Casey O’Brien

Treasure Hunting: Exploring Temescal Alley

As the East Bay slowly reopens after months of lockdown, the region’s small businesses welcome back their customers. From vintage clothing to vegan ice cream, our local shops are at the core of what makes the East Bay such a fun place to live.  Temescal Alley, off 49th street in Oakland, offers visitors the chance to experience the best of our community’s world-class designers and makers. It’s the perfect place for holiday shopping or for filling a warm autumn afternoon (safely, of course). Here are the best shops to visit in Temescal Alley: Minds Eye Vintage This charming vintage clothing shop carries men’s, women’s and children’s clothes that ooze artsy Americana. Racks of denim, Western button-ups in a rainbow of colors and A-line dresses will please any style-lover. You might even...

The Show Must Go On: East Bay theaters navigate the pandemic

Patrons mill around a buzzing lobby, holding drinks and cookies. They file into the darkened theater and settle into their seats. This used to be a familiar scene in the East Bay’s world-renowned theaters, but during the last six months, they sat empty. The pandemic put a halt to live theater, and the nationally recognized theater companies throughout the East Bay were forced to find new ways of connecting with their audiences through virtual shows, educational programs and more. The results are reinventing theater—and community—for the Covid-19 era. Although audiences cannot gather in physical spaces right now, especially small ones like intimate theaters, a sense of place is still central to the work of Oakland’s and Berkeley’s playwrights and actors. Several local theaters have created ...

Check the Fridge: Oakland community tackles food insecurity with street corner fridges

As of early August, over 130,000 people in the Bay Area had lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus shutdown. We’ve all seen the shuttered restaurants, cafes and shops in our neighborhoods. The long term impacts of the pandemic are numerous, but unemployment has exacerbated one issue in particular: hunger. There were already 870,000 food-insecure people in the Bay Area before the Covid-19 crisis (more than the entire population of San Francisco), and need has only grown. As food banks and food-justice organizations work to meet increased need, some community members have taken it upon themselves to end food insecurity in their neighborhoods, one fridge at a time. Several groups, including a grassroots community organization and a grocery startup, have installed free fridges in the East Bay ...

Score: Could the nation’s first Black-owned football team be based in Oakland?

In the wake of the tragic and violent death of Black father and community member George Floyd in Minneapolis, protests around the country—including here in the Bay Area—have led to major changes in racial justice and police policy, including the defunding and restructuring of local police departments, investment in Black-owned businesses and more. But now, Bay Area racial justice is entering a whole new arena: football. A group of Oakland business people have proposed bringing a new, exclusively Black-owned football team into Oakland to replace the Raiders.  The proposal, sent by the African American Sports and Entertainment Committee, is the first step in a long process to bring the NFL’s first Black-owned team to the city. The NFL has acknowledged the proposal but not yet responded;...