Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Archive for November, 2009

Holidayland on San Pablo Ave

By awoodall

As I mentioned, I stopped by the Compound Gallery on San Pablo Avenue Friday night to check out “Plaid Friday,” which was just one day in the span of the holiday market running until mid-December. Here Obi Kaufmann talks about showing his work for the first time in the gallery he operates Swee(t)Art Drawing Gallery. The show is called Mercurius and Obi can explain the work better than I can.

 

Otherwise, BlankSpace and the other galleries that make up the “Golden Gate Art District” are offering a bonanza of holiday gift items and for $5 you can have your picture taken with Babe, Paul Bunyon’s giant blue ox. The money goes to the East Oakland School of the Arts (one of the Castlemont small schools) and Skyline High. As I understand it from Kerry Johnson, both schools are in dire need of donations to their visual arts departments for supplies. So check it out. East Oakland School of the Arts (one of the Castlemont small schools) and Skyline High. As I understand it from Kerry Johnson, both schools are in dire need of donations to their visual arts departments for supplies. So check it out.

Posted on Monday, November 30th, 2009
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife | No Comments »
Leave a comment

Plaid Friday

By awoodall

I am possibly the lamest shopper in the history of this consumer-mad society. I didn’t even know what Black Friday was until a few years ago when an editor sent me out to do a story on shoppers that day. Things haven’t improved by much judging by my futile, some would say naive, attempt to cash in on a bargain displayed in the mountain of glossy ad inserts contained in Friday’s papers. (WalMart’s insert was more like a friggin catalogue and rivaled the thickness of post Thanksgiving newspapers.) At about 11 a.m. I called a store about the item I looking for (I can’t give the secret away) and the clerk laughed at my question whether the item was still available. So I called two more and got the same response. OK fine, but I refuse to spend the night outside a store no matter how good the bargain is. (Does anyone remember when people camped outside for Ramone tickets instead of a sale?) Oakland indie merchants are taking an alternative approach: Plaid Friday. They are offering discounts and specials as a way to avoid the big box retailers that gobble up dollars. The money spent at Oakland stores stays local and it’s safer than getting trampled by shoppers stampeding their way to big screen TVs. And Penelope’s is hosting an after-shopping party with special $3 shots, $6 cocktails and $6 tamale plates from La Borinquena until 11 p.m. Wear plaid and receive a 1 cent Indie Special shot. I am heading to the Compound Studios and Gallery where the artists are getting into the spirit.

Posted on Friday, November 27th, 2009
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl | No Comments »
Leave a comment

Happy Thanksgiving

By awoodall

Remember, singletons or ones who do not wish to cook, the Spice Monkey cafe is hosting Thanksgiving dinner in exchange for can food donations for charity. I heard Cafe Gratitude in Berkeley might be open as well, which would only be fitting.

Posted on Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl | No Comments »
Leave a comment

Speaking of movies: Bad lieutenant…

By awoodall

Werner Herzog’s newest demented movie, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, is pretty much a nonstop carousel of drug use, violence, sex and profanity, advises SF Chron’s Peter Hartlaub. “In the realm of bad first-date movies, this is just half a step below a Lars von Trier film.”

Obviously a “must see.”

Posted on Friday, November 20th, 2009
Under: Night Owl | No Comments »
Leave a comment

Movies and mafia: Fortapasc

By awoodall

The timing of Italian director Marco Risi could not have been worse.  He struggled for five years to make the film Fortapàsc, which screened Sunday in San Francisco, only to be upstaged by the release of Gomorrah, Matteo Garrone’s adaptation of journalist Roberto Saviano’s best-selling book about the Camorra.

The origins of the Camorra date back to the early 19th Century.  Over the years, what began as a loosely organized band of ex-convicts developed into a powerful force well beyond its stronghold in Naples. The Camorra’s influence stretches into virtually every continent including the United States. The FBI estimates that nearly 200 Camorra affiliates reside in this country, many of whom arrived in the past three decades.

Risi’s film revolves around the 1985 murder of journalist Giancarlo Siani (played by Libero de Rienzo), whose reporting about the ties between the Camorra and the local politicians led to his assassination.

 

It was shown as part of the New Italian Cinema series presented by the San Francisco Film Society.  The series continues until Sunday. (No, Italian film did not stop with Fellini, Bertolucci and Antonioni.)  The title Fortapàsc comes from a scene in which the mayor of Torre Annunziata – a violent Naples neighborhood — denounces a particularly bloody shootout between rival clans in broad daylight.

“This is not Fort Apache!” Mayor Cassano (Ennio Fantastichini) thunders from atop a makeshift stage at a small audience. It might as well be. 

One of the film’s most telling scenes comes when Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, November 20th, 2009
Under: Night Owl | No Comments »
Leave a comment

Berkeley’s subterranean art house

By awoodall

I returned to Berkeley later Saturday night to see Where the Wild Things Are (a tear jerker of the highest magnitude in my opinion) and noticed a little sliver of an art house tucked away between two storefronts on Bancroft. Turned out to be the Subterranean Art House, which is hard to spot because there is no permament sign affixed to the 2179 Bancroft Way address. I did not have time to go in (it was cold and my daughters were with us — thus the movie) for “night of music in honor of Hafiz.” Not that I knew what was going on inside anyway from a distance. I could only see paintings on the walls but online they describe the gallery as a place for visual and performance art – including songwriting and dance salons and the 50th anniversary celebration of Butoh dance, which is something that doesn’t happen too often around here. It’s not your average dance style.

Posted on Monday, November 16th, 2009
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Leave a comment

Cal Bears tailgating in Berkeley

By awoodall

A video illustrating the Cal Bears garage tailgaiting tradition taken Saturday on the north side of campus during the last game of the season.


It’s hard to see but the garage on the north side was full of Bears fans with their indoor tailgate parties set up . It was close to kickoff which might be why this guy decided he had enough of his mimosa and turned his champagne glass upside down over the bushes. CheersThe guy dressed head to toe in blue and gold stripes passing by that morning was the tip off that I had unsuspectedly wandered into Cal game territory on the wrong day.  Not that game day would normally concern me but I happened to be looking for parking that morning and the garages were off limits to non-football fans. The video explains why.

Posted on Monday, November 16th, 2009
Under: Night Owl, Uncategorized | No Comments »
Leave a comment

Italian cinema and blaxploitation flicks

By awoodall

I think the theme of my life right now is escapism because I have had an undeniable urge to watch movies and plays. I don’t really care what they are about as long as they sound good.

Right now I am counting the days until the New Italian Cinema series starts in San Francisco. First in line is “Fortapasc,” a film about a district in Naples nicknamed “Fort Apache” by Marco Risi. The last in the week-long series is “Vincere,” a film about the tragic (and I am not being hyperbolic here) first wife of Dictator Benito Mussolini whom Fascists tried to erase from history.

I am a fan of his earlier film, Good Morning, Night.

Tonight is the screening of Aoki at 8 p.m. at the Grand Lake Theater. The documentary is about the life of Richard Aoki, a third-generation Japanese American who became – the press release says – a founding member of the Black Panthers. This I did not know.

But the flick getting the attention right now is Black Dynamite, a blaxploitation spoof  playing at the Grand Lake Theater midnight Nov. 21.

The film is actually more than a spoof or a tribute. The director spliced in shots from an original 1974 blaxploitation movie called Mean Mother, which itself contained footage from a Spanish-Italian crime thriller El Hombre Que Vino Del Odio. That movie’s director just worked in a “black action movie plot” to bring the two together.

The title of a short film coming up on Nov. 17 also caught my attention: “Half Life of a Network News Anchor.” Good title for getting journalists’ attention. Price is right: $5 at the EXIT Theatre on Taylor Street in San Francisco. The program includes other pithy titles such as Global Laundry, Felipe Does Dylan, The Shrine of Sheikh Nizam-ud-Din and, my second most favorite, Halloween with Condi Rice. I missed the company’s production of How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Lost My Virginity. But next year I will be sure to see The Most Notorious Woman and Lady of the ‘Loin.

Posted on Thursday, November 12th, 2009
Under: Night Owl | No Comments »
Leave a comment

Oakland in Art21 blog

By awoodall

I noticed this mention in the Art21 blog: “Brett’s collection also features significant works by artists fostered through Creative Growth in Oakland, California. In a talk by Creative Growth director Tom di Maria and White Columns director Matthew Higgs during Frieze, the work of this nurturing organization – and its roots in radical politics – was discussed.” READ ON…

Posted on Monday, November 9th, 2009
Under: Night Owl | No Comments »
Leave a comment

Trouble at Kimball’s and a secret club

By awoodall

Kimball’s Carnival at 2nd and Washington is now owned by Laura Mendozagovan, who has a temporary permit to run the club, according to the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control. The handover came recently after the previous owners got saddled with problems that started with fire code violations, which prompted the city to limit crowds to 300. From what I hear, the operators not only surpassed that limit on several occasions after the order from the fire marshall but also attracted the city’s ire because of rowdy people gathered outside the club. Last weekend I walked by and there was quite a crowd outside facing the alcohol license application poster in the window.
Meanwhile Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, November 9th, 2009
Under: Night Owl, Oakland nightlife | 1 Comment »
Leave a comment