Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Fun Stuff to do in Oakland

Oakland Underground Film Fest

By awoodall

There were a lot of saggy skinny jeans and black denim last night. Even a pair of roller skates. But relatively few people at the Oakland Underground Film Festival in Jack London Square. That’s too bad. Not because the documentary about Sonic Youth’s stop in Reno on an old tour was a “must see.” (Unless you’re a die-hard Sonic Youth fan.) The high-school made doc was aimless (exploratory) much like Sonic Youth’s riffs. So “Sleeping Nights Awake” matched the subject well. It’s just that it could have been half as long and twice as interesting. But kudos on effort.  It just didn’ t belong in a film festival that began 20 minutes late. I don’t know why that band continued to play until 8:15 p.m. even though the acoustics in the old Barnes & Noble bookstore rendered the band — and all music  and ambient sound at events held there — to a thudding could of loudness that sent most movie-goers out on to the patio until “Sleeping Nights Awake” began. Inside a bar was set up and snacks were available but more movie-goers were outside than in the warm cavernous hall.  The festival doesn’t need to be run like Cannes. But organizers need to tighten some of the bolts.
The next film on May15 is “Remembering Playland,” resurrecting the memory of the long-gone amusement park that stood near Ocean Beach in San Francisco. I would go if only because of the weird side effects manufactured by the set up of the screen in the Barnes & Noble. Images of Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore’ at the guitar from the neck down reflected onto the lower half of the window next to the screen. The American flags waving outside the upper half of the windows merged with the reflection to make it look like Moore was playing the guitar but a U.S. flag was waving in the place where his head should have been.  It was the perfect 80s Reagan-era emblem!

Posted on Saturday, May 1st, 2010
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OSA First Friday show

By awoodall

Oakland School for the Arts must be the coolest school ever. What other school is joined at the hip with a lounge and concert venue. And this Friday the art students are joining the  Art Murmur/FF with a gallery show of their work. Since I spent several hours after work Wednesday framing some of that work I can tell you some very good pieces will be for sale in the Black Box Theatre April 2. I have my eye on a few already. Their December show was hot (musically and artistically) and I never even got close to buying my own daughter’s work (for the sake of disclosure I tell you this…). They got snapped up too fast. I think the lines will move much faster this time around with a revamped process so that buyers aren’t standing for hours to make their purchases. Anyway, the show runs from Friday until Sunday.  

 

April 2 First Friday Art Walk at UrbanSpace

On exhibit at UrbanSpace Gallery are modern and contemporary works by highly acclaimed artists WinstonBbranch, Sue Kahn, Gregory Edwards, Jonathan Howard, Pauletta Chanco, Judy Deim, Otto Heino, Joseph Slusky and more. Stroll through the gallery to view sculptures, ceramics, paintings, and photographs.

This First Friday will feature author and filmmaker, Robert Philipson reading from his new book Very Good-Looking Seeks Same, a funny, yet yearning and appealing, collection of poetry in the form of want-ads. Philipson’s tongue-in-cheek verses are hilarious, tragic, and will tantalize one’s imagination.

Join us for wine and cheese, laughter and fun networking at UrbanSpace, 811 Washington, in Old Oakland. 5:30 – 8:30 pm. Reading will begin at 6:15. Robert Philipson will be available to sign books.

Posted on Monday, March 29th, 2010
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OSA’s Cuckoo Nest

By awoodall

Tonight is opening night for the Oakland School for the Arts’ performance of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” (I can’t believe I misspelled Cookoo on Facebook!)
The show starts 7  p.m. tonight. Sorry for the late notice. Busy day. But you can catch other shows. Friday 7 p.m. Saturday 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. or the Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for seniors and students.  Not suited for children under 15 without adult supervision. Strobe lighting and fog will be used. Hmmm. Sounds interesting.

Posted on Thursday, March 11th, 2010
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ERA, Beer Revolution to open Friday

By awoodall

Once you see ERA Friday night you will understand why I have been so persistent about its opening, which is several months late (several is a polite term for it). 19 Grand Ave. Happy Hour starts 4:30 pm. Friday. Two stories, two bars, 5,000 square feet. Beer Revolution is opening tomorrow night too at 464 Third St. It’s not a pub but you can sit and sip and nibble inside or (in better weather) on the patio that has long been wasted on the closed café that the bottle-shop tavern replaces. And not to forget, tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the Fox, with festivities (including theater tours) beginning 5 p.m. at the Den. bill-brand
Speaking of anniversaries, the Pacific Coast Brewing Co. will unveil a Bill Brand Memorial Porter, named in honor of the absolutely intrepid Oakland Tribune reporter, beer aficionado and equestrian who passed away after being hit by a Muni Metro train Feb. 8, 2009. It’s okay though to drink up. Bill would have wanted everyone to have a good time.  And I think he would have loved Beer Revolution.

Posted on Thursday, February 4th, 2010
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Problem With Dragons @ Victory Warehouse

By awoodall

 Feb. 9th At first I thought “Problem with Dragons @ Victory Warehouse” was the subject line for a City Hall v. East Bay Dragons biker club issue. Their HQ is an East Oakland warehouse…
Instead, Problem with Dragons is an East Coast band whose genre can be summed up as “gigantic, heavy-ass rock tunes.” Well, the group from Easthampton, Mass. is bringing their gigantic, heavy-ass rock tunes to Oakland’s Victory Warehouse on Feb. 9.  24th Street and San Pablo Ave. (916) 444-7914. Show begins 8pm. 16 and over only. problemwithdragons

“The sound of their fuzz bass is like uncovering a vintage MC-5 recording from a Michigan basement, dubbed over a Tijuana Brass cassette with the little plastic safety tabs punched out.”  — Tom Sturm, Valley Advocate.

Posted on Monday, January 25th, 2010
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Downtown this weekend

By awoodall

After watching Hollywood stars get gigs on the big stage instead of real actors, I nearly cried last night during the preview of TheatreFIRST’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.” Real acting by real actors.  The troupe is still working out the kinks before the Saturday opening but overall the show looks promising, especially actor Andrew Hurteau, “The Player” and head of a traveling Tragedians: Aleph Ayin, Paul Festa, John Hilinski and G. Randall Wright. They and the lead actors managed to convey the wry humor and laughable absurdity Stoppard injected into his script. In other words, they were really really funny. Tonight’s preview performance begins 7:30 p.m.  Saturday is the premier. Speaking of premiers, the Piedmont Piano Co. is hosting a grand opening today beginning at 4 p.m. and lasting all weekend with performances and toasts and pomp and circumstance at the corner of San Pablo and 18th Street. You’ll know the place by the crowds waiting to get into  Hibiscus, part of the entertainment compound filling the old Sweet Jimmie’s spot near City Hall. The adjoining New Parish nightclub started drawing people to the previously forlorn corner when it opened a few months ago. But only late nights. Hibiscus has them showing up in droves from the moment the restaurant opened last week.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” will preview Thursday and Friday. Tickets for those performances are $10. The show opens Jan. 23. Friday is “OSA Day,” when Oakland School for the Arts students will get a firsthand look at the world of professional theater during the performance and an after-show discussion. Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 14. Tickets are $25 on Thursdays and $30 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Go to www.theatrefirst.com for special prices for season tickets, patrons younger than 30 and seniors, or call 510-436-5085.

Posted on Friday, January 22nd, 2010
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INTERNATIONAL FREAKOUT A GO-GO

By awoodall

presents…VERY BE CAREFUL at the First Church of the Buzzard. Friday night. What more do you need to know except that it is a night of “ass-shaking” music.
You’ll remember Very Be Careful from a previous  blog entry that I can’t find right now. But you might want the   hours (9PM until  3AM ) and the address: 2601 Adeline @ 26th St. Have fun.

Posted on Thursday, January 7th, 2010
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Elvis unites Oakland

By awoodall

Elvis wants us to love each other so come feel the King’s embrace (uh-huh) Friday night at Godspeed for a celebration of what would have been his 75th birthday: 6 p.m. til’ ambulance.  Children are also invited for the  Elvis-inspired food (peanut butter and banana sandwiches?), elvismusic, pinball,  movies, go-go dancing, prizes, pool and cake. Booze optional for the underage and the designated drivers. Tattoos of the King only $7.50. Brought to you by the Elvis Underground church (“pirate religion and punk spirituality”),  the East Oakland Yacht Klub, Summer of Rust 2010 and the Oakland Pinball Mafia — all keeping Oakland sane and safe from completely turning into a suburban clone. See you all there: 5532 San Pablo Ave.  I might even get another  tattoo. (I find it strange that I already have a category for Elvis on this blog…)

Posted on Thursday, January 7th, 2010
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A new scene in Old Oakland

By awoodall

Considering the address — Old Oakland — Chris Klein could have picked a better name than Oaksterdam Tattoo. If he had put the tattoo parlor in Oaksterdam territory there might not have been much fuss. But putting it on Washington Street next to Ratto’s guaranteed neighbors would raise an eyebrow. And they did, according to Klein. That is to be expected when you slap the name Oaksterdam on anything, especially on a tattoo parlor. He said he still gets stray calls by people looking for the green stuff, and I don’t mean ink. But the critics have eased off.
Klein  opened Dec. 18, a couple weeks after the bitchy chatter on Internet sites (“First a tattoo parlor. What’s next? A brothel?” and “Are we that desperate for businesses?”) died down. You could easily mistake the parlor for a gallery except for the sign on the window written in the A’s signature green and white swish, which does not really reflect what is behind the storefront.  A Victorian-era ceiling soars above tattoo stations where “Priest” sat steadily transforming a man’s back into a riot of  multicolored flora and fauna. Paintings by the tattoo artists hang on the startk white walls. There are no drunken sailors or brazen hussies, at least not this afternoon. The sidewalk was filled instead Caffe 817 patrons soaking up the wan winter sun.
Klein, a musician and artist, has kept the front area open for people waiting to turn their skin into a human canvas, as well as for entertainment on Frist Fridays.  Nothing big.  At least nothing like in New Orleans, which is where he moved from.  Further on but not far are two more new (and evidently less controversial ) additions to the neighborhood. The white-walled Collect gallery on Broadway opened Jan. 2 with a screening of film shorts (Oh thank you great culture muse in the sky). Next up is Jan. 12.
Collect gallery on Broadway, OaklandCollect is the second storefront being filled by Leila Banijamali and Lauren Geremia. The duo’s other gallery around the corner on Ninth bears the latter’s name, Geremia Design. Together with pioneer FIVEten Studio (oh please don’t go!) the galleries and parlor create a sort of four-cornered Old Oakland art scene. Banijamali and Geremia call themselves San Francisco designers and entrepreneurs. Perhaps. But even if that is their pedigree why do they named the Web site CollectArtSF if both of their “well-appointed galleries” are in Oakland. Was CollectArtOakland taken? You might say I’m being unfair because it is the URL we’re talking about. But: Oaksterdam might be a poor choice of names for the neighborhood but at least the name reflects the city it’s in.

Posted on Monday, January 4th, 2010
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Monaghan’s opens in Oakland

By awoodall

From the SF Marina District to the Oakland hills comes Monaghan’s, an Irish-themed pub and sports bar. The new location, ironically, is near the Mormon Temple, at 2820 Mountain Blvd. “Monaghan’s on the Hill” opened this weekend. More to come.

Posted on Monday, December 21st, 2009
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