Oakland Home Companion
Okay readers, what is “Oakland Home Companion?”
A) A Hipster Made and Produced Protective Device formerly known as a handgun, selling for the extremely accessible fee of $5 (which includes a Tecate) and with the highly suggested coordinating, letterpress, limited edition of “ode to use,” for a nominal fee of $72.
B) A Literary Salon
C) An Oakland, hand-sewn, locally harvested, sustainable Blow-Up Doll (also made by crafty hipsters)?
A product description for Option C might look something like this:
The Octopus’s latest product, The Oakland Home Companion, comes equipped with an avant-garde description for home use. No longer referred to by its formerly demeaning title, “the instruction manual,” it includes tips for mood music and cuisine choices, as well as information about the personality of the product, as each one is as unique as the hipster who day-dreamed it up, while taking their mid-day nap, still wearing their mismatched chucks on the couch of their hipster friends, amid handled mason jars and too-big non prescription glasses a plenty. In the deepest REM sleep, these ideas become entities, individuals really; they show themselves to just one hipster, chosen to bring them to life. Octopus, the product designer, let me sneak a peak at the book, though they wouldn’t let me use pen and paper, or any digital device near the product, so I will share some highlights from this modern publication, to the best of my memory’s capacity. Each Ode to Use is packed full of information about your individual product, including their hand picked and full names.
The truth readers, is B. “Oakland Home Companion,” was a literary saloon put on by
The Octopus. on Saturday, May 10th.
Rebecca Grove, founder of The Octopus and host of The Oakland Home Companion, put together a wonderful show. In a historic house in East Oakland, the door fee was a nominal $5 and included a Tecate.
The New Thoreaus was the house band. With a stand up base, horns, a harmonica, and beautiful vocals, the band played sets throughout the night. You can check them out at the Great American Music Hall this weekend.
Here are more highlights from the Oakland Home Companion:
The first reader, Paul Corman-Roberts, a compulsive poet as Rebecca rightly ascertained, relayed experiences in Oakland of himself in his pre-father years, milling around a “halfway house for activists” otherwise known as a telemarketing office, in his signature surreal style.
Kira Lynn, and Mike Lynn, a Daughter and Father Duo did a beautiful rendering of Bruno Mar’s “Count on Me” making me wish for a California father in red pants with piano playing hands it was so damn sweet.
Next, Laura Schulkind (on display at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur on Sept 7th) shared her poetry, straight from her just published book, Lost in Tall Grass. She spoke of mothering and daughtering, of spiders that gave advice and stories that howled around fires, beautifully rendering the world around us, as well as keeping it real with the lines: desire in their genitalia. I would say cocks, but I am trying to speak your language.” Laura’s poetry is beautiful, careful and feisty. You can buy her chapbook from Finishing Line Press here.
Lael Gold was up next, doing a bit of stand-up comedy. A Cal professor turned dream interpreter and stand up comic, she managed to successfully offend most of the room. Good for her for getting up there, doing what her dreams told her to do and for not being a handgun or a blow up doll.
Jeff Greenwald told a beautiful story about his travels to the Philippines. Like the blabbering uncle I never had, he described the sky “like a grape popsicle” and the coral reef at dawn “like any American city before dawn” as well as the trumpet fish ” like underwater humming birds” and I learned that Parrot fish sleep in their own spit bubbles. They’d be in real trouble if their moms’ told them not to blow bubbles.
Rebecca read a story from Judd Apatow’s book entitled Things I found Funny. Faye Fiore, a NY Times national correspondent wrote about Nixon’s meeting with Elvis Presley. Apparently Elvis has a “white jumpsuit called snowflake” was temporarily held up from boarding his plane to Washington because of the firearms he had on him, though allowed back on by the piglet who assured him that “of course you can board the plane” and so Elvis and her gun went to Washington to request the title of “Federal Agent at large” in order to help fight the war on drugs.
And I spoke with an Oakland School Teacher and her fiancé, a member of The New Thoreaus, about their upcoming wedding plans(and her adorable dress).