Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Short Doc Shows Life in a Bay Area SRO

'Home is a Hotel' by East Bay filmmakers Kevin D. Wong and Todd Sills tells the story of a single immigrant mother living in a San Francisco SRO.

by Sarah Burke
Tue, Jul 12, 2016 at 5:34 PM

As the Express recently reported, Oakland's number of SRO hotels has swiftly been dwindling as developers are buying them up to convert them into boutique hotels or apartments with rent prices out of reach for low-income tenants. SROs typically serve as affordable housing for people who can't afford more stable options. Many cities, such as San Francisco, have laws in place to protect SROs — but Oakland does not. 

A ten-minute documentary by East Bay residents Kevin D. Wong and Todd Sills, however, highlights how, even for SRO tenants who aren't facing eviction, life can already be a struggle. Home is a Hotel is a tender portrait of a Chinese immigrant living in an SRO in San Francisco with her daughter — highlighting the ways in which the housing opportunity offers an option for people, such as immigrants, who may need some time to get on their feet financially. The piece, which was filmed in 2014, ends by noting that in the year and a half since its filming, the average rental price of an SRO has increased 45%. 

More …

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Monday, July 11, 2016

'Generation of Oakland' Documents Impacts of Displacement Through Touching Interviews

by Rayanne Piaña
Mon, Jul 11, 2016 at 9:49 AM

Nia Imara. - BERT JOHNSON
  • Bert Johnson
  • Nia Imara.
Last year, Oakland-born artist and astrophysicist Nia Imara began documenting the stories of individuals impacted by gentrification in her multimedia passion project, Generation of Oakland: The People's Portrait. Imara and her team of interviewers and volunteers photographed and gathered the intimate stories of Oakland residents, including parents, children, community organizers, business owners, and students.

See more:
Nia Imara Captures the Faces of Oakland's Housing Crisis


More …

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Friday, July 8, 2016

This New P-Lo Track Is "So Right" For Your Summer Playlist

by Rayanne Piaña
Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 3:15 PM

P-Lo. - BERT JOHNSON
  • Bert Johnson
  • P-Lo.
This morning, HBK Gang rapper and producer P-Lo surprised fans with three new tracks, announcing the drop via a succinct tweet that read, "New music coming right now doe," followed by links to his Soundcloud.

In his new song "So Right," P-Lo is on his way to steal your girl. It tells a rapper's timeless tale of forbidden passion: wanting another man's woman, who just happens to want him back — and even though it feels so wrong, it feels so right.

Produced by Kuya Beats and Zack Mack, the track balances party-paced high-hats and pounding bass with intricate riffs played across the frets of a nylon-stringed guitar. The guitar adds an acoustic, throwback vibe to P-Lo's smooth-talking rhymes (think Nelly's "Ride Wit Me" if Nelly were from the Bay).

"So Right" is a collaboration with rising Oakland R&B singer Samaria. Her emotive vocals give the song's hook a bright, sensual melody that's hard not to sway to.

The song is warm, light-hearted, and has a beat that slaps. It's the perfect reason to add some P-Lo to your summer playlist if you haven't already.



Correction: This article previously didn't mention Zack Mack as a co-producer of "So Right."

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Jet Martinez Brings a Floral Green Flash to Downtown Oakland

The story behind the internationally known artist's Mexican folk art-inspired new giant work.

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 1:44 PM

Last week, Oakland artist Jet Martinez finished his largest mural yet, on the side of the I. Magnin Building in downtown Oakland — to stunning effect. 

The Mexico-born artist  is known internationally for his gorgeous floral patterning inspired by motifs in Mexican folk art. But, according to a recent statement released about his new mural, he recently decided he wanted to contribute more directly to the community in which he lives by doing more local art. So, Martinez reached out to Athen B Gallery to help him set up a mural project in the city. 

On June 15, Martinez began painting the gigantic side of the I. Magnin building (on 20th Street between Broadway and Telegraph), recognizable for its emerald green art deco facade. The building was once a department store but has since been converted into office space. 

Today, Athen B published a blog post with photos of the finished murals and a long statement from Martinez explaining the intention behind the piece. In part, it reads:

"The I Magnin building for me has always been one of the most beautiful buildings in Oakland. A green tiled, art deco beauty, this building is a symbol of golden era from yesteryear. After the devastating effects of the Reagan drug wars and the crack epidemic, downtown Oakland became a shadow of the vibrant space it once was. Now, as downtown Oakland is experiencing a rebirth of sorts, I really felt a real responsibility to add to rather than subtract from this beautiful building and the downtown skyline. ... In a city that is experiencing a seismic shift of populations and economies, this piece is meant as a reminder to prioritize natural growth. As we bring in more construction and building, I hope this mural brings a reminder of the essentiality of Nature in our society."
Read the full post here, and look out for Martinez's solo show with Athen B in May of next year. 

Tags: , , , , ,

Premiere: Cash Campain, Caleborate, and T. Carriér Join Forces for "Cheat Codes" Music Video

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:27 AM

cash_campain.jpg
R&B singer Cash Campain and rapper Caleborate are a talented pair of siblings, and the two of them teamed up with rapper T. Carriér for "Cheat Codes." Basically, the track is a message to the fellas: If you don't treat your girl right, someone else will.

"With this song and video I wanted to capture how most guys in the world today aren't really trying to do anything to excite or inspire a woman," said Cash Campain in an email. "I wanted to make a song that highlighted how if a man who approached a woman the right way, [he could] get her to step outside of her comfort zone and discover new things about life that she didn't know she enjoyed."

Throughout the rom com-esque music video, which the Express is premiering today, the lovable trio spits game while being silly and having fun with the ladies they admire. 



Tags: , , , , , ,

This Weekend's Top Seven Events

July 8, 9 & 10

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:12 AM

If you're not too tired from shutting down the 880 last night in protest of police violence, then you should try to have some fun this weekend. Self care, ya know? See below:


Beyonce in Lemonade.
  • Beyonce in Lemonade.
Beyoncé vs. Rihanna Dance Party 
It’s no secret that Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Rihanna’s ANTI are two of the best albums of 2016 — and both have pushed pop music forward as a vehicle for addressing important issues surrounding gender and race. Lemonade is Beyoncé’s magnum opus, and truly shows her abandoning the glossy production and palatable lyrics of yore for something much more raw, poetic, and informed by her Southern roots. While tabloids had a field day about what Lemonade means for Bey and Jay Z’s relationship, Beyoncé used the story of a fraught marriage to probe the many facets of Black womanhood in America. Meanwhile, ANTI sees Rihanna coming into her own as an artist, and exploring left-field sounds and narratives that embrace female sexuality in empowering ways. Dance to these two queens of pop at The Mezzanine, where DJs will be playing their hits all night. — Nastia Voynovskaya
Sat., July 9, 9 p.m. The Mezzanine (444 Jessie St., San Francisco). $15. MezzanineSF.com

More …

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Listen to Oakland Rapper Siri's Debut EP, 'G.L.O.E.'

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 3:52 PM

BRIAN HARDEN
  • Brian Harden
In our June 22 issue, we got to know Siri, the up-and-coming Oakland rapper making waves in the local underground scene with her melodic, soulful flow. And just before the long weekend, the artist dropped her debut EP, G.L.O.E., which, as it turns out, stands for Give Love Over Everything. 

See More:
Oakland Rapper Siri on How to 'Gloe' Up

More …

Tags: , , , ,

Friday, July 1, 2016

LoBot Gallery, Mainstay of Oakland’s DIY Art and Music Scenes, to Shutter at End of Month

The space is just the latest underground art spot to fall victim to rising real estate costs in the East Bay.

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 4:52 PM

LoBot is home to a variety of interdisciplinary artist studios and a mixed-use venue. - NASTIA VOYNOVSKAYA
  • Nastia Voynovskaya
  • LoBot is home to a variety of interdisciplinary artist studios and a mixed-use venue.

On a recent Tuesday evening, a group of seven artists sat in the community kitchen of LoBot Gallery, the West Oakland warehouse that’s home to a dynamic music and art venue and studio complex. They solemnly clutched their mugs of tea as they discussed the fate of the space, where a changing group of artists and musicians have worked over the past thirteen years.

The co-owner of the 1800 Campbell Street property, Katie Harmon, issued the tenants a notice to vacate the premises by July 31. This came after steadily increasing their rent by more than 90 percent over the past two years, according to a statement on LoBot’s Facebook page.

Lease-holder Zeph Fishlyn says Harmon refuses to negotiate a long-term lease, or continue to rent on a month-to-month basis, leaving LoBot with no choice but to abandon its current location — in turn pushing out the loose collective of nearly thirty artists who currently work out of the space.

LoBot’s displacement comes at a time when rising rents are pushing out arts organizations and nonprofits across the Bay Area. Real-estate brokers are advertising West Oakland as the next frontier of Silicon Valley, because of its proximity to San Francisco, and landlords stand to make significant profits in the current market.

But arts advocates say that creative centers such as LoBot are what made Oakland attractive to newcomers in the first place.

LoBot’s exodus comes at a time of similar closures of other art spaces and music venues. Rock Paper Scissors and Ghost Town Gallery, which similarly championed DIY, underground culture, also shuttered within the past year for related reasons (although Rock Paper Scissors still operates as a collective without a brick-and-mortar location).

Since 2003, LoBot has hosted free or cheap art shows, concerts, and other cultural happenings that catered to niche subcultures and marginalized communities. The tenants of its studio spaces are visual artists and musicians. Their combined rent pays for a large, mixed-use event space. This venue has hosted a wide variety of unusual events, such as a spa day for and by sex workers, queer film screenings, and the punk fanzine Maximum Rocknroll’s annual festival, Still Not Quiet on the Western Front. And LoBot’s facilities are vital to low-income artists, especially at a time when space to create art in the Bay Area is expensive and scarce.

Mya Byrne, a multi-instrumentalist with a practice space at LoBot, fondly recalled playing a show there with a lineup of mostly trans musicians. She explained that there are very few places in the Bay Area and across the country where events like that are possible. “As a trans woman, I feel safe being here. I feel like I’m completely supported. As a woman in music, it’s very difficult to find any space that will affirm that part of you.”

The artists interviewed at LoBot agreed that, while at first the space mostly catered to white creative types, over the past few years the collective has diversified and turned its focus to hosting events that aim to be inclusive to LGBTQ people and people of color.

“We have to be realistic about the fact that white artists have been part of the displacement of longtime, Black residents here [in West Oakland],” said Fishlyn, who was similarly displaced from Million Fishes Art Collective in San Francisco’s Mission District before joining LoBot two years ago. “We’re definitely part of that whole ecosystem.

“But what’s coming in behind us is much worse.”

Raphael Villet, a visual artist and curator working out of LoBot, said that the space is vital to the community because, since the studio spaces pay for the venue, LoBot is able to host experimental events and performances that may not appeal to the masses — and keep admission prices affordable.

“The space is really important because it provides an opportunity for people to use the space to make art, to have performances, or to gather outside the realms of capitalism,” he said.

Faced with the notice to vacate earlier this year, the artists at LoBot sought assistance from the Oakland Community Land Trust, a nonprofit that purchases property with the purpose of renting it to low-income residents with a goal to mitigate the effects of displacement. But if a landlord is unwilling to participate, the Land Trust can’t do anything to help.

Harmon did not return the Express’ emails or phone calls for this report.

The LoBot artists also reached out to city of Oakland officials, including Kelley Kahn of the Economic Development Department. Kahn was part of Mayor Libby Schaaf’s Artist Workspace and Housing Task Force, which created a set of recommendations in January that the city is currently pursuing to prevent further artist displacement.

Kahn said that she hopes the city can provide Oakland’s creative class with resources to avoid future artists’ displacement and struggles. However, in the case of LoBot, Kahn said the city’s hands are tied. “Situations like this make me feel the limitations of government,” she explained. “A city government doesn't have the power to make a private property owner do the right thing.”

Thoughts on Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition, Which Opened at the Contemporary Jewish Museum This Week

by Nick Miller
Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 2:39 PM

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition opened at the Contemporary Jewish Museum opened this week. - PHOTO BY NICK MILLER
  • PHOTO BY NICK MILLER
  • Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition opened at the Contemporary Jewish Museum opened this week.
There's a tiny room in the back of the new Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and inside are all sorts of storyboards, photos, sketches, scripts and more — but for the films that Kubrick never got around to making.

On one wall, a shelf holds dozens of books on Napoleon Bonaparte, which is just "part" of Kubrick's collection of literature and research on the French general. In fact, an entire scene-by-scene outline of the oft-discussed Napoleon epic that the legendary filmmaker never even started shooting is on display as well.

I was standing in this little room, marveling at all t
Jan Harlan was executive producer of Stanley Kubrick's final four films. He is also the brother of Christiane Kubrick, the filmmakers widow. Harlan appeared in the Bay Area on Thursday at the opening of the new Kubrick exhibit. - PHOTO BY NICK MILLER
  • PHOTO BY NICK MILLER
  • Jan Harlan was executive producer of Stanley Kubrick's final four films. He is also the brother of Christiane Kubrick, the filmmakers widow. Harlan appeared in the Bay Area on Thursday at the opening of the new Kubrick exhibit.
his Kubrick pre-production research — his vast tome of tireless preparation — when his longtime executive producer Jan Harlan walked in. I explained to him how stunned I was to witness all this prep for films such as Napoleon and Aryan Papers, which also never saw the dark of a movie theater. It was a bit sad, in fact.

Harlan explained that this was but a fraction of Kubrick's pre-production research for those unmade movies. He said Kubrick loved pre-production more than anything; he lost himself in exhaustive research and endless development. Not unlike how he also loved the editing process.

"But he hated filming."

OK, so Harlan didn't say these exact words; I'm paraphrasing because, caught up in our conversation, I did not take notes. But this was precisely his point: One of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century didn't really enjoy the process of standing behind a camera and actually filming a movie.

And tha
Jack's typewriter from The Shining. - PHOTO BY NICK MILLER
  • PHOTO BY NICK MILLER
  • Jack's typewriter from The Shining.
t's what's so cool about Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition: It's a window into the the master filmmakers behind-the-scenes process. Sure, the gallery has on display all the legendary props from Kubrick's thirteen feature films — the droog costume from A Clockwork Orange, the apes and astronauts from 2001 — and seeing all these costumes and props in person was an overwhelming experience for someone reared on Kubrick's powerful, inimitable images.

Yet it was the small items in the gallery, such as the letter Harlan sent to Kubrick about his discovery of the Steadicam — which he used on The Shining and, in turn, transformed modern filmmaking as we know it — that wowed. I spent nearly two hours in the exhibit, and could have lingered through the afternoon.

The exhibit is also a reminder that, unlike most modern-day genre filmmakers, Kubrick's films offered deeper insight. He clearly was a master story-teller. But his legacy is films that with a message for all of humanity.

"Stanley was a moralist!" Harlan practically shouted during our chat. Lovers of his films know this, yet Kubrick-as-moral-compass of course belies our public's perception of the very private man, who created some of the most contentious films of the last millennium (think Lolita and Clockwork Orange, in particular).

Kubrick's lens was harsh and brutal. Yet, by all accounts, he was a loving family man. And this tenderness, the attention to detail and passion for the craft, comes across in the exhibit.

At the press event this past Wednesday, Harlan and Kubrick's daughter, Katharina Kubrick, were outgoing, funny, generous with their time, and very down to ear
Danny's sweater in The Shining. - PHOTO BY NICK MILLER
  • PHOTO BY NICK MILLER
  • Danny's sweater in The Shining.
th. Katharina even told me about her battle with Warner Bros. over Eyes Wide Shut's posters: She designed stunning and theatrical one-sheets with masks of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman's faces, but the studio rejected them for much more generic artwork.

Harlan also dished on some behind-the-scenes details, especially regarding Eyes Wide Shut, including a scene that was storyboarded but never filmed: A jealousy dream where Bill (Tom Cruise) imagines his wife, Alice (Nicole Kidman), having sex with a man while riding a horse (Harlan said Kidman was down to make the scene, but it was eventually scrapped). 

(A side note: Harlan and not seen the orgy scene from True Detective 2 — lucky man! — so he could not comment on the sequence oft-compared to the misunderstood Eyes Wide Shut illuminati-style screwfest. Oh, and I didn't have time to troll the rumor mill and ask him about any Kubrick-illuminati gossip, sorry.)

Before the media-preview tour began on Wednesday, Harlan gave a brief introduction to a room full of reporters. During his chat, he explained how he's often asked to summarize Kubrick in one sentence. His response:

"A man once loved a one eyed woman, so much that it seemed to him all other woman had one eye too many."

There are also multiple special events and screenings of Kubrick and Kubrick-related films in the coming months, most notably: The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts will screen Paths of Glory, The Killing, Fear and Desire, Killer’s Kiss, Dr. Strangelove and Lolita from July 15-29.

And the
Alamo Drafthouse at the New Mission will show The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut, Barry Lyndon, Full Metal Jacket, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and A Clockwork Orange from August 28-September 19.

And, finally, there will be an epic performance by the
San Francisco Symphony of the score from 2001 during a screening of the film, October 13-15.

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition opened on June 30 and continues through October 30 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (736 Mission St. in San Francisco, visit TheCJM.org for details on hours, admission, etc).

Dating Got You Down? Oakland Punk Band Spray Tan's "Soloslut" Is Your New Self-Love Anthem

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 9:58 AM

spray_tan_a2353670625_10.jpg
Oakland punk three-piece Spray Tan labels itself "genderqueer shameless slutrock," and its music is a bold, in-your-face celebration of self-expression that's not limited by the binary of male vs. female. Embracing bright lipstick, mesh, leopard print and other hallmarks of queer kitsch, these glam rockers recently revealed their music video for the single "Soloslut," the title track of their last album.

What is a solo slut, you ask? "'Soloslut' is all about self-care and self-love and feeling so over other humans that the only real option is masturbation," said bassist Dorsey Bass in an email. "Plus, we all think it's really important for us freaks and queers to know and think and talk about how hot we are."

Check out the "Soloslut" music video below and catch Spray Tan live at One Fam (1606 7th St., Oakland) on July 15 at 8 p.m. with Tyler Holmes (of the storied, local queer electroclash band Daddie$ Pla$tik) and Trap Girl. 


Tags: , , , , , ,

Most Popular Stories

© 2019 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation