Helloakland in a Liminal Space 

Devin Satterfield resurrects the funky West Oakland warehouse spirit.

Devin Satterfield is best known for founding the now-defunct Liminal Gallery, a West Oakland cooperative that survived for three years in a slatternly warehouse on Myrtle Street. Despite being an architectural eyesore — concrete floors, no windows, a dingy facade — the space hosted some of the most exciting gallery shows to go down in pre-Art Murmur Oakland. At the old-timey carnival Sassy and Surly's Sideshow Spectacular, Satterfield and his fellow curators built an oddity museum and set up bowling lanes with plywood planks, but substituted dishware and crockery for pins. At the similarly themed Slapdash Belly Whack, they covered the 7,000-square-feet floor with half a foot of cedar chips, built cocktail tables out of reused wood, and had Peachy Puff girls hawking Nat Sherman Fantasy cigarettes with gold filters. Satterfield's Art in the Way show featured "obtrusive" installations that demanded audience participation — the highlight was Erik Groff's twenty-by-thirty-feet ocean mural, which sat atop a sediment tunnel that people had to crawl through in order to get to the bathroom.

Now a bartender at Berkeley's Cafe Gratitude, Satterfield still has curatorial aspirations, and still moonlights in the low-rent gallery world. He wants to recapture the grit and glitter of Liminal in his latest project, a local band compilation that he coproduced with Gris Gris frontman Greg Ashley. Featuring some of the best and brightest of Oakland's warehouse and bar scene — including 0th, Little Teeth, Shayne Kator, and Inspector Double Negative — the CD was recorded on reel-to-reel eight-track tape at the WC Warehouse on San Pablo. (Ashley set up microphones throughout the space to give it an echoey, bathroom-studio sound, which he later remastered.) The resulting Helloakland Volume One compilation will have a limited distribution of 1,000 CDs and 500 vinyl copies for bands to sell at their shows. Satterfield will package all the vinyl in old file folders and reused priority mail envelopes.

A release party for Helloakland at ABCo Artspace (3135 Filbert St., Oakland) on Friday, April 4 will feature art by Groff and Zach Houston (an endearing neighborhood eccentric who sits outside of Berkeley Bowl with his typewriter and makes poems to order), DJ Potterpuss spinning 78s, whiskey bottle bowling (with goggles provided), and live performances by 0th, Little Teeth, Freeerways, and Saything. It's a one-shot deal this time, said Satterfield, who once had designs on buying up vacant properties in Oakland and renting them out for art parties, but decided the costs were prohibitive. Nonetheless, it promises to be the kind of "anything goes" event that would have drawn huge crowds at Liminal. For anyone mourning the death of funky warehouses in West Oakland, Satterfield offers a chance for resurrection. 6 p.m., $5.


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