Help Open The Octopus Literary Salon

One-time only start-up funds to open a cafe-bookstore-performance space in Oakland.



I’m Rebecca Grove and I’m here to beg your kind assistance to start The Octopus Literary Salon, which will be a 21st century interpretation of a literary salon in Oakland, California.

It’s a uniquely designed café/performance space featuring daily programs (e.g. readings, monologues, comedy, music, open mic, trivia) including libations (beer, wine, coffee, tea and soda) and delicious and nutritious food. This is the life-voyage I want to navigate and I’m ready to captain the ship. 

As a weathered English teacher/grant writer/development director/budget-balancer/evaluator for public schools, I have toiled on a range of educational and arts programs and events. And, I have found my love of producing lively interactions with literature for all ages.  Evenings and weekends over the last 15 years, I have been hosting literary book clubs, play and poetry readings, movie nights, “living room shows,” and "pop-up readings," among other musical and homespun performances.

The Octopus Literary Salon will take this show pro. “Open mic” nights will feature and encourage creativity and improvisation of drama, comedy and music. The 1500-2000 SF space will serve as a stage, complete with microphones, lighting, curtains, props, and instruments; it will transform to fit our needs, all the while operating as a café and bookstore.  Particular attention will be paid to the acoustical design and form will meet function as we integrate performance, books, food and drink. 

Programs will include storytelling, short dramatic and comedic readings, open mics, book discussions, literary trivia, and much more. Saturdays will feature local music. Sundays will have children's programming and book making. 

Alexeis Filipello of Bar Dogwood and Consulting will provide professional services in the areas of café startup and design. Christopher Bloomfield will direct the literary programming, ordering, stocking, inventory and management of book sales.  As the founding manager of Atlantis Books in Santorini, Greece, Chris has coordinated readings and food festivals and film festivals, including children's events. Dr. Mike Linn, a local pediatrician and local live music blogger, will be responsible for live music programming on Saturday nights and promotion for children’s programs on Sundays.  

The Octopus Literary Salon's executive summary, startup plan, full business plan, and financials are available in the Gallery (tab above). The elements of the business design are mutually beneficial: cafe and book revenues support the (mostly) free programs at the salon while these programs attract steady customers. The specific location in Uptown Oakland attracts daytime office workers during the mornings and afternoons and salon patrons evenings and weekends.  The salon schedule is on our website: www.oaklandoctopus.org



"The time has come," the Walrus said,

"To talk of many things:

Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--

Of cabbages--and kings--

And why the sea is boiling hot--

And whether pigs have wings."

                   --From Lewis Carroll’s poem, The Walrus and the Carpenter 

What For?

The Perks include book bags, mugs of free drinks, free salon programs, and for contributions of $1,000 or $5,000, private salon parties.  Impress your friends and family with a memorable literary and musical evening full of personal meaning. These one-of-a-kind programs are great for birthdays, corporate team building events, and other special occasions. 

Plus, it will feel so good to help start a small business in Oakland, California, where diversity and creativity abound. Helping The Octopus is good for the economy and the community and your social life all at the same time; it's “a three-fer!”

Where Does the Money Go?

The Octopus needs start-up money to set up shop. Start up costs include the transformation of a former deli space in Uptown Oakland into The Octopus Literary Salon. One-time-only buildout expenses will include tenant improvements, furniture and fixtures, bookshelves, and decor. Please see our startup plan for more details.  

If we don't fully fund the startup plan by September 2013, you'll get your money back, and the Octopus is dead in the water.  We will not spend a dime until the startup plan endorsed by the Small Business Association and the Oakland Business Development Corporation is fully funded.

Who Cares?

Facebook, Okcupid, Netflix and Amazon don’t accomplish what the 21st century salon can do. The difference is stimulating, live interaction.  Octopus salon programs are an intersection of stimulating ideas, information, and creativity that come alive through your participation.  

Our stories can change the world, and sharing them saves lives all the time.  It helps us to feel a part of something bigger while we sing, dance, laugh, cry, mourn and heal. We want relief for time and energy spent at too often soul-crushing commutes and jobs. The Octopus will have the salve for our souls.  


Are you a carpenter, cement-layer, craftsperson, soda-maker, artist, performer, customer service specialist, or just interested in getting involved?  The Octopus welcomes you with 8 open arms.

Please help get the word out and make some noise about The Octopus -- it can be your project too.  Indiegogo has quick share tools that make it easy to spread the news.  

Thank you!

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