Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Icon, The Artist, & The Super Hero

They say loss comes in 3s. For the past 2 weeks that has been painfully true for Mr. Oakland. Since July 3rd, 3 people in my life have "moved on". Three people that exemplify for me what it means to live the "Oakland Life". The life that so many people want to hate on and yet, can't help but want to BE US.

Love is Alive in Oakland
Growing up as a church kid, I was condemned to attend church-related functions sometimes 3 to 4 times per week. While I hated going most of the time (sorry Mom), choir rehearsal was one functions I loved. Why? Because we could learn Walter Hawkins songs: One of the benefits of growing up post "Oh Happy Day".

The Hawkins made it cool to be spiritual and funky, funky, funky! By making gospel music relevant to daily life and exposing the "true roots" of popular music, Walter (and his brother Edwin) became musical icons that changed not only gospel, but popular music around the world.

Yeah I said it! THE WORLD!!!

I will miss Walter for performing @ Art and Soul, always being fly (especially the hair), and mostly for reminding me that I live in a culturally relevant city that is ever changing, improving for the better, and influencing the world.

I said it again, THE WORLD!!!

Oakland's Light Chaser
I met Cathy Austin through her photography. Rich, vivid, and sometimes ethereal, the work had a strangely calming effect on me. She would say, "It's the light". "I wait for the light to reveal the true image." No effects. No PhotoShop. Just "the light".

Without fanfare, she came with Karen, her partner for over 20 years, to hang 12 pieces of her Oakland-centric works @ The Golden Bridge Lofts. The two of them worked quietly and in joy: Laughing, encouraging, critiquing until things were just right. Watching these two work, I never imagined that there was a war going onwithin Cathy's body. I only saw love and admiration.

She never let on and she never let her light diminish.

During our brief time together Cathy showed me the art of sharing. Sharing her passion for her art (she was a jazz DJ as well), her love of Karen, her friends, Big Blue, and her love for Oakland. Man she loved her some Oakland.

She was waiting for Oakland's light to be "just right"...
and for her, it is ever perfect.

See Cathy's love for Oakland on her site: click on"Oakland Reflections" and "Black & Whites"

Wonder Woman Was Here
Christy Freitas wasn't famous. She didn't have one of "those" talents that made everyone stop and notice her. What she was was extremely genuine. Bright, sarcastic, funny, & imaginative she could bend you over with laughter or scold you into submission with a simple glance.

This ability was due to her "magic power". Powers gleaned from her time in Amazonia hanging with Wonder Woman. You remember "The Lasso of Truth", indestructible bracelets, and invisible jet, right? She always claimed to have this gear, but would never show me. "That's only to be used when necessary."

As a mere mortal, she had the power to pour courage, sincerity, generosity, and love on her family and friends.

To top it all off, she was a mad crazy Raider fan.

And that's alright by me!

Oakland Stand Up!
Mr. Oakland

PS Oakland: Think of 3 people in your life that best exemplify the "Oakland Life". I would love to hear about them. MO

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