Friday, February 28, 2014

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 7:00 AM

It's Friday! Celebrate the weekend and all this glorious rain we've been getting with these five events, expertly selected just for you:

Bay Area Derby Girls Season Opener
During the Bay Area Derby Girls’ league championship game last July, underdog team the Oakland Outlaws eked out a win against the San Francisco ShEvil Dead by 23 points. This Saturday, at the season opener at the Craneway Pavilion, the Outlaws will try to maintain their heavyweight status in a battle against longtime victors the Richmond Wrecking Belles, who are looking to redeem themselves after failing to make it to the championships last year. The double-header will also include a matchup between the San Francisco ShEvil Dead and the Berkeley Resistance, but that game is more of a wildcard since both teams have almost entirely new rosters this year. For those who haven’t been to a derby bout before, expect to see intense competition and impressive athletic maneuvers. If you buy a VIP pass, you’ll be able to ask questions to the “Talk Derby to Me” liaisons. Saturday, Mar. 1. 6 p.m., $25-$50. BayAreaDerbyGirls.comZaineb Mohammed

Dying White Black and Brown
  • Kegan Marling
  • Dying White Black and Brown

Black Choreographers Festival
Celebrating ten years of arts, culture, dance, and discourse, the Black Choreographers Festival returns to Laney College Theater this weekend with bold-name choreographers who have Bay Area roots and national influence. The two nights’ programs vary slightly, but both include Dying While Black and Brown, created by San Francisco’s extraordinary choreographer-aerialist Joanna Haigood, and Portsha Jefferson’s Haitian-inspired Nasyon Dechennen! (Haitian Creole for “nation unleashed”), performed by Rara Tou Limen Haitian Dance Company. Friday opens with a pre-show screening of Upaj: Improvise, a documentary about Kathak master Pandit Chitresh Das and past BCF participant Jason Samuels Smith, and presents world premieres by Kendra Kimbrough Barnes and Gregory Dawson. Following a soul-food reception and a musical performance by Kev Choice, Saturday’s show adds an excerpt from Oakland native Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s red, black & GREEN: a blues and closes with a ceremony honoring the festival’s first decade of achievement. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28-Mar. 1. Fri. 6:30 p.m., Sat. 7 p.m. (performances at 8 p.m.); $10-$25. BCFHereAndNow.comClaudia Bauer

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Berkeley Jazzschool Earns Accreditation, Becomes California Jazz Conservatory

by Sam Levin
Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Berkeley is now home to the nation's only accredited, independent music conservatory dedicated to the study and performance of jazz. The National Association of Schools of Music has granted accreditation to the Jazzschool, a downtown Berkeley institution which officials have renamed the California Jazz Conservatory.

With its new certification, the school will house both a four-year bachelor of music degree in jazz studies and a non-degree-granting academy called the Jazzschool Community Music School.

“It’s enormously gratifying to have reached this important milestone,” Susan Muscarella, founding president of the Jazzschool, said in a statement.

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Oaklanders School ‘Real World’ Cast on Transgender Identity

by Elliot Owen
Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Oaklanders keep it real. And last night, almost 2 million viewers watched as five queer people of color from the Town schooled the cast of MTV’s Real World: Ex-Plosion on a topic that’s been steadily garnering more media attention: transgender identity.

The subject came up around 25-year-old cast member Ari Fitz (who goes by Arielle Scott on the show), a black lesbian, androgynous model, and horror filmmaker who was born in Vallejo and most recently lived in Oakland.

Halfway into taping the show — which was filmed in San Francisco last summer and is currently airing on Wednesday nights — rumors about Fitz being a transgender woman surfaced on the Internet and among cast members. Her initial reaction to the rumor — which was false — was negative. “I don’t want to be trans,” she says during last night’s episode, expressing that she felt the misidentification threatened her lesbian identity.

Fitz (third from right) and her Oakland friends.
  • Fitz (third from right) and her Oakland friends.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Huzzah, it's Friday! Watch this video of an armadillo moonwalking to 'Billie Jean' by Michael Jackson and read on for our list of the five best things you can do with your weekend:

The 45 Sessions with The Sweater Funk DJs
If you’re feeling particularly amorous this Friday, you’re in luck: At Legionnaire Saloon, the 45 Sessions will host the third annual “Love Jams” edition of its monthly all-45rpm dance party with special guests the Sweater Funk DJs. The Sweater Funk DJs have held down a Sunday-night residency at The Knockout in San Francisco since 2008, where they play boogie, two-step, and modern soul. On Friday, expect to hear “classics, rarities, slow jams, dance floor burners, and everything in between, all to the tune of your romantic beating heart,” according to the event’s Facebook page. And, of course, resident DJs Platurn, E Da Boss, Enki, Delgado, and Mr. E will be on deck to keep things fresh. As a bonus, DJ Aware and Donovan Weaton will be hosting a sale of soul records. Friday, Feb. 21. 9 p.m., $5, $10. LegionnaireSaloon.comMadeleine Key

Ian Carey and Ben Stolorow
The duo of Richmond trumpeter Ian Carey and Albany pianist Ben Stolorow is the most adventurous and exciting trumpet-pianist pairing since cornetist Ruby Braff and pianist-organist Dick Hyman played together a quarter century ago. But whereas Braff and Hyman’s music was rooted in the pre-bop mainstream, these two East Bay musicians draw stylistically on a somewhat later era. They have a terrific new CD titled Duocracy on which their approach to melody, harmony, and rhythm suggests Thelonious Monk as they playfully explore “Cherokee,” “Little White Lies,” “You Took Advantage of Me,” “All the Things You Are,” and other popular standards, plus Gigi Gryce’s “Social Call,” Monk’s “Four in One,” and a tune of their own. On Friday, they will be marking the CD’s release with a performance at The Jazzschool. Friday, Feb. 21. 8 p.m., $12, $15. Jazzschool.orgLee Hildebrand

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Documentary Tells Story of First Mosque Destroyed by Arson

by Zaineb Mohammed
Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 4:53 PM

Hate crimes against Muslims occur with unfortunate frequency these days, but in 1994 when the first American mosque was destroyed by an act of arson in Yuba City, Calif., they were a rarity. In his new documentary, An American Mosque, director David Washburn chronicles the building of that mosque, its destruction, and the community’s response to the crime.

Washburn initially brought the film to festivals in 2012, but is showing a longer version of the documentary at community screenings this year, including at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California (ICCNC) this Saturday.

The depiction of the Yuba City Muslim American farming community shown in the film is a departure from mainstream media portrayals of Muslims, which often focus on their foreignness. For example, Khalid Saeed, who donated five acres of his farmland for the mosque, is a longtime farmer whose family immigrated to California from Pakistan in the 1950s. “It’s a very sympathetic and important portrayal of a really interesting California community,” said Raeshma Razvi, the director of the arts and culture program at ICCNC who organized the screening.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Lineup for Fifth Annual Burger Boogaloo Announced

by Kathleen Richards
Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 2:31 PM

Burger Records’ annual Burger Boogaloo festival was held for the first time in Oakland last year, drawing about 3,000 people, and it appears the success of that event has convinced organizers to again hold their two-day all-ages music fest in Oakland’s Mosswood Park. This year’s iteration, scheduled for July 5 and 6, will feature none other than legendary girl-group pioneer Ronnie Spector, as well as Long Island’s Milk ‘N’ Cookies (in its first West Coast appearance), Asheville, North Carolina’s Reigning Sound, SoCal’s The Muffs, and locals Shannon and the Clams (who also performed last year) and Nobunny. Other performers include Bananas, The Trashies, Phantom Surfers, Juan Wauters, La Sera, Chad & The Meatbodies, The Terry Malts, Wand, Danny James, Summer Twins, White Fang, Pookie and the Poodlez, Honey Power, Tina Boom Boom Lucchesi, and Russel Quan. This year’s ticket prices are slightly cheaper than last year: $35 for one-day tickets and $50 for weekend passes. Watch for more bands announced soon; in the meantime, get your tickets here.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Winners of 'BRIEFS' 2014

by Zaineb Mohammed
Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 10:35 AM

In case you missed it, the Express hosted its third-annual erotic film competition, BRIEFS, last Thursday night at the Grand Lake Theater. Emceed by Tourettes Without Regrets host Jamie DeWolf, the sold out festival featured eighteen erotic short films, as well as performances by contortionist Dwoira Galilea from the Vau De Vire Society and sexy clown troupe Fou Fou Ha.

Thanks to all the performers, filmmakers, and our judges for participating in the festival, and to the fantastic audience for coming out! Here are the winners:
Judge's choice: Krutch
Audience choice: Sextivism

Best acting performance: A Girl and a Gun
Most likely to make you want to fuck: Trains
Best orgasm: Introducing Alaya
Best cinematography: Primavera
Most authentic storyline: A Girl and a Gun

For photos of the event, head over to the BRIEFS Facebook page.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Kimball’s Carnival Closes "For Good"

by Kathleen Richards
Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 11:57 AM

Jack London district venue Kimball’s Carnival — one of Oakland's few remaining R&B/hip-hop clubs — has closed its doors. Instagram user actualglenn tipped us off to the closure, and a post two days ago on Kimball’s' Facebook profile confirmed it: “It finally close for good now Kimball had a good run now we are at e one.” No one answered the phone at Kimball’s — which has suffered from a reputation of violence over the years — but the mention of “e one” appears to be a reference to the East Oakland billiard hall/sports bar/comedy club E One Entertainment.

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  • actualglenn/Instagram

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Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Whether or not you're celebrating Valentine's Day, everyone can rejoice about the three-day weekend. Here are the five best events for you to check out:

Downtown Berkeley Is for Lovers
This year’s Grammy Awards — during which Queen Latifah officiated the marriages of 34 gay and straight couples — made mass weddings trendy. Now the City of Berkeley is jumping on the bandwagon. To celebrate the first Valentine’s Day since the repeal of DOMA and Prop 8, the Downtown Berkeley Association is inviting couples who wish to wed to the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza, where their marriages will be officiated by Berkeley City Councilmember Darryl Moore, Berkeley School Board Member Judy Appel, and Berkeley Chamber CEO Polly Armstrong. After the chorus of “I dos,” the crowd will be able to vote for their favorite couples — in the categories of gay, lesbian, and straight — and the three winning newlywed pairs will receive a free mini-honeymoon, including a two-night stay at Hotel Shattuck Plaza, meals at Eureka! Burger and BUILD Pizzeria, and tickets to see Berkeley Rep’s The House that will not Stand. After the winners have been announced, all are invited to the Hotel Shattuck Plaza for a wedding reception with champagne and cake. Friday, Feb. 14. 5 p.m., free, $10 for post-wedding reception. Downtown Berkeley.com/is4loversZaineb Mohammed

Thomas Mapfuno and the Blacks Unlimited
Thomas Mapfumo is an exiled Zimbabwean political activist who has been making music that details the struggle of his people to achieve self-rule for nearly forty years. In the 1970s, he created chimurenga music by transposing the Shona people’s use of the African thumb piano onto electric guitars and bass, drums, and horns, and by blending in elements of jazz and blues: It’s moving and emotional, in addition to being socially conscious and intellectually engaging. Mapfumo now lives in Eugene, Oregon and has been barred from returning to his homeland for the past five years, but he continues to make music that is passionate about the struggle of Zimbabweans. Over the years, his band, Blacks Unlimited, has undergone a variety of lineup changes, but at Ashkenaz this week, it will consist of a guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, drummer/percussionist, and two singers. Saturday, Feb. 15. 9:30 p.m., $20, $25. Ashkenaz.comMadeleine Key

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Gaming to Save the Environment? A Recap of Last Weekend’s TEDxBerkeley

by Angela Rowell
Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 2:27 PM

On Saturday morning, more than 1,700 attendees crowded into Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley to attend the annual TEDxBerkeley conference, an event created to spark dialogue on topics such as female empowerment, environmental protection, and technological innovation. Designed to mimic the intellectually stimulating atmosphere of TED Talks — the international forum that brings together top innovators, artists, and world leaders to generate world-changing initiatives — TEDxBerkeley is independently organized and allows participants to elevate local ideas to a global platform.

The conference was divided into three ninety-minute sessions: “rethink,” “redefine,” and “recreate.” Each session featured an eclectic collection of speakers whose presentations illuminated the latest thinking in their fields of expertise.

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