Friday, May 29, 2015

Rapper Lil B Curses James Harden to Help the Warriors go to the NBA Finals

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Fri, May 29, 2015 at 3:03 PM

A meme featuring Lil B haunting James Harden of the Houston Rockets.
  • A meme featuring Lil B haunting James Harden of the Houston Rockets.
East Bay basketball fans have been celebrating the Golden State Warriors' victory over the Houston Rockets since this past Wednesday. And as the team prepares to enter the NBA Finals, their successful season appears to have been aided by the supernatural. Local rapper Lil B seems to have intervened in the playoffs by placing a curse on one of the Rockets' star players, James Harden, for allegedly ripping off one of his well-known dance moves.

See also:
Lil B Rallies After House Fire with Free Concert in Berkeley Tonight
Cooking with Lil B
Lil B Receives Death Threats for Saying "I'm Gay"

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This Weekend's Top Five Events

May 29, 30 & 31

by Sarah Burke
Fri, May 29, 2015 at 10:15 AM

It's the weekend! Go out and have a ball before Mayor Schaaf puts a curfew on having fun, too. Here are some of our suggestions for how to do that: 

"Boiling Point" by Stella Kisstiger
  • "Boiling Point" by Stella Kisstiger
The Arts Resistance for the Right to Love
Since the passage of a 2013 law banning gay “propaganda,” homophobia in Russia has reached a fever pitch. Amid religious and nationalistic fervor, queer Russians face rampant discrimination, censorship, and, oftentimes, violence. And with heavy restrictions on protests, they are left with few channels through which to advocate for themselves. As an act of solidarity with Russia’s LGBTQ community, Bay Area poet and activist Zarina Zabrisky (who is originally from St. Petersburg) organized “The Arts Resistance for the Right to Love: In Support of LGBT Community in Russia.” The interdisciplinary event takes place at Liminal (3037 38th Ave., Oakland) on May 29 at 7 p.m. Authors of various backgrounds will read poetry and prose — including Zabrisky herself, as well as Neeli Cherkovsky, Vernon Keeve III, Naamen Tilahun, Brenda Usher-Carpino, and others. Queer, Belarusian-American artist Stella Kisstiger will show new paintings and San Francisco rock band Wyatt Act will perform. With most of the Bay Area’s small Russian community concentrated in San Francisco’s Richmond District and suburbs like Walnut Creek, the event is a rare opportunity for Russian-American LGBTQ people and allies to gather in Oakland and draw attention to this important cause.— Nastia Voynovskaya
Fri., May 29, 7-10 p.m. 510-298-7541. Free

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Jenny Lewis' Pastel Pop Sailed Through The Fox Last Night

The former Rilo Kiley band leader supported her most recent album, The Voyager.

by Sam Lefebvre
Fri, May 29, 2015 at 9:00 AM

The cover of Jenny Lewis’ most recent solo album, 2014’s The Voyager, bore a palette of colors reminiscent of posh ice-cream packaging: seafoam green, bleached yellow, and sky blue, all softly grading across Lewis’ white suit coat. Last night, Lewis and her backing quintet brought those pastels to the Fox Theater, appearing before a capacity crowd with a massive backdrop bearing amorphous orbs. Lewis, decked in the familiar suit, twirled a rose and flung it into the crowd during her first song, “Head Underwater.” It starts I’ve been wearing all black.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

An East Bay Company Aims to Diversify Children’s Literature

Crayon Crunch strives to make story time a more inclusive experience with the help of high-tech software.

by Gillian Edevane
Tue, May 26, 2015 at 12:02 PM

Identifying with characters in storybooks might become a little easier soon thanks to Berkeley-based company Crayon Crunch. Founders Tim Osterbuhr, Kai Schmittat and Friederike Geiken are hard at work raising money to fund My Magical Adventure, a personalized children’s book where the main character can be customized to look like any child. The inspiration for My Magical Adventure comes from preexisting kid lit, where diverse ethnicities and characters with disabilities are rarely featured. Crayon Crunch’s founders hope that each book will be as unique as the child reading it, so their plan allows for the customization of everything from intricate facial features to details within the actual narrative. The storybook, which is about a child that – you guessed it! – goes on a magical adventure, will be available for $35 upon successful completion of the company’s Kickstarter campaign, which ends on June 17. 

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Kendrick Lamar Shot a Music Video on Treasure Island Today

Director Colin Tilley presided over a video shoot for Lamar's "Alright."

by Sam Lefebvre
Fri, May 22, 2015 at 5:38 PM

  • Sarah Burke
Kendrick Lamar visited Treasure Island today. Colin Tilley, who boasts directing credits on a roll call of celebrity rappers and pop stars, presided over a shoot for Lamar's "Alright," a choice track from To Pimp a Butterfly. 

  • Sam Lefebvre
Shortly after one o'clock, a flatbed truck outfitted with scaffolding and a suspension system appeared in a lot. Lamar was then hung several feet off of the ground while the truck cruised the lot's perimeter with the eastern portion of the Bay Bridge in the background. 

There was also a wall fashioned from boomboxes.

Local rappers including Ezale and Los Rakas were among about one hundred extras. Everyone was asked to sign release forms and allow production assistants to photograph their IDs, then the crowd was corralled into the courtyard of a dilapidated building nearby. During the wait, set assistants asked several people to remove clothing and accessories depicting the logos of local sports teams. 

The suspension rig appeared in front of the crowd. Lamar was raised off of the ground flipped vertically while he rapped into the camera.

The audience was asked to, "Go dumb in place." 


Alright video shoot! #KendrickLamar #bestrapperalive #KingKen #hiphoprealest #BayArea

A video posted by candace_klenae (@candace_klenae) on

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This Weekend's Top Five Events

May 22, 23 & 24

by Sarah Burke
Fri, May 22, 2015 at 6:53 AM

Mercury is in retrograde again, but at least its Memorial Day Weekend! Have at it! 

Show Banga
First, Show Banga released Showy 4 Mayor. Recently, he dropped Mayor 4 Life, which is a pretty noble declaration of regional allegiance, though we’re guessing that the San Francisco emcee would run for higher office given the chance. His ascension so far has been pretty swift and it’d be a shame to squander that political momentum. The HBK Gang affiliate boasts a portfolio of ace videos, such as the corner-store noir of “I Been That,” a track on which he memorably raps, “Quit acting like you don’t know” as “Quacking Yoko Ono,” which is pretty Fluxus, right? Sage The Gemini costars on that one, while Mayor 4 Life has the golden E-40 co-sign along with Iamsu!, on the P-Lo-produced highlight, “Aww Shit,” which is another demonstration of Show Banga’s thick titular hooks. On Friday, the campaign trail brings Show Banga to Club Leo’s. But don’t tell Libby Schaaf — OPD shuts down enough rap shows as it is. — Sam Lefebvre
May 22, 8 p.m. $10, $15. 

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Michael "Mike-o the Psycho" Montano of Filth Died Last Monday

The local punk musician was 46.

by Sam Lefebvre
Wed, May 20, 2015 at 9:51 AM

Last Monday, Michael "Mike-o the Psycho" Montano passed away at the Richmond home of his friend and caregiver, Steve "List" Koepke, following a battle with metastatic prostate cancer. He was 46.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Did Punk Break? Green Day Played Gilman Last Night (Photos)

The unannounced performance benefitted AK Press, 1984 Printing, and individuals displaced by a devastating fire in March.

by Sam Lefebvre
Mon, May 18, 2015 at 9:23 AM

"So the last time we played here was September 6th, 1993," announced Billie Joe Armstrong. He was on stage at storied Berkeley venue 924 Gilman Street, flanked by Mike Dirnt, Tre Cool, Jason White, and Jason Freese. It confirmed for the sold-out crowd an open secret stirring the local punk community in recent weeks: Green Day would perform at Gilman, as part of a concert series benefitting AK Press, 1984 Printing, and individuals displaced by a devastating fire in March. Armstrong continued, "Mike Dirnt's first pit was here at Christ on Parade." Green Day opened with "99 Revolutions."

See also:
AK Press Defies Expectations – Again
Deadly Oakland Fire Ignites Tenant-Landlord Dispute
924 Gilman Street's 'Alumni Donor Retention Program'

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Rappers File Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Against SFPD

The complaint alleges illegal detainment and unreasonable search and seizure motivated by racial bias.

by Sam Lefebvre
Fri, May 15, 2015 at 2:10 PM

On Wednesday in San Francisco, a federal civil rights lawsuit was filed by four plaintiffs against the San Francisco Police Department and seven individual officers alleging illegal detainment and unreasonable search and seizure motivated by racial bias. The complaint regards an incident that occurred in March in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood during the filming of a music video.

See Also:
Rap's Poetic License: Revoked

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This Weekend's Top Five Events

May 15, 16 & 17

by Sarah Burke
Fri, May 15, 2015 at 7:00 AM

These are the best events the weekend has to offer. 

Oakland East Bay Symphony
Candide, the canonical Leonard Bernstein opera work and spin-off of Voltaire’s satirical novel, is full of old-world jet-setting, deceit, elemental calamity, gaiety, and jokes. Memorably, there are some vindictive abuses of power by the amoral aristocrats, a volcano that slays ten of thousands, torturous Inquisitors, and sexual innuendo. At the center of it is Candide, who’s cursed by illegitimate birth and subject to incrementally worse misfortunes yet manages to bumble into carnal pleasures nonetheless. For the Oakland East Bay Symphony’s final production of the season at the Paramount Theater (2025 Broadway, Oakland) on Friday, Grammy Award-winner Thomas Glenn is cast in the titular role, while the symphony, under the direction of Michael Morgan, is well-suited to what many consider Candide’s most vital element: the music, and especially the overture, which is a fixture of the modern orchestral repertoire.— Sam Lefebvre
Fri., May 15, 8 p.m. $20-$70.

Lyrics Born
Lyrics Born.
  • Lyrics Born.
Not to throw any shade on the practice of rapping over records, drum machines, digitally produced beats, and the like, but it’s telling that there are always a few emcees embracing the feel of a live band, which can’t exactly be replicated. It works for The Coup, it worked very well for Deltron 3030’s performance at Hiero Day last year, and it works quite nicely on the new Lyrics Born album, Real People, especially because the players are New Orleans royalty. There’s Trombone Shorty, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Ivan Neville, and production courtesy of Galactic’s Robert Mercurio and Ben Ellman. Lyrics Born, the Japanese-American, Berkeley-based rapper, calibrates his flow according to the band’s leaden funk while retaining the flourishes that fans will appreciate from his voluble output and projects related to the noted local collective, Quannum. If it’s difficult to synthesize the feel of a live band on a record, it’s especially hard to do in concert, which is why Lyrics Born’s appearance at The Independent (628 Divisadero St., San Francisco) on Friday, celebrating the release of Real People, features an eight-piece ensemble with secret guests.— S. L. 
Fri., May 15, 9 p.m. $20.

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