Michael Moore isn't the only celebrity to immerse himself in Oakland's new, burgeoning political movement. It turns out a lot of local musicians are also using Occupy Oakland as an artistic muse. Including, yes, Too $hort. And rapper Kev Choice. In fact, when you consider all the bands who've performed at the tent city outside city hall this month, you might say it's become a veritable hub. We can't wait to hear $hort opine on bank bailouts and regressive taxation.
Here are five things to do this weekend that don't involve tear gas:
The times they are a'changin', and that's something that self-described red diaper baby John McCrea wholeheartedly embraces. Since its genesis during the great grunge revolution of 1991, McCrea's band Cake has not only carved out an impressive musical career via a string of quirky albums but also embraced a myriad of left-leaning causes. One gander at the news section of the group's website features links to everything from Occupy Wall Street to immigration to the national debt to climate change. The Sacramento outfit even recorded its most recent album, Showroom of Compassion, in a solar-powered recording studio. Like the band's politics, its music is fairly unorthodox; Cake has a penchant for covering a number of unlikely artists (Frank Sinatra and Bread among them) and for patching together bits of country, funk, new wave, and hip-hop into earwormy hits (ie, "The Distance" and "Short Skirt/Long Jacket"). Those who heard McCrea rant prodigiously during Cake's set at the Independent's ClimatePalooza back in July can expect more of the same this week, when the band plays its pseudo-homecoming at the Fox Theater (1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) on Sunday, Oct. 30. 7 p.m., $40.50. TheFoxOakland.com— Dave Gil de Rubio
Fruitvale Día de los Muertos Festival
While death is often a somber subject, the Mexican holiday known as Día de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead, if your Spanish skills need some sharpening) remembers the dead with a two-day celebration. The streets of Fruitvale will come to life during the Oakland neighborhood’s sixteenth annual festival, which honors the holiday with displays of intricate altars and memorials in addition to live music and dancing, traditional foods, a children’s activity area, and more. At Fruitvale Village (3401 E. 12th St. at Fruitvale BART, Oakland) on Sunday, Oct. 30. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., free. 510-535-7151 or UnityCouncil.org/ddlm — Cassie Harwood
This campaign plug is pretty funny, regardless of your political persuasion:
Happy weekend, East Bay. Here's what you're doing:
Pedalfest, in Jack London Sqaure (Water St. between Clay and Harrison sts., Oakland) is, most likely, the biggest bike festival ever to hit Oakland's streets, and a befitting celebration in a city crawling with cyclists of all sorts. Because the event includes everything from BMX stunts to a vintage bicycle show and a children's bike parade, it's safe to say that there will be a little of something for everyone with an affinity for two-wheeled transport — whether that be the helmeted, safety vest-wearing commuter crowd or the fixed-gear-riding cool kids. Recognizing Oakland's bicycle boom, organizers from Jack London Square teamed up with the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, Walk Oakland Bike Oakland (which the festival benefits), and the Oakland shop Bay Area Bikes to plan the Pedalfest premiere. The result of their efforts: five blocks filled with pedal-powered ice cream making, a pedal-powered stage, a folding bicycle race, a New Belgium beer garden, bicycle vendors peddling their wares, and plenty more. And, just to be nice, organizers have arranged complimentary valet bike parking and free ferry rides for bicyclists coming from San Francisco. Saturday, October 22, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., free. 510-645-9292 ext. 233 or PedalfestJackLondon.com. — Cassie Harwood
MC Hammer — former rap titan, racehorse breeder, mixed martial arts manager, inspiration for bobblehead dolls, maker of costly music videos, and master of frivolity — has announced his latest enterprise: A web search engine that, he says, will hopefully outpace Google and Bing. Called WireDoo, it's two years in the making, designed not only to yield key word results, but also provide information on related topics. The tagline, according to today's CNN blog post, is "Search once, and see what's related." Don't hurt ’em, Hammer.
A plaudit from Yoko Ono would mark the high point in just about any band's career. But in the case of local four-tet tUnE-yArDs, it may just be another twist on a road already paved with promise. The group made a surprise guest appearance with Ono's Plastic Ono Band in Reykjavík last night, as part of the Iceland Airwaves Festival. Seventy-eight year-old Ono didn't seem to mind being overshadowed by tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus, who is quickly becoming one of the most powerful, compelling frontwomen on the indie scene. "She's great, right?" Ono asked the crowd, after the two of them performed an explosive duet on Ono's song "We're All Water." Pitchfork blogger Carrie Battan was all agog. Check it out:
Happy weekend, East Bay. Here's what you're doing:
East Bay Mini Maker Faire
What happens when you put a bunch of dueling robots, pedal-powered carnival rides, Lego Jeeps, and vegan taxidermists in a room together? The East Bay Mini Maker Faire, of course. Now in its second year, the DIY craft fair features a slew of artists, crafters, and scientists showing off their handiwork, selling their wares, and offering hands-on workshops throughout the day. Notables: an unmanned aerial vehicle demoed by Wired magazine's Chris Anderson; crafts by Leafcutter Designs, creator of the world's smallest postal service; live music by The Conspiracy of Beards; and much, much more. At Park Day School (360 42nd St., Oakland) on Sunday, Oct. 16. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., $7.50-$20. 510-653-0317 or EBMakerFaire.com. — Cassie Harwood
If you have kids, or you've ever had to watch someone else's, you might understand the frustration of storytime. Despite popular wisdom that reading makes a child sleepy, author Adam Mansbach knew the opposite to be true, hence his hilarious bedtime-story book, Go the Fuck to Sleep, which quickly became a New York Times bestseller upon its release in June. While beautifully illustrated and written in verse form, the book is not exactly kid-friendly (sample line: "I know you're not thirsty, that's bullshit, stop lying, lie the fuck down my darling, and sleep"). The Bay Area author (The End of the Jews, Angry Black White Boy) is currently teaching at Rutgers University but will be back home for a string of readings, including at Diesel (5433 College Ave., Oakland) on Sunday, Oct. 16. 3 p.m., free. 510-653-9965 or DieselBookstore.com — Kathleen Richards
Lest you think Boots Riley and Lupe Fiasco were the only celebrities to descend on Occupy Oakland, wait 'til you glimpse Ernie, Bert, and Cookie Monster amid the hoopla. The entertainment site Uproxx just posted a full album of photoshopped images depicting your favorite Sesame Street characters as Occupy Wall Street protesters. It's gotten enough traction on Twitter to render #OccupySesameStreet a fairly popular hashtag. We dedicate this one to all our friends camping out at Frank Ogawa Plaza this week.
Here's a good reason to cut out of work early today: Coup frontman and all-around activist Boots Riley will be playing a free show starting at 4:45 at the Occupy Oakland site in Frank Ogawa Plaza. He'll be joined by Eddie Falcon, Gabby LaLa, Jabari, and MC Lovelle.
As though the "Gucci Gucci" girl didn't get enough exposure. Bay Area-born rapper Kreayshawn now has new ways to shoot swag out her overies, albeit in 2-D format. In a new video game designed by Beth Maher, she gets to romp through four different worlds (the club, the mall, the pier, and the beach), shooting fire balls at basic bitches. There's even a soundtrack derived from the rapper's earwormy hit. Fader posted the game so now all of us can play it here.