The Menlo Hotel art project image

The once grand Hotel Menlo, Oakland, California
Now Empyrean Towers Apartments:
Home to our first Friday Art Event and Open Mic

Once the grand downtown Menlo Hotel, and home to the oldest [still] working elevator in Oakland, the towers have had their fair share of historic moments, including scandal and tragedy, before being converted into an apartment building, and an underground art space.

Our first Friday event has a 1960s art vibe to it, with the kind of innocence, warmth and fun that channels some of the energy of urban conceptual artists like Gordon Matta-Clark & his crew, who inhabited empty buildings and public spaces with a joie de vivre that brought a sense of vitality and renewal to the Lower East Side, creating and curating art among friends.

In the spirit of our muse, Gordon Matta-Clark, we offer this collaborative project of emerging and established artists of all media, to our richly diverse community. We invite you to become part of this celebration of art and community as spectator, as art lover, as artist, and as performer for the open mic.

First Fridays — the art, the artists, and the crowd

The Menlo Hotel art project image

The Menlo Hotel art project image

The Menlo Hotel art project image

The Menlo Hotel art project image

The Menlo Hotel art project image

The Menlo Hotel art project image

The Menlo Hotel art project image

The Menlo Hotel art project image

The Menlo Hotel art project image

The Menlo Hotel art project image

The Menlo Hotel art project image

The Menlo Hotel art project image

The Menlo Hotel art project image

The Menlo Hotel art project image

The Menlo Hotel art project image

The Menlo Hotel art project image

The Menlo Hotel art project image

This was my first Oakland-based curating project, one which I coordinated collaboratively for over a year. The event was held in the huge lobby/gallery area of the once Hotel Menlo. Artists from Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Germany showed their work during my term as curator. We have held first Friday events since 2011 in the lobby of Empyrean Towers.

Below, is one of the invitations we sent out to friends and colleagues.

Dear Friends,

You are cordially invited to party with us at our July first Friday event. We will be presenting the work of 11 visual artists, and an open mic… spoken word, guitar, piano, bongos, and lots more, including surf guitar band, the Delmars. In addition, contemporary sound artists, Jacob Thomas and Aidan O’Flynn, will provide a live performance of “Vexations,” by Eric Satie.

Date: Friday, July 6, 2012

Time: 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Place: Empyrean Towers Lobby, 344 13th St., at Webster St.
Downtown Oakland (a few blocks from the 12th Street Oakland BART station)

This week’s artists include: Aidan O’Flynn, Anna Zusman, Bing Zhang, Courageous, Elizabeth Strickland, Florence Gray, Jacob Thomas, Jose Isagani de los Reyes, Ken McGhee, Paul David Nobus, and Susan Joy Rippberger.

We’re including potluck-style treats, so feel free to bring something to share.
Hope to see you there!

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