Friday, July 31, 2015

This Weekend's Top Five Events

July 31, August 1 & 2

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Jul 31, 2015 at 7:04 AM

Art + Soul will be taking over the Town this weekend, with music and dancing all over Downtown Oakland. But if you're looking for other activities to fill in your time in-between dance competitions, like last year's YAK to the Bay championship battle seen in the video below, continue on for our recommendations.
Mykki Blanco
  • Mykki Blanco
Mykki Blanco
As soon as fans, journalists, and industry gatekeepers think they know what to call him, Mykki Blanco slithers out from under every label — both as a musician and public figure. The New York MC (who is originally from the South Bay) first gained renown for his 2012 YouTube video diary, in which he brazenly spat bars while dressed in drag to the astonishment of neighborhood high school kids. Blanco’s androgynous presentation and punk-infused hip-hop earned him a following among the politically radical Tumblr set as well as in the art world. But he has always outspokenly challenged his fans’ assumptions, and has made it clear that he’s no one’s queer rap poster boy or token queer person of color at your ultra-white, ultra-hip Art Basel Miami party. After dropping his phenomenally gritty mixtape Gay Dog Food late last year, Blanco made two major announcements: He came out as HIV-positive and said that he wants to retire from rap to travel the world and write about LGBTQ issues. Fortunately for fans of his music, the latter doesn’t seem to have happened yet, as he performs at the Mezzanine, on July 31.— Nastia Voynovskaya
Fri., July 31, 9 p.m. $15, $25.

Photo by Stewart Ebersole.
  • Photo by Stewart Ebersole.

Barred for Life

To several generations of fans around the world, legendary punk band Black Flag’s four-bar logo is a potent symbol of rebellion against cultural norms. A diehard devotee himself, photographer and author Stewart Ebersole traveled around North America and Europe in 2009 to shoot portraits of the band’s most loyal followers: those who have had the Black Flag logo permanently inked onto their skin. In his book, Barred For Life: How Black Flag’s Iconic Logo Became Punk Rock’s Secret Handshake, Ebersole pairs portraits of tattooed punks, young and old (including former Black Flag band members themselves), with interviews about their experiences in the scene. With interviewees from a wide range of age groups and cultural backgrounds, the book offers insight into how punk grew from a demonized, radical lifestyle to a widespread form of self-expression for disaffected youth. On August 1, Ebersole will present Barred for Life at 1-2-3-4 Go! Records and show some of his original photography.— Nastia Voynovskaya
Sat., Aug. 1, 7-10 p.m. Free.

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Oakland Terminal Youth Art Show Envisions an Ideal World

And the gallery needs funding to do it again.

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Jul 31, 2015 at 7:00 AM

  • Courtesy Oakland Terminal

Gallery-goers who are not well acquainted with Oakland Terminal might be surprised to hear that last weekend the West Oakland art gallery was the venue for an expansive youth art exhibition. The gallery, a large warehouse on the corner of Union and 26th streets in an industrial part of West Oakland, is mostly known for its showcases of local graffiti artists — usually involving elaborate murals in veteran handstyles and celebratory receptions that can linger into the night. But for those who frequent the Terminal and recognize that it also aims to welcome and nurture artists that might find difficulty showing their work elsewhere, then last weekend’s exhibition was actually apt.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Oakland Animal Shelter at 200% Capacity

The shelter needs help fostering larger dogs due to rising intake numbers.

by Gillian Edevane
Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 12:46 PM

Oakland Animal Services is asking for help fostering large dogs. In the past few months, intake numbers for the larger breeds have seen an unusual increase, and as a result, the shelter is at 200% capacity. To encourage adoption, the shelter is waiving all adoption fees through the month of July. 

Nicole Perelman, a board member at the Oakland Animal Shelter, suspects that the influx is likely due to a surge in evictions and rising rents in the area, which displaces many families and their beloved four-legged friends.

Despite these hard times, however, the dogs remain incredibly photogenic and still manage to put a smile on. 

About 20 of the larger pups are looking for permanent homes or nice families that will let them come and stay for at least a month. 

The pups will bring their own food, toys, treats, and  doggy bed, provided by the shelter. In return for lodging, the dogs will provide unconditional love, canine kisses, and a bounty of Instagram posts. Sounds like a sweet deal. 

For more information and a full list of adoptable and foster-able dogs, visit the Oakland Animal Services website. See some of their lovable mugs below.    

Oakland Originals Film Series At It Again

The team hopes to make more movies about Oakland's most interesting residents.

by Gillian Edevane
Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 12:35 PM

Oakland resident Asiya Wadud is one of several Oakland residents featured in the mini-documentaries. - OAKLAND ORIGINALS
  • Oakland Originals
  • Oakland resident Asiya Wadud is one of several Oakland residents featured in the mini-documentaries.
The team behind Oakland Originals — the short film series highlighting local residents' creative contributions to the city — is reaching out to the community with a Kickstarter campaign to help support the production of a handful of new episodes. The Express wrote about the series last May when the first four film shorts debuted at the Grand Lake Theater.

As part of the campaign, the team will be re-releasing one of its existing four episodes per week until August 24. The goal is to raise $6,000 in one month, although the campaign may be extended in order to fund more Oakland Originals film projects.

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This Weekend's Top Five Events

July 24, 25 & 26

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 7:06 AM

If you didn't already get enough recommendations from this week's Best of the East Bay issue, here are five ways to have the Best Weekend in the East Bay. 

  • Shivani Gupta
  • Heems.
Das Racist made the “Combination Pizza Hut & Taco Bell” a symbol of American consumerism, and then the rap group’s own joint identity split. In corporate parlance, Das Racist spun off its properties, with Kool A.D. returning to the East Bay and Heems settling in his native New York. We’ve eagerly covered Kool A.D.’s mighty spate of mixtapes and horoscopes, and the whole of the music journalism community chimed in about Eat Pray Thug, Heems’ 2015 full-length. For Heems — who plays on Friday at the New Parish — Eat Pray Thug was a long-awaited statement. Like his twittered missives and essays, it’s rife with analysis of Middle Eastern and South Asian communities’ experience in America. The opening song, “The Patriot Act,” mentions harassment and profiling in the wake of 9/11 and surveillance: They vision is PRISM. It’s an urgent and direct record, but the latter line — which riffs on the NSA data collecting program and the Pentagon’s geometry — is reminiscent of how Heems and Kool A.D. inflated snappy lines with outsized meaning together, before the combo divested its assets.— Sam Lefebvre
Fri., July 24, 9 p.m. $15, $20.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Fantastic Negrito Releases "Lost in a Crowd" Music Video

The local bandleader appears on the cover of our Best of the East Bay issue this week.

by Natasha Mmonatau
Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 9:05 AM

  • Bert Johnson
Sharp vocals and high energy live clips burst out of the latest video for Fantastic Negrito’s award-winning song, "Lost in a Crowd." These official visuals accompany a song that explodes with grit at the absurdity and loneliness of modern capitalism. And yet, Fantastic Negrito combines that raw, ferocious expression with straight-up gentleness. In one moving image shot from across the audience, Negrito waves his mic wand-like across the crowd, as if seeking the inclusion of their voices. This video release happens to coincide with an East Bay Express cover portrait of Fantastic Negrito for our Best of the East Bay issue. We awarded him Best Roots Bandleader. It's also an opportunity to revisit our March feature story about the artist’s incredible rise to fame through the NPR Tiny Desk Concert 2015 award.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

First Annual Thizzler Jam Comes to Oakland in August

Performers include Nef the Pharaoh and Kool John.

by Natasha Mmonatau
Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 4:39 PM

maxresdefault.jpg just announced the line-up for its first annual Thizzler Jam, set for August 9th in downtown Oakland at a yet-to-be-disclosed location. The local hip-hop blog and promotional platform formerly hosted the annual Bay Area Freshmen 10, a round-up of rising hip-hop artists tied to a concert. Last year, we profiled Bay Area Freshmen Tia Nomore, and reported on the concert's difficulties with OPD. Thizzler Jam, which is slated to occur on three stages, indicates an expansion of Thizzler's role as a vital outlet for local hip-hop. Performers include Nef the Pharaoh, along with the Vallejo MC's group, 22nd Letter; and Kool John, who's Moovie project with P-Lo is slated for release soon; and hosts Mistah F.A.B. and Priceless Da Roc. The full line-up is posted below. 

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Oakland's Humanist Hall Declared a Nuisance

After the city's ruling, supporters of Humanist Hall have been fighting back by way of an online petition

by Gillian Edevane
Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 12:16 PM

  • Humanist Hall

Supporters of Humanist Hall, a progressive church in Oakland, are rallying to save the church’s reputation after the city officially declared it a "public nuisance" in June. A petition urging the city to remove the “nuisance” label has already received more than 1450 signatures from church advocates and members of the Oakland community.

The 27th street Humanist church, which was established in 1935 and is also known as the Fellowship of Humanity, doubles as a performing arts venue and regularly hosts private parties and community events. In the past, it’s been the location for public meetings, art shows, weddings, birthday parties and nonprofit meetings. As a Humanist organization, members of the church are generally nontheistic and stress the importance of living an ethical life without supernaturalism. Humanist Hall states that it is specifically devoted to social justice, equality and ecological preservation. 

According to the Humanist Hall website and several of its members, the church provides a low-cost, rentable venue to underserved members of the community and is an asset to Oakland’s diverse spiritual and artistic groups. But according to several neighbors who have posted videos of the venue’s music on YouTube, the Hall is often the site of parties that result in neighborhood and noise disturbances.

Gregory Minor, assistant to the city administrator, said in an email to the Express that the city has been receiving complaints about Humanist Hall since “at least 2005,” and that “the complaints have consisted mostly of excessive noise.”

On June 2, David Oertel, president of the Humanist Hall and Fellowship of Humanity, received a 30-day notice to abate “nuisance activity” at the church, which, according to the notice, includes hosting events after 10 p.m. and playing “excessive and annoying” music. In the notice, the city fined the Fellowship of Humanity a $3,500 Nuisance Case Fee and warned of a potential fine of $500 in daily penalties up to $365,000 a year should the nuisance persist.

After receiving the abatement notice, Oertel says he was able to work with the city and reach a compliance agreement that would put a stay on all fines assessed. In exchange, the Fellowship agreed to abide by conditions outlined in the compliance plan, which included having one state-licensed security guard on site for every fifty guests present, submission of monthly event calendars to members of the Oakland Police Department, and termination of all amplified sound after 10 p.m., among other stipulations.

Oertel says some of these conditions have been difficult to meet, especially those that require additional expenditures. In early July, The Fellowship was issued a compliance violation for a June 26 noise disturbance that occurred during a graduation ceremony for Bay Area Women Against Rape crisis counselors.

“Based on neighbor complaints and video documentation posted on YouTube, Humanist Hall has violated their agreement and our office is citing them accordingly,” said Minor in an email. Neighbors who filed complaints against Humanist Hall could not be reached for comment.

The church was fined $1,000 for the violation — funds that Oertel says the church does not have, as events hosted there are primarily for community benefit and sustainability, not for profit. If the city continues to levy such “heavy” fines, it puts the church in jeopardy of closing, said Oertel.

Rather than the complaints being an issue of noise, Oertel believes that the church is being targeted because it occupies land desirable to real estate investors. Since being declared a nuisance, the Fellowship has been receiving unsolicited offers from contractors hoping to build office space. But Oertel insists that the church is not for sale. “This isn’t about the money,” he said. "It's about the good we do here.”

Oertel says that in the future, he will follow the compliance agreement, but wishes the city would rethink labeling the historic property a "nuisance." In his eyes, the label is damaging to a building that has a history of benefitting the community. 

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Friday, July 17, 2015

This Weekend's Top Five Events

July 17, 18 & 19

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Jul 17, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Welcome to the weekend! Please choose one or more options presented below, follow directions, and enjoy. 

The Coup.
  • The Coup.
The Coup
Musicians invoke radical politics all of the time, as lyrical fodder, sartorial advice, and general aesthetic direction. Who can blame them? Observe the Red Army Faction’s indelible iconography, the black bloc’s sleek garb, Pussy Riot’s very pop neon balaclavas — all highly chic. And yet, musicians such as The Coup’s Boots Riley couple radical posturing with activism’s less sexy elements, such as conferences and panels and the tedious parts of political organizing that The Clash didn’t sing about. To wit, Riley’s upcoming book, Tell Homeland Security — We Are the Bomb, brings his lyrics — the slang-riddled calls-to-arms, political takedowns, and social parables — together with cool and collected analysis. On Friday at the New Parish (579 18th St., Oakland), The Coup is set to merge swagger and righteous indignation with enough style to keep the revolution fashionable.— Sam Lefebvre
Fri., July 17, 9 p.m. $20, $25.
  • Cam'ron.

Harlem rapper and de facto Dipset leader, Cam'ron issued a nearly unparalleled run of albums between 2000–2004. His second solo album, S.D.E. (Sports, Drugs, and Entertainments), opens with one of the most memorable minute-long dis streaks around, capped by Killa Cam bickering with a couple of women — a good indicator of the unrepentant pugnacity throughout. Come Home with Me, which appeared two years later, stormed the singles chart with sparkly narratives of sexual conquest and city block dominance in “Hey Ma” and “Oh Boy,” while the Jay-Z-featuring cut “Welcome to New York City” balanced Cam’ron’s newfound pop proficiency with boisterous regionalism. But Cam’ron’s legacy solidified with his next record, Purple Haze, for which the MC perhaps unwittingly appealed to nascent internet audiences by doing up his loud and flamboyant imagery and outfits. Purple Haze 2, slated for release sometime this year, is said to be Cam’ron’s swan song, making his 1015 Folsom (1015 Folsom St., San Francisco) appearance a potential farewell.— S. L. 
Fri., July 17, 10 p.m. $20-$95.

Aisha Fukushima.
  • Aisha Fukushima.
Beyond Dreams
In a multicultural place like the East Bay, immigrant experiences are extremely varied and don’t necessarily fall in line with the clichéd narrative of chasing the American dream. For its Immigrant Dreams series, La Peña Cultural Center (3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) gives the floor to artists of diverse backgrounds who use hip-hop, poetry, and performance art to address their personal experiences and uplift their communities. The latest installment in the event series is Beyond Dreams, a speaker panel and performance showcase hosted by Davey D, an Oakland radio personality, journalist, and hip-hop scholar who has been an active supporter of the genre since the late Seventies. The participating artists include Aisha Fukushima, a musician who travels internationally with her RAPtivism project; Rebel Diaz, a bilingual hip-hop duo that made their debut at an immigrant rights march in New York City; Paul Flores, a poet, playwright, and co-founder of spoken word organization Youth Speaks; and Jasiri X a rapper, educator, and speaker.— Nastia Voynovskaya
Sat., July 18, 7 p.m. $15, $20.

  • Z'EV.
Percussionist, performance artist, and progenitor of industrial culture, Z’EV segued from fine art into the nascent punk scene of the Seventies and left indelible marks. Formally trained in multicultural musical traditions, Z’EV took to wielding found objects as percussion as he shared bills with outlying bands of the era, such as Factrix and The Screamers. Fixtures of industrial culture in Europe, including Einsturzende Neubaten, along with Survival Research Laboratories in San Francisco and the movement’s journal, Research, emerged in tandem with or under the spell of Z’EV’s thought and practice. In more recent years, Z’EV developed “Cine-cussion,” a technique in which illuminated and projected pools of liquid respond directly to percussive vibrations in the interest of contemplating the physical manifestation of sound. At The Lab (2948 16th St., San Francisco) on Saturday, Z’EV intends to interpolate footage taken of his so-called “wild-style” performances from 1984 as a tribute to the city in which they gestated.— S. L. 
Sat., July 18, 8:30 p.m. $10, $15.

Salad at Penrose.
  • Salad at Penrose.
Sunday Suppers at Penrose
The second season of Charlie Hallowell’s bi-monthly philanthropic Sunday Suppers series kicks off with a dinner at the prolific Oakland restaurateur’s newest restaurant, Penrose (3311 Grand Ave.), with its bright and boldly spiced, North African-inflected California cuisine. Instead of the pre-ticketed, prix-fixe format from the first year of Sunday Suppers, this week’s dinner will be similar to any other night out at Penrose: Customers can make a reservation for the time of their choice (instead of picking between two designated seatings) and order whatever they want off the restaurant’s regular menu. What remains constant is the fact that all of the proceeds from that meal will go toward supporting a worthy local cause. This week’s beneficiary, Hack the Hood, an Oakland-based nonprofit that helps prepare low-income youth of color for careers in tech.— Luke Tsai
Sun., July 19, 5-10 p.m. $31-$50.


Pretty Much Dead 
San Francisco author Daphne Gottlieb has recently released a collection of short stories titled Pretty Much Dead, inspired by the tech takeover of the city. The stories peer into interstitial communities affected by the onslaught of unequal wealth, taking place in the streets and transient hotels as well as rent-controlled apartment buildings. Partially fictional and partially true, they highlight the larger significance of the little moments that break you down. Gottlieb has either authored or edited a total of ten books. She previously worked on Dear Dawn: Aileen Wuornos in Her Own Words, a collection of letters written by the famous female alleged serial killer while she was on Death Row. Gottlieb’s writing is dark, playful and punchy. On July 17, she will be holding the official book release for her newest work at Octopus Literary Salon (2101 Webster St., Oakland). Starting at 7 p.m, Gottlieb will read, along with guest readers Joel Landmine, Cindy Emch, and Kelly Klein.— Sarah Burke
Fri., July 17, 7 p.m. Free.

If your pockets are feelin' light and you're still yearning for more suggestions, we've got a ton, and these ones are all FREE!
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Thursday, July 16, 2015

The San Francisco Foundation Gives $34 Million to Oakland Organizations

by Natasha Mmonatau
Thu, Jul 16, 2015 at 4:52 PM

  • TSFF
Earlier this week, The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF) CEO Fred Blackwell announced that an anonymous donor has given $34 million to the organization as part of an initiative to invest in affordable housing, healthcare, jobs and education in Oakland. The team at TSFF has identified over fifteen established community organizations with expertise in sectors ranging from education and technology to youth arts programs and undocumented immigrants. Organizations such as The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Black Girls Code and the Eastside Arts Alliance are just a handful of Oakland’s donation recipients that will benefit from the large sum. 

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