I wanted to give you an update on my living situation, and other plans I have.
After 20 years, I am moving out of my house on 3924 Lakeshore ave. ("The House of Love") due to covid, toxic housemates, and other factors. Here is some background. I originally moved into the house with Bunnybunns, my second wife - this is the house where we both became devotees of Adi Da, and this is the house where we both pursued our goals of becoming successful artists/entertainers.
In 2012, Bunny and I separated, and so began a process that resulted in my awakening (from ego) during April 2013. This is for me the greatest achievement of all my lifetimes, and I will always have a special feeling about this house as a place that nurtured and protected me while I endured the most spiritually difficult process. Bunny and I both made this house into an "ashram residence" of Adi Da, and we built a meditation hall that I have meditated in for 19 years. I have invoked Adi Da in this house and I feel His shakti in this place, and I hope this house always radiates His presence to the world.
This is also the house where I realized my 30-plus year project to be in a great rock band, to write great rock songs, and to be a great guitarist and singer. In late 2019 I released the Swaybone Box Set of 170 of the band's best songs and jams. All my creative ducks have lined up with the band, and now we are ready to have a career.
So what would cause me to move?
Since my awakening process began in 2012, I have been targeted by a substantial number of housemates with verbal, financial and even physical attacks. 3 (female) housemates have physically assaulted me or attempted to escalate violence. For the last five years I have had one housemate who has stolen from and verbally harassed me and 20 other housemates, as well as committed utility theft of over $5,000, which I have had to personally cover. Recently she physically assaulted another female housemate twice. I and the other housemate who was attacked made multiple police reports against the person, and we both got temporary restraining orders against her. She then violated the T.R.O.'s multiple times and was taken away by the police 6 times in the last 3 months. But under covid, the jails can't keep her, and we can't evict her.
So it is literally not safe for me to live in this house now, nor would it be ethical for me to invite future housemates to live in the same house as this person. In addition to that, the 3 other housemates are behind on rent due to covid over $7,000, which I as the chief tenant may be liable for. So I have to pull the plug not to incur more financial liability and more possible threats to me and other housemates.
So I have to be moved out by October 11th. What are my plans?
The fates have brought me to West Oakland. For many years Swaybone has rehearsed at Soundwave Studios, located at the corner of West Grand Ave. and Wood St. Soundwave Studios is the last facility dedicated to rock in the East Bay, and has a history with many famous Bay Area bands that goes back to the Eighties. The owner of Soundwave, Al, has offered to let me stay in a long white band van parked inside the compound, and keep my recording and band equipment there. I had a similar experience after my first marriage where I lived in my recording studio for a year and a half. There is electricity and wifi and a bathroom there, but no showers or laundry.
Being at Soundwave gives me the opportunity to help Al with a number of much needed projects to improve the overall business, and to do something concrete to re-build the decimated infrastructure of rock and roll. I can also make money doing multi-track recording of bands' rehearsals there, and network with other musicians, bands and engineers as well.
And across the street from Soundwave is a strange discovery - under the Cathedral-like freeway overpasses are four acres of the most beautiful and well situated open space, which has found itself the home of around a 100 "under-sheltered people", and has also been the dumping ground for Oakland's bizarrely un-regulated waste disposal non-policy. On September 3rd, 2020 I hung up a sign on one of the freeway columns that reads "Oakland Humane Commons", and underneath it an American flag. I read aloud a brief statement declaring this open space as a true commons for the people, while my bandmate Rawn filmed me. In this commons, I am building a sod hut.
I have been involved in cooperative businesses and cooperative housing situations and cooperative rock bands my entire adult life. I have been exploring and experimenting with ways to live and what works and what doesn't work. My attempts to have a cooperative household on Lakeshore ave. have not worked in a number of ways. People act out their issues against "daddy" (me) because they have to pay their rent money to me, and along with that goes all of their survival and abandonment issues and projections. It's easy to attract irresponsible people to a nice living situation where they can dramatize their ego and abuse me in various ways, and in turn enjoy tenants' rights where I can't get rid of them.
I need to share other observations about the architecture of the house and noise. I live in one of the nicest neighborhoods with some of the nicest weather and some of the most diverse people in the world, and yet the "good life" in Oakland has been getting worse. There's not a room you can find in this beautiful old craftsman home that is not surrounded by social noise, ventilation noise, water heater noise, water in the pipes noise, refrigerator noise, laundry machine noise, noise from TV's and devices, as well as noises from the outside of speeding cars, delivery trucks, leaf blowers, wood chippers, chain saws, lawn mowers, motorcycles, car alarms, buses, cars doing donuts, house renovations, street repairs, electric pole repairs, water line and sewer repairs, etc., etc.
Also, except for the meditation hall, all of the rooms are square. Over-reliance on square living designs is a form of brutalism, even in a nice home. I have never liked living in the upstairs rooms because of the bad shape and the noise, and so I live in the basement where I hear people's footsteps above me all day and night.
Then tie in the other factors, such as the rent going up fifty percent in the last five years, plus the cost of living has gone up in the Bay Area, while my rock guitar teacher's salary has stayed basically the same for 20 years.
I feel I need to divest myself of the increasing stress of managing this house so I can use my energy to make a breakthrough for rock and for Swaybone and for the commons. If the deep-state control of the music industry is finally lessening, then there may be an opening for me and my goals/plans for saving rock.
A danger I feel in staying in this house is that while Swaybone's fortunes languish, and while the great project of the Global Cooperative Forum remains little known, I spend hours every day at home, not leading the masses, and not out in the world helping to build Swaybone's and other bands' fanbases, and waiting for the phone to ring.
So, it's make or break for me to do something effective for rock and the commons, as well as my own safety and comfort.
But there are issues of personal safety to consider in moving to West Oakland. West Oakland has a tough reputation, indeed, but let me tell you about life on Lakeshore ave. in Oakland.
Life in Oakland has gotten harder even on Lakeshore ave. because of the previous mentioned reasons - but here is the other main factor as to why life in Oakland has experienced "managed decline" - it is the "car desert". I happen to live a short walk from the most visited and popular place in Oakland for people to hang out - the commercial district along Lakeshore ave. from Mandana to Lake Merritt. This is the place where the highest density of pedestrians meets the highest density of cars, within a traffic system that is designed to give privilege to cars over people.
This means that if you are on bike or on foot trying to get through this district, you are confronted by multiple un-necessary conflicts between cars and pedestrians sharing the same space. Parked cars and moving cars invade and infest virtually every bit of common space, especially around Trader Joe's and the Grand Lake Theatre. I dread every single time I leave the house to go through this district to get to where I need to go, but it's only the worst form of what I/we face everywhere else in Oakland. The number of close calls I have had with car drivers acting in a way that is either negligent or malicious are hundreds. I can't walk or bike anywhere in Oakland without taking my life in my hands, and the problem is worst in this neighborhood. I am tired of fighting this particular battle, and in comparison, West Oakland has a calmer atmosphere.
So, what's next?
I am open to help building my sod hut, and anyone who has a truck or van can help me move. I am also looking for alternate sleeping arrangements with any friends in the East Bay who can let me stay a night or two a month, if I need a break from the commons, or needs a shower/laundry, etc. I will continue teaching my guitar students in person or online as usual.
You can follow my saga on facebook - https://www.facebook.com/theocedarjones
or on instagram - https://www.instagram.com/theocedarjones/?hl=en
Here is a link to the Oakland Humane Commons page - http://globalcooperativeforum2013.weebly.com/oakland-humane-commons.html
Thanks for your prayers, love and support,
Theo Cedar Jones