Issues, J's, and Rocky Baird

Next time you're in the Piedmont Avenue neighborhood, I suggest you visit the new and wonderful Issues.

I'm not just saying it's wonderful because the proprietors happen to be friends of mine. That fact only coincides nicely with the simple truth: Issues is rivaled only by DeLauer's on Broadway (which is in fact also super, but which actually doesn't carry a bunch of the magazines that I actually like to read), for the title of "Best East Bay Newsstand Evar". As far as I can tell, they carry every magazine known to humankind including Male Nurse, XLR8R, and the usual Family Circle etc. They have newspapers in many languages, 80s buttons, 70s t-shirts, and did I mention the charming staff (owners Joe and Noella)?

I like Issues so much that I brought my kids there the other day, and let them photograph it for you. So ya, Issues isn't actually dimly lit, out-of-focus, or (generally) full of preschool kids. Enjoy!

issues again
This appears to be some sort of hip music magazine. I wouldn't know, I only bought copies of Vegetarian Times and Sheep! The voice of the independent flock master.

more more issues
Coffee is welcome at Issues. As are 4 year old members of the Paparazzi.

issues sign
They're open from 7 to 7!

After you get your copy of Bitch or Bust or whatever, I suggest you bring your reading material over to the last normal restaurant on Piedmont Avenue – J's. Only two doors away from the recently arrived Cesar (tapas and fancy drinks for a lot of dough), J's is an old-fashioned burger joint. Since I'm a vegetarian (well, except for that whole 'fish aren't a vegetable' thing) I suggest going for breakfast. Mexican breakfast will run you about 8 bucks. American the same or cheaper depending on what you get. The portions are big and the coffee refills are free.


The best thing about J's though is the historical details. (You were wondering when I was going to get to the history bit weren't you?)

J's used to be a station house for the streetcars that stopped right outside, in what is now a large parking lot. There is still a semi-train-related theme, with clocks representing various time zones and photos of old Key line trains and stations on the walls. Wood paneling lines the walls, and about half-the seating is on rotating bar stools. The stained glass lamp covers add to the warm and low-key feeling.

Once you're full up, head out back to look at Rocky Baird's mural of the Key trains through Oakland's history. I love this mural; it's a much better historical marker than the old-school metal plaque that explains when the last train stopped there (1958).

mural detail 2

If you want to see more of Baird's work, head down to Gaylord's and get a view of his moving interpretation of the loss of Ohlone culture and land here in Oakland: The Capture of the Solid. The Escape of the Soul.

Then take yourself home to read your magazines. And take care.


drew said...

this is a great blog btw and rutabaga is so cute!! xo drew aka crazyrants

Bay Radical said...

Awwww, thanks Drew.

Joh said...

hey, that is so cool that you know the owners of Issues. And wow, Sheep Magazine! I can't wait to buy a copy for my mom.

I also loved learning about J's. All this time in the neighborhood and I've never been in. I didn't realize it's connection to the train, though I've always loved the mural about the Key Line. I have to go in for Mexican breakfast before I leave town.

Bay Radical said...

Oh, I forgot your mom would want an issue of Sheep! too. I know they have at least one more copy in the window display.

Let's have breakfast at J's together!

Amanda said...

Issues rules! It's all true!

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