Friday, November 28, 2014

The Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

November 28 - December 1

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Nov 28, 2014 at 6:51 AM

This week was a roller coaster of emotion, to put it lightly. Oakland went up in flames of resistance when the grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson for the shooting of Mike Brown. Then came Thanksgiving with a solemn hug of seasonal cheer and a reminder to be grateful for what we have. Through it all, artistic communities in the East Bay (and beyond) continue to pump out creative work— and we should be thankful for that. Here's a few things to appreciate this weekend:

Lex Luger 
Lex Luger
  • Lex Luger

Every so often in hip-hop, a handful of producers seem to appear on every rap single on the radio. For the last couple of years, DJ Mustard has been one of them. Not long before him was Lex Luger, who plays Friday at 1015 Folsom. The Southern producer’s menacing arsenal of trap beats — which incorporate lots of chintzy samples and a water-sprinkler high-hat sound, among other things — appeared on Waka Flocka Flame’s “Hard in Da Paint” in 2010 and then, shortly after, everywhere. Most of his beats were made with an affordable computer program called FrootyLoops. In 2011, a New York Times profile said Lex Luger could write a hit on his computer in the time it took to read the article. Trends are especially fleeting in hop-hop, and recent history is quickly forgotten. Listening to Luger’s productions now, they might not sound too distinguished, but that’s mostly because his influence is felt on rap singles everywhere.— Sam Lefebvre
Friday, Nov. 28, 10 p.m. $15, $20.

Resource: 9th Street New Media Art Exhibition
When curating the upcoming group multimedia exhibit Resource, Lacey Haslam took her cue from the current state of the Bay Area. Specifically, she calls on both tech-industry-induced displacement and the recent drought to draw attention to instances in which communities have been unable to tap into the resources that surround them. “Ironically, while technology aims to help people stay connected, the industry is reconfiguring our communities — the same dehydrated communities that are defined by a body of water that is unavailable for consumption,” she wrote in the curatorial statement. In contrast, Resource hopes to reach as many people as possible. The show will consist of a series of video works by seven artists that will be projected onto storefront windows on 9th Street between Broadway and Washington in Old Oakland. Featuring work by Erik Colleen Johnson, Ellen Lake, Nathan Lynch, Kari Marboe, George Pfau, Jeffrey Augustine Songco, and Doug Garth Williams, the show will illuminate the block, highlighting our collective ability to shape our city — even as it shifts around us.— Sarah Burke
Starts Nov. 28. Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through Dec. 27. Free.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Oakland Street Art in National Geographic

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 11:52 AM

This week, National Geographic turned its lens away from the exotic Sahara and deep into an alley way in East Oakland. In the piece "Sneak Attacks of Beauty in a Tough Town: Street Art in Oakland, California," long-time Oakland resident and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism professor Cynthia Gorney highlights Solano Alley —and the people who have painted it— for Nat Geo's new "My Town" series.

Gorney was inspired to write the piece when one of her students, Pendarvis Harshaw, presented a video project surrounding the death of Oakland graffiti legend Mike Francisco aka "Dream." She asked "Pen" to give her a glimpse of Oakland's graf world, and eventually ended up in the alley with local artists Chris Granillo and Salvador Cortez.

Gorney writes: "Riding alongside Pen all morning, through the alley and down into the train yards where Dream and his spray-paint crew conducted most of their surreptitious work, I began to see what my younger friend set out to explain about the city we have learned how to love: that in Oakland, like so many urban places in which gift, ambition, rage, and frustration are all crammed in together, there's an additional language that lives on outdoor walls. It's coarse. It's defiant. Frequently it flouts property rights, social sensibilities, and the rule of law. It's legible, though, once you start learning its alphabet, and has developed its own internal rules of conduct and a widely understood skill ascension ladder that starts with tagging, as Pen taught me to call it, and rises—sometimes—to art."

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The Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

November 21, 22 & 23

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 9:07 AM

The holidays have really begun. From here on out its all about forced family interactions, too much food, getting rained in, and pie. Hey, at least I included pie! That means this is your last weekend to have some totally typical non-seasonal fun before being swallowed whole by holiday festivities. Here's what we recommend: 

One of Oakland’s most cherished artists, the R&B singer Goapele emerged in 2001 with the self-released Closer. Backed by a homespun team, entrepreneurial spirit, and Goapele’s silken voice, Closer quickly spread beyond the Bay Area and snared a distribution deal with Sony. After 2005’s Change It All, the Sony arrangement collapsed, so Goapele and her close-knit management team, composed largely of family, persevered independently, issuing the hip-hop-inclined single “Milk and Honey” in 2010, followed by the bold full-length Break of Dawn. Earlier this year, Goapele appeared on stage with the seminal Hieroglyphics crew at Hiero Day, praising the organizers’ support and longevity before addressing the crowd: “Where all my ladies at? We’ve got to represent, too,” and dominating the afternoon with a rendition of the song that Oakland fans made a classic, “Closer.” Goapele begins a four-night run at Yoshi’s on Thursday to celebrate her latest album, Strong as Glass.— Sam Lefebvre
Nov. 20-23, 8 p.m. $27-$42.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sex with Twenty Women Reduces Men's Chances of Prostate Cancer, Study Finds

For gay men, however, the fewer partners the better.

by Anna Pulley
Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 11:59 AM

  • Flickr/Jean Koulev
Rejoice, straight men of the world! You can now sleep with twenty-plus partners and feel no shame about it! Oh wait, you already don't, never mind! That's women! We forgot. But hey, good news is good news (sorta). Researchers at the University of Montreal found that straight men who have sex with 21 women have a decreased chance (28 percent) of getting prostate cancer. So bang away, gentlemen — it's for your health.

For gay men, on the other hand, the results were not as chipper.

See Also:
Oakland's Threat to Sex Workers 
Broke-Ass Stuart's New Local Talk Show Debuts with Boots Riley, Sex Writers, Contortionists

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Live Review: Tame Impala's Surgical Psych at The Fox

by George Schlesinger
Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 9:50 AM

  • Alana Silva
It’s been two years since Tame Impala's last record, but there’s barely a whiff of staleness in its live show. The Australian rock band has tightened up while getting looser, switching up arrangements to keep things fresh and featuring longer jam sessions. On Saturday night at the Fox Theater in Oakland, it showed that the time has been mostly well spent by honing a psychedelic spectacle and bringing it to life with mind-bending visuals.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

The News in Haiku: We Suspect the FBI Is Jealous of Our Pupusas

Plus, feral raccoons, hip-hop recommendations, and weird eviction policies.

by Anna Pulley
Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 10:46 AM


The News in Haiku is a weekly series in which we let you know about East Bay news, culture stories, and events you may have missed each week, all told in around seventeen syllables. If you're interested in delving deeper, simply click on the title and read the full story (or bookmark it to savor later).

Ready to dive in? Good because we know you don't have all day.

See Also:
Dildos on Demand!
The News in Haiku: Halloween, Gwar, and Fisting a Pinata

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The Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

Nov. 14, 15 & 16

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 7:00 AM

This week was pretty dull. What could be more predictable than a newsfeed filled with photos of Kim Kardishian's butt in an attempt to #BreakTheInternet? Yawn. But, scientists did land a space craft on a comet for the first time this week. And Twitter stats show that people actually cared about that more than dat ass. So, that's something! Everyone deserves to treat themselves to an exciting weekend activity as a reward for keeping the Internet intact. What do you know, there's a whole list of those below. 

Freak Vibe 
  • Freak Vibe
Bands tend to instinctively reject whatever snappy labels listeners try to tag them with, claiming that descriptors are reductive, inadequate, or misleading. On services such as, in which artists tag their own material, these bands opt for jokes or non-musical keywords. Occasionally, though, a band such as the Seattle outfit Freak Vibe holds no illusions about its sound, so the self-tagging function is quite revealing. “Mutant swamp sewer stomp,” Freak Vibe declares, and the music — which combines sluggish and sodden rock, city chains and marsh muck — corresponds. Mutants, freaks, vibes — the tags are a catalog of counter-culture clichés from a crew that doesn’t care enough to pretend otherwise. Sharing a bill with tuneful, local post-punk notable Flesh World at 1-2-3-4 Go! Records on Friday, Freak Vibe’s set might not explain one Bandcamp tag, “nuthole,” but that’s just the name of a house where some of the band lives. — Sam Lefebvre
Friday, Nov. 14, 7 p.m. $7.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday: East Oakland Circa 1868

by Anna Pulley
Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 3:49 PM


Don't you expect a blonde, apron-bedecked woman to start singing "The Hills Are Alive" at any moment?

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Q&A: Brian Coleman on Bay Area Hip Hop's Maverick Spirit

"Check the Technique" author Brian Coleman discusses The Coup, Too $hort, and Dr. Octagon ahead of local book tour appearances.

by Sam Lefebvre
Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 11:43 AM

In 2007’s Check the Technique Volume 1 and this year’s follow-up edition, Brian Coleman set out to correct a glaring mistake: classic hip hop albums, no matter how hyped at the time of release, lacked liner notes. Between the two books, Coleman has compiled over 1000 pages of informative stories and analysis culled from in-depth interviews with artists such as Public Enemy, Ice Cube, Raekwon, and MF Doom. He’s from Boston, and acknowledges an East Coast bias in his selections, yet crucial chapters are devoted to Bay Area artists such as Too $hort, Digital Underground, The Coup, and Dan the Automator’s formative production work on Dr. Octagonecologyst by Dr. Octagon (Kool Keith).

Ahead of Coleman’s promotional stops on Thursday, 11/13 at the Hip Hop Chess Federation in Fremont, Friday at Groove Merchant Records, and Saturday afternoon at Legionnaire Saloon, we spoke to him about what makes a classic and how Bay Area hip hop’s maverick spirit inspired his publishing enterprise.

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Burning Man Through Victor Habchy's Foreign Lens

by AJ Kiyoizumi
Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 10:50 AM

French photographer Victor Habchy traveled over 20 hours after a successful round of crowd-funding to reach Black Rock Desert for his first time at Burning Man. He has been slowly releasing his photos from the festival, accompanied by small captions describing the people he met. One such reads: "Because in one day, you can talk to a billionaire, climb on a robot-dragon, go to on a 'Ginger-themed' party, cross the city on a pirate ship and ending up the day on a very fancy restaurant made of glass and built for the occasion."

The Bay Area needs no introduction to Burning Man, as it was founded in SF and still has strong support here. But the original goal of Habchy's project as stated on his crowd-funding page is: "the festival covered through a different view." No matter how much you have seen or heard about the Burn, Habchy's images still stun. Already the youngest of nine Sony-sponsored Team Alpha ambassadors, Habchy's talent has reached an international audience with his outsider's look at Burning Man. 

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