Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lil B Drops Poignant Video for "No Black Person Is Ugly"

by Sam Lefebvre
Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Yesterday, local rapper Lil B posted a new video to YouTube for the track "No Black Person Is Ugly," and asked if it's perhaps the "most powerful song of the decade?" Rap is fraught with hyperbole and self-aggrandizing, but Lil B's bold query is completely warranted. A winsome, beautiful track, "No Black Person Is Ugly" criticizes the portrayal of black people in the media, denounces urban violence, and resolves with the ecstatic declaration in its title. Watch the video after the jump.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

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

Huzzah, it's Friday! We've compiled a list of the five best events that are happening this weekend, just for you:

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, July 25. 9 p.m., $10. — Madeleine Key

Whiskeydrone. - DARRELL SANO
  • Darrell Sano
  • Whiskeydrone.
Oakland’s biggest bike party is back. Now entering its fourth year, Pedalfest at Jack London Square brings together a whole range of East Bay biking subcultures. This year, in addition to the festival’s usual thirty-foot-long wooden Whiskeydrome, bicycle stunt shows, and a pedal-powered music stage, there will be a unicycle basketball game and an exhibit from the Exploratorium examining the science behind cycling. Industrial arts training center The Crucible will also host a bike build with some of its artists, and Peter Wagner will once again display his Whymcycles, a collection of handmade bicycles created from recycled materials. For sustenance and libations, hop on a bike to churn out some pedal-powered ice cream or head to the New Belgium Beer Garden. Not content to just entertain, the organizers are also bringing a theft-prevention booth to this year’s festivities, at which cyclists can take a photo of their bicycle and receive a serial number that they can use to file a police report if it’s ever stolen. Saturday, July 26. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., free. — Zaineb Mohammed

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Why You Should Attend the 2014 BlogHer Conference

by Anna Pulley
Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 1:18 PM

BlogHer, a terrific media platform and blogging ecosystem dedicated to making women writers known, knowledgeable, and marketable, is back in the Bay Area for its annual conference July 24-26. The conference started in San Jose ten years ago with 300 attendees; it now boasts up to 4,000. 

Highlights of the three-day writer melee include events with Arianna Huffington (of the Huffington Post empire), actress Kerry Washington (Django Unchained, Scandal), Grammy-nominated comedian Tig Notaro, and the hilarious Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess), author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, who also blogs about giant metal chickens, weird taxidermied animals, and fights with her husband about zombies. She'll be talking with BlogHer co-founder and Oakland-based Jory Des Jardins on Friday. 

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Emeryville Wants Your Poetry

Get on it, Shakespeares!

by Anna Pulley
Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Calling all Billy Shakespeares! The City of Emeryville seeks your best villanelle, sonnet, haiku, free verse, or any other kind of poetry you deign to write (as long as it doesn't exceed fifteen lines) for its new contest, Poems on the Emery Go-Round. 

The Poet Laureate program of Emeryville (which is a thing that exists!) and the Emeryville Transit Management Authority (ETMA) are looking for poems that "surprise, delight, and inspire" on any topic or theme, and anyone who lives within the nine counties of the Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma) is eligible to enter. 

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Zaineb Mohammed
Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 7:15 AM

Woo hoo it's the weekend! Watch this video of a piglet and a pitbull becoming friends and then read our list of the five best events that are happening in the East Bay for the next three days:

Comedy shows and museum-going don’t often go together, but George Chen is changing that notion for Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive’s next L@TE event, Talkies. The comedian and musician has recently noticed more crossover between the worlds of art and comedy, and in order to celebrate that trend, he is bringing his monthly comedy/multimedia show to the East Bay for the first time, as part of the museum’s L@TE programming. Chen’s monthly variety shows typically feature comedians using PowerPoint presentations and video in their sets instead of doing traditional stand-up routines. For the L@TE show, veteran comedian Ron Lynch (well known from his role on the animated series Adventure Time) will do a series of character performances involving audio elements, and musical and physical comedy duo Sad Vicious and Talkies collaborators Kyle Mizono and Land Smith will also perform. Friday, July 18. 7:30 p.m., $7, free for members, Cal faculty, staff, and students, and children 12 and under. — Zaineb Mohammed

Berkeley Spark
If you ask someone who has been to Burning Man to explain it, they'll often say that you can't fully understand the magnificence of the experience until you go. But for those who aren't up for the trek (or the dust), there's now a way to grasp the event without leaving the safety of the Berkeley bubble: Berkeley Spark. Described as a "community-driven art, innovation, science, and technology festival," the second annual Berkeley Spark will happen in Civic Center Park this Saturday. It will feature a market with items that those going to Burning Man may need on the playa, interactive art sculptures, Burning Man theme camps, workshops, food, a beer and wine garden, and a hip-hop open mic, a musical performance by Laura Inserra from the multidisciplinary performing art and music organization Samavesha. While the festival does offer resources for those preparing for a trip to the playa in August, organizers emphasized that the event is intended for the whole community. Saturday, July 19. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., free. — Z.M.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Survey: 2 Percent of the US Identifies as Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual

The first large-scale survey estimates America's LGB populations.

by Anna Pulley
Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 11:00 AM

About 2 percent of the US identifies as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, according to a first-of-its-kind national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In a report released Tuesday, the CDC found that, of the 34,557 surveyed, 96.6 percent identified as straight, 1.6 percent identified as lesbian or gay, 0.7 percent identified as bisexual, and 1.1 percent identified as "something else," "refuse to answer," or "I don't know the answer."

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

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

It's finally Friday! Time to throw a mini dance party at your desk and read our list of the five best things to do this weekend:

Beast Crawl
Nope, it doesn’t have anything to do with animals (nor crawling, at least literally speaking). What it does have to do with, however: books and booze and literary conviviality — something between an uncommonly high-minded pub crawl and an uncommonly rowdy book event, featuring readings by more than one hundred writers over a whopping nine hours at several venues throughout Uptown Oakland. It works like this: The event is split into three legs (plus an afterparty), each of which features the option of seeing one of about a dozen expertly curated, wildly divergent readings. So, for example, Leg 1 offers the choice between hearing Oakland’s Youth Poet Laureate finalists read at an art gallery, seeing the folks from the literary fiction magazine Swill spin stories at the upscale Southern restaurant Picán, or catching some of the (self-proclaimed) “sharpest, most intelligent, powerful, and witty as eff writers out there” when the collective known as Sexy Beasts reads at the brand-new Flight Deck — and those are just three of ten options on one of three legs. Come to think of it, “beast” may just be the perfect descriptor. Saturday, July 12. 5 p.m.-2 a.m., free. See website for a full lineup and a map of locations. BeastCrawl.Weebly.comEllen Cushing

Love Our Neighborhood Day - JOHN KLEIN
  • John Klein
  • Love Our Neighborhood Day
Love Our Neighborhood Day
The organizers behind Love Our Neighborhood Day want you to know that their event is not a street fair. While there will be food trucks, the main purpose of the event is not for vendors to sell their wares, but for pedestrians and bicyclists to wield control over the streets, instead of drivers. The festival is part of the open streets initiative Oaklavía, and takes place this weekend in Oakland’s Golden Gate neighborhood on Doyle Street and San Pablo Avenue between 55th and 65th Streets. People are encouraged to dance, play, and picnic in the streets, which will be closed off to car traffic. Activities include performances by Destiny Arts Center and Emeryville Taiko, live music by Shake Your Peace and Justin Ancheta, arts and crafts, and a park zone with bike spin art. The event is meant to showcase all of the local businesses, community resources, and organizations people have access to without needing to leave their neighborhood. Saturday, July 12. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., free. — Zaineb Mohammed

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Ronnie Spector, Burger Boogaloo Rock Oakland

by Sam Lefebvre
Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Shannon & the Clams
  • Kaliisa Conlon
  • Shannon & the Clams

Burger Records was founded by two bedraggled twentysomethings in Orange County in 2007. Fixated on yesteryear’s bubblegum pop, juvenile punk, and ramshackle garage rock, Sean Bohrman and Lee Rickard began releasing music by contemporary bands with nostalgic leanings on a suitably outmoded format: cassette. By 2012, Burger Records had sold 80,000 tapes. In 2014, Burger is still headquartered in a nondescript industrial park, only New York Times writers drop by to report on the label’s pot smoking habits and unabashed rock ‘n’ roll enthusiasm. Last weekend, Burger Records collaborated with local concert promoters Total Trash to present the Burger Boogaloo in Oakland’s Mosswood Park.

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Friday, July 4, 2014

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

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

Woo hoo, long weekend! Here are the five best ways to celebrate:

Rich Medina
Few hip-hop DJs have a résumé as stacked as Rich Medina’s. He played his first party when he was just twelve; by his mid-twenties, he had a bachelor’s degree from Cornell and was holding down residencies in New York City. Lil’ Ricky’s Rib Shack — his weekly Meatpacking District party in the 2000s — was so popular it lasted for nine years. (And according to Medina, the likes of Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Prince could be seen getting down there regularly.) In 2007, he and hip-hop legend Q-Tip joined forces to create the weekly party Open in New York City. Today, Medina regularly performs all over the world in addition to doing spoken word and writing music stories. In short, he’s an absolute fiend and hugely accomplished. At The New Parish, he’ll be spinning his signature blend of hip-hop, house, soul, Afrobeat, old-school funk, breaks, and feel-good dance classics. Take advantage of the opportunity to catch him at such an intimate venue, on a holiday no less! Friday, July 4. 9 p.m., $10. — Madeleine Key

Ben Cohen's Amend-O-Matic StampMobile.
  • Ben Cohen's Amend-O-Matic StampMobile.
Fourth of July at the Berkeley Marina
For a holiday with very revolutionary roots, the Fourth of July has become decidedly apolitical, generally synonymous with BBQ, fireworks, and parades. But if you’re interested in putting the politics back into the celebration, head to the festivities at the Berkeley Marina where Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen will be showcasing his “Amend-O-Matic StampMobile,” an art car that stamps messages like ‘Not to Be Used for Bribing Politicians,’ on dollar bills, and that he is taking on a national tour in support of his political campaign to “stamp” the money out of politics. In addition to the political activism on display, the festivities at the Marina will include food trucks, crafts, and musical entertainment by Bang Data, The Boston Boys, the Lady Crooners, The Blondies, and the Allman Stepbrothers. For kids, there will be juggling and magic acts, an inflatable bouncy area, and giant slides. And of course, the night will be capped off with an incredible display of fireworks off of the pier. Friday, July 4. Noon-10 p.m., free. — Zaineb Mohammed

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

New Dating Site for Pot Users Has High Hopes

by Anna Pulley
Wed, Jul 2, 2014 at 1:08 PM

A new dating site geared to the cannabis crowd aims to put the "bud" back in budding romance. is a dating platform that seeks to bring people together not based on silly things like religion, money, profession, or beliefs, but instead on how users feel about marijuana.

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