Entrance to the UC Davis Design Museum

Still…Racism in America, UC Davis

A cartoon from Barbara Brandon-Croft in 2016. 'America put white-supremacy on the ballot. Guess what happend.'No one should be flabbergasted by the notion that there is still racism in the United States. We’ve all seen the pictures of white-supremacist storming the Capitol, Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. We know about gentrification, gerrymandering, redlining, tokenism, and other catch phrases explaining inequality. That these concepts still define racism in America postulates an exhibit at the UC Davis Design Museum. 

Cartoon panels are on display at the UC Davis Design MuseumThe complete title of the new exhibit at the UC Davis Design Museum is: “Still…Racism in America: A Retrospective in Cartoons”. On display are cartoons by the father/daughter duo Brumsic Brandon Jr. and Barbara Brandon-Croft. Brumsic created the comic strip Luther in the late sixties. His daughter Barbara was the nation’s first black female cartoonist. She is known for: Where I’m Coming From

The Design Quarterly outside of the exhibitThe Design Quarterly outside of the Design Museum are mock-up newspaper pages about the exhibit. Listed are the subject matters of the exhibit: The Original Sin, White Supremacy,  Racial Subjugation, Voting Rights, Racial Disparities, Redlining, Politicians, Extremism, Domestic Terrorism, Affirmative Action, Tokenism, Policing, (Mis)Education, Black History, Self-Reflection/Hope. And yes, everything is STILL there.

Inside are cartoon panels mixed from both artists, the year they were published, underneath. I get the stagnation, feel how exhausting it must be, smirk at the sarcasm. But I am still hopeful. The way to equality is to uncover the inequality and make people understand. 

The UC Davis Design Museum is open Monday thru Friday noon to 4pm. Admission is free. Located at Cruess Hall, #124, Davis, CA. Still will be on display until April 21, 2024.

Entrance to the exhibit Different Worlds at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art

View Different Worlds, Sonoma

View of some of the artworks by Tsherin Sherpa. In front is one of the carpets.Different Worlds is the title of the new exhibit at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art in downtown Sonoma. The exhibit shows works by Bay Area artist Tsherin Sherpa

SA carpet depicting a tiger and in the back some of the paintings by Tsherin Sherpaherpa was trained in his home country of Kathmandu, Nepal as a thangka painter. Thangkas are traditional Tibetan Buddhist art. The artist invites us to his different worlds as an artistic mixtape of his religious roots and contemporary perspectives. The outcome is mystic but familiar. On our visit we caught up with a museum guide who explained some of the symbolism and techniques. I really liked the vibrant deconstructed paintings of swirled thangkas suggesting the artist’s mixed emotions and introducing the western world into his traditional upbringing. 

Multiple collages but also two carpets and a statue are on display until April 28th. Opening reception is Saturday, January 27th from 5 -7 pm. The film screening of ‘Above and Below: The Life of Artist Tsherin Sherpa’ is unfortunately sold out. But the museum might add a second screening. There are also activities for kids, for example free mangalas.

Two of Tsherin Sherpa's paintings with swirlsThe SVMA is located at 551 Broadway in downtown Sonoma. Opening hours are: Wednesday thru Sunday 11 am to 5 pm. Admissions is free every Wednesday, otherwise general admission is $10, seniors, students, and Sonoma Valley residents pay $7, people under 18 are free. 

How would your different worlds look like?


Follow up of People’s Park, Berkeley

Follow up of People’s Park, Berkeley

A barrier on one side and shipping container on the other side ending in a dead end.After a long legal battle the UC Berkeley moved ahead the night of January 3rd, 2024 to clear People’s Park from its inhabitants and wall it off with double-stacked shipping containers. The park near Telegraph Ave, on the corner of Haste and Bowditch Streets and Dwight Way, will be reinvented with much needed student housing. The plan also includes affordable housing units and almost ⅔ of it will remain greenspace. The large greenspace is to commemorate the park’s history as a meeting point for free speech and protest culture. 

Double stack shipping containers blocking off People's Park in BerkeleyThe City thought that the unsightly container wall was needed after protestors destroyed $1.5 million worth of equipment last year. 

So who is opposing the development? 

Is it just wealthy progressive people being NIMBY’s (Not In My BackYard)? Or are these nostalgic hippies, recollecting the historical fights planned out in the park?

A tree peeking out over the shipping containersI think it is a mixture of both. The halt of the building project by a court order in 2022 citing environmental reasons. This definitely was a NIMBY move. In a KQED report on the park, students expressed  concern that not all possible sites were evaluated before People’s Park was chosen. People’s Park is a historic landmark, and already has a bloody track record each time the UC decided to develop it.

Who is responsible for the housing shortage? 

Barbed wire on top of the shipping containersBerkeley has the lowest rate of housing offered to their students among the UCs (about 20% for undergraduates and 9% for graduates). When the university was founded in 1868 it modeled itself after German universities that offer a great education but no housing. The Bay Area, being one of the most expensive places in the world to live, worries students each year in search of affordable housing.

Are you a supporter of affordable housing or People’s Park?







Front window of The Art Butiki

Party at the Art Butiki, San José

What is Art Butiki you might ask? A Comic book store, a T-shirt printing business, and an all age music venue, in short a cool place to hang out.

A display case with comic books inside Art ButikiWe visited during comic store hours, Monday – Friday 11am to 4pm. With an interesting selection of comic books and t-shirts, the store also has some seats and two sofas to let you chill. Behind the counter the owner Dan Vado explained the uphill battle of running a cult classic store and music venue, and let us peek in the back at the event space. 

Mural of a Tiki holding a flameWhile Covid closed the place down, he found a workaround by recording local artists. The resulting videos can still be watched on YouTube or the Art Butiki website. Offering local musicians a stage for an all age audience is a tough business. Ticket prices for the shows are only around $20. The 300 person venue looks cozy and iconic, decorated with a lot of tiki figures.

The skull marks the entrance to the bar to order food and drinksI came across Art Butiki while I researched my list for 50 Free Things to do in San José. They have some events that are free, like a Drink ‘n Draw, open mic, and jazz jam. While I usually only note things in my 50 lists that I have been to, I include these because I still want to check out events at Art Butiki. I hope you’ll visit this independently owned venue and support local artists.

Art Butiki is located at 44 Race Street in San Jose’s The Alameda neighborhood. Parking might be a challenge; if you have to park in the neighborhood be mindful.


The sun is setting overlooking the Bay at César Chávez Park in Berkeley

Look up at César Chávez Park in Berkeley

Originally we came to the César Chávez Park in Berkeley to see the kites. But even the waterfront park is not always a windy place. This park was known for its annual kite festival, organized by Highline Kites. But due to a rate hike by the City of Berkeley, the once beloved annual kite festival at the end of July will be canceled.

Info panel explaining Chavez relationship to dogsA nice surprise were the info panels educating you about César Chávez. One of the stations explains Chávez’s connection to dogs and even has an excerpt of the poem A Dog Has Died by Pablo Neruda. Unlike kites, dogs were plentiful the day of our visit. There is a large off leash area where many friendly furry friends meet up. 


Determination chiseled in a stone The highest point in the park is used for the crossroads observation point. Four virtues of César Chávez: hope, determination, courage, and tolerance are celebrated and each has an info panel connecting these to Chávez. The four words are chiseled in stone, appearing like an altar for each of them. 

If you come to find a relaxing place you can sit on one of the many benches and enjoy the view of the San Francisco skyline. But be aware that some dogs might come and say ‘hi’. 

A dog coming to say 'hi'The 90 acre park is located at 11 Spinnaker Way next to Berkeley’s marina. Hours are from 6 am to 10 pm (unless otherwise indicated). 

Have you been to César Chávez Park?

50 Free Things to do in San Jose!

Check out 50 Free Things to do in San José

Have you spent a lot of money on gifts? Here is my gift to you: 50 free things to do in San José! This is the latest in my series of 50 things to do. I hope you’ll enjoy them. I had fun compiling the list. 


I’ll try to offer these also as a YouTube video, but it will take me a little while to do so. 

What is your favorite of these tips? What are you looking for in general? More things to do with the kids? Hikes with your dogs? Or are you into museums and art? I’d love to hear from you! 

If you would like to sponsor me you can now buy me a coffee


Happy Holidays and an exciting New Year 2024!

Fourth Street in Berkeley with Holiday light display

See the Holiday Lights on Berkeley’s 4th Street

Stars are hanging from a tree wrapped in lightsA great inexpensive activity for the holiday is walking or driving through the holiday lights display on Berkeley’s 4th Street. Unless of course you end up buying a lot of things in the stores and restaurants of this high-end shopping street.

4th St in Berkeley decorated in Holiday lightsThe canopied shopping district wraps all its trees in tiny lights, then decorates them with stars and colored bulbs. Garlands of lights with blue snowflakes in the middle hang across the streets. 

Until December 31st the lights will turn on at 5pm. During the weekends stop by for some caroling and crafting events. You can even drop off a letter for Santa in front of Peet’s Coffee. Last day for mailing your letter is Wednesday December 20th, 2023. All letters with a return address will receive an answer from an elf!

This Saturday is the annual Artisan Asian Market, 11 am – 4 pm, along the paseo between Warby Parker and Cafe Reville, 1911 4th Street. Additionally, from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, you can wave at the participants of the Holiday Fantasy Parade – You Drive, We Wave

Each Friday and Saturday participating shops will stay open until 7 pm. The holiday lights spectacle is on Fourth Street between Hearst and Virginia Street in Berkeley. 

Where is your favorite holiday light display?

A sandwich board for the Pence Gallery announcing it to be open with a note about the Holiday Market. Admission is free

Shop for Holiday Gifts, Pence Gallery, Davis

Three egg shaped ornaments hanging on a tree branchNow we are definitely in the midst of the Holiday season. Do you have all the gifts already lined up? If not, you might want to check out the Pence Gallery in Davis and their annual Holiday Market. You have until December 24th to shop for unique gifts from local artists. Over 60 artists enchant you with products from soaps to jewelry to ornaments. I found the egg shaped ornaments by Airy Krich-Brinton surprising! Everything is hand-made by local artists. 

Donuts on a wallAdditionally, you can browse their current exhibit: Joseph Bellacera: The Matter of Light, December 8, 23 – February 2, 24 and Adrienne van Summern: Quit Moments, December 8th – 30th, 23. Both exhibits will be accompanied with a reception on December 8th from 6 – 9 pm.

And if you wander upstairs there are some more items for sale. I loved the colorful donuts from Jeff Nebeker!

The front of Pence Gallery with a sign about the Holiday MarketIf you feel spontaneous you can explore the 2nd Friday ArtAbout today! The Pence Gallery with their partners Logos Books and The Artery will hold receptions today! (12/8/23 that is) from 6 – 9 pm. 

Pence Gallery’s Holiday Market is open daily from 11:30 am –  5 pm. Located at 212 D Street in downtown Davis.

Are you in the Holiday spirit yet?

Sign outside the Del Mar Theatre advertising Shaun of the Dead at midnight

Watch a Movie at the Iconic Del Mar Theatre, Santa Cruz

Inside the lobby at the Del Mar Theatre showing the stairsThe Del Mar Theatre in downtown Santa Cruz first opened in 1936. Much more than a movie theater it had a stage and a 25 piece orchestra pit for vaudeville acts. In the 70s the Del Mar presented concerts by Duke Ellington, Jerry Garcia, and Tom Waits, to name a few. 

The screen is showing a scene from the Wizard of OzAfter a transformation to a multiplex cinema in 1978 it closed again in 1999. Plans to convert the theater into shops and offices failed. In 2002 it was re-opened by a cooperation of the City of Santa Cruz and Nickelodeon. 

The restored art deco design and neon features evoke nostalgia. Some choices of movies might also bring back memories. We saw ‘Stop Making Sense’, Talking Heads 40th Anniversary re-release film from their 1983 concert there over the summer. And it was the perfect location to do this. From catcalls at the beginning to spontaneous dancing.

Of course the ultimate sing and act along movie, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, is a regular. The UC Santa Cruz even has a club, the Slugs in Fishnets, that welcomes everyone to People in the lobby of the Del Mar Theatreparticipate.This is the longest running Rocky Horror shadow cast in the country!  Their instagram page @slugsinfishnets has a link to the Call Out script. 

Blair Stenveck from Santa Cruz Life dishes out some unique facts about the Del Mar. First the snacks are not your every movie theater faire, but vegan brownies and local ice cream. Oh, and the popcorn is GMO free and served with real butter! The Secret Film Festival occurs every April. It’s a midnight to noon festival for the hardcore film connoisseur where you can try to stay awake for all 12 films, or test out the comfortable movie chairs for dozing. Christopher Neely reported on what he learned from this year’s event.

Besides iconic movies, the Del Mar also shows blockbusters and you can even rent this space.Three stalls with green doors

Lastly I leave you with one of my few bathroom pictures – it was such a beautiful arrangement in green and beige.

Cherish a Historic Walking Tour, Capitola

Cherish a Historic Walking Tour, Capitola

The most iconic buildings in Capitola are the Venetian Court built in 1924. A group of colorful houses right by the water, near the pier. If you ever wanted to stay in an iconic place right by the water you are in luck, these are vacation rentals. This is definitely the place to be seen in Capitola!

Capitola Trestle on the Soquel Creek walkIf you are tired of chilling out (is that even possible?) you should enjoy a historic walking tour of this charming beach town. From the Venetian Court start by walking north and turn right onto the Stockton Avenue Bridge. From here you’ll be able to see the Capitola Trestle. Built in 1874 trains still cross here several times a week. The red Windmill House with the Silo in the back

Across the street, next to the Armina Winery, starts the Soquel Creek walk. This path along Soquel Creek takes you by the bright red (1926) and its adjacent Silo House. 

Stop by the Historical Museum

When you are visiting on the weekends, make sure to pay a visit to the Historical Museum at 410 Capitola Ave. Right next to it is an example of a beach cottage. These micro rooms put tiny houses to shame! 

Sign for the Capitola Museum with the museum in the backFrom here you can walk to 202 Cherry Ave to see the oldest year-round residence, the Henry Van Syckle House, built around 1887. If you walk over to Hihn Park, this short loop along more historic buildings will eventually guide you to the oldest house in Capitola. The Averon Lodge House was built in 1877 and is located at 919 Capitola Ave. 

The 86 steps up to Depot Hill will get you close to the Esplanade Park. The bandstand marks where the Hotel Capitola once stood. Finally the Six Sisters, 110 – 122 Esplanade, are six, nearly-identical, two-story Victorian apartments.  

You can download a PDF with a map of Capitola and its historic buildings.


Are you a history buff?