Friday, January 31, 2014

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 7:00 AM

In honor of our pets issue, check out these adorable photos of a toddler napping with his puppy. Once you're done squee-ing, read on for our list of the five best events happening this weekend:

Giraffage, aka San Francisco bedroom producer Charlie Yin, has gained a steady following since he began releasing dreamy sample-based pop music in 2011. Like his contemporaries Ryan Hemsworth and R.L. Grime, Giraffage has a keen ear for incorporating R&B into electronic music: His 2013 mixtape Needs is mellow and sexy, as he alternately speeds up and slows down familiar tracks. On “Close 2 Me,” Giraffage samples Cathy Dennis’ 1991 song “All Night Long (Touch Me),” transforming a disco hit into a sultry haze (complete with requisite bleeps and bloops, of course). Giraffage performed at last year’s Treasure Island Music Festival but otherwise does not often perform locally, so his upcoming show at The New Parish will be a rare treat. 8th Grader, Bobby Peru, and ChadSalty will open the show. Friday, Jan. 31. 9 p.m., $10, $13. TheNewParish.comMadeleine Key

Magik*Magik Orchestra
  • Magik*Magik Orchestra

Magik*Magik Orchestra
Magik*Magik Orchestra collaborates with artists who want to incorporate orchestral elements into their music, be it a single violinist or an entire symphony and choir. This Friday, the “made-to-order orchestra” will celebrate its five-year anniversary with a special show entitled “When We Were Young” at The Fox Theater. The thirty-person orchestra will perform alongside some of the most talented bands in the Bay Area, including Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, The Dodos, Geographer, Rogue Wave, and Two Gallants, covering some of the bands members’ favorite songs from childhood (The Pacific Boychoir will join them for several songs). And if that weren’t enough, Michael Morgan, the conductor of the Oakland East Bay Symphony, will also be on hand assisting Minna Choi, the creative force behind Magik*Magik Orchestra. If you love orchestral sounds in pop music, you won’t want to miss this show. Friday, Jan. 31. 8 p.m., $29.50-$45. TheFoxOakland.comM.K.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: Eyehategod at the Oakland Metro, 1/24

by Zoe Brezsny
Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Demon-conjuring screeches? Check. Legendary New Orleans sludge? Check. Lost platform clog in the mosh pit? Check. Not one, not two, but six doom metal bands stopped by the Oakland Metro Operahouse this past Friday. It was a celebration of Eyehategod's 25th anniversary and Graves at Sea’s triumphant return to the stage after a long hiatus.

  • Liz Ciavarella-Brenner
  • Eyehategod

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, Jan 24, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Huzzah, it's Friday! Listen to this new jam from Mary J. Blige and Disclosure and check out our list of the five best things you can do with your weekend:

Every fourth Friday, DJ Fuze — best known for being a member of seminal Oakland hip-hop group Digital Underground — takes over the sound system at Era Art Bar. He knows his stuff — he produced for Tupac and worked with artists like The Luniz, Goapele, and Dave Chappelle. And although Fuze’s background is in hip-hop, he also spins R&B, soul, disco, and funk. At his monthly party at Era, he incorporates sounds from the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa into his set as well. With such a diverse array of music, you won’t be bored. Friday, Jan. 24. 9 p.m., $10. OaklandEra.comMadeleine Key


Winemaker Dinner
Who can tell you the most about wines? The folks who make them! A Winemaker Dinner on Friday at the sommelier-owned Barrel Room will feature vintners pouring and discussing the Italian wines of Fratelli Mossio and Ludovica and Giuseppe Lusenti. Options in the prix-fixe repast prepared by veteran Oliveto Chef Sam Paulding will include Romanesco bisque, tapenade, lasagne, pork tenderloin, hazelnut torte, and house-made gelato. A vegetarian version of the menu will be available, too. Friday, Jan. 24. 6 p.m., seatings at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.; $80. BarrelRoomOak.comAnneli Rufus

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What’s Going On With Clean-Up?

by Katie Tandy
Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Back in November, we profiled the story of a successful fundraising campaign to get West Oakland homeless resident James Boatner (aka “Clean-up”) off the streets in order to write his memoir (see “Street Stories With a Global Reach”). But since then, a fury of “he said, she said” has ensued: Several readers contacted us to say that Boatner is still on the streets of West Oakland and, worse yet, is claiming that attempts to contact the fundraiser’s organizer, Kate DeCiccio, have been unsuccessful and that she “ran off with the money.”

James Boatner (aka Clean-up)
  • James Boatner (aka Clean-up)

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Hey party people, it's the (long) weekend! We picked out the five best events for you to check out that are happening today through Sunday:

Extra Classic
The lineup at The Starry Plough on Friday is stacked with three rad up-and-coming bands, each of which rocks a classic sound from a bygone era: Perhaps most notably, the headliner, San Francisco’s Extra Classic, whose mix of classic Jamaican dub and psychedelic rock ’n’ roll — recorded on vintage equipment — creates a groovy, skin-tingly, feel-good sound. If you have a pulse, its reggae rhythms will have you moving. Extra Classic plans to debut new material from its forthcoming sophomore “showcase” album, which features a dub version of each of its new songs. Also on the bill are fellow Burger Records affiliate The Abigails, the self-described “satanic outlaw country band” of Warren Thomas (formerly of The Growlers), and The Spyrals, a psychedelic garage-rock band from San Francisco. Friday, Jan. 17. 9 p.m., $5, $8-$12. TheStarryPlough.comMadeleine Key

Pressure Drop
Now there’s one less reason to feel like you have to venture over to San Francisco to get your dance on. Parliament is a new nightlife venue in Old Oakland, and each weekend, it will host a mix of local and guest DJs. And the sound is going to be supreme. According to manager Jason Bradford, Parliament is the only venue in the East Bay that has an Audio Opus Sound System, an internationally reputable setup. This Friday, Parliament will feature DJ Sake 1 for the first installment of Pressure Drrop, a night dedicated to global soul, dance-floor classics, and soulful house (think Lisa Shaw, Kaskade, and Stevie Wonder, Bradford said). The following evening, Parliament will host its grand opening celebration, with DJ Dino spinning Top 40 and EDM (expect to hear Daft Punk, Beyoncé, and Calvin Harris). Friday, Jan. 17. 9 p.m., $5. 811Parliament.comM.K.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Report: Oakland First Fridays Benefit Restaurants and Vendors, Not Galleries

by Sam Levin
Tue, Jan 14, 2014 at 2:57 PM

The Oakland First Fridays street festival attracts thousands of people to downtown and offers an economic boost to restaurants, bars, and participating vendors. For art galleries, it's a different story. This is according to a new report released today by the Koreatown-Northgate (KONO) community benefit district, the financial sponsor of the popular festival. As the Express has chronicled, the monthly event has gone through a complex evolution in recent years, most notably when Oakland Art Murmur, the nonprofit entity that represents dozens of art venues, stopped overseeing and paying for the closure of 23rd Street in 2012. The street party, however, did not stop. As a result, the massive event has continued without consistent leadership and without stable funding, prompting regular threats from city officials of a potential shutdown.

Supporters argue that the event has improved Oakland's image and economic development — and now they have some survey data to support these claims. (We've reported on the early findings of this study before, most recently in an article on a new fundraising campaign for First Fridays).

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Cody Foster Sends Threatening Letter to Flickr Watchdog, Alleges Copyright Violations

by Sam Levin
Mon, Jan 13, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Last fall, wholesale company Cody Foster faced a wave of copyright infringement allegations after Oakland illustrator Lisa Congdon accused the business of stealing her original designs. The controversy was included in my cover story published last week on the rise in corporations ripping off independent artists. Cody Foster officials have declined to comment on the matter for months, but lawyers for the Nebraska-based company have been working behind-the-scenes to do damage control. Since publishing my story, I received a copy of a threatening letter that Cody Foster's attorney sent to a Flickr user who had closely scrutinized the company's catalog, publishing images of dozens of its products alongside original designs the business may have stolen.

The letter from Cody Foster's lawyer said the Flickr user is "liable for harm" and that the company "may seek statutory damages, actual damages as well as injunctive relief." Perhaps the most surprising part of the threat, the attorney wrote that this Flickr user violated the copyright protections of Cody Foster — and is thus subject to damages under the US Copyright Act.

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Huzzah it's the weekend! Celebrate the fact that we did not have to endure polar vortex by checking out these five awesome events:

Tower of Power
Tower of Power has been perfecting its unique style of groove music since 1968. Over the decades, nearly sixty different musicians have toured or recorded as part of the ten-piece soul outfit — a testament to the Oakland band’s enduring legacy. Its large, funky horn section is particularly renowned, having collaborated with The Grateful Dead, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Huey Lewis and the News, Phish, and Aerosmith. Today, four original members remain, and the band’s sound is as fresh as ever, in part due to new lead vocalist Ray Greene, who has a honeyed voice and a commanding presence. You can see the band this weekend at Yoshi’s, where it’s in the midst of a five-day stint in advance of a tour with Journey and The Steve Miller Band later this year. Many shows are already sold out, but check website for ticket availability. Friday-Sunday, Jan. 10-12. Times vary, $45. Yoshis.comMadeleine Key

Anita Wilson
  • Anita Wilson

Anita Wilson
East St. Louis-born, Chicago-based singer-songwriter Anita Wilson is one of the most refreshing gospel stylists to have emerged in recent years. Formerly featured with Donald Lawrence & Co., as well as having done background vocals for such gospel stars as Hezekiah Walker, Marvin Sapp, and Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Wilson stepped out on her own in 2012 with a remarkable album titled Worship Soul. Unlike many gospel singers who holler and break syllables into seemingly endless curlicues — and there’s nothing wrong with that if done right — she delivers her Christian odes with consummate grace, letting her gorgeously rounded alto pipes, perfectly placed sustains, and jazz-imbued phrasing build them to reverent peaks of passion. Her treatment of James Taylor’s “Shower the People” is particularly touching. Wilson, who at times brings the late Bay Area gospel singer Danniebelle Hall to mind, will perform at Beebe Memorial Cathedral on a bill with Tennessee vocalist Wess Morgan. Friday, Jan. 10. 7:30 p.m., $40. ExperienceBMC.orgLee Hildebrand

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Nasty Gal Rip-Off: See How One Company Responds to Copyright Theft Allegations

by Sam Levin
Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 10:27 AM

What happens when independent artists discover that major retailers are selling blatant knockoffs of their works? That's one of the central questions I explore in this week's cover story on corporate copyright theft, which chronicles the experiences of visual artists in the Bay Area and around the country who have had their work stolen for profit. You can see a sampling of these rip-offs here.

One of the biggest challenges for independent artists, many who work full-time to handcraft and sell their original products, is that it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to take legal action against a large corporation. Jamie Spinello, a jewelry designer and former Oakland resident who now lives in Austin, recently experienced this hardship firsthand when she corresponded with four companies that were all selling knockoffs of her designs. Her attorney Emily Danchuk, who is in the process of launching an association called Copyright Collaborative, shared with me one of the most egregious responses from a company profiting from Spinello's design. I've published excerpts of the exchange below, which offers an insight into the sometimes very frustrating responses from corporations accused of theft.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Corporate Copyright Theft: See How Large Companies Rip Off Independent Artists

by Sam Levin
Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 10:33 AM

In this week's cover story, I explore the troubling trend of large corporations ripping off independent artists by stealing designs for their own products and profits. Often, third-party wholesalers manufacture cheap knockoffs for retail companies without the permission of the original artists — and without offering any compensation. The piece was inspired by the case of local street artist Eddie Colla, who found one of his works on last year.

In reporting the story, I collected evidence of this theft from artists and attorneys across the country.

To get a better sense of this kind of copyright infringement, which impacts a diverse range of creators and can be quite blatant, I've compiled a sampling of examples from the artists below.

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