Friday, September 27, 2013

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 6:42 AM

Hey party people, it's the weekend! Time to eat, drink, and be merry. Here are five weekend-worthy activities for you to partake in.

  • Phillip Yip

Eat Real Festival
The fifth annual Eat Real Festival — Oakland’s preeminent three-day celebration of street food, local small-batch booze, sustainable ingredient sourcing, and DIY food arts — kicks off in Jack London Square today. If you’ve attended any of Eat Real’s previous incarnations, you know the drill: Admission is free; street parking tends, quite frankly, to be a bit of a madhouse; and all of the street food items (from more than fifty different vendors) will be priced at $5 or less. That said, this year’s festival will boast several new features, including an overarching focus on offal — i.e., organ meats and other underused cuts (see details on the "Offal Wonderful” event here) — and a number of new food artisans. Friday’s focus will be “Burgers, Bourbon, and Beer," and for this year’s cooking demo lineup, five well-known Oakland chefs will tackle a topic that should be of interest to plenty of budget-minded attendees: how to feed a family of four using ingredients that cost $25 or less. Be sure to check out our full guide to the festival. Friday, Sept. 27-Sunday, Sept. 29. Free. EatRealFest.comLuke Tsai

Close & Personal
Contemporary choreographer Sheena Johnson aptly named her new creation Close & Personal. Performed by Rebel Home Dance in the MilkBar performance space at the Sunshine Biscuit Factory, this intimate installation retains very little of the fourth wall. “Don’t come planning to stay in one place,” Johnson said. Instead, expect to move and be moved. Inspired to explore the resonance of recent events such as the Trayvon Martin trial and the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the Voting Rights Act, Johnson and her suite of collaborators developed the site-specific dance-theater experience to illuminate the realities facing communities of color in America. Through movement, performance, visual art, vocals, music, film, and food, Johnson, Misia Denea, Chris Evans, Toni Lester, Ernest Jolly, and others will shine a very personal, yet universal, light. Saturday, Sept. 28 and Sunday, Sept. 29. 5:30 p.m., $15, $20. MilkBar.orgClaudia Bauer

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, Sep 20, 2013 at 9:43 AM

Hey East Bay, time to celebrate the first official weekend of the fall! Here's our round-up of five awesome things to do with yourself this Friday to Sunday:

25th Street Block Party
The Art Beat Foundation and Mission Creek Oakland (in collaboration with the Express) are teaming up to celebrate the East Bay’s growing music scene with an afternoon of free live music. Head over to the 25th Street Collective to hear a diverse lineup of bands, including VIR, a local post-punk noise-pop trio; Yip Deceiver, an all-analog synth-pop duo and self-described “antidote to the laptop jockeys” from Athens, Georgia that’s about to release its first full-length album; San Francisco-based Super Natural, an urban folk-rock band; Playboy School, an electronic rock duo from Los Angeles; and Oakland’s own Waiting Room, an indie-rock three piece. There will also be DJs, food trucks, and other galleries open on the block. Saturday, Sept. 21. 1 p.m., free. 25thStreetCollective.comMadeleine Key

Lisa Light of El Elle
  • Lisa Light of El Elle

Mission Creek Oakland presents: El Elle
In the mid- to late-Aughts, Oakland electro-pop outfit The Lovemakers seemed to be on the verge of mainstream success. Instead, the band broke up in 2009. That might have been considered a tragedy, except that, since then, Lovemakers co-founder Lisa Light has taken a freer approach to her music. With El Elle, she crafts sexy dance music in a similar vein to that of the Lovemakers, but this time around, it’s with “joy,” she said in an interview two years ago with the Express. Live, El Elle’s performances pulse with feeling, as two choreographed dancers add to the music’s sensual, experimental appeal. See her as part of the Mission Creek Oakland festival, with Gold Chains, Everyone Is Dirty, and ssssnake, at The Night Light. Saturday, Sept. 21. 9 p.m., $7. TheNightLightOakland.comKathleen Richards

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, Sep 13, 2013 at 7:21 AM

It's Friday! Time to get on top of your desk and dance. Here are the five best ways to spend your weekend:

East Bay Bike Party
The East Bay Bike Party is riding again on Friday. The mobile party, which occurs on the second Friday of every month, welcomes riders of all ages and experience levels to meet up and bike together from the Coliseum BART Station (7200 San Leandro Ave.) into the streets of Oakland. This month’s theme is Twisted Carnival, so break out your face paint, clown costume, or fortune-telling outfit and head out for an adventure. Feel free to bring your friends along, but organizers ask that you make sure they think “safety is sexy,” as the party’s code instructs riders to obey traffic rules, bring lights, and not get smashed. Second Friday of every month, free. EastBayBikeParty.Wordpress.comZaineb Mohammed

Stranded Records 1st Birthday Party
Since opening a year ago, Stranded Records has established itself as one of the East Bay’s best spots to discover music — thanks to both its inventory and its live shows. Co-owner Steve Viaduct, who also runs the label Superior Viaduct, has booked performances by such musical luminaries as Bonnie “Prince” Billy and readings by legendary rock critics like Greil Marcus and Joe Carducci. For its first birthday, the store will host venerable Los Angeles punk trio The Urinals, local songwriter Meg Baird (formerly of Espers), and, most noteworthy, Oakland guitarist Ava Mendoza, whose performance will mark her last show before she moves to Brooklyn. Mendoza is one of the most gifted and versatile guitarists in the Bay, whether she’s collaborating with Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs or sitting in at Bar 355’s Improvised Music Session. At Stranded, Mendoza will be joined by her Unnatural Ways bandmate Dominique Leone; they’ll play both Mendoza’s solo work and new music from the band’s forthcoming full-length. And, in a fairly new turn for the guitarist, Mendoza said she plans to sing on some of the songs. See her before Brooklyn starts claiming her as its own. Saturday, Sept. 14. 3 p.m., free. StrandedInOakland.comWhitney Phaneuf

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, Sep 6, 2013 at 6:43 AM

It's the weekend AND it's First Friday — two amazing reasons to celebrate. Here are our expertly selected suggestions for the five best ways to spend your time from today to Sunday:


Jack's Night Market
The first Friday of the month in Oakland is not lacking in events to attend, but the upcoming night market in Jack London Square — the last one happening this year — is definitely one to add to your list. The outdoor bazaar features a pinball museum exhibit, fortunetellers, and stilt walkers. Attendees can also participate in an "outer body experience" in which they wear special goggles that allow them to see a virtual reality maze that they walk through. (They can also try to catch sight of the Mechanical Swamp Kirin, a nine-foot-tall mythical creature covered in moss that has become the night market's unofficial mascot.) Local craft merchants, such as Oaklandish, Loakal, Tracilynn Fashion, and Frankie and Myrrh, will be selling their wares. And food vendors like Peter's Kettle Corn, the Pacific Coast Farmers' Market, Nora Spanish Cuisine, and Antonik's BBQ will also be on site to offer sustenance. This week, two local dance troupes will be performing and then teaching the attendees their moves: Mirabai Deranja will demonstrate an Argentine tango and Leslie Panitchpakdi will show off her hip-hop style. Friday, Sept. 6. 6-10 p.m., free. JackLondonSquare.comZaineb Mohammed

Garin Apple Festival
Long before it was a college town bisected by BART, Hayward was fertile farmland and ranchland. Celebrate the late-summer bounty on Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Garin Apple Festival in Garin Regional Park. Learn about the rare varieties of apples grown there, make your own hand-pressed apple cider, crank all-natural ice cream, and savor the fruits of your labor amidst live music and old-fashioned games. Restart your appetite by touring the park’s historic 19th-century barn, blacksmith shop, tool shop, and lovingly restored two-acre garden. Saturday, Sept. 7. Noon-4 p.m., free. — Anneli Rufus

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mikal Cronin Learns From the Master

by Philip Cosores
Wed, Sep 4, 2013 at 4:20 PM

At any job, no one wants to train their replacement.

On paper, Superchunk’s headlining performance at the Fillmore on Tuesday night could have easily been viewed as just that, with Mikal Cronin in the role of eager pupil. Cronin, a San Francisco resident and new artist on Merge Records, the label run by Superchunk’s principles Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance, is one of 2013’s breakout stars. His sophomore album, II, is earning critical acclaim and the Orange County native is showing a steady growth in notoriety. Opening essentially for his boss (Ballance is not touring with the band due to hyperacusis), Cronin stood in the crowd and watched attentively as Superchunk, the original Merge band, led by example with their energetic set of songs spanning more than 20 years of work. And, if Cronin is to be one of Merge’s new flagships, Superchunk seemed determined to express their vitality, projecting themselves as a band for whom age is just a number.

Superchunk’s set, which McCaughan said was their first Bay Area club show in more than a decade, leaned on their recent output, with "F.O.H.” and “Me & You & Jackie Mitoo,” the most instantly memorable tracks from their fresh album I Hate Music, kicking off the performance. Otherwise, it was songs from 2010’s Majesty Shredding, and less of their now-classic 90’s output that punctuated the night and made for the most dramatic moments. During “Digging for Something,” McCaughan used a breakdown to tell a story about a family vacation which ended in a San Francisco punk show, and it was strangely affecting despite being completely anecdotal and without ostensible weight. Something about the details that McCaughan decided to include, like the fact that it was the “last ever family vacation” and the way he told it made it seem important. It was a weird personal glimpse of which Cronin should take note.

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