On Aug. 17, Mosswood Park in Oakland will be full of people gathered in celebration of the 50th birthday of the late, great Mike "Dream" Francisco.
Dream, a legendary graffiti writer, was raised in Alameda and spent time all over the Bay Area. But he found a home on the walls of Oakland—specifically those near 23rd Avenue and East 12th Street, in what's known as Oakland's 23rd Yards. He got his first taste of writing in 1983, and from that moment on, Dream used the walls of the Bay Area as a canvas to create artwork so impressive that publications around the world took note.
His notable hand styles and clever messages, as well as the proliferation of pieces that simply read DREAM, helped to spread his name in the graffiti writing world.
Much more than just a writer, Dream was a hustler who grew to be politicized. He had the Bay Area vernacular and charisma, and used it in conversation. He was a proud first-generation Filipino guy who loved hip-hop, and kicked it with folks of all nationalities.
He was also a founding member of a crew of writers known as TDK, which originally stood for "Those Damn Kids." But you know how it is: multiple meanings for an acronym emerge, depending on what the crew got into. So, when they did devious things, they were "The Dark Knights." When they were talking politics, it was "Tax Dollars Kill." When they were bragging about how dope they were, they were "The Damn Kings."