Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Not abducted by aliens

By awoodall
Thursday, October 9th, 2008 at 11:23 pm in Grand Lake Theater, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife.

Martians did not sweep me away in a space ship. But I was sick, tired and uninspired for a good week plus. The highlight of a past week was the So You Think You Can Dance spectacle Sept. 30 at the Oracle Arena (if only the Warriors could sell out the arena!), the Illuminated Corridor expiremental light/media show Oct. 3 and, tonight, the Oakland International Film Festival opening (another story is in Friday’s Tribune) at the Grand Lake Theater. The hit of the first portion of the night (the only portion I was able to stay for) was Traces of the Trade, by Katrina Brown, who retraces the slave trade that her New England — need I say white? — ancestors profited from. The documentary “follows Browne (far left in the photo taken at a previous screening) and nine fellow DeWolf descendents as they travel from Rhode Island to Ghana and Cuba on a trip that brings them face-to-face with history and legacy of New England’s hidden enterprise.”  Even Obama made it into the Q&A discussion as co-producer Juanita Brown talked about how careful the presidential candidate is treading the tightrope of racism. The liveliest moment came when Brown said “If Obama is elected…” and a woman announced, “When he is elected. This is Oakland,” the woman added for the sake of the San Francisco resident via Chicago. “It’s okay.”  The film is screening again noon Sunday in San Francisco at the Museum of the African Diaspora.
There is much to improve about the festival but one of the highlights for me was meeting the lovely cast of the feature film Equinox. So much hope and creativity. For a full list of the festival’s offerings visit the Web site www.oiff.org.

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