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Warriors Parade 2017

Once again we had the honor of celebrating a Warriors championship by parading the Mayor, her family and MC Hammer through the streets of Oakland on the Snail Car. Hundreds of thousands of Warriors fans came out along with some of our favorite local art cars- a rare but exciting mix of art and sports. Congratulations Oakland! One more thing to be proud of in this crazy town.

SB Nation Article

CBS San Francisco Article

Mercury News Article

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La Machine in the Bay Area!

La Machine is the incredible art team from Nantes, France who are creating some of the world’s most exciting large scale art and immersive performance experiences. Today, I am happy to announce that we have been in conversation with them, Mayor Schaaf and some potential financial backers about the possibility of La Machine returning to Oakland in 2018-19 with both LONG MA JING SHEN and LES MÉCANIQUES SAVANTES!

Our collective vision is to bring these two enormous creatures all the way from their home in Nantes, France to wander the streets of Oakland. We are proposing a four day show, with the creatures starting on opposite ends of town and meeting downtown. Each day, as they make their way towards one another, they’ll make four designated stops where the creatures will perform alongside a host of local artists and performers, uniting La Machine’s team with Bay Area artists to co-create an unforgettable experience.


Our week started at Bruce Beasley’s sculpture garden where Francois Delaroziere and Fredette Lampre La Machine gave a stunning presentation outlining some of their major projects. It was an exciting introduction for those who weren’t well acquainted with their work and by the end of the night I was delighted to observe how we’d all experienced the movement from being awe-inspired to feeling a thrilling sense of purpose. It was the kick off we were hoping for to begin drumming up excitement for our big plans

Photos by Jillian Northrup

Reveling in Art

Then came Maker Faire who invited Les Machines de l’ile to present and La Machine’s Giant Ant to play and perform. We were placed right next to them with the Golden Mean Snail Car and the Electrobite and enjoyed seeing the creatures get to know each other.  They were exceptionally well received and as always we thoroughly enjoyed sharing our art with the kids (old and new) and learning of La Machine’s new project the Herons Tree.

Meeting with the Mayor

We wrapped up our long weekend with a Monday morning meeting at city hall. Mayor Schaaf expressed an encouraging amount of excitement over the prospect of hosting the huge art festival in Oakland and it looks like we’ll have the necessary support of the city. There are a million details to work out but as far as starts go, this is a good one.

One concern we all shared was how to incorporate all of Oakland’s artistic facets. It’s diversity is largely what makes it one of the greatest art hubs in the US and we all agree that this event will require many spotlights.

Another obvious concern is where to get the money for such a grande vision. The city of Oakland doesn’t have the financial resources to ship a 50 foot tall dragon, nor a 50 foot tall spider across the ocean. That’s clearly up to us event planners to figure out.

What’s Next

Our immediate focus moving forward is on securing the funding. We’re looking for a small number of large donors and would love to speak with anyone who’s interested in financially backing this world-class event. Once we succeed in making this event happen Oakland will once again be making world news- this time for being the first US appearance of La Machine’s large creatures and for the amazing local art and entertainment we have in store.

We would love to invite all of you to join us in Ottawa 2017 to see for yourself how incredible this event could be.

Enormous thanks to: Konnie May – Project Coordinator,  Bruce Beasley, The Crucible, Adam Nelsen & Mike Pierce from Oakland Spirits Co, Kristina Lazar from Spirit Works, Catherine Boyd of Holy Cheeses and of course the Empire of Dirt Crew!

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Oakland’s New Mayor Rides in our Snail Art Car

“I think it’s a great symbol of Oakland, our vitality, our creativity, our secret sauce”
– Libby Schaaf on the Golden Mean Snail Art Car 

Photo by D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group
Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle

It’s no surprise people are talking about Oakland’s new mayor, Libby Schaaf, but there’s one detail that seems to surprise everyone: her mayoral ride, the Golden Mean. Apparently most political figures don’t travel to their inauguration in a giant snail with flaming eye sockets.

Schaaf and I first connected during the 2013 Oakland mayoral race around West Oakland business. I agreed with Schaaf’s vision for an Oakland that supports artists, makers, and industrial businesses like mine. When she requested the Golden Mean make a campaign event appearance, I was happy to oblige.

When Schaaf won the election, we took a celebratory ride in the Golden Mean. But the greatest honor came with the last request: a ride for Schaaf and her family to her mayoral inauguration. The event was quintessential Oakland: held at the Paramount Theater, the mayor and her family arriving in the Golden Mean, Schaaf’s acceptance speech including “hella”, and protesters reminding everyone of issues to be addressed.

When we first built the Golden Mean in 2008, little did we know it would someday make Oakland history. Working nights and weekends, the snail car my wife Kyrsten dreamed up was built by her, myself, and our Empire of Dirt crew of artist makers in my West Oakland Form & Reform shop. Since building Golden Mean we’ve made the Electrobite and Serpent Twins, but you’re less likely to see our mayor riding around in them, seeing as they’re not street legal.

“It’s hella time for Oakland.”
  – Libby Schaaf, inaugural speech

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Beyond Wonderland 2011

Great to be back for our 3rd show with Insomniac at Beyond Wonderland! Lots of familiar faces and a warm welcome for the snail and crew! This year we brought our new remote fired flame ball and let the crowd light up the night sky to warm the rest of us. I always enjoy seeing people smile when they realize they just made that huge fireball. Met up with some great DJ’s and even got to hang out with Paris Hilton!

More pictures

John Behrens in his steampunk finest helping the ladies shoot fire balls.
Each one of these fire balls shoots a different shape.
The die hard fans waited in line to get a turn at shooting the fire from the snail. Lots of smiles.

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SFMOMA Artist Gallery {Wondrous Strange} Opening

A Wondrous Strange night at SFMOMA Gallery

What a great show! I love shows where art and craft meet and these artists are gifted in both. Fantastic use of real materials and humor. Look for Kathy Aoki  showing the “Tomb Room” and several other artifacts from the Gwen Stefani Archaeological Dig ( 2468-2478 A.D.).

More pictures

Zolie hugging the Golden Mean and watching the grannies dance!
Zolie trying to hide from the Grannies. I think someone didn’t understand what Steampunk was when they hired the band and forgot the steam. They were great until they got shut down for being too loud. Nice to see good old fashion punk is still alive and well!
Steampunk boys enjoying a smoke!