Kit Eakle

Photo of Kit EakleIf you spend any time listening to live music here in The Point – or anywhere around the Bay for that matter – you’re likely to come across violinist Kit Eakle. He plays with no fewer than four groups and jams with a multitude of others. Most recently he has organized a series of local concerts dedicated to his passion of jazz violin. The shows also highlight some of the top violinists in the world. You can catch Kit’s Point Richmond Jazz Series in the cozy and well tuned First United Methodist Church. The current run is from October (2013) through May 2014 on every fourth Friday of the month. This is the first year but with your support we can all help make this become an annual event.

While Kit didn’t formally live here in The Point until his adult years, he certainly has strong roots in the area, as you will hear in his audio postcard. After graduating high school in near-by El Sobrante, Kit headed off to college on the East Coast but ultimately graduated from UC Davis. Then in the early 1970s, he and his former wife (a Point Richmond native no less) moved to Canada to raise their family. It was in Canada that his career playing music really developed. And while Kit has obviously maintained a solid path playing in bands, he is also a well-recognized music educator. If you have children, I strongly recommend his award winning music book In My Grandmother’s Garden. But without further ado, lets hear from Kit.

…And if you like the music you hear in this episode of Stories from The Point, definitely see Kit play live some time. As always, it’s a pleasure to read your comments, so please do leave them after listening.

Visit Kit online at: www.musickit.com.

Mildred “Mid” Dornan

If you come to Point Richmond, there’s no doubt you will want to take a drive through one of California’s oldest tunnels, the Ferry Point (Dornan) Tunnel. And when you do, you will exit on to a road named Dornan Drive. The roadway is named after the in-laws of Mid Dornan, the guest in this episode of Stories from The Point. At a very healthy 90-years old, Mid is a beautiful example of living history. In the early 1900s, Mid’s father-in-law opened and ran one of Richmond’s first and most successful general stores. Moving to Point Richmond in 1946, Mid even spent some time behind the cash register at the once popular retailer.

There is no doubt that Mid has built a solid bank of knowledge about the area through her background and 67 years of residence in The Point. In addition to the many wonderful anecdotes that she shared, I was particularly touched by a more personal thread that she weaved within her recounting of The Point’s history.

In this audio postcard we are privileged to the story of how Mid met her husband and his ultimate, and very unfortunate, untimely death. I hope to be able to put together another postcard with some of Mid’s other stories. In the meantime, I think this one will give you a bit more pause as you drive through the Ferry Point Tunnel and on to Dornan Drive…it certainly does for me.

Please be sure to visit the Point Richmond History Association online (Mid is the President).  Also, I love to hear from you, so leave any comments that you may have about this episode of Stories from The Point.

 

Visit the Point Richmond History Association online: www.alkos.com/prha/

Nathan Trivers – Up and Under Pub

Nathan Trivers. Up and Under Pub and Grill.Nathan Trivers came to Point Richmond to open his first restaurant – the rugby themed, Up and Under Pub and Grill. Trivers opened the pub in 2010, and within two years it has become a fixture in the area. This was no small feat as he turned a once run-down, smelly, unwelcoming bar into a place that even your mother would be happy to eat at. Undoubtedly, it took some major effort and vision to flip the establishment into what it is today. And while the Point Richmond community loves locally owned, small businesses, Trivers’ hard work and effort has clearly made it an ultimate success.

What else makes the Up and Under so popular? The sizable servings don’t hurt; the pub quiz night packs the place, and the Pint Day Sunday ($3.75 20oz Pints) is a no brainer.

However you break it down, Nathan and the folks at the Up and Under really do a great job in creating a place where a diverse group of people – sports lovers or not – can go and have an honest to goodness good time. No pretense. Just honest pub fare.

Please take a listen to this episode of Stories from The Point where Trivers shares with us how he got into playing Rugby and how that led to moving to Point Richmond and opening his own restaurant. After that it’s your turn – please leave a comment as I love to hear from you. And then perhaps meet me at the Up and Under one Sunday for a pint! Cheers!!!

 

Visit Nathan and the Up and Under online at: www.theupandunder.com

Vincent Stephens

How does the saying go: “Good art is subjective”? Well, for pin-up and erotic art illustrator, Vincent Stephens, so is beauty. Vincent uses line drawing in a comic book style to celebrate his love of “big, beautiful women.” He does this with humor and a passionate message that big women are indeed beautiful! While his art may not be for everyone, Vincent is an extremely friendly and approachable guy who you will find most days at the Refined by Fire Gallery in downtown Point Richmond. Stop by there to chat him up and you’ll see what I mean. Better yet, come on down for one of the Point Richmond Art Walks – every third Thursday of the month – and you’ll get to see and hear Vincent playing bass along with other local musicians in the courtyard of Refined by Fire. Matter of fact, they are the ones you hear in the background of this episode! You can also find Vincent playing his gorgeous, custom made bass with various musicians at the Baltic restaurant or the Up and Under Pub (need I say, both are in The Point).

Yes indeed, Point Richmond has a good share of artists. I don’t know the percentage as compared to other places, but for such a small area, we seem to have lot of creative folks with a diverse body of works. In this audio postcard Vincent shares how the “work a day world” put him on his path to doing art full time here.

So, let’s join up with Vincent at the Point Richmond Art Walk. Remember, I’d love to hear from you and I know Vincent would too. So after listening, be sure to leave your comments.

 

Vincent Stephens can be found here:

 

Hugh Shurley

Image: Hugh ShurleyPoint Richmond has a strong and continually growing community of artists. While there are several noted photographers in town, Hugh Shurley’s work is really very unique. In a world where the digitally mastered image is taking over, Hugh’s artwork is painstakingly and passionately done in a manual tradition. As Hugh shares in this episode of Stories from The Point, he’s more of a photo-collagist than “just” a photographer. Instead of using digital layers, Hugh physically layers 4-8 images printed on Plexiglas on top of each other with bits of ephemera in-between. Looking at a digital scan of one of these pieces of art is impressive; however, the physical pieces hold a more profound and tactile experience that could never be duplicated digitally.

Hugh’s mantra could likely be summed up as: if you’re not creating art, you’re not living and if you’re only living to make a living then you aren’t living at all. It was those words of wisdom he shared with me during a New Year’s Day breakfast that got me going with the Stories from The Point project. Thanks, Hugh!

He and his partner Isidro are  also responsible for starting one of our blocks most cherished ad hoc block parties. Once a year nearby neighbors all get together for a potluck, live music and other entertainment. My wife and I had been to it before moving here and it was definitely one of the selling points. In regards to the annual block party Hugh shares, “I really get the feeling that when we first moved here everyone kind of stuck to themselves. And it didn’t take much to get people out and to relate to each other.”

What has developed is a much stronger cohesion amongst neighbors and a real sense of community. “I see how, given the opportunity, most people want to be part of community. And when people come together in a community, they may not all agree politically or any other wise, but if you can find some common thing that you can all share; it just makes your life richer,” says Hugh.

Give this episode of Stories from The Point a listen and please leave your comments. Also, be sure to check out Hugh’s artwork when you get a chance…even if it simply means stopping by his web site.

 

Hugh Shurley’s web site:

Music heard in this episode:

 

Steve Wyrick

photo of Steve Wyrick[Update: Steve passed February 2014. Services were held at Wilson & Kratzner Mortuary Civic Center Chapel, followed by a wonderful gathering of family and friends who met at his home here in The Point.]

When my wife and I first moved to Point Richmond, we kept hearing stories about this guy named Steve who had lived here since the early 1940s. People shared fun stories, but mainly kept saying he was quite the character and that I just had to meet him. Well, I finally got the chance to sit and talk with him and I didn’t want to leave.

I don’t know for sure, but I’d say Steve Wyrick is probably the oldest member in the Point Richmond community. Besides living a long and healthy life, Steve’s enthusiasm for it is one of the things that really stands out when talking with him.

First of all, for much of his life Steve was a prolific gardener. For years he shared with his surrounding neighbors the bounty from his garden. He grew carrots, peppers, tomatoes, artichokes, string beans.  He also has 3 different types of lemon trees, an orange tree and a “prized” pear tree.

In his aged, Texas-rooted voice, Steve told me, “I always started with Early Girl tomatoes. I’d get them first. [I’d] always buy at least six of those. I’d plant in the same spot every year but I put in old 10-10 fertilizer, you know, and then you’d chew it down into the ground. That makes everything grow good!”

At nearly 97-years old he’s had to stop gardening. Now his garden is tended to by some of his family members who plant a few items, but mainly keep the grounds clear of weeds. When talking about the gardening help he now gets, Steve said, “They’re very good but they don’t understand the basic stuffs for gardening, you know?! I try to teach ’em.” Adding with his wonderful and sly laugh, “but they don’t listen to me. Ain’t that something?! Yes sir, boy.”

As you’ll hear, Steve has lived a full life and you can still hear the zest he has for it in this episode of Stories from The Point. Once you’re done listening please feel free to leave a comment. I love to hear from you!

 

Thanks to patchen and RHumphries at freesound.org for the train sounds.

Dee Rosier

Dee RosierFor this week’s edition of Stories from The Point, we meet with one of our neighbors, Dee Rosier, who has lived in Point Richmond for 53 years. In her audio postcard we get a wonderful glimpse of Dee’s sense of humor, her caring personality, and learn a bit about her background. It was a pleasure to listen to her stories, but they left me with a bit of a challenge – which stories do I share!? I opted to do a little of everything, just like a postcard from a friend would be. We will most likely hear from Dee again because she is a wealth of Point Richmond history. Actually, Dee does volunteer with the Point Richmond History Association and you can visit them online at: www.alkos.com/prha. I hope you enjoy this week’s episode. I love to get feedback so please be sure to leave a comment after listening.

Links:

Claudia Russell and Bruce Kaplan

Photo: Bruce Kaplan & Claudia RussellThere are so many wonderful people who live and work here in Point Richmond. And really, that is the inspiration that started this project – I want to share these voices with you! For episode 1 of the Stories from The Point podcast, I could not have been luckier to get the time to speak to a couple of very talented local musicians, Claudia Russell and Bruce Kaplan. They do a lot for the community here: one of those things is producing the annual Point Richmond Acoustic Concert Series at the First Methodist Church. If you are nearby I strongly encourage you to attend. Claudia and Bruce epitomize the neighborly and supportive way of thinking that I have found in so many people in Point Richmond.

So, go on, give this episode a listen to learn a bit about The Point through Claudia and Bruce’s take on this unique place on the San Francisco Bay. Don’t forget to leave a comment after listening.

 

Visit Claudia and Bruce online: