Stepping into Eternal Now feels like entering another country. On Friday, Aug. 26, the combination bookstore and record shop, housed within an inconspicuous black building on West Oakland’s San Pablo Avenue, was packed almost to the brim to see rappers and producers Alexander Spit and Ovrkast. Will Bundy, one of the shop owners (and former director of the mini-festival Feels), was handling purchases and drinks while Spit made beats live.
When it’s not acting as a show venue, the shop, which opened its doors at the start of June, is a calming escape. Light bounces off the white walls; the vibe is a beachside villa. Bundy, along with Ali Madigan, the lead designer on the space, and Jared (Stretch) Schwartz, Bundy’s business partner, make up the Eternal Now team. Bundy and Schwartz handle the inner workings of running the store, including the customer-facing day-to-day activities, and Madigan manages the design duties.
“I want people to feel like they’ve entered a portal into something new, or an oasis, or into a space where they can really get lost in a book, or into the music they’re listening to,” Bundy explains. The store’s hours are limited (Saturdays and Sundays, 1–6pm and by appointment) simply because this is not only a storefront for Bundy. He lives there too.
Behind the Eternal Now storefront lies “The Palace,” the space Bundy and Madigan have called home for the last five years. The storefront and living space have morphed dramatically over time. In the 1930s, it was a bar; 30 years later, it briefly became a laundromat. When Bundy and Madigan moved in, they used what is now the store as Madigan’s workshop, where she would work on set and clothing designs.
“When we came, it was a lot of windowless rooms and old drywall, and we just basically ripped everything out,” Madigan says.