Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Lil B Drops Long-Awaited Mixtape, 'Thugged Out Pissed Off'

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 4:07 PM

  • Bert Johnson/File Photo
When the Express last caught up with East Bay rapper and social media guru Lil B earlier this month, he said he was roughly sixty percent finished with his highly-anticipated mixtape, Thugged Out Pissed Off.

Lil B had slowed down his manically prolific output in 2015, releasing only a collaborative project with Chance the Rapper (the excellent mixtape, Free, which made our list of top local releases of the year) and a few singles. His internet following had pretty much come to accept that his next solo effort would come out next year. But, in the nick of time, Lil B dropped the whopping, 63-track Thugged Out Pissed Off today on DatPiff.

See More:
Communing with the Based God

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

This Weekend's Top Five Events

December 25, 26 & 27

by Sarah Burke
Thu, Dec 24, 2015 at 7:00 AM

If you really dislike your family that much, don't worry, we've got some "unavoidable engagements" for you this weekend.

Xmas on the Street: A Community Xmas Party for the Homeless
Oakland promotional outfit Oaktown Indie Mayhem and the graffiti blog Endless Canvas have come together to throw their annual event, Xmas on the Street, a holiday party that’s free and open to all — including Oakland’s most vulnerable residents. The event takes place on Christmas day at 7 p.m. at an undisclosed location that will be announced the day of on Local DJs Miggy Stardust (who throws a popular dance party at The Ruby Room every Friday night) and Sake One of Somar’s Ultra Wave will be playing party jams for revelers to dance and be merry to. In the days leading up to the event, those willing can bring clothing and hygiene-product donations for the homeless to 1 AM Gallery (1523 Webster St., Oakland). Showing up with goods to share with those in need — such as warm clothing, socks, Tupperware, and bathroom products — is totally cool, too. — Nastia Voynovskaya
Fri., Dec. 25, 7 p.m. free.

  • Trackademicks.
Holidaze... An HNRL Function
Oakland rapper and producer Trackademicks is known for lush, synth-driven tracks with a nostalgic flavor that comes from his penchant for sampling vinyl and using analog equipment. Over the past ten years, he has made a major impact on Oakland’s music scene with his solo projects as well as his endeavors with his crew, HNRL, which also includes singer and producer 1-O.A.K., rapper L-Deez, and others. To celebrate his birthday and the holiday season, the HNRL crew is hosting Holidaze, a dance party at The Rock Steady in downtown Oakland that will feature a DJ set from Trackademicks in addition to 1-O.A.K., Azure of Richmond’s HBK Gang, and Darling Duck, a DJ and producer from New York City. Show up to work off your Christmas feast on the dance floor to their soulful jams and certified slaps. — N. V.
Sat., Dec. 26, 10 p.m. free.

The Matches.
  • The Matches.
The Matches
Oakland band The Matches rose to prominence at a time when East Bay pop-punk had garnered a national audience, with bands such as Green Day topping radio charts in the early Aughts. While The Matches were not quite as ubiquitous, their album E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals, with track names like “Sick Little Suicide” and “Destination: Nowhere Near,” earned them widespread acclaim among angsty, Hot Topic-dwelling teens. (In fact, having grown up in the area, I remember spending my middle school days chatting about how cool The Matches were with my friends on AOL Instant Messenger.) Ten years after the major label release of E. Von Dahl, in 2014, The Matches reunited for a successful national tour, drawing out now-grown fans who are nostalgic for their emo days. As their only shows of the year, they will perform back-to-back at The Fillmore in San Francisco on December 27 and 28. — N. V.
Sun., Dec. 27, 7 p.m. and Mon., Dec. 28, 7 p.m. $22.50.

The Space Needler’s Intergalactic Bar Guide
The Space Needler’s Intergalactic Bar Guide, independently published this past summer, isn’t actually a cosmic book of cocktail recipes. Rather, it’s a collection of retro-futurist sci-fi stories detailing astronauts’ (sometimes amorous) encounters with aliens. It was authored by Will Viharo, the writer behind The Thrillville Pulp Fiction Collection Volumes 1–3 and The Vic Valentine Classic Case Files; Scott Fulks, a writer who collaborated with Viharo on the novel It Came from Hangar 18; and Becca Morris, a bartender at the Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge in Alameda; and it features illustrations by Michael Fleming. Fulks and Viharo will be signing copies of the book on December 27 at Forbidden Island (1304 Lincoln Ave., Alameda) — a kitschy bar for a kitschy literary event. The tiki bar even has a “Space Needler” cocktail created and named by Morris, so you can fully live out your intergalactic bar fantasies. — Sarah Burke
Sun., Dec. 27, 3-6 p.m. Free.

Sculpture by Nick Dong.
  • Sculpture by Nick Dong.
Small Works
The holiday season is also the season of prime shopping opportunities for people who want to fill their homes with local art, but can’t quite afford to invest in large-scale pieces. Small Works, currently on view at Mercury 20 gallery (475 25th St., Oakland), is one of many affordable art group shows designed for holiday shoppers. But it continues through January 9, so after you’ve celebrated and all of your relatives have finally left, you can collect something for your own wall. This year, the annual cash-and-carry show features work from many of Mercury 20’s member artists, with pieces ranging widely in medium from ceramics to mixed media collage. That includes Carlo Fantin’s incredibly intricate paper cut-outs, which often employ religious and otherwise iconic figures to critique our relationship to technology. It also includes works by Ruth Tabancay, who often uses textile art and embroidery to thoughtfully reflect on and reimagine scientific symbols and tools. — S. B.
Through Jan. 9, 2016. Free.

If your pockets are feelin' light and you're still yearning for more suggestions, we've got a ton, and these ones are all FREE! We're Hungry: Got any East Bay news, events, video, or miscellany we should know about? Feed us at

Friday, December 18, 2015

This Weekend's Top Five Events

December 18, 19 & 20

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Dec 18, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Like Kourtney Kardashian and Justin Bieber's alleged relationship mythologized this week, the weekend is fleeting. Catch it before it's gone. Here's how:

Ghostface Killah.
  • Ghostface Killah.
Ghostface Killah
As Method Man put it in an interview clip at the end of Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It All Be So Simple,” Ghostface Killah is “on some ‘Now you see me, now you don’t.’” Method Man was presumably referring to his collaborator’s dexterous rap flow and ability to seamlessly change between various styles. Since Wu-Tang’s debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) came out in 1993, Ghostface has cemented himself in rap history as one of the greatest East Coast MCs. His work has spawned countless imitators, including Action Bronson, a younger rapper whose style is so similar to Ghostface’s flow that Ghostface even once mistook Action Bronson’s voice for his own. After a beef between the two artists raged for several years, Action Bronson took to Twitter in 2015 to acknowledge that he was in the wrong for feuding with his elder. Rap beefs notwithstanding, Ghostface has managed to stay prolific since his Wu-Tang days. To promote his latest album, Sour Soul, he performs at The New Parish on December 18 with Oakland rapper Raw-G among other artists. — Nastia Voynovskaya
Fri., Dec. 18, 8 p.m. $27.50.

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Friday, December 11, 2015

This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Dec 11, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Once you're finished fawning over the Lil B portraiture gracing this week's Express, here's our list of five other ways to spend your time this weekend. On Monday, you can go back to fawning, we promise. 

The popcorn chicken,
  • The popcorn chicken,
Pop-Up Market at Taiwan Bento
Holiday shopping can be a dreary, thankless task — a lose-lose choice between getting pummeled by crowds at the shopping mall or contributing to the death of the local economy if you buy everything online. Pop-up markets like the one at Taiwan Bento (412 22nd St., Oakland) offer an attractive alternative. Choose from a carefully curated selection of one-of-a-kind gifts while supporting local jewelry makers and succulent-arrangers. In the meantime, since this particular pop-up is being held at one of Oakland’s most appealing Taiwanese restaurants, you’ll have no shortage of food to keep you going: Beer, boba tea drinks, and snacks such as Taiwan Bento’s signature Taiwanese-style popcorn chicken will be sold at happy hour prices all day long, and another local food artisan — We the Minis — will be on hand hawking cupcakes. — Luke Tsai
Fri., Dec. 11, 12-7 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 13, 12-7 p.m. Free.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Kehlani Nominated for Grammy Alongside The Weeknd, Miguel

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 3:56 PM

  • Bert Johnson/File Photo
  • Kehlani.
Oakland-bred singer Kehlani has made major strides in her career over the past year, rapidly rising from mixtape star to nationally-recognized entertainer. And now, she can add Grammy nominee to her resume. Today, the Grammy Awards announced its 2016 contenders, and Kehlani is among the hopefuls for Best Urban Contemporary Album for her release, You Should Be Here, alongside The Weeknd, Miguel, The Internet, and Lianne Las Havas. 

See more:
Meet Oakland's Hottest R&Bass Artists
The East Bay Hip-Hop Scene Will No Longer Be Ignored

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Friday, December 4, 2015

This Weekend's Top Six Events

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Dec 4, 2015 at 11:08 AM

Hurrah! The weekend has arrived!

Now what? See below. 

A paint job by Bud Snow. - JOSEPH LUCAS
  • Joseph Lucas
  • A paint job by Bud Snow.
Hundred Dollar $tore
Oakland’s downtown will be welcoming its newest gallery into the 15th Street Corridor family on Friday, December 4. The Know Lodge (375 15th St.) is the brain child of local curator Joseph Lucas and street artist Julia Lewis aka Bud Snow. Lucas heads The Know Collective, which began as an Oakland-based micro radio station in 2004, and has been producing local art shows and performances for the past ten years. The first show he has curated for Know will open with the gallery. Entitled Hundred Dollar $tore, it will feature affordable art (all $100 or less) from celebrated local illustrator J. Otto Seibold, respected street artist Deadeyes, oil painter Alan Grizzell, and a handful of others. While the show is, in part, meant to encourage holiday shoppers to invest in the local artistic community, it’s also intended to be enjoyed by people who aren’t looking to buy art. As the venue’s name indicates, The Know Lodge hopes to be not only a gallery, but a place for artists and art appreciators to congregate. — Sarah Burke
Fri., Dec. 4, 6-10 p.m. Free.

  • Lala Openi
  • San Cha
San Cha
Few things are off limits for singer, songwriter, and performance artist San Cha, whose onstage persona is something like a glamorous, high-femme Sid Vicious. The interdisciplinary musician made a name for herself in Oakland as a member of the queer electro-pop group Daddie$ Pla$tik, which combined a punk ethos with a loud, gender-bending club kid aesthetic that the band developed in the Bay Area’s drag scene. San Cha performs solo as well, and at one of her last shows before she left the Bay Area for an extended stay in Mexico and LA, she played a set wearing a white wedding dress before stripping down to sequined hot pants to sing a darkwave Madonna cover. A provocateur and exhibitionist, she joins The Lovemakers, The Trims, Irising, and Vainheim on stage at 924 Gilman on December 4. —Nastia Voynovskaya
Fri., Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m. $10.

Giorgio Moroder
Giorgio Morodor.
  • Giorgio Morodor.
While electronic music might seem like a young person’s game, Giorgio Moroder, one of its pioneers, is still active in the genre. The Italian musician is considered a founder of disco and made a name for himself in the European club scene before producing scores of hit songs for pop icons such as Donna Summer, Blondie, Janet Jackson, and Kylie Minogue in the Seventies and Eighties. For the past five decades, Moroder has been prolific as a solo artist, as well — though after putting out his fourteenth album in 1992, he took a hiatus from performing and focused on producing videogame soundtracks. However, he returned to pop after his features on Daft Punk’s 2013 album Random Access Memories sparked renewed interest in his work. Now, Moroder primarily performs as a DJ. He comes to 1015 Folsom on December 4. — N.V.
Fri., Dec. 4, 9:30 p.m. $25-$35.

The Weekend.
  • The Weekend.
The Weeknd
Since the release of his debut mixtape, House of Balloons, Canadian singer The Weeknd has had an immeasurable impact on R&B and hip-hop. Suffice it to say that, along with that of Drake and Kanye West, his work has ushered in a new era of vulnerable, melancholic lyricism that was largely absent on the radio before House of Balloons came out in 2011. Over the past four years, The Weeknd has enjoyed a meteoric rise from noteworthy indie artist to chart-topper. His latest album, Beauty Behind the Madness, examines the dark underbelly of fame and the excess that comes with it. With lyrics such as I only love it when you touch me, not feel me/When I’m fucked up that’s the real me, The Weeknd isn’t trying to be a role model: He’s writing songs for the brokenhearted and reckless. As part of his The Madness Fall Tour, he performs at Oracle Arena with “Antidote” rapper Travis Scott and singer Halsey. — N.V.
Sat., Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m. $38-$95.

Lingerie by Serpent and Bow.
  • Lingerie by Serpent and Bow.
Temescal Alley Holiday Artisan Fair
During this time of year, holiday craft fairs abound — ranging in size from huge warehouses to small galleries. On December 6, shoppers can make the Temescal Alley Holiday Artisan Fair their next destination for gathering gifts. The fair, which will take place in the charming Temescal Alley (right off 49th Street, just East of Telegraph) with enough locally made goods to fill, well, an alley. Rather than quantity, the focus at this fair will be quality. Offerings will include the custom ceramics of Atelier Dion, the wooden home furnishings of Melanie Abrantes, and the hand-painted and dyed lingerie of Serpent and Bow, among many others. Shops in the alley will also hold special events, including a holiday print sale at Interface gallery featuring local artists. For sustenance, Dona Tomas will be serving loaded nachos, and Rose’s Taproom — which is slated to open in the alley in 2016 — will be pouring freshly crafted beer. — S.B.
Sun., Dec. 6, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free.

The cast of ReEntry.
  • The cast of ReEntry.
In the Bay Area, the experience of serving in the military is not a topic that often makes its way into casual conversation. But the newest production by Gritty City Repertory (GCR), entitled ReEntry, aims to offer a nuanced characterization of the experience of returning to civilian life after having served. GCR is a youth theater company and nonprofit with a cast made up entirely of at-Oakland high school students. And it doesn’t skirt topics that are difficult to digest. Through a cast of varied characters, from the wounded soldier to the commanding officer, ReEntry bravely tackles experiences of trauma and post-trauma re-assimilation. And in doing so, it offers a thoughtful analog for wars happening in Oakland’s own neighborhoods. “Oakland is a beautiful, diverse, vibrant city with a high-crime rate,” said Lindsay Krumbein, GCR’s founder and executive director, in a statement about the show. “Young people of color are disproportionately impacted. All kinds of studies show that the rate of PTSD in inner-city residents is as high or higher than that of Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan war veterans.” ReEntry opens at the Flight Deck (1540 Broadway, Oakland) on December 3 at 8 p.m. and will continue through December 12. — S.B.
Through Dec. 12. $5-$50.

If your pockets are feelin' light and you're still yearning for more suggestions, we've got a ton, and these ones are all FREE! We're Hungry: Got any East Bay news, events, video, or miscellany we should know about? Feed us at

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