Archive for June, 2010

Oaklavía: No Cars Go

Posted in 4 Square East Bay, Gorrilla Square with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2010 by 4squareeastbay

On Sunday, June 28th 2010 Oaklavía took over the streets of Oakland. Modeled after San Francisco’s Sunday Streets and inspired by Ciclovía from Bogota, Columbia residents of the East Bay (and beyond?) explored the city from Jack London Square to the Uptown on a bike path laid out by the organizers and Walk Oakland Bike Oakland. And at the center of the whole thing stood 4 Square of the East Bay, playing games and yelling at passers by. 4SEB set up a square right in the middle of the intersection at Broadway and 10th between Chinatown and Downtown. The music was bumping by 9:45, the square was taped and chalked by 10:15 and the first players literally rolled up around 10:45. They were on unicycles. And they played 4 Square.

And that how the day went… after the unicyclers from the Berkeley Revolution made their way to the basketball courts, 4SEB was joined by kids, families, random bikers and regulars from the Thursday games. Big thank yous go out to Sam, Michelle and Robert for helping set-up and promote the games. It was also good to see Adam, Molly, Gus, Monk, Ben and Canela in the middle of the street. Some folks from Mosswood Kickball (Jacob, Lara & Alissa) did a ride-by before coasting off to their games. 4SEB made new friends and had some really good players showing off their skills. Rules made their way into the square and people were soon calling out countries, acting like pirates, jumping in the air and spinning. The hardest new rule of the day was the ‘Stay in the square’ rule where if a player stepped out of the big square, they’d be called out. Needless to say, new addictions were made, fliers were handed out and everyone was invited to the Thursday games. The people playing ranged in age from 6 to 71. Awesome!

Not only was this event fun for the community, but it was also news-worthy! Check out the photos and quotes about 4SEB from the San Francisco Chronicle’s or Patsy K. Eagan’s Daily Brief in Oakland Local (she also did an Oakland Magazine blurb on us) or Dara Kerr’s piece in Oakland North (she missed us in her photos but did a 4SEB piece for Cross Currents on KALW a couple months back). 4SEB was happy to be a part of this street party and bring games to the people of the East Bay!

Sadly, the streets couldn’t stay closed to traffic for the entire day. As 2pm rolled around 4SEB had to close out the games and get out of the way. The day ended with a friendly elimination that knocked out all of the kids waiting to get to A square and resulted in Robert striking the pose of victory in the middle of Broadway.

4SEB had much fun taking part in taking over the streets. It’s almost like what we do in the parking lot. Our urban game is all about the repurposing of public spaces and building community. On Sunday, we did that and it was a blast. Thanks Oaklavía, Walk Oakland Bike Oakland and the people of the East Bay! See you in the streets real soon!


School’s out forever!

Posted in 4 Square East Bay with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2010 by 4squareeastbay

Thursday brought a huge crowd out to the square! There were so many people there that Square 2 opened up around 9:45 because the line was so damn long! What was this, some sort of 4SEB Birthday Party halo effect? Even the rain showed up… and it’s summer! Maybe that’s what made the games so popular this past week. Summer. And with that comes summer fun. We had a clique of folks from a local elementary school throwing it down and making life difficult for everyone in their squares. Sometimes it seems ludicrous to play a kids game with adults, but it’s hella hard to win that game when some of those adults practice with kids … for their jobs! But this is a good sign cuz we love our teachers and want them all to come and hang out in the parking lot.

The players were: Dana, Luis, Uriah, Sam, Jordan, Caroline, Rachel, Makana, Charity, Robert, Adam, Kendall, Saram, Phil, Lee, Gabby, Michelle, Sky, Liz, Danielle, Lily, Kindred, Lauren, Ben, Edwardo, Nicole, Jason, Marcia, Canela, Paul, Richard and Ben. Seriously, all were ballers.

The rules ruled this week! There was the commie rule (always good for noobs), the pirate rule, jump on one foot, dance square (in honor of Michael Jackson), prayer square (palms of your hands together), sequential clapping, hands on your head and strike a pose. Then there were the rules that made you think as you played the game: countries of the world, things that live under water, question & answer square, get to know you square, embarrassing truth square and compliment square. As competitive as the games are, it’s nice to know that people are light hearted enough to laugh. Of course, no one laughs when it comes down to 4 Square Challenges (yes they do). Many were called and three people were successful! Give a hand-clap for Robert, Uriah and Jordan!

While there was a slight drizzle all night, the two squares had much life to them. For the first time, Square 2 (in the rain) outlasted Square 1 which closed out first. The whole thing then moved under the freeway with much confusion and standing around from those not paying attention. After more rounds of fury, some yelling and chasing of balls, a final elimination round was called. The remaining players battled each other then clapped it up for the losers before the ultimate showdown between vet Uriah and newcomer Kendall. The bout was fierce and surprisingly long, but in the end Uriah’s experience just couldn’t stand up the to fresh exuberance of Kendall. Wow, way to come through and king everyone for the win. You get your picture on the blog!

That’s that! Thanks to everyone for showing up, old and new… we love you much! Don’t forget that we play EVERY WEEK so come and get your skills on! Also, shout out to Michael Jackson, you made the party live last night (RIP one year). This weekend is big in the Bay Area cuz we’re full of Pride (4o years of it!), but the Oakland’s also got Oaklavía this Sunday. 4SEB will be there at 10th and Broadway from 10am to 2pm doing what we do … playing games and having fun. See you around town!

4SEB turns 2: a parking-lot of cupcakes

Posted in 4 Square East Bay with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2010 by 4squareeastbay

On Thursday June 17th, while most people who are into ‘sports’ were watching the NBA finals or updating their brackets for the World Cup, a spirited group of individuals gathered in the Rockridge BART Station parking lot in Oakland, CA to celebrate another, less famous sport. These people were celebrating the playground game of 4 Square and, in particular, the organization known as 4 Square of the East Bay. 4SEB has been setting up a square in this parking lot every Thursday for the past two years, inviting everyone who walks by to play with them. This last Thursday, it was time to party! Set up began around 9 and as the music blared players donned party hats, crowns, beads and marveled at the sparkly ‘Feliz Cumpleaños’ sign. And then, the party happened…

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As you can see, hella people showed up! They were: Sam, Robert, Lee, Gabby, Mike, Mike, Lyman, Gus, Mallika, Travis, Uriah, Adam, Michelle, Sophia, Sharon, Monk, Rachel, Charlie, Ariel, Joyce, Bill, Tony, Caroline, Ben, Jacob, Rebecca, Lara, Jon, JT, James, Vi, Sean, Allie, Phil, Miriam, Tracey, Pam, Veronica, Yeshi, Susan, Rocco, Paul, Mica, Chris, Frank, Pierre, Amanda, Patty, Paul, Angela, Liz, Angie, Mickey, Mandel, Jen, Karl, Nick, Mike, Emily, Dana, Erin and Paul.  Special ‘THANK YOU’ shout goes to the folks that brought the food! The sheer amount of cakes nearly crushed the car that was being used as the table. The cooks were: Sam, Michelle, Sharon, Susan, Lee, Robert, Gabby, Jordan, Angie, Liz, Joyce and Rebecca. If we forgot anyone, forgive us, there were a lot of people there!

For the first time, there were more than enough people to keep two full squares moving. Rules happened and folks were heard to laugh out loud. With all the new people playing for the first time, the commie rule had to be explained again and again as well as the save policy. It was fine because once players got the hang of it, they were calling crazy rules and kicking ass. The 4 Square Challenge became super popular as soon as folks found out that once a player successfully completed a challenge, not only would they get blogged about, but they received a motivational ribbon with sayings like ‘Superstar!’ ‘Outstanding!’ ‘Athletic Achievement Award’ and ‘I Like Myself!’ The winners were Jordan, Lee, Robert, Phil, Mike and Uriah!

The games stayed strong until well after midnight. It’s like people didn’t want to stop playing! Fun-addiction aside, elimination was called on Square 2 and everyone found themselves at Square 1. Soon, elimination was called on this square as well. The rounds were tough but still fun. As the final four entered into the round, the line crowded around the square yelling to encourage and distract. The final face off between Jordan and Phil was of enormous magnitude and this was reflected in the way they hit the ball at each other. In the end, Jordan claimed victory and was awarded with the ‘I Did It!’ ribbon/button to make it official. Congratulations Jordan, you lasted the longest and everyone knows it…

The party was a complete success! So much thanks goes out to all who came through and were involved. People were extremely kind, generous and welcoming, just the way we like it. The food was plentiful and delicious and the game play was outstanding! We made new friends and pulled back some old vets to play again. 4SEB is not stopping here, we’re gonna keep going and we’re gonna have fun while we do it. Our next big thang is gonna happen at the Oaklavia Festival on Sunday, June 27th. We’ve been asked to set up a square at 10th and Broadway in Old Oakland from 10am to 2pm. Come and join us there or any Thursday in the Rockridge BART Station Parking lot. We always need new players and you deserve to have fun. Much love East Bay, you make us sooooo happy!

New Blood

Posted in 4 Square East Bay with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2010 by 4squareeastbay

This past Thursday night was off the hook! People are gearing up for the big 2 Year Birthday Party and it shows in the game play! There was a lot of new life in the square starting with freshly chalked out boxes (thx Robert), a brand new ball (thx Lee), a new playlist (thx Jordan) and new players pulled from the BART Station (thx Gabby)! Actually, the new players almost outnumbered the vets. Does that mean we’re blowing up or just going viral? The weather was warm, the spirits were up, the construction didn’t cover the square and the ball only went over the fence once! It was great to interact and be friendly with the noobs then get them out with quick spins and trick plays. Sure it might seem harsh, but it’s all part of the plan to enable their new 4 Square addiction so that they come back later and wreck shop.

The awesome regs of the night were: Robert, Gabby, Lee, Sam, Liz, Jordan, Mike, Angie, Paul, Lyman, Charlie and Frank. The night also featured the return of 4SEB’s very own Rasputin (“Cuz I’m hard to kill!”), Phil! The first timers were: Pete, Allie, Izzy, Chaim, Mike, Allan, Nick, Kenny, Nate, Miles and Taylor (the last three being part of Province of the Mists which could kick our butts if they were armored up). Thanks so much for coming out folks, you really represented for all of the people who haven’t played since middle school. Without people, 4 square is just some lonely chalk boxes in a parking lot…

The rules ran wild this week! A lot of dance square, a couple of spin rounds, jumping, clapping, zombies, countries, breakfast cereals and one awful kingship that kept building on previous rules ending up in a bunch of people playing 4 Square with their non-dominant hand with one eye closed while avoiding lines with underhand only shots as they called out countries of the world sounding like pirates. The rules ended on a high note as Doubles 4 Square was called (8 Square?) and players teamed up to smash on everyone else. Most rounds resulted in teams getting themselves out, but we had hella fun while doing it! 4 Square challenges were extremely desired on Thursday night after the new folks heard that if you win, you get to be on the blog. Many, many were called, but 4SEB players don’t give in that easy and looked to shut challengers down. Only one person succeeded and true as it’s told, here is her picture on the blog. Gabby = Awesome apple-sauce’m.

At the end of the night, after doubles, after Kung-Fu Animals and after challenges, elimination was called. If you don’t know, elimination is the last round of the night where once a player is out, they are out for good and receive a rousing round of applause from the crowd. If you want to win this, a player must be ruthless and dominate. The battles were passionate and fierce but as Lee and Phil faced off for the final confrontation, Lee’s mojo overwhelmed his opponent leaving him free to do what he wanted with the ball. Ew, gross, at least we were done playing. Congratulations, you have won!

So wraps up another Thursday recap! The games were great and the attitude was just right. We are hoping to have a bunch of people in the parking lot next Thursday for the 2 Year Birthday Party. Bring your friends. Bring your family. Bring that person you have a crush on but haven’t made a move on yet. Don’t worry, with all the good vibes in the air, you’re bound to get some… if you let them win. Let’s keep this thing going and continue to treat the space and people with respect. Much love Oakland, you are the best!

Constructing Yourself a Win

Posted in 4 Square East Bay with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2010 by 4squareeastbay

Thursday night the regular ballers were joined by the hard working forces of BART’s seismic retrofitting crew. While this ongoing construction has been known to block lanes of the lot, generate a bunch of noise and cover-up parking spaces, they have yet to interfere with our square. We gotta give the folks who were working props for hustling their overtime and doing their job while a bunch of grown-ass kids danced around and hit balls at each other. Oh how they wanted to play with us, staring longingly from the boom-lift, clad in reflective vests and hard hats. Or maybe they were just wondering what they were doing surrounded by playground games on one side and people dressed as knights on the other. Ahh Thursdays, you always bring out the weirdos…

The games were jovial with the return of rules that have been absent from past weeks. Spinning, clapping, jumping, catching, yelling, squatting and cartwheeling were all included. One of the best parts about 4SEB is that if you get to A Square, you get to make the rules! This can be a lot of pressure with many players not calling rules upon entering the top square, but there are always folks who go for it with gusto. That’s what we want, people with gusto. Get creative, get funky, get into it! If you are in A Square, take the power vested in you and do something with it! If other players don’t like it, they can get the fuck out of your square or play by your rules until they dethrone you. It’s what makes it challenging, interesting and a whole lot of fun…

Shout to the players who played by the rules and through the construction: Jordan, Robert, Lee, Gabby, Sam, Liz, Vi, Angie, Rachel, David, Mike, Paul, Hannah, Charlie and Jerome. New folks included Frank, Lyman, John, Isaac and Sean (who was just passing through the lot and got sucked in by the awesome). Two 4 Square challenges were won this week so take your hands off your mouse (or smart phone) and put them together for Sam and Jordan!

It got really real at the end of the night as the workers wrapped up their work and the players set about working each other. Rachel brought back the ‘Dramatic Death’ rule which means that once a player gets out, they must die a dramatic death to emphasize the tragedy of losing. This rule carried over to the elimination round and after player after player falling dead to the pavement, Robert stood as the only living soul in the parking lot. Way to live, Robert, way to live…

So that was Thursday night! 4SEB knows that there are people across the country that are checking up on our weekly game for inspiration and entertainment. We hope to do both. Sorry for the tardy posting, but you know… weekends. We’ve got big things coming up this month, mainly the TWO YEAR BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR 4SEB! That’s happening June 17th so show up with your crew and let’s party! And then we are gonna be at the Oaklavia Festival at Broadway and 10th on Sunday, June 27.  Also big shout out to Hella Tight hats for adorning the heads of a couple of the players on Thursday. Maybe we can get some 4 Square fitteds? I’m just sayin… See you next Thursday!