This Weekend's Top Five Events

May 29, 30 & 31


It's the weekend! Go out and have a ball before Mayor Schaaf puts a curfew on having fun, too. Here are some of our suggestions for how to do that: 

"Boiling Point" by Stella Kisstiger
  • "Boiling Point" by Stella Kisstiger
The Arts Resistance for the Right to Love
Since the passage of a 2013 law banning gay “propaganda,” homophobia in Russia has reached a fever pitch. Amid religious and nationalistic fervor, queer Russians face rampant discrimination, censorship, and, oftentimes, violence. And with heavy restrictions on protests, they are left with few channels through which to advocate for themselves. As an act of solidarity with Russia’s LGBTQ community, Bay Area poet and activist Zarina Zabrisky (who is originally from St. Petersburg) organized “The Arts Resistance for the Right to Love: In Support of LGBT Community in Russia.” The interdisciplinary event takes place at Liminal (3037 38th Ave., Oakland) on May 29 at 7 p.m. Authors of various backgrounds will read poetry and prose — including Zabrisky herself, as well as Neeli Cherkovsky, Vernon Keeve III, Naamen Tilahun, Brenda Usher-Carpino, and others. Queer, Belarusian-American artist Stella Kisstiger will show new paintings and San Francisco rock band Wyatt Act will perform. With most of the Bay Area’s small Russian community concentrated in San Francisco’s Richmond District and suburbs like Walnut Creek, the event is a rare opportunity for Russian-American LGBTQ people and allies to gather in Oakland and draw attention to this important cause.— Nastia Voynovskaya
Fri., May 29, 7-10 p.m. 510-298-7541. Free

Security Question 
Security Question, the new juried exhibition at the David Brower Center (2150 Allston Way, Berkeley), approaches the titular topic from every angle. The notion of security has become an increasingly concerning question in America in recent years, and that’s partially because it morphs into new manifestations depending on the perspective you take. In Lino Azevedo’s painting “Natural Blindness,” for example, working people float in a forest, but are robbed of its beauty by blindfolds. The image makes a statement about financial security, which allows for stable living but often costs the other pleasures of life. Charlie Cotello’s “Monk Silhouette,” a photograph of three young monks playing with toy guns, calls upon conversations about gun violence and gun laws, while also alluding to Tamir Rice, the twelve-year-old boy who was shot by Cleveland police last year while holding a toy gun. Those are just two of the angles employed in the thought-provoking group show, which also features the work of Terry Berlier, Jerome Brunet, Rebecca Herman and Mark Shoffner, Gail Bravos, Rodney Ewing, Alison OK Frost, Linda Gass, Michael Hall, Carter Johnston, Kim Miskowicz, Maggie Preston, Paul Taylor, Jesse Walton, and Stephen Whisler.
Opening reception on May 28, 6:30-9:30 p.m.— Sarah Burke
Through Sept. 10.
  • Nastia Voynovskaya
  • Main Attrakionz

Green Ova Showcase

Although a dozen other rappers were in the Rock Steady last month for a Green Ova showcase, one could immediately tell that Squadda Bambino and MondreM.A.N. were the crew's natural ringleaders. Having swapped their usual hoodies and jeans for matching suits and bowties on this particularly festive Thursday night, they busied themselves ushering rappers to and from the stage, shadowed by a bearded cameraman.
Collectively known as Main Attrakionz, Squadda (Charles Glover) and Mondre (Damondre Grice) were heralded as two of Oakland's most promising rappers when their mixtape, 808s and Dark Grapes II, went viral in 2011. Squadda and Mondre's early work with beatmakers such as Friendzone and Clams Casino garnered national attention. They're now considered the originators of cloud rap, a term they adopted to describe their signature mix of intricate, melodic production and introspective rhymes. (Read the full article here.)
The next Green Ova showcase takes place on Friday, May 29 at The Rock Steady (1741 San Pablo Avenue, Oakland). 9 p.m. Free.
— N. V.

Hero and Claudio
  • Hero and Claudio
Much Ado About Nothing
William Shakespeare’s love story Much Ado About Nothing receives the modern treatment in Gritty City Repertory’s latest production at The Flight Deck (1540 Broadway, Oakland). Set in 1973, this translation of the classic comedy is complete with disco music, bellbottoms and funky dance routines. Staying true to the play’s source material, two love stories unfold on stage when Don Pedro (Dashawn Franklin), Benedick (Marques Conerly), and Claudio (Maurice Jones) visit their old friend, Leonata (Nidia Pacho), after returning from war. The romantic Claudio soon rekindles his courtship with Leonata’s daughter, Hero (Emmanuelle Rickman-Baker), while Benedick tries to reconcile his mixed feelings toward Beatrice (Ayah Dominique), Leonata’s niece. Hilarity ensues when a match-making scheme pairs the latter couple together, allowing for this lighthearted romp to take a more jovial look at court politics and deceit. Founded in 2012, Gritty City focuses on enriching the lives of Oakland youth by engaging them in performing arts. Executive Artistic Director Lindsay Krumbein founded the nonprofit after witnessing the subpar theater programs at some East Bay schools, and has since directed six well-received productions featuring talented young casts.— Gillian
Through May 30, 8 p.m., Sat., May 30, 2 p.m., Through June 6, 8 p.m. and Sat., June 6, 2 p.m. $5-$30.

The Oakland Book Festival
The Oakland Book Festival isn't really about books. It's about ideas — specifically, the ideas that resound throughout Oakland, and are echoed in similar cities across the globe. On May 31, for seven hours, the new annual event will occupy City Hall and Frank Ogawa Plaza. The hearing rooms and council chambers will fill up with authors, poets, activists, and philosophers discussing topics ranging from "Faith and Social Justice" to "Multiculturalism or Political Correctness?"
Outside, authors and publishers will sell books, while children learn to make their own in workshops run by the Museum of Children's Arts. Writers will give readings, and live music will emanate from the plaza amphitheater. At any given point in the day, there will be six events occurring simultaneously. And, like most gatherings staged at Frank Ogawa Plaza, the Oakland Book Festival will be booming with opinions. (Read the full preview here.) — S. B. 
May 31, at City Hall (1 Frank H Ogawa Plaza, Oakland) from 11 a.m.-6 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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