Seen on a warm afternoon at one of the outdoor tables at The Habit, one of my oldest niece’s favorite burger joints.
This drawing is based on a brotha I saw in Alameda, sipping a smoothie outside Jamba Juice. I took a few liberties with his image, like making his hair reach about twice as high as it actually extended (he did have a lot of hair, though) and turning his smoothie into a glass of lemonade.*
*I briefly considered using this piece for a lemon-themed art show, this past summer. In the end, though, I created a different drawing for that show.
At Jim’s Coffee Shop, 2333 Lincoln Ave., Alameda, CA.
At Jim’s, early weekday mornings belong to old men. During breakfast, they fill the counter one at a time, and they file into the booths along the wall in small groups of two or three. Some of the men sit silently, speaking only to the servers, but some talk and laugh with each other.
Mornings at Jim’s are like happy hour for old men of the East Bay. Their breakfasts are long and leisurely, with plenty of refills on coffee and extra water for tea. They come early for the food and drinks, and stay late for the company.
Buena Vista Ave., Alameda, California.
I saw the man in this portrait as I was waiting at one of the few stop lights on Buena Vista Ave. He was walking with a couple of friends from a high school at the other end of this very long street, and there was something about the contrast between the fullness of the hair on this guys head and the sparseness of the hair on his face that reminded me of my own high school friends. I loved the way his wonderfully curly head of hair seemed to suggestion both awareness of and indulgence in the pleasure of embracing exactly who you are.
My fabulous partner and I were out doing last-minute costume shopping on Halloween, and we made the obligatory stop at the craft store. The fabric section was surprisingly quiet. I’d expected to see people looking through the bolts of vinyl, felt, and fake fur. Instead, we were two of only a handful of shoppers in that section of the store, and this guy was one of them. I don’t even think he was looking for anything related to Halloween. He was browsing through some lovely vintage-style floral fabrics that seemed best suited for draperies, wallpaper, or table cloths. Perhaps he was going to be window dressing for Halloween, or maybe even a classic Victorian parlor.
During her last visit, my partner and I went to brunch with my mom, and this brother was seated a couple tables over form us. Aunt Mary’s Cafe is located in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood, and I think it’s fair to say that this is the East Bay breakfast spot of the moment. If you go there on the weekend, there will definitely be a line, but the food is well worth the wait. Both the customers and the staff reflect all the quirkiness and diversity of the city, and the atmosphere is friendly and comfortable.
When you go there, enjoy the people watching; and, when you finally get seated, enjoy the food. I recommend the Hangtown Fry-ttata (eggs and fried oysters with bacon and spinach and fennel mixed in).