Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Archive for October, 2009

Big Fan

By awoodall

I thought I was just going to watch a funny movie Saturday night: “Big Fan,” by Robert Siegel of “The Wrestler” fame. It was neither a funny movie nor just film, as I found out. But in neither case was I disappointed. For one, “Big Fan” is poignant, disturbing and funny in a “Taxi Driver” meets “Mall Cop” kind of way. Paul “from Staten Island” Aufiero, played by comedian Patton Oswald, is a fanatical 35-year-old NY Giants fan whose loyalty is limitless — and creepy.  ”Big Fan” is, in the words of associate director Nick Gallo (of The Onion), a dark, dark, dark comedy, which I heard hits pretty close to home with some sports fans who recognize the absurdity and pathos in the story. And that brings me to the second surprise of the evening: an unannounced appearance by Gallo and actor Gino Cafarelli, who manages to combine in the character of Paul’s brother a New York knuckle head with the scruples of a personal-injury lawyer and heart of a big brother. The duo showed up at the Shattuck Cinema’s small chamber Saturday night to promote the film. So much for a relaxing flick.  Anyway, rumor has it, several Raiders are expected to be part of an audience on Monday. I am really curious to hear what they will have to say about it.

Posted on Monday, October 26th, 2009
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
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A taste of Paradiso in the old Vibe lounge

By awoodall

It seemed like Vibe, the club at Telegraph and 22nd St. next to fish fry joint and RPS, closed nearly as soon as it opened. Now two new operators — Mesfin Semere and Yonatan Hagos — want to reopen the space as the Paradiso Lounge, a DJ dance club and bar. Their cabaret permit hearing is set for 3 p.m. on Dec. 2 at City Hall hearing room #2. Very cool.

Posted on Thursday, October 22nd, 2009
Under: Night Owl, Oakland nightlife | 1 Comment »
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Celebrate the repeal of night meters

By awoodall

 You’d think it was the end of prohibition. Instead shops are staying open later on Oct. 23 to celebrate the City Council’s decision to roll back parking enforcement to 6 p.m. (from 8 p.m.)

Follow the money, as they say. For businesses participating in the city-wide open house visit http://shopoakland.com/events.html.
The theme is “We’re Here for You”.

Posted on Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife | No Comments »
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Theater season open in downtown Oakland

By awoodall

For many months I have been trying to work up the courage to begin writing art reviews. They would be very simple: what is this, why is it in this gallery, what does it mean, etc. But everytime I read Dewitt Cheng or Theo Auer I cave in. Then I realized that I’ve been trying to drive a square peg into a round shape. The revelation came to me Friday night after I sat through an hour and a half of the play “Stones in his Pockets.” I LOVE the theater, a fact I didn’t really grasp until recently when TheatreFIRST moved back to Oakland after three years of roaming the Bay Area. It sucks me in like reality TV shows captivate others. Anyway, I may be no better at writing theater reviews than I am at art reviews but you can judge for yourself here in the Trib story. As far as I am concerned, the show — at the black box theater inside the Fox complex on 19th Street — was first rate.

Posted on Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl | No Comments »
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Thrilling the world post Michael Jackson

By awoodall

Did you ever want to dress up like a zombie, dance like Michael Jackson and try to break a world record all at once? If you answered yes, Oct. 24 is your lucky day. That is when the Thrill the World 2009 tribute to Michael Jackson happens in Oakland and elsewhere. Dance lessons included.  In other news, Def Leppard cancelled their North American tour, Beyonce postponed her show in Malaysia and a handful of what was said to be Elvis’s hair sold for $18,300 at a Chicago auction.

Posted on Tuesday, October 20th, 2009
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl | No Comments »
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The New Parish: a place to worship hip-hop

By awoodall

Meanwhile, I was en route this weekend from the Fox to Layover and decided to make a stop at The New Parish on 18th Street. Alas I was too early for the show, hosted by rapper Common, inside the first segment to open in the complex that was once Sweet Jimmie’s. Now it’s a sprawling building that will contain the dance hall-lounge, a boutique and the restaurant Hibiscus. The project is noteworthy because of Sweet Jimmie’s past, the location (extending the nightlife boom down to San Pablo) and the owners: Michael O’Connor of The Independent, Namane Mohlabene and his sister Goapele.

Posted on Monday, October 19th, 2009
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife | No Comments »
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State suspended Oasis liquor permit

By awoodall

Hopefully no one found out the hard way this weekend that the state booze patrol yanked the liquor license of Oasis lounge on 12th Street. Not sure what that was all about but I figure it might somehow be linked to the problems the owners had with the city, triggered — essentially — by the fact that Oasis was home to a lot of big and boisterous fun without the right safety measures or bureaucratic stamps of approval. Pot smoking patrons lighting up in front of decoy cops didn’t help.
Oasis just opened after the owners completed a set of renovations meant to to avoid being shut down over code violations. Surprisingly, Oakland’s City Council gave the owners the green light just weeks ago to stay open. The office that controls cabaret permits and OPD were in favor of just the opposite. So here we are.

Posted on Monday, October 19th, 2009
Under: Night Owl, Oakland nightlife | No Comments »
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Open mic at Farley’s Cafe

By awoodall

Farley’s East Cafe, which opened an Oakland spot a few months ago at West Grand Ave and Broadway, is hitting the East Bay spoken-word open-mic scene beginning Oct. 30. The “Uptown, Downtown, and Around Town” open mic will take place on the fourth Friday of each month, from 7 to 9pm. Each fourth Friday will feature one or two artists, followed by an open mic session. Bring prose, poetry, or musical scores and lyrics—instrumentation is encouraged. Alas, who can survive on words alone? Beer, wine, coffee, teas and panini  also are served. Good to see people branching out instead of clinging to the First Friday vine.

 

Posted on Saturday, October 17th, 2009
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl | No Comments »
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Uptown-Waterfront shuttle plans

By awoodall

Lately I have been enjoying the dissonance at Jack London Square between watching tanned boaters aboard their crafts at the water’s edge and pop music from the temporary ice rink under the palms at the end of Broadway. Most Sundays I walk from near downtown to the square and back again, a return journey that deflates my mood because the highway overpass at Fifth Street, which pedestrians and motorists can’t avoid (in most directions). The walkway is ugly, dirty and noisy. It doesn’t really do anything to lure people to the waterfront, either. I have often thought how great it would be to at least have a shuttle, especially at night.  I even thought about launching a Mexican Bus style of transportation. Now comes good news that Oakland is launching a free shuttle that will run about 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays between the Uptown District and Jack London Square. The route: Amtrak station along Broadway to West Grand loop around the Uptown via Telegraph Avenue. The days and hours might expand later if there is more money. The shuttle is geared toward getting downtown workers to other neighborhoods and encouraging people to use the ferry. I guess that’s how they got the $1 million grant to fund it. But restaurants and bars are going to be disappointed to hear that it’s not a nighttime service. I know I am even though I am glad for even limited service. I don’t want to sound ungrateful. But Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, October 16th, 2009
Under: Night Owl, Oakland nightlife, Old Oakland, Uncategorized, Uptown | 1 Comment »
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Museum of Historical Makeovers

By awoodall

The Tragic Kingdom of Gwen Stafani lasted until her death in the mid-21st Century, according to Kathy Aoki, who walked an audience through the reign of the pop pharaoh at SWARM gallery Thursday night. Pharaoh Gwen took the reigns of pop power after the death of Michael Jackson, Cher and “The King.” (Cher, Aoki tells us, never actually conceded power.)
You can see the show, Museum of Historical Makeovers,” for yourself. Aoki went to pains to create a future universe in which cute culture consumerism triumphed and ultimately led to Pharaoh Stefani’s demise. Maybe the universe is not so distant future. Aoki makes her point about gender, beauty and our own worship of pop through consumerism in several ways besides the Stefani “burial artifacts” (stellae, burial objects etc.). She also tweaks 19th century medical illustrations and art to comment on our pursuit of beauty. But my favorite, the one piece that stopped me in my tracks, was her picture of data painstakingly “recovered” by historians of the future from a USB pin drive: a picture of a cutsie doll figure with some insipid inscription. I will let you draw the conclusions and read better accounts than I can provide about Aoki’s show that is subtle and funny but packs a punch. The show runs until Oct. 25.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/09/16/NS5D19LA3M.DTL
http://www.theoakbook.com/MoreDetail.aspx?Aid=3438&CatId=8

Posted on Friday, October 16th, 2009
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl, Uncategorized | No Comments »
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