Category Archives: Alameda

1001 Black Men–#662


It’s been fun rediscovering children’s literature with my niece. The Alameda Free Library is the setting for most of our reading adventures. Two Wednesdays before Christmas, we went to the library and read a whole pile of picture books, including Robin Tzannes and Korky Paul’s Professor Puffendorf’s Secret PotionsI loved this book, but my niece didn’t quite feel the same way So, I put it in the books-for-Ajuan pile, along with Mo Willems’ Knufflebunny (which both of us found laugh-out-loud funny). Then, we went upstairs to the nonfiction section and played hide and seek in the stacks while I looked for books on paleo nutrition. I sorta kinda bumped into this guy as I was leading my niece back down the stairs to the checkout area.

Ajuan Mance



1001 Black Men–#651



This chatty guy was in a remarkably good mood today. We crossed paths waiting on line at the Starbucks on Webster St. in Alameda. The after-school line is always long at this particular cafe, and I generally use the time to either chat with my niece (if she’s with me) or browse the day’s news on my various media apps. Not so today. This guy told me all about his favorite pastries, his favorite coffee drinks, and the reason he believes that this particular Starbucks has the best baristas in the city. I was sorta kinda listening, and sorta kinda wondering if he was actually going to talk to me until we got up to the counter.

Ajuan Mance


1001 Black Men–#632



This drawing of two men sunning their toes at Alameda Beach was initially intended to be in my What Do Brothas Do All Day ‘zine, but I ran out of time. I was premiering this ‘zine at the Alternative Press Expo and I only had enough time to complete a portion of the pieces I was going to include.

The great thing about doing your own publishing, though, is that you can create new editions of your work whenever you want. This drawing will be a part of the new and expanded version of What Do Brothas Do All Day, the one that’s available on Etsy and at Art Murmur and the East Bay Zine Fest.

Ajuan Mance

PS: The background image is from a vintage postcard of what the publishers claim is the San Francisco skyline, but it doesn’t really look like San Francisco to me.


1001 Black Men–#616


This is the face of a not-so-happy older guy who apparently agreed to accompany his wife on a trip to the craft store. I remain quite amused by the fact that craft stores are so very gendered. Like their male-associated counterpart, the hardware store, the products that craft stores sell are essentially gender neutral; and yet their clientele is anything but. And, to be perfectly honest, hardware stores are not the bastions of maleness and masculinity that they used to be. Take a trip to Home Depot or Ace some time. If you’re there on a weekday, you’ll probably notice that, while most of the contractors who shop at the hardware store are men, the amateurs–the shoppers who are preparing for a do-it-yourself home improvement project or repair–are pretty much all over the gender spectrum. The gender of craft store shoppers, on the other hand, seems to have changed very little since the mid-70s, when craft mega-stores like Michael’s first appeared. No matter where I go, from the Bible belt to the Bay Area, the craft stores are filled with women and girls; but men (and even masculine women) are conspicuously absent. One hypothesis is, of course, that femininity is less fragile than masculinity and, thus, women feel freer to cross gender lines into traditionally male activities like carpentry and plumbing than men feel about crossing into traditionally female activities like quilting and scrapbooking.

Whether or not this is the entirely true, I can say that the man in this drawing, seemed almost comically uncomfortable in his craft store surroundings. While his wife browsed rather leisurely through the Halloween-themed fabric squares, he stood frowning, with his hands awkwardly hanging at his sides, seemingly afraid to even touch anything in the store.

Ajuan Mance