Listen. Inspire. Vibe. Eat.

vision:

California Hotel Live! Cultural Hub is a visual and performing arts cultural hub in West Oakland, that pays homage to its historic past. With its unique and mission driven local businesses, including a public music conservatory, recording label, show-stopping local eatery and performing arts venue (coming soon), California Hotel Live! provides local community members and visitors a fun and welcoming place to Listen, Inspire, Vibe and Eat.

AbouT

THEN

1930s-1970s

The California Hotel opened its doors on May 18, 1930. A 5-story structure with mezzanine and penthouse, it was the tallest building in the area at the time. It cost $265,000 to build the 150-room hotel with commercial space on the ground floor.

California Hotel, Oakland, California (circa 1930)

California Hotel, Oakland, California (circa 1930)

From its opening through World War II, the California Hotel was a commercial hotel for whites only. After the war, it began accepting Black entertainers as hotel guests and was the first and best East Bay hotel to do so.

In 1949, the California Hotel became one of the few hotels where African Americans could perform. Big Mama Thornton, Charles Brown, Little Willie John, BB King, Lou Rawls, James Brown, Sam Cook, Gaylord Birch, Cal Tjader, Ray Charles and Richard Pryor all performed at the Historic California Hotel.

On January 16, 1953, as new ownership took control, the hotel ended its discrimination policies. A grand "reopening" was held with invited guests that included Oakland-born comedian Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, boxing champion Joe Louis and acclaimed singer Lena Horne. The hotel attracted many high profile black visitors to Oakland. At that time, it was the only full-service hotel that welcomed black people in the East Bay. 

The Historic California Hotel became the principle and highest quality social center for East Bay Blacks in the 1950s and 1960s.  Black entertainers met each other there, found a favorite barber right in the Hotel (Alfred Keyes 1959-1972), used its Ray & Ray's Flowers, and after shows would unwind in its Club Zanzibar and its all-night restaurant which were located in commercial spaces fronting on San Pablo. The original banquet room, later called the Gold Room and beginning in 1963 the Side Door, was the balconied space behind the main lobby. The California Hotel was also known for its Big Mambo and Afro Cuban scene. Pete Escovedo got his start playing at the California Hotel. Patrons came for Pete Escovido's Sunday mamba dances, and for a host of Black musicians, especially blues and gospel performers. Both jazz and Latin music lovers flocked to see performers like Carlos Federico, Benny Velarde, and Cal Tjader. A bevy of sports and political figures came to listen, inspire, vibe, eat and be seen, for the California Hotel was the Black social center.

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NOW

In 2012, an initiative was made to restore the historic hotel; and finally in 2014, after a renovation costing $43 million, the hotel was converted to affordable housing by East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation.

The California Hotel is now home to nearly one hundred residential tenants, and five commercial business owners including Blackball Universe Music, soon to be Crave BBQ with the Zanzibar Stage, Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, Planting Justice, and SPARC-It Place. Managed by East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, each commercial tenant offers the unique local flavor of their own Oakland roots with mission-driven programming, home-style cuisine, and award-winning musical talent.

Soft launched in October 2018, the California Hotel Live! transforms the historic hotel plaza, welcoming residents and visitors to exciting programming and fun community events. Looking forward to early 2019, with the opening of Crave BBQ and the Zanzibar stage, the California Hotel Live! Cultural Hub will continue to pay homage to its strong artistic history and preserve the significance of Oakland’s vibrant culture.

Emphasizing our historic and continuing commitment to Asian and Pacific Islander communities, EBALDC works with and for all the diverse populations of the East Bay to build healthy, vibrant and safe neighborhoods through community development.

 

LISTEN

 
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BLACKBALL UNIVERSE MUSIC

WE PRODUCE WHAT WE BELIEVE IN, NOTHING ELSE

Blackball Universe started off as a record label, and grew into multimedia creative collective.

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EMERGING SOON: THE NEW ZANZIBAR STAGE

3443 San Pablo Avenue, Oakland, 94608

Crave BBQ will be heating up the whole neighborhood with the new lounge at 3443 San Pablo in early 2019! The lounge will feature local musicians on the Zanzibar Stage

More Information Coming Soon

INSPIRE

 
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Planting Justice

GROW FOOD. GROW JOBS. GROW COMMUNITY.

Planting Justice is a grassroots organization with a mission to empower people impacted by mass incarceration and other social inequities with the skills and resources to cultivate food sovereignty, economic justice, and community healing.

3463 San Pablo Avenue, Oakland, CA

Planting Justice General Inquiries
E-mail: plantjustice@gmail.com
Phone: 510-290-4049

 

VIBE

OAKLAND PUBLIC CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC

CATCH THE VIBE

We are dedicated to providing musical education grounded in the African American Experience, with an understanding of its role in the development of American music and culture. Our programs are designed to foster learning for people of all ages in Oakland, CA and the greater Bay Area.

“Preservation Through Music Education”

3445 & 3461 San Pablo Avenue, Oakland CA 94612

Phone: (510) 836-4649

Email: info@opcmusic.org

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SPARC-it-Place History

The SPARC-it-Place was founded in Fall 2016 through a generous donation from the anonymous donor of The San Francisco Foundation. The idea of SPARC-it-Place was born out of the work of the San Pablo Area Revitalization Collaborative (SPARC). SPARC is a group of organizations and residents working together to improve the business and public safety of San Pablo Avenue.

SPARC-it-Place Future

The SPARC-it-Place was intentionally designed as a temporary site. The site will eventually become a mixed-use, affordable housing building with ground floor retail. EBALDC is the developer of this future project. Read more on the SPARC-it Official Site.

 

EAT

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Emerging Soon: Crave BBQ

THE ART OF FLAVOR

Restaurant Hours:

Monday -Friday

Saturday/Sunday

Lounge Hours:

Information Coming Soon

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Culinary Cruiser at SPARC

We take pride in participating in our Oakland Community. Look for us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for our daily menu specials. We also cater private and corporate events.

CONTACT US

Phone: 510-671-0720
Info@culinarycruiser.net

Coming in 2019: Crave BBQ is a brand new restaurant concept by Chef and owner Rashad Armstead the same visionary who created the iconic Artistic Taste 7, now with faith and hard work Crave BBQ is destined to be a staple in West Oakland.

Their menu is inspired by Southern traditions and soulful flavors, they have taken all the great things about BBQ and we have incorporated in the items on our menu. Chef Rashad decided to open Crave BBQ in the historical West Oakland because it’s the location of his Great-Grandmother Sarah Rawls opened her first restaurant with a hot plate and serving egg sandwiches during the time when West Oakland was booming with Black owned businesses.

Make sure to check out Rashad’s Food Pop-Up Black Food Collective and Culinary Cruiser at fixture at Sparc-It Place.

news/media

Buzz! Here is the news and media surrounding California Hotel Live!

 
Fantastic Negrito Wins His First Grammy at the 2019 Grammy Awards

Fantastic Negrito Wins His First Grammy at the 2019 Grammy Awards

A Black Cultural Corridor Takes Shape on Oakland's San Pablo Avenue

A Black Cultural Corridor Takes Shape on Oakland's San Pablo Avenue

West Oakland’s historic  California Hotel  is in the midst of a major revitalization project, and with it will come a new destination for barbecue.

West Oakland’s historic California Hotel is in the midst of a major revitalization project, and with it will come a new destination for barbecue.

‘Paint the Town’ Mural Comes to West Oakland with a Tribute to Music History at the California Hotel

‘Paint the Town’ Mural Comes to West Oakland with a Tribute to Music History at the California Hotel

October 2018 Press Release: CRAVE BBQ

October 2018 Press Release: CRAVE BBQ

 

California Hotel live! newsletters

 
 

PREMIERE EDITION

 

DECEMBER-JANUARY 2019

 

FEBRUARY-MARCH 2019