Month: February 2021

Fur, Last and Deposit: Appeals judge issues decision in controversial pet rent case

In a landmark lawsuit that has gripped the region and pitted the pet-haves against the pet-have-nots, U.S. circuit Judge Pete S. Cockburn decided in favor of the defendant, child social worker and homeless volunteer Mia Cordero, 31, bringing to a close a lengthy Bernal Heights renter-landlord dispute. The case, which has played out breathlessly in worldwide media coverage since March 2020, centered on whether or not the landlord, a t-shirt entrepreneur, aspiring rapper and Jamaican food truck company chief executive who self-styles as Trés but whose legal name is Joey Chad Ryan Jr., had the legal right to charge Cordero’s pets rent, and to subsequently attempt to evict them for failure to pay their pet rent. The matter, which appeared at first blush as a simple misunderstanding between a l...

Off-World in Inner Space: The ‘Hidden Kingdom’ is closer than you think

Astronomers recently discovered a planet where winds howl at 1,000 miles per hour, rocks rain down from the sky and the seas smolder with lava. It was called the most extreme planet ever found, and, as K2-141b isn’t a very catchy name, the distant inferno was quickly nicknamed “Hell Planet.”  Now, I know what you’re thinking: you thought that moniker belonged to Earth in 2020. Which is why if you perpetually find yourself saying “Get me off this planet,” know that it’s really not that difficult. Seekers, sages, shamans and spiritualists have been doing it for eons. All it takes is a crafty escape to your own private kingdom-not-of-this-world.  Imaginary fiefdoms are notoriously difficult to find. Parsifal, one of the knights of the Round Table, stumbled into the secret Grail Cast...

You Don’t Know Jack: On the road with Jack London

A new guide book for the San Francisco Bay Area offers dozens of exhilarating walks, hikes and historical sites for locals and tourists. A People’s Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area mentions Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, a socialist fable disguised as a dog story, but it doesn’t locate any of the places associated with the author. That’s a pity. For nearly 40 years, the San Francisco Bay Area was London’s stomping ground. In his heyday, he signed his letters, “Yours for the revolution” and added his alias, “Wolf.” A social animal and also a loner, he blazed a literary trail that Hemingway, Kerouac, Cormac McCarthy and others followed.   No 20th-century writer dug deeper roots in the Bay Area than London. And no writer captured its essence more fully than he did, in books ...

Blue Snaggletooth Lives: I’ve seen the action figure, and He is Us

Officially, he doesn’t exist. He has no past, no story—he’d be prime black-ops material if he wasn’t part of the most visible cultural phenomena of the past two centuries. And, then again, he isn’t really visible at all. They say he’s a mistake. Who Is Blue Snaggletooth? Ever see Star Wars? Yeah, well, he’s not in it. But he’s of it. He’s an action figure—a totem, an idol, a symbol—without a referent. In the world of Star Wars, let alone the world at large, there was never meant to be Blue Snaggletooth. He isn’t in the movie, he’s not “canon” and he was pulled from the market as soon as the mistake of his existence was realized. He does not belong. One of his problems is that he’s just not cool. I mean not in the way that Boba Fett, say, has always been cool. Fett can credibly affect the s...

Mural, Mural on the Wall: A self-guided tour of Oakland’s murals

The whole city of Oakland is a canvas. Over 1,000 murals can be found throughout the city, covering once-empty walls in explosions of color. Street art is inherently radical, and many of Oakland’s murals deal with themes of protest, injustice and identity. Like the city itself, Oakland’s murals are bright, bold and unapologetic. By nature, street art changes all the time, but there are enough murals in Oakland to satisfy any urban explorer. Although street art can be found anywhere in Oakland, certain neighborhoods have more murals than others. Here is a self-guided tour to three of Oakland’s best mural neighborhoods—a full map of all the murals in the city is available at VisitOakland.com under “Mural Map.”  San Pablo and Golden Gate  San Pablo Avenue, which runs the length of B...

Third Places: Eddie’s Drive In Liquors

Third places are the places we go for social connection, for a sense of belonging; they’re the spaces outside of our home and workplace, like temples, cafes, gyms and bookstores. There have been myriad television shows and movies set in that very third space—the record store in High Fidelity, the bar in Cheers and Central Perk coffee shop in Friends—and those of us who watched these shows as children craved such a space for ourselves once we grew up. There are many consequences from the pandemic. And one of them is the erasure of our communal spaces, either temporarily or permanently. So many places have closed forever already. Restaurants. Favorite retailers. Bars. For me, the most painful was Pollinate Farm and Garden closing its brick-and-mortar. I always felt welcome there; I liked to ...