Zut! Undies! Fourth Street at Night, Berkeley

Zut Restaurant, 4th Street Berkeley, Ink & watercolor

Zut Restaurant, 4th Street Berkeley, Ink & watercolor

When I saw that a restaurant named Zut! opened on Fourth Street, I remembered Zut the dog, who lived next door to me in Berkeley in the 70s. Zut and his owner Denny lived in a tiny cottage behind a two-story house owned by a man named Huckleberry that he shared with the Arkansas Sheiks‘ (Karana Drayton’s folk group whose fiddler was Laurie Lewis.)

Denny and Zut were also musical; Denny played piano and Zut sang (howled) along with him. Zut and my dog Kangaroo were good buddies and liked to wander the neighborhood together, usually ending up at Bulky Burgers on the corner, cruising for hand-outs.

So when we were sketching on 4th Street last Tuesday night, I asked the hostess about the name. She showed me their mural that included a wonderful portrait of good old Zut and told me that Denny Abrams was indeed an owner of the restaurant.

A La Folie, Undies on 4th Street, ink & watercolor

A La Folie, Undies on 4th Street, ink & watercolor

I always enjoy sketching manikins in shop windows and this one at A La Folie displaying expensive undies didn’t disappoint.

Fourth Street Holiday Lights, ink & watercolor

Fourth Street Holiday Lights, ink & watercolor

Fourth Street’s holiday lights were hung so we expected they’d also be lit but only these two were. I guess they are waiting to light them until after Thanksgiving when the shops stay open evenings. Even without the grand lighting, we were grateful for the relatively warm evening that allowed us to sketch outdoors at night in November.

Love the One You’re With: You! (Happy Valentines Day)

Valentine Window at Sala, Berkeley, ink & watercolor

Valentine Window at Sala, Berkeley, ink & watercolor

I spotted this store window and loved the mannequin’s attitude amidst the cupids, hearts and flowers at “Sala,” a little shop in North Berkeley. I’d parked in front of the shop to go to my son’s Superbowl party. Then I left before halftime because I just couldn’t sit and watch more rude commercials about beer and junk food when I could be in the studio. Before I got in the car, I had to stop and sketch the window.

Love the One You’re With

As the old song goes, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” Back in the hippie days the song encouraged us to hookup with whoever was handy. Of course we know how well that era turned out. But there is one person we’re always with who it’s good to love, and that’s ourselves.

I used to dread Valentines Day; afraid I’d be alone, or afraid the “one I was with” would somehow disappoint on that portentous day. Then one year I was alone and I had the best Valentine date ever.

I took myself out for a Valentine’s date. I went to a book store that had a pretty café inside and spent the evening gathering great art books from the shelves and devouring them over a latte and sweet treat at the café, picking one book to buy as a gift for me. I also came across a funny kids book, “Play with your Food,” which I read to a bored little boy who was waiting for his mom to finish shopping. We both had a good laugh and the mom was grateful for some time to herself.

Full page in sketchbook

Full page in sketchbook

Since then I’ve had many other fun dates with myself, when friends or lovers weren’t around. One New Year’s Eve when I’d made no plans because I was supposed to be taking my sons to Yosemite, but it hadn’t stopped raining for two weeks and we’d decided to stay home (which was a good thing because Yosemite flooded and people were stuck there for two weeks without fresh food or working bathrooms) I went to a café that stayed open late and sketched people coming and going all evening. One of those people was a tall, dark, handsome artist who was out doing the same thing. He asked to join me at my table and we had a fun evening of sketching together and then a few months of interesting dating

I imagine this all might sound weird to those who enjoy fancy dinners out and expensive gifts of shiny bling but I guess that’s the point of loving yourself. You get to pick! If you want bling, get yourself some bling. If you’d rather have books or draw in them, make it happen!

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