Located on Telegraph Avenue near 66th Street in North Oakland, close to the Berkeley border, is the unique hair salon and vintage boutique Down At Lulu's -- which is owned and run by the fun, music-minded duo of Tina Lucchesi and Seth Bogart, two good friends who both happen to love music, fashion, hairdressing, and retro rock culture. They also clearly love what they do at Down At Lulu's which, while only a little over a year old, has won a Best of the Bay award and gained a strong clientele. The store, which is located roughly midway between the White Horse pub and the Smokehouse burger joint, has a festive storefront window with the large glittery words GABBA GABBA HEY -- a nod to one of their mutual favorite bands, the Ramones. Inside are records (not a whole lot, but carefully selected ones), cool clothing, and of course, the hair styling stations. I recently stopped by the store and caught up with Tina (Seth was away on tour with his band), who talked about Down At Lulu's, and about her and Seth's interests and passions -- especially music.
AMOEBLOG: How would you describe Down At Lulu's to someone who has never seen it?
TINA: Hmmm !!! A John Waters, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Rock N Roll High School, the Madonna Inn, Rock N Roll Burrito!
AMOEBLOG: How exactly did Down At Lulu's come into being?
TINA: Seth and I have been pals and are interested in the same sort of everything: rock'n'roll, hairdressing, the sixties and the seventies, and the eightes -- fashion from those eras, as well as hamburgers, Mexican food, the Ramones, girl-groups, boys, boys, boys and men! We had the same vision I think, so we decided 'Hey, let's do this!" We are both totally thrift-store maniacs but the hairdressing is our money-maker. So we thought, why not combine the two and make it an all round good times and fun? Work must be fun -- why not make it that way if you can?
AMOEBLOG: And why did you choose that song title as the name?
TINA: Well, we both love bubblegum music and we love the Ohio
AMOEBLOG: And do many of your customers know the origin of the name or do you have to answer questions about it constantly?
TINA: Hmmmm. Yeah, most of them ask why the name, but the coolsterz know.
AMOEBLOG: How important is music to you guys? I heard that you are both in bands.
TINA: Rock N roll is everything to us for sure. 100%. I'd drop everything if I couldn't have rock in it for sure. Seth is in Gravy Train. And also when they play, which isn't too often, he is a member of the bands Baby Jail and Panty Raid. Plus, he's working on his solo project, which will be out soon. And I'm in the bands Top Ten and the Bobbyteens and I'm working on all sorts of side band stuff. Me and Seth have a band together called Dinky BIts And The Lil Guys. It's a funny band about food, fashion, thrift shopping and sex.
AMOEBLOG: At your recent one-year anniversary party at the store did you have live music?
TINA: We had Russell Quan DJ and our friends' vaudevile act The Party Breakers.
AMOEBLOG: How do the two main sections of Down At Lulu's complement or play off one another?
TINA: The hair is the main part of the shop I think. The clothes are just fun. We love clothes and vintage fashion so much. And I think it works well together: it's your one stop to get the total look.
AMOEBLOG: I'm sure you've also noticed the surge in art related store fronts on Telegraph, mainly further down in the Oakland direction, but nonetheless, they are also fellow small independent businesses like yours. Would you agree that there is an East Bay art renaissance of sorts and that Down At Lulu's fits into it in a way?
TINA: Yeah, but we are not artsie craftsie. And although I'm not personally into that stuff, I do support all of the small businesses who are [around], definitely.
AMOEBLOG: What are the future plans for Down At Lulu's?
TINA: Hmmm, Probably to add more stylists in the future. We just hired a new lady named Mitra and she's an awesome hairdresser, so we are so stoked to have her. We needed to hire someone cuz we were turning people away. Also in the future we plan to have more art shows. Our next one is scheduled for September 7th. We also plan to do more fashion shows. Fun!!
Down At Lulu's is located at 6603 Telegraph, near 66th Street in North Oakland, and is open Tuesday through Sunday Noon-7PM. For hair appointments call (510) 601-0964.