Art & Culture

Leading With Lifestyle

Ayesha Curry’s Sweet July At Sweet July, fashion and design are represented by far more than clothing and home goods. The new one-stop retail shop and café, opened in downtown Oakland in January 2021 by restaurateur and best-selling cookbook author Ayesha Curry, houses a lifestyle. Within the store’s luminous space, the tale of a beautiful life lived in graceful and inclusive harmony in which peace, fellowship and kinship prevail is narrated in part with carefully curated products delivered largely by Black-owned businesses as well as products created by Bay Area-based makers, mostly women. The “story” of a well-designed, fashionable life is staged in the store’s quietly sophisticated brick-and-mortar interior setting designed by Curry and Christine Lin of Bay Area design firm Form +...

Hoot Couture

Rachel Konte’s OwlNWood In the midst of the 2007 recession, Danish-born designer Rachel Konte stepped away from a 15-plus-year career in corporate fashion and her then-current high-level position as design director at Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco to consider future options. “My whole career had been exciting and exhausting, so finding myself thinking of what to do next and founding OwlNWood and then Oakollective, a popup fashion shop I started with a friend, was me dabbling,” Konte says. In 2021, Konte’s “dabbling” led not only to the Oakland resident becoming the founder/owner of the design and consulting studio OwlNWood and co-founder/operator of Oakollective—the shop is now inactive—but also to becoming chief of brand for Red Bay, the roaster and cafe her husband, Keba Konte,...

Making a Splash

Wearable art arrives in the East Bay Among the many rewards and luxurious pleasures of investing and dressing in wearable art is the possibility of draping the ocean around one’s neck—while simultaneously protecting its invaluable ecosystem and tiny treasures. Or literally, metaphorically and perhaps politically, lighting up a social gathering with an illuminated handbag that advocates, in its message, equal pay for all. Alternatively, an outfit might—without shouting rage, but by means of powerful words and imagery—establish unequivocal support for social justice, nonprofit arts organizations, preservation of our natural world and the protection of wildlife. In extended forms, wearable art brought into homes will “dress” and invigorate tables, beds, walls, counters, doors and any other su...

A Midsummer Date-Night’s Dream

Dinner and a show with California Shakespeare Theater Canvasing the Bay Area for an optimal come-out-of-Covid date night, one option shouts for attention: California Shakespeare Theater’s “Season of Shared Light” that in 2021 flings open the venue’s sweeping golden Orinda Hills backdrop and the broad outdoor Bruns Amphitheater to community groups, performing artists and cultural organizations from across the Bay Area and beyond. Customarily known as Cal Shakes, the theater company—now in its 47th season—is nationally recognized for innovative and contemporary storytelling rooted in classical theater’s traditions and literature, high-quality production values, an extensive commitment to education demonstrated through year-round programming and a popular summer conservatory, and deep investm...

Making Moves

Local creators thrive despite pandemic During the last year of the pandemic, we’ve all developed new hobbies: baking bread, making cocktails, gardening. But for the Bay Area’s Etsy sellers, “making” is more than entertainment; it’s a livelihood. During the course of the pandemic, the Bay Area’s makers devoted themselves to creating products inspired by their homes, from wine barrels to succulents, and the results have paid off—for some makers, this has been the most successful year of their business. Beth Albers and Claire Whitehead developed their Etsy Shop, Emma Claire Shop (www.etsy.com/shop/EmmaClaireShop), after meeting at their daughters’ competitive cheer competitions. The two women share an interest in design, and wanted to open a business together. Succulent globes hung up in Disn...

Best of East Bay: Arts & Culture

Best Art Gallery Round Weather   Best Ballet School Shawl Anderson   Best Cover Band Tainted Love   Best Dance Instructor Momo LeBeau   Best Indy Filmmaker Boots Riley Best Local Band BAUS    Best Media Personality: TV, Radio, Print Michael Krasny Best Movie Theater Grand Lake Theater    Best Museum Oakland Museum   Best Music Venue The Fox   Best Outdoor Art Event First Friday   Best Outdoor Music Venue Greek Theater   Best Performing Arts Center Lesher Center   Best Performing Dance Company Oakland Ballet Company   Best Place to Dance Ashkenaz   Best Record ⁄ CD Store Amoeba   Best Virtual Ballet Company San Francisco Ballet   Bes...

Best of East Bay: Cannabis

Best Cannabis Delivery   Farmacy  Best Cannabis Label   NUG Best CBD Product   Berkeley Patients Group Best Curbside Service   Harborside Best Dispensary   Berkeley Patients Group Best Edibles   Kiva

Best of East Bay: Everyday

Best AC ⁄ Heating Service   Atlas Heating & Air Conditioning Best Accountant   Deborah Fisher, Fisher & Company LLC Best Ad Agency   John McNeil Studio Best Antique Shop   Mixed Pickles Best Art Supply Store   Flax Art & Design Best Attorney—Business   Brian A. Ripley Best Attorney—Cannabis   Selna Partners Best Attorney—Civil   Emily Dahm – Bonjour, Thorman, Burns & Dahm Law Firm Best Attorney—Criminal   Lee Maranto Best Attorney—Divorce   Gerard A. Falzone Best Attorney—Family Law   Sarah Summerall Best Attorney—Intellectual Property   Brand & Branch Best Attorney—Labor & Employment   Dan Feinberg – Feinberg, Jackson, Worthm...

Best of East Bay: Food & Drink

Best Bakery   Arizmendi Bakery Best Bar   Hotsy Totsy Club Best Bartender   Den Stephens, North Light Best BBQ   Horn BBQ Best Beer Label   Fieldwork Brewing Company Best Brew Pub   Ghost Town Brewing Best Breakfast   Brown Sugar Kitchen Best Brunch   Sequoia Diner Best Burger   TrueBurger Best Business Lunch   The Trappist Best Butcher Shop   Clove and Hoof Best Cafe ⁄ Coffeehouse   Timeless Best Caterer   Market Hall Caterers Best Cheese Shop   The Cheeseboard Best Chef   Kyle Itani, Itani Ramen Best Chinese   Shan Dong Best Chocolatier   Casa de Chocolates Best Cider   Crooked City Cider Taphouse Best Cocktail...

Best of East Bay: Home Improvement

Best Appliance Store ⁄ Repair   Galvin Appliance Best Architect   Michael Robbins, Studio Robbins Cortina Best Carpet Cleaning   Larry’s Extreme Clean Best Carpeting ⁄ Flooring   The Floor Store Best Consignment Furniture   Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles Best Contractor (Residential)   Hometelligent Best Deck Builders   Robert S. Cruikshank Landscape Construction Best Electrician   Mighetto Electric Best Fence Builders   Jon Lobdell, Artisan Gates & Fences Best Home Developer   Discovery Homes Best Home Improvement Store   Metro Lighting Best Interior Designer   Jennifer Walker & Brook Bradbury, Lincoln Park Design Best Kitchen ⁄ Bath Remodeler   Hom...

Best of East Bay: Recreation

Best Bike Route ⁄ Trail   Bay Trail Best Gym   YMCA Best Health Club   YMCA Best Hiking Trail   Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park Best Horseback Riding   Five Star Equestrian Best Outdoor Adventure Tour   Bay Area Green Tours Best Park   Tilden Regional Park Best Swimming Pool   Mills College Best Virtual Cycling Fundraiser   Bay Day Challenge Best Virtual Pilates Studio   June Kamerling Pilates Best Water Sports Company   California Canoe & Kayak

Best of East Bay: Romance

Best Boudoir ⁄ Modern Lingerie Shop    A La Folie Best Boutique Hotel   Z Hotel Jack London Square Best Couples Counseling  Lucia Grauman Best Erotica Store   Good Vibrations Best Romantic Dinner   Millennium Best Staycation   Claremont Club & Spa, A Fairmont Hotel Best Wedding Caterer   Blue Heron Catering Best Wedding Event Planner   Chanda Daniels, A Monique Affair Best Wedding Photographer   Shoey Sindel Photography Best Wedding Reception Venue   The Terrace Room Romance Best Boudoir ⁄ Modern Lingerie Shop    A La Folie Best Boutique Hotel   Z Hotel Jack London Square Best Couples Counseling  Lucia Grauman Best Erotica Store   Good Vibrations B...