Friday, April 24, 2015

This Weekend's Top Five Events

April 24, 25 & 26

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Have some weekend! You deserve it. Here's five easy ways how:
“Untitled,” Joel Dean
  • “Untitled,” Joel Dean

100° City

At 300 Jefferson St., Oakland, where City Limits once resided, an eerie black hole now sits behind the gallery’s glass door. The walls and floors are veiled in a thin grey fabric and natural light is blocked out from all possible openings. Inside, the bulbs from the light fixtures hang naked and low to the ground, near your knees, dangling by wires. Below them, soda cans made mobile by battery-powered attachable legs march around the room undirected. Each can holds a wilted flower, seeming to promise imminent death. In the middle of the room sits an empty metal trough, and nearby a sundial made of flesh-toned silicon rubber rests in a large bucket of water. Welcome to 100° City, an installation by artists Erin Jane Nelson, Jason Benson, and Joel Dean. The immersive art installation pairs objects that allude to dystopian tropes with outdated cultural artifacts (such as a quilt and a yellow turtleneck), placing them together in a post-apocalyptic landscape as a clever blend of science fiction and popular culture. The feeling of the space verges on retro-futurism, like coming across an abandoned website from the early Nineties “IRL.” It’s disorienting, unnerving, and definitely worth a visit.— Sarah Burke
Through May 9. Free.

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How Do I Deal with Negative Comments Online?

by Anna Pulley
Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 6:30 AM


Got a digital dilemma of your own? If you have a question involving technology, the internet, or online etiquette, shoot it to with the subject “Dear Anna.”

See Also:
Is Sexting Cheating?
Why Are We Gender Policing Emojis?

I am thinking of starting a blog — one that mostly deals with personal issues, health, food, etc. — but I’m hesitant to do so because I already fear the impending trolls and negative commenters that people who write on the internet tend to encounter. How does one cope with the negativity? — Clever Sign-Off

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Live Review: Sylvan Esso's Sold-Out Victory Lap at The Fillmore

by George Schlesinger
Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 12:15 PM

  • Nicole Birch
When Sylvan Esso's Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn recorded their self-titled debut last May, they probably didn’t dream of selling out the Fillmore less than a year later. You can’t knock their hustle.

They’ve crammed a lot into a short timeframe. First, they dipped their toes into the indie-cult-hero waters by opening up for TuneYards last summer. Propelled by their infectious enthusiasm, the duo sold-out the Independent last August, clearly taking their headliner status in stride. In that time, Paste named “Hey Mami” the #1 song of 2014. Their shtick—catchy but authentic bedroom electronic, with live energy that could rival the Talking Heads—was sticking.

As a bookend to this whirlwind year, their two-show run at the Fillmore this week is more like a victory lap—one where Meath’s platform kicks do plenty of stomping and strutting.

They opened with “Could I Be,” a hypnotic, dreamy jam that was made even dreamier by atmospheric light. It was upbeat and soulful, but also familiar. Considering they only have ten songs in their arsenal, their limited catalog could seemingly run the risk of becoming stale.

Luckily, the duo’s swagger and sense of unbridled joy onstage make any staleness almost impossible. Plus, Sanborn, the producer and beatsmith, kept things fresh, peppering in different samples—including what sounded like baby cries—on their buzz building single “Coffee.” He also incorporated jammier, abstract transitions throughout the set. While the songs were tight, there was a fluidity and looseness that hadn’t been present in the past, fueled by their well-honed confidence.

“Here’s a new one,” said Meath at one point, taking a break from her kung fu meets hip-hop dance moves. Usually that’s a cue for a bathroom break, but the eager crowd was ready to hear what new tunes were in store.

The authenticity that Meath carries around stage also follows her in real-life. She’s a girl who knows what’s good, especially when it comes to organic vegetables.

“Man, this is a great place to live,” she said. “Every time I walk into Bi-Rite I stand in front of the carrots and weep. All other carrots are fucked.”

Hopefully the veggies keep the duo coming back to the Bay with new beats.

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Stunning Video Time-Lapse of Yosemite National Park

by Anna Pulley
Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 6:30 AM


If you've yet to make any summer plans to visit Yosemite National Park, this video time-lapse just might convince you to go.

See Also:
If You Love Oakland, Watch This Video
Hijacking Yosemite

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Who Knew Trash Could Be This Beautiful

Litterati makes its way to a museum in the South Bay.

by Anna Pulley
Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 3:31 PM


A few months ago, we profiled Jeff Kirschner, the founder of Litterati, whose fantastic yet simple plan of harnessing the power of social media to combat the problem of litter has started a global movement. In addition, Litterati is now also a a 24-piece art collection that's currently on display at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in San Jose.

See Also:
One Man's Ingenious Plan to Clean Up the East Bay and Beyond
A New War on Smoking 

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Dre Area: Mac Dre Art Show Preview

by Sam Lefebvre
Mon, Apr 20, 2015 at 3:28 PM

Mac Dre ascended the mortal realm of mere dudes who rap well before his untimely death in 2004. And soon after, his legacy grew, morphed, dispersed throughout the East Bay ether, and underwent the strange alchemical transformation that results in rappers becoming icons. His likeness is emblazoned on every worthy wall. Aspirant emcees humbly intone his name. Why did Dre become the recipient of such dear and plentiful tribute?

For one, he didn’t snitch. Dre was widely viewed as having been arrested in 1992 as retaliation for releasing “Punk Police,” which name-checks the head of a taskforce charged with terrorizing his neighborhood. Dre declined to incriminate any of his peers in the Romper Room crew. Surely, the impeccable flow and incisive point of view exemplified by the song helped Dre clench icon status, too.

And considering the Mac Dre Art Show coming up this Saturday at Charles Place (347 13th St., Oakland) — at which forty artists, including Street Bleach, Ernest Doty, Yung E, and Michael Boyle, who offered the Express a glimpse at their work below, will exhibit work that depicts the rapper in some shape or fashion while DJ Dontdoodaat spins Dre’s music — maybe he’s an icon in part due to that gregarious mug and array of distinctive hairstyles and hats. 

Details on the flyer below and Facebook, where you can find the full line-up

By Street Bleach
  • By Street Bleach
By Street Bleach
  • By Street Bleach
By Street Bleach
  • By Street Bleach
By Ernest Doty
  • By Ernest Doty
By Ernest Doty
  • By Ernest Doty
By Yung E
  • By Yung E
By Michael Boyle
  • By Michael Boyle
By Michael Boyle
  • By Michael Boyle

Friday, April 17, 2015

This Weekend's Top Five Events

April 17, 18, & 19

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 7:00 AM

As Hillary Clinton so warmly reminded us this week, Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times...and family is important and stuff...and we're all going on a trip together. In other words, she's running for president. What are you doing with your life? Here are some suggestions —at least for this weekend. 

The Flamin' Groovies
When Kelley Stoltz moved to San Francisco in 1996, he quickly found his way to Jack’s Record Cellar, a now-defunct shop where the original Flamin’ Groovies vocalist Roy Loney worked. Loney was overjoyed to meet a Bay Area garage rock luminary. Now, some might apply that label to Stoltz, who has issued several celebrated psych-pop albums and offered his recording knowhow to local acts such as the Mantles and Life Stinks. On Friday at the Chapel, it’s apt that Stoltz is set to open for the Flamin’ Groovies. The group has been in reunion mode for a few years. This performance celebrates its later catalog, specifically Shake Some Action, the 1976 Anglo-imbued power-pop classic. Loney had left the band by that point, but he’s likely to join the group for renditions of early scorchers such as “Teenage Head” and “Slow Death.” Maybe Stoltz, for that matter, should get in on it.— Sam Lefebvre
Fri., April 17, 8 p.m. $20, $22. 

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Live Review: Panda Bear's Discipline and Precision at The Independent

by Jordannah Elizabeth
Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 12:12 PM

  • Justin Yee
The best thing about seeing Panda Bear, the solo project of Animal Collective's Noah Lennox, is the polish and discipline that's on display. Lennox's diligent awareness of his show's effect on audiences makes for a low probability of disappointment for his fans.

Panda Bear projected comfort and quiet self-assuredness while playing in front of the sold-out crowd at the Independent on Tuesday. His proficiency was to be expected, particularly since he rolled into town directly from performing at Coachella. The crowd embraced Lennox's downplayed demeanor, even as it clashed with his grandiose music brilliance.

Stepping onto the stage at The Independent in a simple green tee-shirt to check his equipment (a space-age-looking sound board of some sort), anyone who didn't know who he was would have mistaken him for a sound tech.

After an endearing full set from the New York electro-pop outfit Ducktails, very few attendees left their spots in the venue in anticipation of Panda Bear's performance. He walked briskly onto the stage and opened the show with a crowd favorite, "You Can Count on Me," from his critically acclaimed 2010 album, Tomboy. Neon projections towered behind him, veering between shamanistic, humorous, and grotesque. Lennox moved into "Boys Latin," a single from his latest album, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper. Lennox rolled through his songs with precision and showcased his angelic singing voice with ease.

He played two more songs from his current album, "Butcher Baker Candlestick Maker" and "Crosswords," before quickly flowing into "The Other Side of Paradise," a b-side from his 2014 EP, Mr. Noah.

Lennox's song choices continued on in a similar fashion, as he played new material from his current album and recent EP. It was a little risky to play all new music, but no one heckled him or screamed out a request except from one d-bag (there's always one) who screamed at the quietly lionesque musician, "Play Slayer!" Lennox avoided any acknowledgement of the man, continued looking at his equipment, preparing to play his next song.

The highlight of the night was when he performed the gorgeous ballad and new single from new album, "Tropic of Cancer." 

"Tropic of Cancer" is one of the best songs Panda Bear has ever written. It was clear because when he performed it, the energy of the room elevated. He drenched the entire crowd in euphoria and beauty, changing his entire relationship with the audience for a few minutes. He put his heart into the song and commanded the room's full attention.

It's not to say that Panda Bear's entire show wasn't a joy to experience from beginning to end. He did, however, make sure he had huge strobe lights flashing at different rates throughout the show. They were blinding and probably should have come with a seizure-warning.

Lennox closed out the show playing "Selfish Gene" and "Acid Wash" from the new album. He thanked the crowd with a couple of words, a nod, and a wave before walking off stage. The sold-out venue clapped and stomped for a minute before he returned to play "Alsatian Darn" and "Surfers Hymn" from Tomboy.

Panda Bear only played songs from two albums and a very recent EP, completely bypassing any music from his early catalog. Maybe it was because he was traveling light, not even playing a guitar on stage and just performing with a small but intimidating-looking soundboard. Maybe his previous album required more equipment, or maybe he's just smart enough to promote a new album when it needs to be promoted.

The show was beautiful, Panda Bear's voice and professionalism are a force to be reckoned with. It was a dose of blissful sensory overload with the potential to convert any new listener (no matter what genre their into) into loyal followers. 
  • Steven Santarpia

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Live Review: Earl Sweatshirt & Action Bronson Thrash and Charm at the Warfield

by George Schlesinger
Fri, Apr 10, 2015 at 10:56 AM

  • Alana Silva
When it comes to rappers representing both coasts of the underground hip-hop world, Action Bronson and Earl Sweatshirt are seemingly polar opposites.

First, there are the literal differences: a featherweight skater versus a heavyweight juggernaut. And then there are the opposed styles on wax. Earl spits dense thickets of rhymes over brooding beats with a decidedly misanthropic bent. Example? His most recent album is called I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside. Action plays the charming class clown by contrast, invoking Biggie’s outsized swag, but with better hair. And if his flowing locks didn’t say enough, his album title, Mr. Wonderful, does the job.

See Also:
Live Review: Pete Rock and Slum Village Dish Hip-Hop History at Yoshi's
Live Review: Nas Brings Illmatic to the Fox

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