Oakland, occupied

“Welcome to Oscar Grant Plaza: This is an occupation, we have not asked for, or received any permits, nor do we allow the police inside. You are entering a LIBERATED (illegal) SPACE. Enter at your own enjoyment!”

-National Lawyer’s Guild phone number: [number]

Well, some crazy goings-on have occurred recently!! Occupy Oakland has been thrust into the international spotlight, thanks to the police raid of Oscar Grant Plaza, ground zero of the Occupy Oakland movement. A 24-year-old Iraq War vet named Scott Olsen remains hospitalized after being struck in the head last Tuesday night with either a tear gas canister or a rubber bullet (my money’s on the canister) fired by police. Read more about the incident here.

Two weeks back, my roommate and I visited Oscar Grant Plaza to check out the scene. At that point, Occupy Oakland was a mere four days old, and the atmosphere was charged with excitement and hope. As we walked along the makeshift boardwalk laid down between tents, I could hear snippets of political conversations all around me — denouncements of the one percent and proclamations of how broken the financial system is. I took my camera along, and attempted to capture some scenes with my crappy flash (grrr…must…upgrade!). I’ll highlight some of my favorites here…

The Occupy movement is spreading...

Someone's not happy with their MBA program, eh?

Right at the foot of City Hall

Urban camping

Protestors need beats too!

Not surprised in the least.

As we were leaving, we witnessed a group of young 'uns attempting to ghost ride a whip, while doing a choreographed dance too. Oakland. Always exciting.

So last Tuesday the police did succeed in removing all the protestors and their belongings, and also erected a chain-link fence around the spot where the tent city was situated. Despite the tear gas and alleged “unnecessary roughness” on the part of the Oakland police, protestors returned to Oscar Grant Plaza on Thursday, tore down the fence, and refashioned it into a work of art (duh). My roommate and I returned to the Plaza last night to see what was up. I’d say there were probably a couple hundred people there, maybe more. The crowd clearly was reinvigorated, which doesn’t surprise me considering the international attention Oakland has received as of late. Last Friday Egyptians marched from Tahrir Square to the US Embassy to show support for Occupy Oakland. Egyptian blogger Mohammed Maree (@mar3e) tweeted images from the march like this one:

Egyptians march to show support of Occupy Oakland & denounce police brutality

[If you’re interested in more photos of Egypt’s march, click here]

There was a planning meeting going on to prep for Wednesday’s Citywide general strike, which was really interesting to witness. There were two choppers overhead, so the crowd was having a hard time hearing the speaker. “Mike check!” someone would yell from the crowd, and everyone would begin repeating the speaker so all could hear. Pretty effective method, actually. I didn’t bring my camera with me this time, because frankly I felt pretty invasive last time. I did grab a shot of the tents as we were leaving though (tents that are multiplying in number once again) …

Occupy Oakland, 10/29/11

Managed to grab a poster on our way out too …

General Strike poster

Clearly it’s an exciting time to be in Oakland! I’m very interested to see what comes out of all of this; on a national-level, but especially on a local city-level. The Scott Olsen incident reflected very negatively on Mayor Quan, and she’s now released a statement saying the City supports the Occupy Oakland movement. I feel like some good could come of all of this after all. So, we’ll see.

On an unrelated yet relevant note …..Happy Halloween! XD

xoxo, KerBear

p.s. Check out all my Occupy Oakland photos below, and read more about the movement here.


It happened in Monterey…

So, two weeks ago I drove down Route 1 aka the Pacific Coast Highway with two friends to see Furthur Friday & Saturday nights in Monterey. Furthur is basically a continuation of the Grateful Dead: original members Bob Weir (guitar) and Phil Lesh (bass), plus Jeff Chimenti, John Kadlecik & Joe Russo… all accomplished and talented musicians in their own right (backup singers Sunshine Becker & Jeff Pehrson also deserve a shout out!). It was AMAZING! The shows were at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, site of the famous 1967 Monterey Pop Festival featuring Janis Joplin and a guitar-burning Jimi Hendrix (read more about it here). Check out a video of Furthur playing the Dead’s California-loving “Estimated Prophet” at the end of this post… Man, these guys are still rockin’ after all these years!

Anyhoo, I took my DSLR along for the ride, and captured some amazing pictures! Monterey has gorgeous vistas with acres upon acres of green farmland and blue blue sky. As a bookworm, I was especially excited since John Steinbeck lived in the area and set four of his famous works in Monterey: Cannery Row, Tortilla Flat, East of Eden, and Of Mice and Men. We visited Cannery Row, and I got some shots with a bronze bust of Steinbeck. We also visited neighboring Carmel-by-the-Sea to spend the afternoon napping on the sand with the famous Pebble Beach golf course in the distance. So beautiful. Check out my pictures in the gallery below!!

Trying hard to catch up on my posts I promise…

xox, KerBear


p.s. Here’s Furthur playing “Estimated Prophet” at Monterey, as promised :)

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass … and night exploring!

Woohoo my second post! Okay, so bear with me while I do some backtracking to make up for lost time … allow me to take you back to two weeks ago, when I first got here! I landed at 10:30pm PST on Wednesday, September 28th, and was picked up by my wonderful friend (and roomie!) Casey. The next two days were a whirlwind of sleeping and trying to figure out where the hell I was. Lucky for me, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, a free music festival in Golden Gate Park, was that very weekend. Casey’s San Fran friends very graciously adopted me for the weekend, and what a weekend it was!

Here’s Bright Eyes performing at HSB in Golden Gate Park:

I still can’t get over the height & lushness of these NorthWest trees…

Saturday we returned to HSB to see Broken Social Scene, one of my fave prog rock bands. They’re actually going on an open-ended hiatus, so I was incredibly happy to be able to see them before they become … er, broken. Check out some more cool pics of HSB here, including Hugh Laurie aka Dr. House, who I somehow missed…

Saturday evening my new friends took me on a convertible drive over the Golden Gate Bridge, which was completely ensconced in fog & really ethereal-looking. We parked at one of the lookout points, and walked down… which truly felt like walking off a cliff into the fog. SCARY. We also discovered some old WWII bunkers on our spooky hike, which have since been tagged quite a bit:

Finally, we visited the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, a gorgeous landmark right on the Bay, which is all lit-up & pretty-ful at night. We climbed up for a better view… that’s my new friend Marcus checkin’ out how high up we are :)

Here’s a couple more photos of the Palace:

Gorgeous, huh?

Lastly, on Sunday my cousin Tim (who’s living in SF too!) and I braved the scary Coliseum to watch the Pats v. Raiders in Oakland. Wow. Raiders fans are very frightening people! The man in front of us was yelling “KILLY BRADY!!” repeatedly. Good thing we went incognito…

Luckily, we survived, and the Pats won: 31-19. WHAT.

I’d say that about wraps up my first weekend here, phew! In my next post I’ll put up some awesome pictures from our roadtrip down to Monterey last weekend!

xox, KerBear

welcome to my blog!

Hello there, reader, and a warm welcome to my new blog, KerBearCA!! KerBear here, inviting you to come along as I figure out what is so darn alluring about the West Coast

I’ve been here for two weeks now, and so much has already happened. I can’t wait to introduce you to my new life via some fantastic new photos! First, please meet my co-author and partner-in-crime, Hoka.She’s my roommate’s dog, and quite the sweetheart. Plus, she helps me not miss my Beagle back home too much!  Our neighbor downstairs is an awesome retired dude who builds furniture and gardens in our backyard. He very generously gifted me some beautiful shelves, and frequently shares his fruits and veggies too. He also watches Jeopardy nightly, and I’ve already got the open invitation to join him (woohoo!). We are, after all, TV-less in this poet-filled* household. Here’s some delicious tomatoes from his garden…

Stay tuned for an update of all the fun I’ve been up to since I landed in Oakland!

xox, KerBear

* did I mention my three roommates are poets? Like actual getting-a-master’s-degree-in-poetry poets. It’s awesome. And highly entertaining.