Friday, April 25, 2014

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 7:00 AM

It's Friday and we've got your weekend all planned out and ready for you:

National Dance Week
The Bay Area offers the grandest smorgasbord of dance outside of New York City, and National Dance Week is your opportunity to sample what’s on offer — for free. The 33rd annual festival includes an array of events and dance styles. Among the highlights: classes on Tahitian dancing at the Mahea Uchiyama Center and Congolese dancing with Cultural Arts of GOLD at Malonga Casquelourd Arts Center on Sunday, and Afro-Cuban folkloric dancing with Dimensions Dance Theater (also at Malonga Casquelourd Arts Center) on Wednesday. If you’d rather watch, pack a lunch and take in Thursday’s 20 Points of View — an all-day presentation of works in progress by Randee Paufve, The Thick Rich Ones, Jessi Barber, Andrea Mock, Colin Epstein, and sixteen other inventive choreographers — at Luna Dance Institute. Visit the website for more information. Friday through Sunday. Apr. 25-May 4. Various locations throughout the Bay Area, free. BayAreaNDW.org — Claudia Bauer

The National
  • The National
The National
Everything about The National is over-the-top. The band’s compositions are heartbreakingly sad, and its lyrics are intensely personal. Live, frontman Matt Berninger stumbles across the stage wrecked with emotion, downs whiskey, and writhes on the ground, his husky, baritone voice brooding and aching. Such emotions will be on full display at the Greek Theatre this weekend. Alaskan psych-rock band Portugal. The Man will open the show. Saturday and Sunday, Apr. 26-27. 7 p.m., $49.50. (Saturday's show is sold out, but check Criagslist.) APEConcerts.com — Madeleine Key

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

East Bay Bus Rapid Transit Project Brings on Artists to Help Design 34 Stations

by Sam Levin
Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 12:36 PM

AC Transit is moving forward with its efforts to build a new 9.5-mile East Bay Bus Rapid Transit system — and now the agency has a group of artist on board to help with the project. Officials announced today that the AC Transit Board of Directors has approved the selection of lead artists Johanna Poethig and Mildred Howard, supported by Joyce Hsu and Peter Richards, to integrate art into the architecture of the 34 planned stations.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Birdland Jazzista Social Club Hopes to Establish an Oakland Music District

by Paula Martersteck
Fri, Apr 18, 2014 at 2:32 PM

The Birdland Jazzista Social Club — known for its long-running, twice-weekly live music sessions held in a garage in Berkeley — is planning to help launch an ongoing series of weekend "music community centers" in Oakland.

As I previously reported, founder Michael Parayno recently announced plans to open a new venue in North Oakland. However, according to an email he sent out earlier this week, Parayno is expanding his endeavor to include nearby businesses in order to create a “neighborhood music scene” that will “reinvent the entire neighborhood like Austin’s music scene.”

The new Birdland space, located at 4318 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (about three blocks from the MacArthur BART station), is scheduled to have its soft launch June 20-21. Beginning that weekend, six businesses along a five-block stretch of Martin Luther King Jr. Way — including Marcus Bookstore, MLK Cafe, Ray's Barbershop, The Fruit Basket, Gallagher's Liquors, and Micro's Market — will begin offering free music on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 p.m. to midnight. Opening weekend will include blues, samba, bossa nova, West African, neo-soul, jazz, and Cuban music.

The site of the future Birdland Jazzista Social Club. - LOOPNET.COM
  • Loopnet.com
  • The site of the future Birdland Jazzista Social Club.

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Photo Campaign Addresses the Microaggressions Students of Color Face at UC Berkeley

by Angela Rowell
Fri, Apr 18, 2014 at 1:53 PM

I, Too, Am Berkeley,” a photo campaign launched in March, documents the voices of underrepresented students of color at UC Berkeley. The photos, posted on Facebook and Tumblr, feature students holding signs that reflect the offhand discriminatory remarks and questions that have been directed toward them on and near campus. One sign states, “You didn’t have to try hard to get in.” Another reads, “Was your brother in a gang?”

Inspired by “I, Too, Am Harvard,” a social media campaign spotlighting African-American students at Harvard, sophomore Joanna García founded the Berkeley project to empower historically underrepresented students and to educate the broader campus community about the microaggressions — or everyday verbal and nonverbal slights — that they experience.

“One way in which microaggressions have their effect is by inducing doubts,” said UC Berkeley associate professor of psychology Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton. “Despite very overt assurances that students of color are welcome and included on campus, people’s either real intentions or unconscious biases can, in fact, undermine those very explicit messages. So it puts students in a state of not knowing whether those explicit messages and those welcoming messages are, in fact, to be trusted.”

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Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, Apr 18, 2014 at 7:00 AM

It's finally Friday! Check out these photos of celebrities that look like mattresses and then read our list of the five best events happening this weekend:

Tankcrimes Brainsqueeze II
The best record labels are the ones that establish their reputation as brands, such that fans will buy all of their releases just because they’ve put their name on it. So it goes with Tankcrimes, an Oakland-based label run by Scotty Heath that’s been carrying the torch for underground punk and metal since its founding in 2002. Run of out Heath’s garage, Tankcrimes has put out some sixty releases, including ones by local bands Ghoul and Impaled as well as Richmond, Virginia’s Cannabis Corpse and Municipal Waste. For only the second time, the label will throw a three-day showcase, beginning on Friday at the Oakland Metro with Ghoul, Cannabis Corpse, Final Conflict, Iron Reagan, BAT, and Fucktard, continuing on Saturday (also at the Metro) with Municipal Waste, Negative Approach, Fucked Up, Impaled, The Shrine, Kicker, and Conquest for Death, and ending on Sunday at Eli’s Mile High Club, with Brainoil, Deny the Cross, Connoisseur, and “wild and unpredictable guests,” according to a press release. That final show will also include a barbecue and an art show featuring the work of Tankcrimes album art illustrator Andrei Bouzikov. Heath said he’s most looking forward to Final Conflict’s Friday set because the SoCal hardcore band will perform its classic Ashes to Ashes album — which Tankcrimes just reissued in remastered form — from beginning to end. For those who find joy in music that’s a metaphorical kick to the head, Brainsqueeze is not to be missed. Friday-Sunday, Apr. 18-20. Fri. 7 p.m., $24. Sat. 7 p.m., $26. Sun. 4 p.m., $4.20. OaklandMetro.org — Kathleen Richards

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CubaCaribe Festival
Savor the culture of the Caribbean diaspora during the tenth annual CubaCaribe Festival, which will be held this weekend at Laney College Theater. Led by award-winning choreographer Ramón Ramos Alayo, a Cuban native now living in San Francisco, the festival presents both modern and folkloric arts, music, and dance. To that end, three Bay Area dance companies will perform works that merge traditional arts with a contemporary sensibility. Representing Cuba are Alayo’s own critically acclaimed company, which delves into the theme of water as a source of life, destruction, and transformation, and Arenas Dance Company, led by Susana Arenas Pedroso; Aguas de Bahia specializes in Afro-Brazilian choreography, led by artistic director Tania Santiago, who hails from Bahia. If watching them makes you feel like dancing, don’t miss the festival’s closing evening and Cuban dance party, on Sunday, April 27 at Casa de Cultura. Thursday-Saturday, Apr. 17-19. 8 p.m., $25-$27. CubaCaribe.org — Claudia Bauer

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hey, Bands: Submit to the 6th Annual Mission Creek Oakland Festival

by Kathleen Richards
Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Organizers of the Mission Creek Oakland Music & Arts Festival are gearing up for another big year — and they're looking for bands to book. The sixth annual event will be a "jam-packed, ... multidisciplinary arts festival taking place in venues, both traditional and non-traditional," throughout the greater Oakland area, according to a press release. Although the festival formerly consisted of dozens of events spread throughout the month of September, this year's iteration will be scaled back to a more manageable ten days, from September 5-13. And while past festivals have been somewhat limited in genre, this year's MCO promises "a cross section of the vibrant cultural ecosystem which has emerged and established Oakland as a place where art and artists can flourish." Okay then!  

MCO is accepting submissions through May 31 (priority screening is May 3), so "artists are encouraged to apply early for this year’s limited number of performance slots. Initial offers will be made in mid-May and the final line up will be announced in July." Organizers are also looking for volunteers. Find more info here

(Full disclosure: The Express is a sponsor of Mission Creek Oakland.)

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Burger Boogaloo Adds The Gizmos, OFF!, Thee Oh Sees to the Lineup

by Kathleen Richards
Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 4:34 PM

Organizers of this year's Burger Boogaloo just gave you four more reasons to attend their two-day garage/punk extravaganza in Oakland's Mosswood Park — they just added Indiana protopunk band The Gizmos, LA hardcore supergroup OFF!, New Jersey pop-punkers Personal & The Pizzas, and former SF garage rockers Thee Oh Sees to the lineup — which will mark the band's first local show since John Dwyer moved to LA and announced the band was going on hiatus. That adds to the already impressive list of bands — including Ronnie Spector, Reigning Sound, Shannon & the Clams, The Muffs, Phantom Surfers, and many others — slated to perform July 5-6. Tickets are $50 for weekend passes and $35 for single-day tickets. Get them here

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Friday, April 11, 2014

New UC Theatre Music Venue Closer to Opening?

by Kathleen Richards
Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 4:17 PM

It’s been several years in the making, but it looks like the long-dormant UC Theatre (2036 University Ave., Berkeley) is finally getting closer to reopening as a music venue. A press release sent out today revealed that the folks behind the project will make an announcement about the official opening on Wednesday, April 23. According to publicist Rina Neiman, the venue will be run by the nonprofit Berkeley Music Group, which consists of David Mayeri, formerly of Bill Graham Presents. Dawn Holliday of Slim’s and Great American Music Hall was initially also to be part of the project, however, Neiman indicated that it's unclear whether she will help with the bookings. Although Slim’s’ website indicates that it will be part of the operation, a woman who answered the phone at Slim’s this afternoon said no one could comment on the matter and directed my call to Neiman. The other change is that Berkeley Music Group was initially to be a for-profit business, but is now a nonprofit entity.

The delay in opening was related to raising money for construction costs, said Neiman. The capacity will be 1,400, with a seating capacity of 800. More details when they become available.

Editor's note: Reiman clarified that while Holliday was part of the initial project, she was never part of Berkeley Music Group. It's unclear what role, if any, she will play in programming the venue. This version has been corrected.

The inside of the UC Theatre. - SLIMPRESENTS.COM
  • SlimPresents.com
  • The inside of the UC Theatre.

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Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 7:00 AM

The weekend is finally here! Check out this horrifying gif of Sofia Vergara taking off an Emma Watson mask, and then read our list of the five best events happening this weekend to recover from the shock:

The Night Light's Two-Year Anniversary Party
Since it opened two years ago, The Night Light has hosted a diverse and impressive array of local and out-of-state bands. Recently, the venue further expanded its offerings with regular DJ nights and comedy on Mondays. To celebrate its two-year anniversary, The Night Light is throwing a rager: On Saturday, local bands Unconditional Arms, Brasil, White Cloud, Horrible/Adorable, Lessons, Halcyonaire, Deep Katz, Everyone Is Dirty, What Fun Life Was, Safeword, and Dead Panzies will perform starting at 4 p.m. Between those performances, there will be DJ sets by Joe Quixx, Delgado, and others. It’s all for free, and celebratory shots will be distributed at midnight. Saturday, Apr. 12. 4 p.m., free. TheNightLightOakland.com — Madeleine Key

Joel Brown and Marc Brew in "Trio A." - REN DODGE
  • Ren Dodge
  • Joel Brown and Marc Brew in "Trio A."
AXIS Dance Company
Legendary postmodern choreographer Yvonne Rainer doesn’t let many companies restage her work. So it’s a compliment to the artists of Oakland’s AXIS Dance Company that she’s allowed them to do just that at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts this weekend. Répétiteur Linda K. Johnson has adapted Rainer’s once-radical, now-paradigmatic minimalist masterwork “Trio A” for the company of dancers with and without disabilities, which this season includes London-based dancemaker Marc Brew and 2013 Izzie Award nominee Joel Brown, plus Sonsherée Giles, Sebastian Grubb, and Juliana Monin. Rainer seems pleased with the troupe’s re-embodiment of the work, saying, “They not only make a new dance, but illuminate what ‘Trio A’ is about.” Also included in this weekend’s performance will be Brew’s “Divide,” as well as his 2008 solo work “Remember When.” On top of all that will be the premiere of The Gift (of Impermanence), Alex Ketley’s film about AXIS. Friday-Sunday, Apr. 11-13. Fri-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m., $10-$25. AXISDance.org — Claudia Bauer

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Huzzah, it's Friday!! Watch this Game of Thrones recap told through emojis and read on for the five best events happening this weekend:

Slices of Life
The Bay Area is fertile ground for emerging modern-dance artists, and Shawl-Anderson Dance Center has a five-decade-long history of nurturing them and providing a forum for sharing their work. The latest company to take the floor at the cozy studio is Angela Demmel & Dancers, whose Slices of Life is the product of three years of choreographic exploration (Shawl-Anderson never rushes its artists). The school’s intimate performance is space conducive to deeply felt dancing and suits Demmel’s embodied examination of relationships in all their tender, strange, and rich dimensions. To further a visceral appreciation of the work, the audience is invited to sample food (there will be cake) as part of the experience. Seating is limited to sixty people per night, so advance tickets are highly recommended. Fridays and Saturdays, Apr. 4-5 & 11-12. 8 p.m., $20. Shawl-Anderson.org — Claudia Bauer

DAVID PAUL MORRIS
  • David Paul Morris
Mary Roach
Bile, spit, and various other digestive byproducts don’t exactly call to mind breezy reading — but then again, if anyone could turn the, ah, ins and outs of the digestive tract into delightful narrative, it might be the woman who made a New York Times bestseller out of human cadavers. Indeed, Oakland-based Mary Roach’s newish pop-science book, Gulp, from which she reads at Pegasus Books Downtown finds humor, insight, and drama in the strangest of places: research labs, remote Canadian villages, fecal transplant operating rooms. Gulp is an absolute pleasure, even if it means you’ll never be able to think about food the same way again. Friday, Apr. 4. 7:30 p.m., free. PegasusBookstore.com — Ellen Cushing

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