On the surface, it seems like a busy Oakland salon — customers getting haircuts and highlights and nail treatments and such. But underground, there’s a secret subterranean spa where some of the city’s best skin work and massages are being done.
James Daviees and Amanda Miller have worked magic with a space that once served as storage for Dina’s Coiffures, 4201 Park Blvd. They’ve designed two perfectly appointed studios in which they do deep, restorative work.
For a longtime customer like me, the spa is an amazing transformation. The calming colors, the soft music, the warm welcome you get when you descend the stairs. And Daviees and Miller are experts in body work.
Daviees’ touch transcends that of the normal massage. It’s as if you can feel the energy leaving his fingertips and charging your cells. His gentle manner let’s you know he’s not just there to work out the kinks in your muscles, but to lighten your mood and lift your spirits.
Miller’s expertise is facials. As a graduate of women’s studies at Duke University, she’s made it her mission to help woman have healthy, glowing skin. Over a cup of healing tea, she shares tips about diet and fitness — then goes to work nurturing your face with a special blend of hydrating, organic products.
Thinking about what Daviees and Miller have done with Dina’s Salon, I’m reminded of all kinds of metaphors. But simply put, here in this underground grotto are two very cool people.
FACE LIFT: It’s a bit of an eyesore now, but Montclair’s Pacific National Bank should be a real beauty by fall. The building is being remodeled into a state-of-the-art banking center, complete with an Internet café where customers can do online banking while they enjoy a free cup of coffee. You’ll also see a name change, as it becomes California Savings Bank when the dust settles.
E-MAIL BAG: With wildfires raging around the state, reader Mike Spencer reminds us to keep our eyes open for suspicious activity in the tinder-dry hills. He says he spotted and reported a brush fire recently while walking his dog along Dimond Canyon trail.
“The fire department arrived pretty quickly,” he wrote, “and got the trail gate unlocked to go put out the fire.”
What concerned Spencer was the fact that he’d just seen a group of kids in the area.
“Those kids either started the fire or saw the fire starting as they came up from the trail,” he wrote.
He gave the description of the kids to the fire captain, but doesn’t know if the youths were questioned.
Regardless, it was Spencer’s quick thinking that prevented the fire from burning out of control.
Let’s all be “heads up” this fire season.
IN THE LIMELIGHT: It’s a bird, it’s a plane . . . it’s a former Bishop O’Dowd High School student dressed as a comic book super hero. Aja DeCoudreaux is one of the contestants this season on the Sci Fi network’s reality show “Who Wants to be a Superhero.” A talented fashion designer, Aja made her costume entirely out of junk: old bike inner tubes, wire, fabric and other throwaways. Her superhero is th