sterling silver Berkeley souvenir spoons, most from between 1890 and 1910. A deviation from Quirky Berkeley rules of engagement – but brilliant and worth breaking the rules.
The presence of conventional lawn statues in a largely unconventional Berkeley makes, I assert, the conventional unconventional. Or, put another way, quirky.
Our search for Leslie Safarik’s joyful giant ceramic women starts at Ohmega Salvage on San Pablo. What a gift! So glorious we bend a few rules.
Trusting a crazy idea took Quirky Berkeley to Sam’s 58 Club at 1035 Heinz. It’s been long closed, but the past permeates. This is Part One of two or three -unknown now – about Sam and Sam’s.
For its last decades, Sam’s 58 Club on Heinz evolved into a blue-collar, working class bar with a vibrant culture. Sam is shown here standing between George and Bruno, the bartenders known as “The Bookends.”
An exercise in visual acuity – patterns made by shingles. Not a lot to say about it, just photos of shingles.
Two sisters lilting in their childhood home, filling it and their yard with art – tiles, ceramic sculpture, ink wash paintings.
We put benches in front of our homes for strangers to sit upon. Only in Berkeley.
A bold post – two photographs depicting perfect quirk. Lovely depictions of Snoopy and the Red Baron on Hillcrest in the Uplands.
The more I repeat those three words the happier I am with my naming. One doesn’t think of steps and risers as potential canvases for quirk. One is wrong. They are.
Ted Friedman, the leading authority on All Things Telegraph, writes about Stoney Burke, a street performer / satirist for whom the world, especially Sproul Plaza, is a stage.
Happy sun faces on walls and in gardens.
Images of the Creator and First Created. And a digression on tiki culture in the East Bay.
Saws, spades, rakes, pitchforks, hoes, and picks as decorative accessories. No kidding. Tools as lawn art!
A car, bunny, squirrel, giraffe, horse, and panda. Not to mention our sundial.
This is the first of 3 pieces about Wavy Gravy, the king of our dear old quirky Berkeley. We follow the man we know as Wavy from the Gas Light in New York across the country a few times, to Europe, and then the overland trail to India.
Part 2 of 3 or 4 (TBD) posts on Wavy Gravy, Clown Prince of Berkeley, Hippy Icon, Flower Geezer & Temple of Accumulated Error. Here – highlights of Wavy’s years in Berkeley, visits and then, since 1975, residing.
Wavy Gravy is not all about stuff, but he is not a person without stuff. In this third in my Wavy Gravy series I show you some of his stuff, mostly gloriously in his work room / prayer room. It is cool stuff.
In the shadow of Alta Bates, a quiet neat street. And lots of ceramic animals. Dogs and cats and turtles and most of all, penguins.
We love our view of the Bay in Berkeley, and to grab a view where the house doesn’t provide one we build decks – up on the roof. And occasional green houses. Up where the air is fresh and sweet.
Urban Ore’s mission is to end the age of waste. It is a gold mine of DIY quirk. Be brave. Take a chance. Go quirky!
My past! Berkeley supported the UFW like nobody’s business. A little bit is left – more so in Berkeley than in the fields.
Debbie Vinograd came to Berkeley in 1974. Her sister Julia opened the magical doors of Berkeley for her. She stayed, and has painted since. A story of bright colors and surreal and love and collages.
Paintings and pillows and photographs and beads and skulls and dolls – anything but a boring space. Julia Vinograd lives in the California Apartments – adding visual prankster to her career as street poet and bubble lady.
Robert Frost wrote that nothing gold can stay. Virginia Bakery was gold. It transcended being a bakery. It was here a long time, but it was gold and so can’t stay. It closes today after years. Goodbye Erdmans. Thanks.
I never learned the story behind the great excess of quirk in front of 7 Virginia Gardens. I tried but failed. And then it went away this year. Sold. Dismantled. Presented here are photos from its glory days.
On a quiet and gentle block – BAM – this. intricate glorious path and a painted sun to die for and kids art and – inexplicable figures on either side of the driveway. This is Berkeley.
You don’t need a weathervane to know which way the wind blows, but they help. Mostly decorative these days, I find them staid but quirky. These photos – mostly not roosters.
A real stretch. Horseshoes, log cabins, hitching posts, and bleached skulls. A real stretch.
Berkeley is not a natural habitat for windmills or water towers. We are not rural, and we are not a big city like New York with its water towers. We are we are, and we have what we have.
I have found two in Berkeley – your write a wish on a tag and hang it from the tree. Wish comes true! I wish that there were more of them.
Words as graphics. Words as meaning. Words as material culture. My favorite – Malvina Reynolds’ celebration of modest heroes.