In Judge Harbin-Forte’s Courtroom — Where Jury Duty Is an Exercise in Mindfulness

A long line of people waiting to enter the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, Hayward Hall of Justice, 24405 Amador Street, Hayward, CA. Photo by BF Newhall

A long line of people, many of them prospective jurors, waited to enter the Superior Court of California building in Hayward at 9 a.m. on a Monday morning. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Tired of multitasking? Want to get away from Facebook, your cell phone, your boss, and that squeaky faucet that needs fixing? Get yourself called up for jury duty. [Read more...]

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Amazing Places: A Walk Around Oakland’s Jingletown

First panel of the murals along Rue de Merde in Jingletown, an Oakland, CA, neighborhood is by Bill Silveira. It shows the words "Oakland Riviera." Photo by BF Newhall

Bill Silveira’s mural is the first of many along Peterson Street, nicknamed Rue de Merde in honor of its role as a popular dog walk . Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Is Oakland the next Brooklyn? Lots of people are saying so. [Read more...]

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Oakland’s Jingletown: Arts, Crafts, Cool Kitsch — And Cookies

The facade of Jingletown Art Studios in Oakland, CA, is decorated with colorful mosaics of fanciful castles and towers. Photo by BF Newhall

Jingletown Art Studios in Oakland, CA, is decorated with mosaics inspired by Laurel True, founder of the Institute of Mosaic Art. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

It was a lovely afternoon for wandering in and out of artists’ studios in Oakland, California’s Jingletown neighborhood, where a vibrant, up-and-coming arts community mingles with a robust Latino population. [Read more...]

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The Summer Solstice, Arriving Right Now in a Sky Near You

Yellow, orange and lavender sky at sunset on the eve of the summer solstice 2014 in California. Photo by BF Newhall

Last night, on the eve of the summer solstice, the sun traveled way north on our horizon and set on the far side of our neighbor’s monterey pine tree. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall, June 21, 2014, 3:51 a.m.

It’s midsummer. Right now. Today. [Read more...]

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At the LA County Museum of Art: Van Gogh, Kandinsky and a Bump on the Head

Red poles adorn a walkway at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Photo by BF Newhall

Walkway at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. No glass walls to encounter here. Photo by BF Newhall

A banner announcing an exhibtion of expressionist art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA. Photo by BF NewhallIn a fire, between a Rembrandt, and a cat, I would save the cat.” – Alberto Giacometti

“Walk carefully and remember that your lives are more important than a piece of art.”  — “The Monuments Men”

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

For Giacometti, the twentieth-century Swiss sculptor, a living thing was more important than an inanimate object, even if that inanimate object happened to be a 300-year-old painting by Rembrandt.

And the heroes of the movie, “The Monuments Men,” charged with preventing the destruction of much of Europe’s art treasures during the closing months of World War II, were told more than once that human lives, including their own, were more important than the art [Read more...]

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