Friday, October 21, 2016

This Weekend's Top Five Events

October 21, 22, & 23

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 10:18 AM

See you there!

  • Bert Johnson/File
  • The Seshen
The Seshen At UC Theatre
People have said The Seshen resembles a United Nations meeting because the seven-piece East Bay band is about as diverse as a small group of people can get. The ensemble, led by a husband-wife duo composed of vocalist Lalin St. Juste and bassist Aki Ehara, layers soulful vocals with psychedelic electronics and a rich tapestry of jazzy pop instrumentation. Their live shows are not only impressive because of the band members’ musical prowess, they’re also high-energy and incredibly fun to dance to. Following the success of last year’s kaleidoscopic album Unravel, last week, the band released their latest album, Flames and Figures. Its new project sees the band deepening its exploration of electronic instruments and dance beats. Catch them live at the UC Theatre on October 22 with Bells Atlas and ANML (formerly Lila Rose) as they tour to promote the new LP. — Nastia Voynovskaya
Sat., Oct. 22, 7 p.m. UC Theatre (2036 University Ave., Berkeley). $25.

  • Tricky
Tricky and Rituals of Mine At the Independent
UK producer Tricky is one of those versatile visionaries whose work always tip-toes between pop accessibility and experimentation. The trip-hop pioneer got started in the early Nineties making dark, pared down beats and recruiting various vocalists to execute his vision — though his own whispery, chilling voice is a staple in his work. He’s worked with legends like Björk, Grace Jones, and Massive Attack, and his solo work is always collaborative in spirit. Tricky is currently touring to promote his latest album, Skilled Mechanics. And he recruited Rituals of Mine — formerly known as Sister Crayon — to join him on tour. The duo makes minimal electronic music with gorgeous, acrobatic vocals, and will be sharing the stage with Tricky on October 23 and 24 at The Independent in San Francisco. — N.V.
Sun. and Mon., Oct. 23 and 24, 8 p.m. The Independent (628 Divisadero St., San Francisco). $30.

Pop-Up Dinner with Chef Marcus Samuelsson and People’s Kitchen Collective
For five years now, the Oakland-based People’s Kitchen Collective has been bringing people together with its food justice-oriented events — from its Black Panthers-inspired free breakfasts to its sliding-scale community dinners, which allow folks of all budgets to enjoy a restaurant-caliber, family-style meal. In keeping with that community-oriented theme, the collective is hosting this pop-up at West Oakland’s Alena Studios (2725 Magnolia St.) in collaboration with the celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson. The family-style menu will feature recipes from Samuelsson’s new book The Red Rooster Cookbook, which is based on the food the chef serves at Red Rooster, his nouveau soul-food restaurant in Harlem. A limited number of tickets are available via Brown Paper Tickets. — Luke Tsai
Fri., Oct. 21, 7–9 p.m., $50,

  • Courtesy BAMFest
Check out the 2016 Bay Area Mural Festival
This week, the Bay Area Mural Festival (or BAMFest) is taking over the Oakland and Berkeley border, in the neighborhood around the intersection of Alcatraz and Martin Luther King Junior Way. The festival pairs seasoned muralists with groups of “at risk youth” for workshops that culminate with the painting of twelve murals in the area. Participating muralists and groups include Dignidad Rebelde, Cece Carpio and Priya, Dan Fontes, the Community Rejuvination Project, Vogue of TDK, and many others. The murals will be unveiled on Sunday, October 23 at a celebration featuring live hip-hop, cumbia, and Latin jazz, dancing by Mix’d Ingrdnts dance crew, food, and a community paint station. The event will take place at Youth Spirit Artworks (1740 Alcatraz Ave., Berkeley) from 1–5 p.m., and a bike tour will depart from there to view all the new murals in the neighborhood. For a more educational experience of the festival, you can also attend a lecture and Q&A featuring Precita Eyes’ Susan Cervantes and Art Forces’ Susan Green at La Peña Cultural Center on October 21 at 7 p.m. — Sarah Burke
$5–$10 sliding scale donation.

  • Courtesy Freedom Theatre
Palestine in Focus At La Peña Cultural Center
The Freedom Theatre is a creative community in the Northern part of the West Bank. With the goal of empowering Palestinian women and youth, the organization offers drama workshops and theatre performances, as well as training in stage management, photography, filmmaking, and creative writing. Its initiatives include Voices magazine, a publication produced in Jenin Refugee Camp, Jenin city, and surrounding villages. On Sunday, October 23, artists from The Freedom Theatre will be at La Peña Cultural Center (3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) to present Palestine in Focus, a multimedia exhibition that includes oral narratives, photographs, and film clips about life in the West Bank. Admission is $15, but for a higher donation, attendees can buy soup for five Freedom Theatre students, a Freedom Theatre T-shirt, or a signed print from the exhibition. — S.B.
Sun., Oct. 23, 6:30 p.m. $15–$100.

If your pockets are feelin' light and you're still yearning for more suggestions, we've got a ton, and these ones are all FREE! We're Hungry: Got any East Bay news, events, video, or miscellany we should know about? Feed us at

Yeezus is Coming to Oakland: Two Shows at Oracle this Weekend

by Nick Miller
Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 9:09 AM

Kanye West floats above the audience on his St. Pablo-mobile. - KENNY SUN/FLICKR
  • Kenny Sun/Flickr
  • Kanye West floats above the audience on his St. Pablo-mobile.

Kanye West takes over Oracle this Saturday and Sunday, back-to-back nights for his St. Pablo tour. And this got me thinking about a funny experience I had once with Ye's security guard.

It was April 2008. West was in Sacramento. What the hell was Kanye doing in Sac? Touring, of course. But a friend informed that he was also holed up in a secret (and awesome) local recording studio, laying down vocals for what would become 808s & Heartbreak.

I never get to play paparazzi, so I immediately headed over and posted up out front the studio with a camera.

Here's what I wrote back in 2008:
After about an hour of loitering streetside eavesdropping to Kanye rap about Bobby and Whitney and breaking up with chicks, a black Escalade finally rolled up. A man in street clothes hopped out and said, “Hey, you‘re going to have to leave because there are no photo-ops here.”

“I don‘t need a photo-op. I just need a photograph,” I replied.

“That‘s not going to happen, because you won‘t even get that lens cap off,” he threatened. (I already had my lens cap off.)
After this, the studio owner — basically the nicest dude in Sac — asked me to leave, so I scrammed.

I also remember that day because, later at the show, Kanye came out an yelled "What's up, Seattle?"

A few months after my run-in with West's bodyguard, Ye and his entourage assaulted a photographer at LAX:

So, yeah, be sure to check Kanye this week3end — and if I don't survive to see Monday ... now you know.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Dozen Don’t-Miss Black Panther Party 50th Anniversary Events

Learn more at

by Nick Miller
Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 2:22 PM


The theme of the Black Panther Party’s golden anniversary is “Where do we go from here?” That’s of course the big question — but, this week, there are a wealth of BBP events, rallies, concerts, seminars, lectures, galas, and more that celebrate today and now. Frankly, there’s so much going on that it’s over-whelming — and awesome. Here’s a look at a dozen don’t-miss events:

Black Panther Party 50th Anniversary Commemoration & Conference at various locations
The official BBP50 event is a four-day, multi-location conference featuring more than 35 events. Highlights include … well, so many lectures and seminars: a tech summit, a look at the Panthers and popular music, the FBI and the Party, film screenings and more. Only $35 for a three-day pass. Learn more at

Black Panther Party 50th Year Rally & Concert at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Gina Madrid and Saturu “James Mott” Ned (who the Express interviewed on page 17) will host this free concert near City Hall. The lineup is chock-full of major league performances: members of Digital Underground and Hieroglyphics, plus speakers including Mistah Fab, Cat Brooks and more. Free. Saturday, October 22. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Liberation Theology: The Black Panther Party and The Church at the Oakland Museum of California
A look at what the Panther programs and Christian gospel had in common, featuring Rev. M. Gayle Dickson, who the Express interviewed on page 16. Part of the three-day Black Panther 50th Anniversary conference and workshops, $35 for all three day. Saturday, October 22. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 1000 Oak St., Oakland.

Celebration Gala Dinner at the Oakland Museum of California
Actor and activist Danny Glover will be the keynote at this special gala, in addition to speeches from the likes of director Ryan Coogler and master of ceremonies Davey D. $100. Saturday, October 22. 7 to 11 p.m. 1000 Oak St., Oakland.

All Power to the People teachers workshop at Oakland Museum of California
This session is custom-tailored for educators that want to learn more about the special exhibit at OMCA. Free, RSVP at Friday, October 28. 4 to 6 p.m. 1000 Oak St., Oakland.

The Point is... 2.0 at Joyce Gordon Gallery
Works by seminal illustrator and original minister of culture for the Black Panthers, Emory Douglas, along with the Oakland Maroons Art Collective: Tarika Lewis, Akinsanya Kambon, Ducho Dennis, Duane Deterville, Rage Souljah, Chris Herod, and Refa One. A panel discussion featuring the Oakland Maroons Art Collective is October 27. Free. October 7–29. 406 14th St., Oakland.

ICONIC: Black Panther at American Steel Studios
More than forty artists from the Bay Area and beyond, honoring Panther icons. Free. October 7–November 6. 1960 Mandela Parkway, Oakland.

Survival Pending Revolution: Black Panther Party 50 and Comrade Sister at Omi Gallery
Rare ephemera from the collection of Oakland-based archivist Lisbet Tellefsen, including never-before-seen photographs, original prints, posters, and newspapers promoting the Panthers’ Community Survival Programs. Free. October 7–January 7. 2323 Broadway, Oakland.

50 Years Later: The Art Show at SoleSpace
A youth-driven show featuring both fashion and visual art. Free. 1714 Telegraph Ave., Oakland.

All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50 at Oakland Museum
Read Sarah Burke’s review. Free–$15.95. October 8–February 12. 1000 Oak St., Oakland.

Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers at UC Berkeley
This fall, the corridors of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism will be hung with photographs by Stephen Shames, a former UC Berkeley student who served as one of the most trusted photographers for the Black Panther Party. On October 19, both Seale and Shames will be present for a book signing and presentation in Cal’s Northgate Hall. Free. October 19–January 5. North Gate Hall, UC Berkeley.

Revolutionary Grain: Celebrating the Spirit of the Black Panthers at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland
Suzun Lucia Lamaina will be at the reception on October 22 to give an artist talk and signs the book version of her project. Meanwhile, at the Oakland Library’s main branch, see Revolution is a Daily Struggle: Remembering the Black Panther Party’s Social Program, which shows how Panthers fulfilled social needs. Free. October 22–February 28. 659 14th St., Oakland. 

And a bonus event:

Black Panthers, Pop Art, and 1960s California in the Films of Antonello Branca at UC Berkeley
Find out more here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mistah F.A.B. Reflects on the Black Panther Party's Fiftieth Anniversary and Today's Fight for Justice

A revealing Q&A with the hyphy icon and philanthropist.

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 5:10 PM

  • Bert Johnson
  • Mistah F.A.B.

He's known nationally as a Bay Area hip-hop legend. But in Oakland, Mistah F.A.B. is simultaneously a local icon and an accessible, ordinary citizen (well, almost) working for positive change — in the trenches too, not from some ivory tower.  

For the past ten years, he's spearheaded dozens of grassroots initiatives— including backpack and school-supply drives for local kids, Thanksgiving turkey giveaways, domestic violence prevention initiatives, and basketball tournaments that promote ending gun violence.

While he's widely regarded as a pioneering figure of the hyphy movement, many people don't realize that F.A.B. is also a political thinker who uses his position of influence to fight for justice.

From October 20 to 23, Oakland is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Black Panther Party with a city-wide conference and gala under the theme "Where Do We Go From Here?" And F.A.B. is a featured speaker at the Power to the People rally and concert on Saturday, October 22, at Frank Ogawa Plaza. The free event has plenty of musical guests to look forward to, such as local legends Dru Down and Tajai and up-and-coming feminist rapper Alia Sharrief. And F.A.B. and other activists such as Cat Brooks and Qubilah Shabazz will be dropping knowledge, as well.

I caught up with Mistah F.A.B. on a recent afternoon at his shop, Dope Era, to chat about what social justice-minded young people can learn from the Black Panthers' legacy. 

See more:
Oakland Rap Legend Mistah F.A.B. Moves Past His Hyphy Legacy and Makes a Different, Lasting Impact on his Hometown
Former Black Panther Newspaper Staffers Discuss Social and Racial Justice
The Oakland Museum of California's Homage to the Black Panther Party

More …

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Listen to Ah Mer Ah Su's Dreamy, Downcast Ballad "Klonopin"

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 2:55 PM

  • Jorge Mata Flores Photography
  • Ah Mer Ah Su.

Oakland singer Ah Mer Ah Su makes experimental electropop that shows off her rich, throaty voice and introspective lyrics over sparse, synth-heavy production. Not only is she a prodigious musical talent, she proudly reps her identity as a Black trans woman and has become a beacon in the local LGBTQ party scene and beyond.

The singer put out her debut EP Eclipsing earlier this year and is already gearing up for her next release, the five-track EP Rebecca. And today, she dropped "Klonopin," a delicate ballad from the new project that details the singer's struggles with substance abuse while coping with a loved one's suicide, she revealed in an interview with Thump

Take a listen below and see Ah Mer Ah Su live at Radical Love: East Bay LGBTQ Youth Pride in Hayward and The Night Light in Oakland, both taking place on October 25.

Tags: , , , ,

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Seshen Releases New Album, 'Flames & Figures'

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Fri, Oct 14, 2016 at 3:33 PM


East Bay band The Seshen has become a local favorite over the past few years with its vibrant, eclectic take on neo-soul and R&B-inflected pop. The seven-piece bands combines the rich vocals of singers Lalin St. Juste and Akasha Rockland with virtuosic percussion, bass, and keyboard playing and electronic production. 

See More:
Sessions with The Seshen

More …

Tags: , , , , ,

This Weekend's Top Five Events

October 14, 15, and 16.

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Fri, Oct 14, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Even Hillary Clinton is looking at cat gifs to get away from the messiness of this year's election. If you're looking for distractions from this dystopian hell-world we find ourselves in, we suggest checking out these five events. 

Treasure Island Music Festival

The tenth annual Treasure Island Music Festival is one of the most well curated editions of the event in years, with a savvy mix of today’s most original rappers, experimental artists, and pop performers. As far as rap is concerned, don’t miss Kamaiyah and Young Thug, who both play on Saturday. Since the release of her debut project, A Good Night in the Ghetto, Kamaiyah has quickly outpaced her contemporaries with ultra-confident bars, trunk-rattling beats, and collaborations with YG and Drake. Meanwhile, Young Thug, who has a brilliant new album called JEFFERY, practically invented a new vocal style while challenging our understanding of gender with his risky sartorial choices. Also on our list of sets not to miss: trip-hop god James Blake and, of course, headliners Ice Cube and Sigur Rós. — Nastia Voynovskaya

Sat. and Sun., Oct. 15 and 16. $105 per day.

Matatu Festival
Dancers from the Alonzo  King Lines Ballet.
  • Dancers from the Alonzo King Lines Ballet.

In its fourth year, the Matatu Festival is showing signs of adolescent rebellion. The four-day art festival — named after a minibus widely used in Kenya — made its reputation as a mecca of art, film, and music celebrating the cultural richness of Africa and the African diaspora. But select curatorial choices suggest Matatu is looking beyond the horizon; films such as A Syrian Love Story and The Living Need Light, the Dead Need Music take place in Syria and Vietnam respectively with non-African protagonists. The films focus on themes such as love amid war and festivities amid death — cultural points that organizers feel draw parallels to the modern African and African diasporic experiences. That’s not to say the usual suspects aren’t present in the programming: Films such as Too Black to Be French and Black Code / Code Noir focus on discrimination and violence against Black people in France and America respectively. And on the performance end, dancers from the Alonzo King Lines Ballet will be back this year for another stunning, stripped down recital. The festival starts on Wednesday, October 12 and runs through Saturday, October 15. Most events take place at Starline Social Club in Oakland, with some programming at the Grand Lake Theatre and the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. — Seung Lee

October 12–15, free but donation requested. For full date and venue details, visit

B-Side BBQ Pop-Up
B-Side’s smoked brisket.
  • B-Side’s smoked brisket.
If you’ve spent much of the past year lamenting about how every half-decent barbecue joint in the East Bay seems to have gone out of business, believe me when I say this: You aren’t the only one. But for at least one evening, one of the best in the biz — Tanya Holland’s B-Side BBQ (3303 San Pablo Ave.) — will rise from its hickory-smoked ashes for a pop-up dinner in collaboration with Blue Heron Catering. There will be live music, as well as beer and wine for sale courtesy of Rock Wall Wine Company, Urban Legend Cellars, and Drake’s Brewing. But if you’re going to go, let it be for the food: a two-way plate featuring St. Louis ribs, the best smoked brisket in the East Bay, and several of Holland’s signature sides. Might this event foretell a more permanent rebirth for B-Side? We’ll keep our fingers crossed. — Luke Tsai

Sun., Oct. 16, 4–7 p.m., $35,

Rae Armentrout at Diesel, a Bookstore
Rae Armantrout.
  • Rae Armantrout.
Rae Armentrout, a Vallejo native who now teaches at the University of California San Diego, is a force in contemporary poetry. After attending UC Berkeley in the Sixties, Armentrout and her peers became the avant-garde Language Poets, wielding a hard, strategic use of words that rebelled against the sentimentality of the confessional poem and instead surgically unpacked contemporary culture with each curated stanza. She’s been writing ever since, and in 2009 her book Versed won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Now, she’s releasing Partly: New and Selected Poems, 2001-2015, an anthology of her work from the titular period that also includes twenty-five new poems. Armantrout will be at Diesel, A Bookstore (5433 College Ave., Oakland) on October 14 from 7–8 p.m. for a conversation with Oakland poet and Mills College professor Stephanie Young. Of course, she’ll discuss the new book and sign copies. — Sarah Burke 

Friday, Oct. 14. 7–8 p.m. Free.

Inside You Is Me
Installation by Jacqueline Gordon.
  • Installation by Jacqueline Gordon.
For the month of October, The Lab has handed artist Jacqueline Gordon the key to its San Francisco Mission District venue along with a chunk of money. And, given free reign, Gordon has constructed her own kind of lab. Entitled Inside You Is Me, Gordon’s immersive installation is made up of directional speakers, diffusers that double as sculptural elements, and — most importantly — both live and pre-recorded sound samples from around the neighborhood. In line with her broader body of work, the piece elicits an awareness of the way that sound invisibly shapes our experience of the world and the agency we have to physically alter our own relationships to sound. To further activate Gordon’s elaborate sculptural apparatus, the artist has commissioned a series of performances to take place inside it and be composed in direct response to it. The first of these will take place this Saturday (7 p.m.) and Sunday (3 p.m.), October 15–16. Entitled Playlist, the piece will feature dancers Maryanna Lachmann, Jose Abad, and Oscar Tidd each choosing from selection of sounds to compel their movement. — Sarah Burke

Oct. 15, 7 p.m. and Oct. 16, 3 p.m. Free.

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Seven Acts Not to Miss at Treasure Island Music Festival

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 5:01 PM

  • Raymond Ahner
This year, Treasure Island Music Festival swapped its view of the San Francisco skyline for a picturesque view of Oakland, moving its festival grounds to the east side of the island. It's the festival's tenth year. And it just so happens that 2016 has one of its best lineups yet, with an eclectic mix of pop, indie, hip-hop, and experimental music. So without further ado, here are our recs for which sets not to miss at the event, which takes place on October 15 and 16.

More …

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Kamaiyah and YG Turn Up at the Sideshow in the "Fuck It Up" Video

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Tue, Oct 11, 2016 at 5:25 PM

  • The FADER
Kamaiyah's debut mixtape A Good Night in the Ghetto has no shortage of slaps, and it's been on heavy rotation since its March release. Now, the East Oakland rapper has a new music video out for "Fuck It Up" featuring YG, whom she recently collaborated with on his single "Why You Always Hatin'" (also featuring Drake). She's also currently traveling with YG for his Fuck Donald Trump Tour, whose title speaks for itself. 

More …

Tags: , , , ,

Monday, October 10, 2016

This Year’s Oakland Music Festival Was a Marathon of Small, Local Gigs

Despite some growing pains, the fest successfully expanded into a ten-day concert series that highlighted outstanding local talent.

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Mon, Oct 10, 2016 at 6:29 PM

Rappers Jay Stone and Queens D.Light at The Night Light. - MICHAEL MILLER
  • Michael Miller
  • Rappers Jay Stone and Queens D.Light at The Night Light.

Jay Stone looked at home as he took the stage in a burgundy bathrobe last Thursday at The Night Light, a bar near Jack London Square. He was headlining the seventh night of Oakland Music Festival, which dominated the local concert calendar from September 30 to October 9 with shows taking place at different venues every night.

Stone quickly traded his sneakers for Nike socks and hung his fluffy robe on a mic stand as he danced along to his stream-of-consciousness rhymes. He performed with jazz quintet Yayuh (which is pronounced how Lil Jon screams “yeah!” and contains two members of indie group Bells Atlas). Stone’s bizarre storytelling rap featured plenty of plot twists and cliff-hangers; his freestyles were dynamic and hilarious. And Yayuh’s Caribbean-influenced jazz made his set that much more fun to watch.

Although it was low-key, the performance was one peak of this year’s Oakland Music Festival, and an apt one at that: As a whole, the fest had a similarly dressed-down, charming vibe.

More …

Tags: , , , ,

Most Popular Stories

© 2016 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation