It came from nowhere. Nowhere! Zza’s is closed.

Alison Tharp’s beautiful paintings, in a show entitled A SIDEWAYS LOOK AT SCIENCE were scheduled to show this upcoming Saturday (7/17) and now that is not going to happen. I feel like we have put it on ice. I am telling you, these images are so fresh, convoluted, compelling and world-class that any venue would be so truly honored to exhibit them. Right now we are left with a terrible chasm, a vacuous space where so much potential had just been, like a sink hole or even a black hole.

There are those among us who really believe in this stuff, this art stuff, with all of it’s pomp. We need, and I mean need like on a metabolic level, the interaction, the dialogue, the back and forth, the drama of an artist emerging, like a flower from the impossible Oakland soil into the light and then of course feeding and being fed by a collection of friends and makeshift family that really care. I don’t care about much and yet I care about this. If you are still reading, you care too.

I understand they (Zza’s) will be opening again after they get the transfer of the liquor license figured out, but it will be with a different name and a different brand. Do I want to be a part of it? I am not sure. They are not sure. Everything is in flux.

There are a few factors that made Zza’s so great and why I did it for a couple of years: 20 shows. 1) the spreads were great. They rolled out the red carpet for every artist. Big tables of food that kept coming. No cheap wine. No pretzels. 2) Zza’s is not a restaurant, people expect interesting and provocative art under those spotlights 3) Zza’s is not a gallery, people hang out there for hours and get silly off the vino. There is a Modernist ethic to community building through art, where we hang out and argue about what we are looking at, where it comes from and where it is going. 4) Wine.

So, is it done? I don’t know. I have received a huge amount of solidarity here and I am so thankful for it. If you know Alison, give here a hug or drop her a line. It is all very confusing, off-putting, and a bit overwhelming. Thank you, Obi Kaufmann. 925-951-7501


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