Monday, January 16, 2006

Piedmont: The Impediment?

You never forget where you come from, especially when it's like a Twilight Zone episode. I lived here from the day I was born until I was 14.
Piedmont California is a highly affluent community with the average land value being markedly above the already high Bay Area real estate costs. Piedmont is notable for its minimal amount of commerce when compared to its statistically similar counterparts, however, since it is right in the center of the Oakland Hills there is plentiful shopping in adjacent Oakland neighborhoods such as Piedmont Avenue, Montclair, Grand Lake, and Rockridge.All of the area, especially the city of Piedmont itself, was planned out like Disneyland.For a real laugh, drive up to Sotelo Dr. or Glen Alpine and check out these mega Chateaus that sit in ostentatious silence directly across
from puny little 60/70's mini ranch and Boogie Nights houses.
The huge houses near my Alma mater of Beach School are in Piedmont
itself and represent a time when they enforced a dress code at PHS because gals
were coming to school in floor length minks.

Their is an Oakland history book (Oakland, the
Story of a City, Beth Bagwell) and it says the entire area of Rockridge
was created to keep out the "Jewish, Asian, Black, and 'southern
Mediterranean' peoples." Piedmont was no different.That vibe was in effect up until the mid-90's, in reference to Piedmont being created as an white supremacy enclave.

That is why, to this day, Piedmont Ave. is not considered Piedmont by realtors. Renters and transplants feel it's Piedmont but anyone who grew up in the city proper knows that it's a very separate reality.
If a black person walked up the street during the
70's in Piedmont proper, then everyone started watering their lawns and peeking out of the curtains.

Today, it's mostly Democrats and rich kids, many of whom are hip hop
wannabees, and they have an arts school (Millennium) that is open to any kid in the
Bay Area who is accepted (once unheard of) but it's still bizarre and nouveau
riche...Stephen King meets Disneyland!
Piedmont is entirely surrounded by the city of Oakland, California. Residents originally sought incorporation in 1907 to avoid annexation by Oakland. The papers filed with the State of California to incorporate the new city used a map from the Piedmont Sanitary Sewer District.

Piedmont is home to ex-Major League Baseball player Dave McCarty, ex-National Football League star Bill Romanowski, Raider owner Al Davis, ex-49er player Bubba Paris, and Green Day member Billie Joe Armstrong. UCLA Quarterback, Drew Olson also grew up in Piedmont and played for their high school football team. Another notable star athlete raised in Piedmont is Courtney Paris and her sister Ashley Paris, who are each currently attending University of Oklahoma, where Courtney has already broken the scoring record in her Freshman year with 22 points. Courtney, is the starting Center for the USA women's basketball team. Courtney and Ashley's father is fellow Piedmont resident and ex-NFL star Bubba Paris.

Thanks in part to Wikipedia


Blogger BallerinaGurl said...

Stephen King meets Disneyland...ROFL. I only wish My arts school I attended was like that for the entertainment factor. Try 2,000 acres on two lakes with NO SHOPPING or CULTURE except on Campus. Oh we had to make things up sometimes to keep sane lol.

Thanks for the history lesson. We have many friends who actually live there, it is a beautiful area of Cali!

LOVE the profile pic. When was that taken? You look hot with lighter hair. Roar!!

8:41 AM  
Blogger HighMaintenanceHussy said...

Who said you can never go home again? :)

10:23 AM  
Blogger Dan L. said...


Hey, I've poked around the 'Frisco region a number of times. San Francisco, Muir Woods, Henry Coe State Park, Drakes Bay, Presidio, Fisherman's Wharf, Big Basin, Castro Valley, etc. Not ever been to Piedmont. It must be like home of course.

THE MOODY BLUES have a beautiful song on "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour". It is called, "You Can Never Go Home". It is hard to try and stand in your own old footprints. Give that a listen.

As for the region...
I would like to visit John Muir's historical digs, in your area. He is one of my heroes. He died down here, did you know that? There are his relatives(SoCal) down here too.
Do not miss those redwoods at Big Basin...especially in the "misty season", sun and rain, on and off". It is magical. A moon out does it well, too.

--Dan L.

10:34 AM  
Blogger SuperAmanda said...

Profile pic was a taken about two years ago. I'm at the Alley Cat on Grand Ave. in Oakland getting ready to perform later at The Starry Plough's Open Mic up the road in Berkeley. I had stopped in for a drink and to listen to Rod Dibble who plays the piano EVERY night 365 days a year (he lets you sing along if you want).
I'm wearing conservative clothes and make-up because blond hair takes on such a life of its own that no other visual cues are really needed to entertain the public/audience. Getting ready takes a much smaller amount of time so yes, blonds do have more fun in that regard ;)

4:14 PM  
Blogger Dan L. said...


The "Big John" song you asked about is actually "Big Bad John", and is about a big miner.

--Dan L.

9:04 PM  
Blogger Nabonidus said...

Wow, what a neighborhood, I could totally visualize it- yet another good piece of writing!
And I love the wig, it's great! :D

9:08 PM  
Blogger Mike S said...

Hi Amanda,

Bill Romanowski and Al Davis?
Oh crap,there goes the neighborhood!!:O) Beautiful
neighborhood indeed despite
those two nutcases :O)

9:49 PM  
Blogger E.L. Wisty said...

Really good piece of local history here! A beautiful neighbourhood, yet, as you said, with quite bizarre elements. I was thinking that if this was a traditional English detective story the story would have deep, dark things happening behind the beautiful surface, kind of like in English detective stories crimes are committed behind the lofty facades of upper-classy boarding schools in Yorkshire. :-)

10:01 PM  
Blogger Calzone said...

I love in the richest town in Maine dog thats how I roll.

We should hang out, you could buy me shit.

11:48 PM  
Blogger rolywholyover said...

My home town of Manchester-by-the-Sea was the Piedmont of Massachusetts (well, one of them, anyway). Note especially the English-sounding name. We had one token pair of black kids in the school during my entire 10-year stint there, and they were an adopted brother and sister! There were no Latino/as or Asians either! Good thing for those Saturday morning multi-culti public service TV spots, or I might have forever wallowed in ignorance of the fact that "we are all brothers, and a hand extended to your fellow man is a gesture of love..."!

6:11 AM  
Blogger Justin Kreutzmann said...

so that's where the scary guy lives.

4:41 PM  
Blogger THIRD OF NEVER said...

Rockridge??? Isn't that the name of the racist town in BLAZING SADDLES?

Hey Amanda, we're giving away more stuff if you're interested.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Jasmine said...

It looks like a lovely place!
Thank you for stopping over at my place.


3:16 PM  
Blogger BallerinaGurl said...

Standing up for Americans...God bless us lol.

Yes I know a few people there and would be happy to share but not on here to breech their privacy.

Did you like my ad?

5:14 AM  
Blogger Nabonidus said...

Hi Supergirl! You wrote at Pete's:
" Organically yours,

You know, there's this organic food store up the street here, and I've been buying some of my fruits and veggies from there lately. Just last night in particular I was eating some tomato that I'd gotten there yesterday, and wow! I'd swear that the fruits and veggies that I get from People's Organic Food Store taste better than the ones from the regular grocery store! The bananas definitely are better, but the tomato, what a marked difference that was! Organic is gooood! :)

4:06 PM  
Blogger Bill the Apostle said...

Jesus told me to ask you to put up your old pic where you showed your lovely soft breasts.

So thats what I'm doing yo...lets see them

Jesus loves you

5:29 PM  
Blogger Calzone said...

Wait a minute..are you a kitten that lives in a box??

I'm shattered

1:36 AM  
Blogger Fine In My Sky said...

Hi Amanda,

Just wanted to say thank you for your nice comment. And...I'm very much into pilates as well. We live in the right place for it. :-)


5:37 PM  
Blogger ZaQ said...

Right on, oh and I love your profile picture.

2:36 AM  
Blogger Dan L. said...

Amanda SuperAmanda:

About the S.F. area once more...
My daughter is in band at her high school, and she will visit the Bay area in March. I am thinking of trying to join her. They will tour Alcatraz. Last time I saw that island, there were American Indians claiming occupation. That, my friend, was a long time ago.

You heard of the whales in the river Thames? Did you happen on my silly poem? I wrote that as I typed it. It was fun to do. It was rolling off my brain, so off it tumbled.

Much Grace to you,

--Dan L.

5:20 AM  
Blogger wind-up-man said...

The many faces of Amanda,All pure bliss...

8:45 PM  
Blogger JackJumpedOverTheMoon said...


Just dropping in to say hello and have a great weekend.

Woohoo, I'm back!


12:08 AM  
Blogger ginab said...

Yuck. Rich, frightened hell. Absolute fodder for the human psyche for the King. And I thought (as in I'd made an ass of you and me, albeit quietly) California was progressive. Then there's the movie "Crash".

Wow. Thanks for this, and as ever I do like your writing so much. You're a great journalist. You go!


5:13 PM  
Blogger J to the fucking C said...

Where the hell have you been?

1:00 AM  
Blogger mr_g said...

And I bet most of the people who have moved threre in the last 20 yesrs...the wiggers and posers etc...have no clue about the history of their home. That's great stuff to keep passing down. It' so important for people to know how things they can appreciate how they ARE.

11:18 PM  
Blogger Claire Eliza said...

Whoa! Sounds like a really interesting town. Hmmm

10:31 PM  
Blogger Tausha71979 said...

Hello Love!

Sorry I haven't visited in ..forever:( Loved your post here, I agree with BG it was a great history lesson! Ooh I also wanted to tell you & I hope that it is ok. That I used your Q&A with Rachel from December 14th on her myspace page! I love it, it kindof puts Rachel in a new light. For those whot are just discovering her! I put it in the bio section:) I hope that all is well with you, I promise I'll visit more!


2:08 AM  
Blogger lryicsgrl said...

Hi supergirl,
i thought i posted here?
loved this post, i feel like i've been to piedmont, now thankfully, i'll never have to go back..ha have a quick and clever wit. i llike it!

thanks for your comment on my blog. you are a kind soul.

hearts and flowers


10:35 PM  
Blogger ZaQ said...

I'm still hot for that profile picture

3:39 AM  
Blogger JackJumpedOverTheMoon said...

Super Amanda,

I'm really, REALLY sorry, but I'm going to have to include you in a silly game of tag.

The rules are you have to put up five things about yourself, and then tag five other bloggers. I'm not sure what kind of brimstone and hellfire rains down on you if you don't, but I'm sorry if I have brought a plague upon you by doing this.

You have been tagged.


10:18 PM  
Blogger lryicsgrl said...

Can't wait for you to play!
I'm in too.
It's a fun way to start a new blog, if your stuck for ideas.

1:57 AM  
Blogger strawberry said...

Hi Amanda,
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the advice.
I heard that this year's Dog is not very good, and it's apparently because of its fire element.

2:35 AM  
Blogger Lizz said...

Piedmont... Even when I lived in the Bay Area, I always thought of Peidmont as simply a community, a suburb of Oakland - more accurately, a neighborhood section of Oakland.

Very well done from an educational stand point... but I think I missed it... What's the impediment?

9:42 PM  
Blogger THIRD OF NEVER said...

Hey there SupAman. My electronica side project with Rabbit (Electric Forgiveness) is currently at #23 on IAC (, so please give it a listen if you have time.

By the way......where you been girl?

12:04 AM  
Blogger ginab said...

Ooh, Super A...don't spend hard cash on cyber cafes.

Otherwise, I just noticed a liking between the marching band and the Swiss soldiers that march for the pope. Hmm....

Yeah, twilight zone!

3:19 AM  
Blogger Dave & Corie said...

We have friends who live in Piedmont and were just there not long ago though it is just over the Richmond bridge! :-)

Hope your well.

Dave and Corie...

7:41 AM  
Blogger Nabonidus said...

Hi Amanda, just saw you over at Pete,s
wanted to say that it was good to see you there, I know you've been busy lately!
BTW, I like how you have "70's Charlton Heston movies" in your faves, that's rad! I have the same thing, I
wrote it like that rather than listing "Omega man" " Soylent Green" Planet of the Apes', figured it would be easier to write that instead. I really do feel like you would be a sister to my brother and me. I also wrote " 70's Martin Sheen movies because it encompasses movies like Apocalypse now, as well as creepy movies like "The little girl who lives down the lane" with jodie foster eeek remember that one?
Anyway, nice to see you, you've been missed over there!! xoxoLisa

6:13 PM  
Blogger Big Ben said...

Sounds like a fun little town, I liked the last picture - that your crib?

3:31 PM  
Blogger Dan L. said...

SPIRIT is the BOMB. Do you know of them well? I have a friend who "opened" for them. He also opened for Frampton (I am not big on Frampton, but respect him just the same).

Where have you moved to? I need not know, if you cannot share, but I was reading that you have moved.

Much appreciation for your encounter with my insane blog,

--Dan L.

4:57 AM  

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