I dropped by the Oakland Museum of California Sunday afternoon after my KALX fundraiser shift for their Días de los Muertos community celebration, and it did my soul great good to wander amongst the marigolds and sugar skulls. The madcap chaos of San Francisco Halloween always clashes harsh with my seasonal melancholy, so instead I choose to spend time with the carefully constructed altars of the Days of the Dead that so meaningfully capture memories, love, entire lives. They remind me to celebrate beauty even in the midst of pain and to live life as passionately as I am able. There are some amazing altars inside the museum proper made by local artists and school groups that will be up through the beginning of December, and they make a contemplative pairing with Richard Misrach's photos documenting the aftermath of the Oakland Hills firestorm that are also currently on display. Not easy viewing, but highly recommended nonetheless.