#34 - Keba Konte on Good Jobs and Inclusion in Coffee

June 8, 2015
I talked to local restaurateur, coffee roaster, and artist Keba Konte about his plans to open a profit-sharing café that brings more people of color into the specialty coffee industry, under the auspices of his roasting company Red Bay Coffee. When we spoke, Keba was nearing the end of a major Kickstarter campaign to fund the up-front costs of the new café. We talked about that, of course, but also how he went from photography & photojournalism to running cafes and roasting coffee, where his inspiration comes from, and where he'd like to see the profit-sharing cooperative model go.
Music by C. Scott and RoccoW.

#33 - Kristine Vejar on Textiles, Dyeing, and the Politics of Fabric

May 18, 2015

Kristine Vejar runs A Verb for Keeping Warm, a store that sells yarn, fabric, knitting & sewing supplies, and clothing in north Oakland. It's also a classroom, a natural dyeing studio and garden, and home to an adorable French Angora rabbit named Marcel.

Kristine and I talked about how she got into textiles and dyeing in the first place, and how she came to find herself owning this business. We also talked about how Verb is more than just a store for selling yarn, but a place for her to advance her secret fabric agenda.

#32 - Kira Brunner Don & Timothy Don: The Oakland Book Festival

May 11, 2015

This week's show is a conversation I recorded recently with Kira Brunner Don and Timothy Don, founding directors of the Oakland Book Festival, happening this year (for the first time ever!) on May 31, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at City Hall. Kira grew up in Oakland, though she and Timothy just moved here (or in her case, moved back) from New York a few months ago. We talked about the event they've created and planned, what they hope the festival leads to, why the moved to Oakland, and the frequent comparisons between Oakland and Brooklyn. 

If you're headed to the Oakland Book Festival on May 31, maybe I'll see you there. Let me know if you want to say hello. 
Music by Podington Bear

#31 - Doctor Popular on Truckr, Art, Tech, and Money

April 30, 2015

This week I talked with Doctor Popular, a San Francisco-based artist and game designer who launched a project in Oakland last weekend. (That was my excuse.) Doc works in a variety of different media and does a lot of art that isn't commercial. We talked about some of the work he's made, how he pays the bills, and how he's seen San Francisco change (or not) in the time he's lived here. 

Doc was a professional yo-yoer for a while. Here's a great video of him doing some fancy yo-yo tricks.

Music for this show by Marco Raaphorst and Kevin MacLeod.


#30 - Sarah Rich of re:form

April 21, 2015

This week's interview is with Sarah Rich, a writer & editor based in Oakland who, until just a few weeks ago, was editing the Medium publication re:form, an online magazine of sorts about design that was "mothballed" for lack of a sponsor. Sarah's story of how re:form started and why it ended is a great insight into how media companies are trying to find ways to pay for good creative work in the Internet age, and what the challenges are for someone on the writing or editorial side, like Sarah. 

Music by Podington Bear and Black Ant.

#29 - Mark Armstrong of Longreads

April 6, 2015

Mark Armstrong is the founder of Longreads, a website (and Twitter account) that helps people find some of the best long-form writing on the web. Mark and I talked about why he started Longreads -- initially as a hashtag -- in 2009, what he's done with it in the six years since, and how his work has changed since the site was acquired last year by Automattic, the parent company of Wordpress. We also dug into the question of attention and time on the web and what he thinks the future of funding online story-telling might look like. 

Music for this show by BOPD and Monroeville Music Center.

#28 - Dave Campbell on the Future of East Bay Biking

April 1, 2015

I sat down in the BFF.fm studios with Dave Campbell, advocacy director for Bike East Bay, to discuss the future of biking in our part of the world. We talked about protected bike lanes on Telegraph, the move toward "complete streets," and Bike to Work Day (May 14 this year!). We also took a little detour to talk about the possibility of a second Transbay Tube for BART, an idea that Dave has some reservations about. 

You can find out more about how to get involved with Bike to Work Day this year (May 14) and the whole array of related activities in March at the Bike East Bay website and at youcanbikethere.org.


#27 - Karen Cusolito on Industrial Arts and West Oakland

March 26, 2015

I sat down this week with Karen Cusolito, artist and founder of American Steel Studios in West Oakland. We talked about her art -- mostly making very large steel sculptures -- and her neighborhood, and how both of them are changing. Karen has been involved in efforts to keep West Oakland a hospitable place for industrial arts and to improve it for existing residents. She wears, as they say, a lot of hats, only one of which is a welding helmet.


#26 - Doug Wittnebel on Architecture in a Changing City

March 10, 2015

I talked this week with Doug Wittnebel, design director in the Oakland office of the architecture firm Gensler & Associates. Gensler is headquartered in San Francisco, and just opened this new Oakland office about six weeks ago (after closing their old East Bay office, which had been in San Ramon). A lot of the work Gensler is doing is connected to Oakland's changing economy, like their work on the renovation of the former downtown Sears. Doug and I talked about those changes, the role of architecture in solving big problems, and about the art he makes for fun.

Music in this week's episode by Chris Zabriskie and Marco Raaphorst.

#25 - Kate Rhoades & Maysoun Wazwaz of Congratulations Pine Tree

February 17, 2015

For this show, I had a really fun conversation with Kate Rhoades and Maysoun Wazwaz, the producers of Bay Area art & culture podcast Congratulations Pine Tree. We talked about their show, about the Bay Area art world that show covers (and of which they're both a part), and about the difficulty of making a living as an artist in this part of the world. I love their show and you should listen to it -- after you're done listening to this interview.

Here are some of the organizations and resources Kate & Maysoun mentioned in the show for supporting artists and staying on top of art happenings in the Bay Area: