News about great shops in your neighborhood | By Andrea Pflaumer
30 years of dancing
left feet? Beth Hoge doesn’t think so. Hoge is the founder of Danspace,
the innovative dance studio in the Rockridge District now celebrating
its 30th anniversary. The school provides a welcoming atmosphere for
aspiring young ballerinas or boys and girls who just want to gain some
coordination, grace, and balance.
Danspace classes start with children as young as 3 1/2, and ballet and modern dance classes are available for ages six and up, including beginning adult classes for all body types. And if you’re looking for a unique way to celebrate your little one’s birthday the studio offers Ballerina Birthday Parties, complete with a beginning dance lesson, a room for refreshments, a box of costumes (tutus, feather boas, and hobby horses), and a live tutu’d ballerina popping out of a box.
Danspace, 437 Hudson Street, Oakland, (510) 420-0920; www.danspace.com.
Hidden Corners, the import store in the heart of the Gourmet Ghetto, has just received a shipment of silk textiles from India and Indonesia that includes pillows, bedspreads, and pillowcases in rich shades of fuchsia, sapphire, and tan, some embroidered and ornamented with sequins. Also in are delicate window panels in cotton block print, intricately patterned, tie-dyed pillowcases, and cotton and silk clothing. And if you loved the look of your old Indian bedspread, you can indulge yourself with one of its cozy comforters made from Indian print cotton.
Manzar Banai has 30 years experience in the import business, and runs three
other shops, two in her native Belgium, and one in New York. Banai’s nephew
Ali Noorialla (the store’s co-owner and a Bay Area resident) suggested
Berkeley as a likely spot to offer her selection of colorful, handmade merchandise
from the Far East including home furnishings, clothing, and jewelry at accessible
1539 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, (510) 843-1998.
The winds of change
appears that Mis-sissippi’s loss is Oakland’s gain. Artist
Coygon Robinson, Jr. blew in from Biloxi last year, courtesy of Hurricane
Fortunately, his work was spared the storm’s wrath. “My studio
was in my sister’s home, which got flooded to my knee caps, but my studio
was off the ground,” he says.
His work ranges from representational evocative landscapes to nature images, sea life, and portraits of famous jazz musicians, such as Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, and Ella Fitzgerald. “I start with a bit of the image to get its essence, and then add design and texture from trees, grass, clouds, stone, etc.,” he says. “Computer digital art has the same structure, requirements, and dedication required of any other fine arts format. I’m from the old school with one foot in technology, but I try to keep my work in the fine arts tradition.”
Studio Gallery, 3719 Grand Avenue, Oakland, (510) 251-1713; www.coygonsarts.com.
After 18 years as a commercial architect Rita Lee found herself doing more residential design work. Because of her expertise in selecting color, materials, and furnishings that create an atmosphere of peace and harmony, her residential clients started consulting with her for interior design and lighting of their newly renovated spaces. After seeing the results a client commented, “It really made my day to come home to this.” So Lee and her husband Brian Liebel, an electrical engineer and lighting consultant, opened Make My Day, a warm and richly appointed retail and design studio on Piedmont Avenue offering furnishings and home accessories.
Men in particular feel comfortable in the store because of its emphasis on natural fibers, sueded fabrics, and items that incorporate bamboo, and rattan. Pillows and candles have earthy textures and colors. Adding to the store’s ambience are Murano glass light fixtures such as small ball-shaped, blue millefiore spotlights and orange teardrops. “Lighting is more than functional,” Lee says. “It’s emotional and can also be art.”
Design clients meet in Lee’s studio in the back of the store to pore over catalogs and discuss aesthetics. The cost of an initial consultation ($100) is credited back with any interior design work. “Our goal is to offer inspiring, and unique items and environments at a reasonable price.”
Make My Day, 3850 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, (510) 601-0608; www.MMDstyle.com.
World Healing Spa, 3923 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, (510) 601-7111; www.meditrinaspa.com.
Someone’s in the Kitchen, 6128 LaSalle Avenue, Oakland, (510) 339-3837.
University Avenue, Berkeley, (510) 843-9999; www.1karma.com.
Gem of a
17 Jewels Salon+Spa, 4801 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, (510) 653-1059.