Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Artist Fatally Shot While Working on West Oakland Community Mural Project

by Sarah Burke
Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 4:54 PM

Antonio Ramos working on the West Oakland mural. - AHC-OAKLAND.ORG
  • AHC-Oakland.org
  • Antonio Ramos working on the West Oakland mural.
Artist and West Oakland resident Antonio Ramos was shot and killed Tuesday morning while working on a mural in a freeway underpass in West Oakland, according to Bay City News. Ramos was painting as part of the the Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project on West Street between 35th and 36th Street when he was shot around 10:30 a.m., according to reports. Police are still searching for the suspect.

The Super Heroes Mural Project is run by Attitudinal Healing Connection (AHC) of Oakland, an arts nonprofit that aims to empower communities through creativity. The Super Heroes project in particular pairs professional artists with West Oakland youth to collaborate on large-scale murals throughout West Oakland. The mural that Ramos was working is the third of six planned murals and is intended to depict a pleasant row of houses with white birds and a young girl flying above it. AHC has been fundraising through an Indiegogo campaign to gather funds to complete the project. (Learn more in the video below). 

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Bay Area Vibez: Strictly Roots, Almost

Though it featured many legendary musicians, the new Oakland festival, Bay Area Vibez, prioritized nostalgia and feel-good music over innovation and local talent.

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 4:07 PM

Nas performed songs from his classic album, Illmatic, on the second day of Bay Area Vibez. - ERIN BALDASSARI
  • Erin Baldassari
  • Nas performed songs from his classic album, Illmatic, on the second day of Bay Area Vibez.

The Bay Area Vibez festival landed at the Port of Oakland this past weekend, bringing world-renowned reggae, electronic, and hip-hop artists to Middle Harbor Shoreline Park — a vast, open space that overlooks the San Francisco skyline. In its first year, the event arrived with a seemingly enormous budget and star-studded lineup that included living legends Stephen Marley, Damian Marley, and Nas.

But despite the festival’s grandiosity, the event ultimately felt like a way to capitalize on people’s nostalgia for bygone eras, prioritizing artists who haven’t released new material in years or are descendants of celebrated musicians. And though the name of the event suggested otherwise, the vibes were not very Bay Area at all, with the majority of the musicians coming from other parts of the country and the Caribbean. That in itself is not a problem — but the name of the event came off as empty lip service to hometown pride. This seemed somewhat disingenuous because the event competed directly with Oakland Music Festival, which primarily showcased local talent and took place during the same weekend.

However, if you weren’t looking for innovative sounds or up-and-coming, local artists and just wanted feel-good music, Bay Area Vibez certainly was the place. Middle Harbor Shoreline Park provided a gorgeous setting for the event, with the sun setting over the foggy San Francisco skyline on Saturday to a soundtrack of mostly roots reggae.

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Lila Rose Releases a New Music Video for "This Could Be Ha"

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 2:48 PM

A still from the "This Could Be Ha" video.
  • A still from the "This Could Be Ha" video.

Oakland singer-songwriter Lila Rose conceived of her recent LP, We.Animals., as a concept album that positions the human experience in the context of the earth's ecosystems. Rather that analyzing environmental issues from an intellectual point of view, she presents an emotional, urgent reaction to our planet's ecological crises, which she conveys through her visceral vocals.

"It’s about the interconnectedness of all life and a call to action for the state of emergency that we’re in as the human race, an animal race," said Rose in a phone interview. 

See also:
Reviewed: New Titles from Swiftumz, Lila Rose, and Super Unison

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This Weekend's Top Five Events

September 25, 26 & 27

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 7:00 AM

This weekend, Oakland's best will be gathering for the Oakland Music Festival (which our music editor kindly previewed for you). But wait, there's more. Five more recommendations for what to do with your weekend, to be exact:

Stephen Marley
  • Stephen Marley
Bay Area Vibez Festival
Oakland residents typically have to cross the Bay Bridge to catch the live shows of reggae and hip-hop’s all-time greats, but the Bay Area Vibez Festival brings world-renowned artists to our backyard this weekend. Taking place September 26 and 27 at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in West Oakland, the festival includes a lineup of influential musicians, including six-time Grammy-winning reggae artist Stephen Marley, Illmatic rapper Nas, Damian Marley (Stephen’s brother and Nas’ frequent collaborator), and dubstep producer Bassnectar — one of the few artists in the lineup who hails from the Bay Area. Lesser-known acts to look forward to include Meshell Ndegeocello, a neo-soul songstress and multi-instrumentalist who has worked with Madonna, Chaka Khan, and Indigo Girls. The Grouch & Eligh, a duo composed of two stalwarts of Oakland and Los Angeles’ underground hip-hop scenes, is also not to be missed. — Nastia Voynovskaya
Sept. 26-27, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. $85+. BayAreaVibez.com.

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Youth Radio Releases California Drought Trivia App

by Melissa Wen
Fri, Sep 18, 2015 at 9:55 AM

A group of Oakland students is hoping to make a splash with a new trivia application they developed to raise awareness about California’s drought.

The students built the application as part of Youth Radio Interactive, a programming and journalism initiative associated with the Oakland-based media production company Youth Radio, which educates students on interactive storytelling. Called "Bucket Hustle," the Android app features a game in which users must catch virtual raindrops and answer as many drought-related questions as they can within 45 seconds. 

The group wanted to find an engaging way to spread knowledge about the drought, said Asha Richardson, co-founder of Youth Radio Interactive. “We know we’re in a drought, but what does that actually mean?” she said.

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This Weekend's Top Five Events

September 18, 19 & 20

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Sep 18, 2015 at 7:00 AM

This weekend, the Eat Real Festival is taking over Jack London Square once again and our trusty food editor even made you your very own guide to optimize your enjoyment. But when you're not stuffing your face by the water, here' s a handful of other events to keep you busy this weekend. 

CCR Headcleaner
Unlike CCR, CCR Headcleaner formed in the South. That’s important, because beneath the band’s blistering guitar squall lies real riffs, the lumbering, sidelong kind that inevitably evoke the dry barrel bottom of this country. But make no mistake: Southern Rock never sounds this busted. Mind that the group rode the winds of the 2008 financial crisis to San Francisco, where it donned threads discarded by Community Thrift and joined Arinell’s secret slice club. The members of this group ate out of the trash, even when they didn’t have to. Meanwhile, CCR Headcleaner gigged with fury, indiscriminately opening for high-profile garage types at fancy spots such as the Great American Music Hall and headlining basement punk bills. Any setting will do, even Merchant’s Saloon (401 2nd St., Oakland), which the group anointed the “sickest dive in the Bay” on a flier promoting its free tour kick-off show on Friday.— Sam Lefebvre
Fri., Sept. 18, 8 p.m. free. Merchants-Saloon.com

Fruitvale Beer Garden Opening Party
These days, Oakland’s Fruitvale district is practically synonymous with taco trucks and various other manifestations of delicious Mexican cuisine. Jay Porter, the proprietor of The Half Orange (3340 E. 12th St.), loves that part of Fruitvale’s food culture, but he also wanted his restaurant’s newly expanded patio to pay tribute to an earlier period of the neighborhood’s history, in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, when German immigrants opened a slew of lively beer gardens in the area. What Porter has thus dubbed the “Fruitvale Beer Garden at The Half Orange” will have its grand opening this Saturday. Beer lovers will have the opportunity to sample the restaurant’s newly expanded thirteen-tap draft beer selection and to watch sports on a big-screen TV from the forty-seat outdoor patio. To mark the occasion, all beers will be priced at $4.95 all day and night.— Luke Tsai
Sat., Sept. 19, 11 a.m. Free. TheHalfOrange.com

Art/Act: Edward Burtynksy 

Edward Burtynksy’s photographs offer a sense of the sublime — that feeling you get when standing at the top of a mountain that makes you realize how small you are relative to the rest of the world. But his grand photographs are also terrifying, because, upon closer inspection, they reveal barren landscapes, ravaged by the extraction of natural resources. Many of the renowned photographer’s large-format works will be on view at the David Brower Center (2150 Allston Way, Berkeley) for its annual Art/Act exhibition, which honors one artist doing outstanding work in the intersection of art and activism. Burtynsky’s show will primarily highlight his series Water, which features once rich water sources that have dried up into shriveled landscapes with magnificent topographical patterns. In the midst of California’s detrimental drought, the photographs from all over the world both hit home and speak to the dangers that our ecosystem faces worldwide. The show opens on September 18, with a free reception from 7–9 p.m. during which the artist will give a public lecture about his work.— Sarah Burke
Sept. 18-Feb. 4, 2016 Free. BrowerCenter.org

Psychic TV
An enduring countercultural figure, Genesis P-Orridge is credited with forerunning industrial culture as a founding member of Throbbing Gristle, a group of experimentalists bent on probing the margins of sound and provocative physical feats in the tradition of durational performance art. Then, P-Orridge founded Psychic TV. Flitting between psychedelia and outlandish acid house, the group’s packaging and visual components further expanded upon P-Orridge’s influential aesthetic. A serial collaborator, P-Orridge’s boldest move occurred in tandem with the late Lady Jaye. Together, the two embarked upon the so-called Pandrogeny Project, working through surgery to morph into a sole, gender-free individual. Most recently, P-Orridge reinvigorated Psychic TV — which performs on Saturday at the Independent (628 Divisadero St., San Francisco) — as a pulsating, psych-inclined rock unit.— S. L. 
Sat., Sept. 19, 9 p.m. $22. TheIndependentSF.com

Bilongo Esmeralda (Let The Devil Take Style)
In the dystopian future depicted by artist Sofía Córdova, the world is submerged in water and all its residents are displaced, lost and looking for some sense of home to grasp on to. In Córdova’s newest work, an immersive installation at Pro Arts Gallery (150 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland) entitled Bilongo Esmeralda (Let the Devil Take Style), the local artist literally makes the viewer feel as if he or she is on a sci-fi boat, using massive sails that double as projector screens for Córdova’s video work. Córdova is Puerto Rican and has been working on an ongoing series of videos that aims to reimagine the Caribbean diaspora and, more broadly, the immigrant experience in general. She also performs as one half of Xuxa Santamaria, making experimental, psychedelic dance music rife with intellectual undertones and very much in line with her fine art practice. Many of the works in Bilongo Esmeralda employ the same campy, colorful aesthetic as the visuals for her music. The entirety of her video series, entitled Echoes of a Tumbling Throne (Odas Al Fin De Los Tiempos), will be screened on September 18 at 6:30 p.m. with a live score by Xuxa Santamaria in Frank Ogawa Plaza.— S. B. 
Through Sept. 18.Free. ProArtsGallery.org

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

CocoRosie, Ibeyi, tUnE-yArDs to Perform at Symbiosis

by Natasha Mmonatau
Wed, Sep 16, 2015 at 4:51 PM


Spotlighting genres from techno to deep house, the Symbiosis Gathering returns to the Woodward Reservoir Regional Park (26 Mile Rd, Oakdale) this week for its ten year anniversary. From September 17 to 20 the festival will provide educational workshops on topics including indigenous seed stewardship, astrology, and permaculture gardening, in addition to an extensive lineup of electronic musicians. Several Oakland-based artists and organizers will be involved, and the festival will also feature art installations, art boats, yoga workshops, and live painting. Headliners include avant-garde pop sister duo CocoRosie, who just dropped their long anticipated album, Heartache City. Local variety show Tourettes Without Regrets will provide entertainment on day three of Symbiosis, and the Oakland-based Merrill Garbus and her band tUnE-yArDs will perform on the final evening. French-Cuban twins Ibeyi — notably one of the few acts featuring people of color — will bring Yoruba and English spirituals to the show.

Check out CocoRosie's new album below. 


Friday, September 11, 2015

This Weekend's Top Six Events

September 11, 12 & 13

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Although we know it's tempting to sit at home and scroll through endless Burning Man photos and iPhone 6s announcements, we've got some other plans for you this weekend. Get out and enjoy the uncomfortable heat with any combination of our recommended events listed below. 

Shannon and the Clams
  • Shannon and the Clams
Shannon and the Clams
On Friday at the Great American Music Hall, Oakland’s Shannon & the Clams celebrate the release of Gone by the Dawn, a new album featuring some of the group’s finest material to date. “Corvette,” which appeared recently with a music video, sheds rusty teardrop guitar notes like Link Wray, bumps to a glam wallop, and foregrounds the vocal interplay between Shannon Shaw and Cody Blanchard, whose husky lows and siren highs harmonize in spite of the space between. Especially with the video, it’s a sad song, with lyrics about an idealized past that maybe never quite was, which is sort of how the group treats its influences. Shannon & the Clams’ relationship to doo-wop, surf, and girl groups have never been one of emulation, but more of a misremembered nostalgia. Gone by the Dawn sounds like the group reached back for voices in the past, only to find its own.— Sam Lefebvre
Fri., Sept. 11, 8 p.m. $20, $45. SlimsPresents.com

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Friday, September 4, 2015

This Weekend's Top Five Events, Plus Labor Day Bonus

Sept 4, 5 & 6

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Sep 4, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Labor Day, that holiday you've been working for all year, has finally arrived. Great job. You've earned it. That's why, this week, instead of five recommended weekend activities, we're giving you SEVEN. Yes. Two whole extra bonus opportunities to have fun. Enjoy. 

  • GAG
Resurrect California
924 Gilman St. reneged on its major label ban earlier this year and welcomed a secret Green Day set, reigniting a fiery debate about the old punk principles’ applicability in 2015. But for even the strongest detractors, who took Green Day’s appearance as the final blow to Gilman’s waning credibility, this weekend’s Resurrect California might begin to mend the rift. Headliners include Providence, Rhode Island’s revered Nineties’ hardcore band Dropdead, and the Deathwish Records metalcore act Blacklisted; but mind the small front: Gag, from Olympia, Washington, is a torrent of heinous reverb grounded by riffs with girth and might. The Coltranes, meanwhile, sound colossal and slow, the mean-spirited consequence of eccentrics raised in Temecula. The local standout is seething North Bay outfit Creative Adult and Destruction Unit, from Arizona, is sure to bring its storied live squall. The two-day festival’s other performers include White Wards, Culture Abuse, ACxDC, Crush, and Coke Bust. There doesn’t appear to be any surprise headliners; Newcomers should draw well enough.— Sam Lefebvre
Sept. 4-6. $17 per day, $43 weekend pass. 924Gilman.org

  • Installation at Aggregate Space
While many of the exhibitions at Aggregate Space explicitly complicate notions of place, nearly all of the shows at the West Oakland gallery at least implicitly touch on the topic. Because Aggregate is a space that specializes in video and large-scale installation, many of its shows immerse the viewer and easily lend themselves to questioning geographic situations — each time in an impressively novel way. AlterLandEscape, the gallery’s current show, is no exception. It features a collection of sculpture, video, and multi-channel installation works that “remap the height and depth of the gallery’s physical landscape,” as the curatorial statement reads. “Participants will exist somewhere amongst the inner and outer boundaries of these familiar yet unknown hybrid micro-environments.” Among the artists are Centa Schumacher, a photographer who creates lenses embedded with crystals to manipulate light to ethereal effect; John Tronsor, who often works strategically with light and shadows to form illusory environments; and May Wilson, whose soft, wobbly sculptures are somehow both imposing and endearing. Although Aggregate is normally only open on Saturdays, it will be hosting a First Friday reception for the show on September 4 from 5–8 p.m.— Sarah Burke
Through Sept. 19. Free. AggregateSpace.com

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Caleborate Dared to Cry at the New Parish Last Night

The Berkeley rapper celebrated the release of his fine new album with an emotional performance.

by Natasha Mmonatau
Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 12:34 PM

A colorful beach ball ascended in a steady arc toward the ceiling of the New Parish (579 18th Street) last night, eventually halting at the feet of Bay Area Freshman 10 rapper Caleborate, who promptly hoisted it back into the crowd. “Bounce!” he yelled, and the audience bounced. Cascading off last week’s release of his new full-length, Hella Good, the Berkeley rapper was ultimately brought to tears by the end of his opening set for LA hip-hop crew Overdoz. Pausing the track for a moment, Caleborate fell briefly to his knees, rising just moments later with the declaration: “Let’s do this shit. I don’t care if I cry in this motherfucker!” Shamelessly grappling with the tumult of emotion on Hella Good, the rapper cemented his position as a Bay favorite last night, amassing greater hype than any other performers.

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