Thursday, November 01, 2007

Blogging ’Bout a Revolution

I had breakfast this morning at a coffeehouse on Seventh Street in West Oakland called the Revolution Café. It was a great place with a lot of atmosphere. I recommend it if you’re in the neighborhood, which is very close to the West Oakland BART station.

There’s a sign out front touting fifty-cent coffee, and that’s about the extent of the advertising. (Well, there was also a neon sign that said, “Open” and a paper one in the window that said, “Closed” but they cancelled each other out.) Inside, the décor was thrift-store coffeehouse funky, with lots of kitchy knick-knacks. The posters were revolutionary, but fairly subtly so. No Che Guevara or anything like that. I remember a few framed newspaper pages with headlines about the IWW. The Greatest, a movie about Muhammad Ali’s discovery of Islam was on the TV. There were lots of flyers around for anti-racism rallies and self-help group meetings. It was a positive vibe. I got the sense the place was more about internal overhaul than literal bloody revolution.

I had an interesting conversation with the owner, who looked visibly relieved when I mentioned that my Halloween had been quiet. He said he didn’t believe it was a good thing to celebrate death, which is how he saw Halloween. “Why are they calling it a celebration when people are dying?” he said, I think alluding to the fact that last year’s San Francisco Halloween celebration ended with 10 people being shot. “And why are people dying at a celebration? That’s not a celebration; they need to think of a new word for it.”

Ideas, anyone?

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