The Eastern Shore in January

I had another set of great conversations over the past month. Here’s what you might’ve missed on The Eastern Shore in January (and early February).

TES #20 – Actor, writer, director Lisa Drostova on Oakland’s news multi-ensemble theater space The Flight Deck, plus what it’s like to be a working (theater) artist in the Bay Area right now.

TES #21 – James Beard Award-winning writer John Birdsall on good food, good food writing, and what he likes in Oakland right now.

TES #22 – I read my Boom essay on the history of my house & Oakland, and I talk to Burrito Justice about the maps he made to accompany that essay online.

TES #23 – Alexis Madrigal on the work he’s doing at Fusion, finding the future of technology & social change, and the technological world his 18-month-old son is growing up in.


The Eastern Shore Round-up

I’ve put up several more episodes of the podcast since I last noted it here on the blog. I’m fortunate that fun, fascinating people continue to be willing to sit down and talk with me. Here’s the run-down.

TES #15: Berkeley-based writer Leah Reich on finding your voice as a writer, figuring out how to make a living with words, and riding out the bad feelings.

TES #16: Laura (who asked that I withhold her last name) on activism and not-activism, politics and movements, and fighting for a life worth living.

TES #17: Richard Raya on how he went from dropping out of high school with dreams of becoming a hitch-hiking poet to leading policy advocacy organizations and running for Oakland City Council.

TES #18: Charlie Hallowell, chef & founder of Oakland restaurants Pizzaiolo, The Boot & Shoe Service, and Penrose, on food as a profession, a way into politics and philosophy, and a service to the body and soul.

TES #19: In the week between Christmas and New Year’s, I had a Very Special Episode of the show. It wasn’t Very Special because we all learned an important lesson about tolerance by the end, but because it was non-canonical. I talked with my friend and planning school classmate Thomas Rogers. I let him in the studio even though he’s not an East Bay person. We talked about his goal of walking every street in San Francisco, the photos he takes when he’s doing that, and a lot of planning-related things. He also spent a while effectively interviewing me before I wised up to his schemes. It was fun. You should listen.

Thus ends 2014 for The Eastern Shore.

The Eastern Shore #13 and #14

Two more recent shows to mention here on the ol’ blog. For TES #13, I spoke to Chinwe Okona and Spenser Cooper from Oaklandish, Oakland’s homegrown retailer of apparel and civic pride. We talked about how the company got to where it is now, how it’s growing beyond Oakland via There There, and how they work to live up to local values while fostering local pride and identity. Also discussed: how I am bad at marketing, where to sit when working at a computer, and whether XXXXM is a size.

And on TES #14, I had a great conversation with Jim O’Brien. Jim’s an Oakland-based writer who maintains a blog called Ice City Almanac. For the past four years, he’s written there and occasionally in San Francisco Magazine about violence and its civic & personal aftermath in Oakland. He’s reporting deeply & sensitively on a difficult topic and telling important stories.  We talked about the violence prevention community he’s reported on, why he started this work, and his thoughts on the intersection of violent crime and city politics.

You might also notice that the podcast now has a new URL of its very own: You can update your feeds if you like, but the old URLs should all keep working just fine.

The Eastern Shore #11 and #12

Hadn’t mentioned these on the blog yet — though I’m not sure how many people end up at the podcast from here. I had two really good conversations recently. TES #11 was a chat with Oakland restaurateur Jay Porter, who was first on the show back in June. Since then, Jay has opened a restaurant in Fruitvale called the Half Orange, and still has plans for a second on Market at 42nd Street. We caught up about how things are going with the restaurant, his involvement in the Eat Real Festival, and his thinking about Oakland’s upcoming minimum wage increase ballot measure.

TES #12 was with Oakland-based artist Sue Mark. Sue’s work turns local history and local culture into public artworks and performance pieces that help capture the unique story of a place. She’s worked locally and internationally, and we talked about her experiences in Bulgaria, Germany, and Portugal, as well as what she’s up to now in Oakland. Sue has a lot of insight into what it takes to make a living as an artist, and we talked about what makes that challenging and how she addresses it.

Having good guests makes it a lot easier to have good conversations. Listen, subscribe, and let me know what you think, and if you know someone that I should have on the show, tell me! I’m always looking for interesting East Bay people to talk to.

The Eastern Shore #10: Eat Real Festival

On The Eastern Shore on September 1, 2014, I talked with Ally DeArman, event manager of Oakland’s Eat Real Festival and programs manager at the Food Craft Institute. We discussed the festival’s history, what you can find there this year, where it might go in the future, and how Ally and her team are working to support the local food system in the East Bay. Scarf down the latest episode, and subscribe while you’re at it.

The Eastern Shore #8: The 1947 Partition Archive

On The Eastern Shore for Monday, August 4, my guest was Guneeta Singh Bhalla, founder and executive director of the 1947 Partition Archive. The Archive is an organization based in Berkeley that works around the world to gather the personal stories of people affected by the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan. They’re working to gather 10,000 personal accounts by 2017, then release all of the information for use by academics, artists, museums, and anyone else who wants to learn how the Partition changed the lives of some of the millions of people affected by it. It was a good talk. You should listen.

The Eastern Shore #7: Baseball in Oakland

On The Eastern Shore this week, I spoke with John Hansen, co-founder of Oakland Fan Pledge, a website devoted to keeping the Athletics in Oakland. We got into the A’s recent Coliseum lease renewal with the City & County, what the team owners really seem to want, and what fans like John would like to see for the future of baseball in our city.

Head over to the podcast site to listen or download. If you’re subscribed via RSS, Stitcher, iTunes, etc., those feeds should update soon.