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Follow Your Heart

Celebrate Your Beatles ’50    

‘When I’m 64’ the Beatles sang and we thought that was so old and so far off. 

Now, many years later we celebrate the Beatles, all of whom would be well past

64 as are many of us fans… but it’s nice to just be here to honor the remaining

Beatles Ringo and Paul and especially the memories of John and George and the

great music and memories they have given us over 50 years!

Remember watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan 50 years ago this week?

 

The Beatles, Times Gave Rock & Roll  Respectability 50 Years Ago

Rare photo of Beatles in Los Angeles before the opening of their first movie in 1964       

When the Beatles came along rock and roll still was considered, perhaps, a passing fad.  Still in it’s infancy – having begun around 1955 – top artists of the day were performing in high school gymnasiums or small theaters, NOT stadiums and arenas as they do today. Just as societal  values and mores  began changing following the assassination of President Kennedy and the social upheaval that followed, so did rock and roll take on respectability in its now appealing rebellious nature – and the  continued here

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FEATURE ARTICLE
BIFF’S UFO-STYLED COFFEE SHOP  May Be Ready to Take Off Again
 “It looks like it’s about ready to lift off.”
—Victor Newlove, of Armet Davis Newlove Architects, in a 2011 interview with NPR
     Biff’s Coffee Shop (1963–c.1995), at 315 27th Street in Oakland, CA was a “Googie”-style coffee shop designed by the Los Angeles architectural firm of Armet & Davis (dubbed “the Frank Lloyd Wrights of diner designers” by SF columnist Herb Caen). It was built in 1963 by Standard Oil (now Chevron) in combination with an adjacent gas station, on a triangular lot at the corner of 27th Street and Broadway. The restaurant was the firm’s only round restaurant, and its now-empty building is a rare surviving example of Googie architecture in the Bay Area.  MORE courtesy Oakland Wiki
BIFF’S TODAY WITH RETIRED ARCHITECT JOYCE ROY
    And now a couple of old-school architects from the day who remember Biff’s want to reopen and bring back TO LIFE the long-dormant historical  .
gem to it’s original glory
Gone are the green Naugahyde seats. Gone is the coleslaw with peanuts. Gone, too, is the flashing neon dotted “I,” visible for miles in any direction.
But for those who love Biff’s, Oakland’s long-dormant 24-hour diner, hope never dies – it just gets sent back to the kitchen every now and then.
“The time is right to try again. Biff’s is on the radar,” said Joyce Roy, a retired architect who’s among a stalwart band of Biff’s buffs hoping and praying the shuttered diner finds a deep-pocketed developer to dust off its Formica tables and reopen it.
“A new Biff’s would be a perfect fit for First Friday and all the other great things going on around here,” she said. “It would be a huge draw, for everyone.” CONTINUED FROM SF GATE
TODAY, THE TOP OF THE ‘UFO’ ,  GRAFFITI-COVERED BIFF’S AWAITS A SAVIOR TO BRING IT BACK TO ITS DAYS OF GLORY.CALL JOYCE ROY OR FRIENDS OF BIFF IF YOU MIGHT HELP.sEE BELOW LINKS TO PARTICIPATE AND CONTRIBUTE
   WE REMEMBER BIFF’S , TOO.  AT THE TIME, WE PROBABLY DIDN’T APPRECIATE THE ‘FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’ OF DINERS at the time, until it was shuttered in 1995. Afterall, there was still the kwik way, an even earlier (1960) drivein restaurant  a few blocks away that seemed to get priority, and, of course, the merritt, though it didn’t have the style of either biff’s or Kwik way.  the good news is that this classic restaurant somehow escaped the wrecking ball for the past two decades . Now it’s just waiting for a caring owner to reopen it, which looks like biff’s could ‘take off’ again, much like the restored paramount theater on broadway and the fox oakland on san pablo ave.
THE CLASSIC ’50s sign withcrossinging poles beckoned diners in the 1960s
From Randy Garbin’s Roadside #32 “Oakland Emerging”:
“Biff’s Coffee Shop, a circular restaurant designed by noted Googie-style architects Armet & Davis, opened in Oakland at the tail end of the “Populuxe” era. As defined by Thomas Hine in his book Populuxe, Googie fit into the post-war optimism that lasted until 1964, the final year of the New York World’s Fair. Not long afterwards, America plunged into an orgy of Early American and Environmentalist design influences, leaving these odd space-age architectural anomalies to stand out in the landscape like crashed UFOs.
Biff’s did a fine business into the 1980s when it eventually became J.J.’s Diner, but then closed after four more years of operation. In stepped Chevron Oil, which owned the property and planned to demolish the dowdy structure to erect a gas station/fast-food/quickie-mart mutation. Into the breach rushed about 50 concerned citizens mindful that Biff’s had once served as an anchor for the local neighborhood. These activists reminded the city that the place represented one of the last coffee shops from this era and one of the few in the Bay Area. Calling themselves the Friends of J.J.’s, the group sought to help market this property to prospective restaurateurs looking to take advantage of the Oakland revitalization.”
“Supportive elements for the Biffs restaurant included a palm tree and signs (internally illuminated neo-60s on original crossed pole supports, replacing animated neon bullseye “Biff’s” sign).
The Biff’s/JJ’s restaurant was vital to the livelihood of the Broadway Autorow community especially the senior citizens from several senior residential centers located on 28th Street.”
Special thanks to Randy Garbin (www.randygarbin.com) and Charles Brown. These pieces originally appeared in Roadside Magazine and the Beat 8 newsletter, respectively.
Links and References
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