Monday, April 6, 2015

Wear Your Hatred for Monsanto on Your Sleeve

With the Grease Diner T-Shirt contest

by Sascha Bos
Mon, Apr 6, 2015 at 2:26 PM

The Grease Diner co-owner Jon Jon Cassagnol models their "anti-Monsanto Bio-Terrorist" t-shirt - COURTESY OF THE GREASE DINER
  • Courtesy of The Grease Diner
  • The Grease Diner co-owner Jon Jon Cassagnol models their "anti-Monsanto Bio-Terrorist" t-shirt
Despite the name, The Grease Diner (6604 San Pablo Avenue) isn't an unhealthy restaurant – it's actually an art gallery, gift shop, and screen printing operation run by Jon Jon Cassagnol and Laurie Shapiro, two self-described food justice activists. This month, they're fighting Big Ag by donating $1 to the Oakland March Against Monsanto for each "anti-Monsanto Bio-Terrorist" t-shirt sold.

The March Against Monsanto is a global protest on May 23rd targeting the controversial practices of the pesticide- and seed-producing giant. In Oakland, protesters will meet at 11:30 a.m. at Frank Ogawa Plaza and march to the Lake Merritt Pergola for a rally at 1 p.m. "Monsanto is thinking about profit and control, missing the point that they are destroying their world too - which is greater than any amount of money," Cassagnol and Shapiro said in an e-mail.

See also: What's Poisoning the Bees

In addition to making a donation for each Bio-Terrorist t-shirt sold, The Grease Diner is having a March Against Monsanto t-shirt design contest: submit your best single-color design by April 30 for a chance to see it in organic cotton. If your design doesn't win, you can rock still your Monsanto-hating vision at the march – just DIY it. The Grease Diner will waive their $15 intro studio use fee for anyone screen printing for the march. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

East Bay Schools to Host Art and Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thons

This weekend at UC Berkeley and California College of the Arts.

by Sascha Bos
Wed, Mar 4, 2015 at 2:43 PM

It's hard to imagine a world without Wikipedia – how else would we fall down the rabbit hole of celebrity relationships and somehow end up reading about the life cycle of the butterfly? Simple, straightforward, and seemingly infinite, it's easy to forget that Wikipedia's content is generated entirely by an army of volunteers. Anyone can edit Wikipedia's articles, which has led to a legion of middle school teachers berating students: "Don't believe everything you read on Wikipedia!"

But just because anyone can edit Wikipedia's articles doesn't mean everyone does. In response to a 2011 survey revealing that less than 13 percent of Wikipedia contributors identify as female, New York City activists hosed the first Art+Feminism Edit-A-Thon last February at Eyebeam Art and Technology Center. This campaign led to the creation of over 100 new pages about women in art. This weekend, Edit-A-Thons will take place all over the world (and online, of course) to correct, expand, and create articles for Wikipedia's much-neglected female artists. 

In the East Bay, artist and UC Berkeley professor Jill Miller and student Anna Carey will co-host a public Edit-A-Thon in the Berkeley Center for New Media Commons this Saturday, March 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m, featuring training sessions throughout the day and refreshments. "Wikipedia is a reflection of our reality and our collective knowledge, and it's important that it be accurate," said Carey, who lamented that "you can Google more obscure [women] artists and there might just be one paragraph, whereas for a well-known artist or a male artist there will be entire sections." The California College of the Arts in Oakland will host their own Edit-A-Thon on the same day, from 2 to 6 p.m. No prior experience necessary – just bring your laptop and get ready to change the world, one Wikipedia page at a time.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

California Arts Council Gets an Oakland-Based Chair

by Sascha Bos
Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 4:55 PM

Donn K. Harris, Executive and Artistic Director of the Oakland School for the Arts and newly appointed Chair of the California Arts Council - COURTESY OF DONN K. HARRIS
  • Courtesy of Donn K. Harris
  • Donn K. Harris, Executive and Artistic Director of the Oakland School for the Arts and newly appointed Chair of the California Arts Council
On Tuesday, the California Arts Council elected Oakland educator Donn K. Harris as Chair, replacing Wylie Aitken. Harris has served since 2007 as Director of the Oakland School for the Arts, the 750-student public charter school funded by millions of dollars raised by Jerry Brown. The school is known for its innovative program, including its award-winning School of Circus Arts.

Before joining the Oakland School for the Arts, Harris was the principal of the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco and helped to found the Academy of Arts and Sciences, also in San Francisco. Governor Brown appointed Harris to the Arts Council in January 2014, where he served as arts education chair. 

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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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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Beastie Boys, GoldieBlox Settle Lawsuit Over "Girls" Ad

by Sam Levin
Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 10:56 AM

The legal fight between the Beastie Boys and the Oakland-based toy company GoldieBlox has come to a close, according to a filing posted yesterday by the Shades of Gray copyright blog. The filing does not include any details of the settlement, but in a statement to the Express, a GoldieBlox spokesperson said that as part of the agreement, the company will post an apology on its website and will pay a percentage of its revenues to one or more charities selected by the Beastie Boys that support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education for girls.

The news comes four months after GoldieBlox — which manufactures toys for girls that emphasize science, technology, engineering, and math — first posted its ad parodying the Beastie Boys song "Girls" (swapping out lyrics like Girls - to do the dishes/Girls - to clean up my room with Girls - to build the spaceship/Girls - to code the new app). The video went viral, receiving more than 8 million views on YouTube in just ten days. 

The Beastie Boys noted that they did not give permission for the company to use their song in its advertisement, and said they decided long ago they would not allow their music to be used in any product ads.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Oakland Art Murmur Scheduled for Friday — Rain or Shine

by Sam Levin
Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Last month, organizers of Oakland First Fridays preemptively canceled the monthly street festival due to rain. Oakland Art Murmur, the open-house art gallery portion of First Fridays, did not cancel its events, but because of the bad weather and the somewhat confusing cancellation announcement from the festival team, the art venues saw a low turnout.

That might be why the Art Murmur organizers have sent out a press release today stating that the galleries will be open this Friday, rain or shine.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hatch Gallery Gets the Boot

by Sam Levin
Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 3:35 PM

When Hatch Gallery first opened its doors on 23rd Street seven years ago, Oakland Art Murmur had just begun. These days, as the popularity of the First Fridays street festival makes clear, nightlife is booming in Uptown. The impact on art galleries, however, has been questionable, and next week, the local art scene will lose one of its first members. Hatch Gallery, located at 492 23rd Street, will have its last show on Friday after the landlord, Mardikian Enterprises, decided it had other plans for the site.

"It's pretty shocking. I didn't process it immediately," said gallery owner Adam Hatch, who said he received a short letter in January from property manager Robin Levitt, informing him that the company was "terminating [his] tenancy."

Hatch made the news public in a post on his website, where the homepage now reads "EVICTED!"

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Berkeley Jazzschool Earns Accreditation, Becomes California Jazz Conservatory

by Sam Levin
Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Berkeley is now home to the nation's only accredited, independent music conservatory dedicated to the study and performance of jazz. The National Association of Schools of Music has granted accreditation to the Jazzschool, a downtown Berkeley institution which officials have renamed the California Jazz Conservatory.

With its new certification, the school will house both a four-year bachelor of music degree in jazz studies and a non-degree-granting academy called the Jazzschool Community Music School.

“It’s enormously gratifying to have reached this important milestone,” Susan Muscarella, founding president of the Jazzschool, said in a statement.

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Oakland First Fridays Street Festival Canceled Due to Rain

by Sam Levin
Thu, Feb 6, 2014 at 10:50 AM

The good news is that it's finally raining! The bad news is there will be no Oakland First Fridays tomorrow due to the weather. Organizers just announced that they are officially canceling the street festival: "We will miss you, but are happy for the rain." Indeed.

But you should still come to downtown tomorrow — Oakland Art Murmur, the open-house gallery portion of the first Friday activities, is scheduled to happen as usual.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Report: Oakland First Fridays Benefit Restaurants and Vendors, Not Galleries

by Sam Levin
Tue, Jan 14, 2014 at 2:57 PM

The Oakland First Fridays street festival attracts thousands of people to downtown and offers an economic boost to restaurants, bars, and participating vendors. For art galleries, it's a different story. This is according to a new report released today by the Koreatown-Northgate (KONO) community benefit district, the financial sponsor of the popular festival. As the Express has chronicled, the monthly event has gone through a complex evolution in recent years, most notably when Oakland Art Murmur, the nonprofit entity that represents dozens of art venues, stopped overseeing and paying for the closure of 23rd Street in 2012. The street party, however, did not stop. As a result, the massive event has continued without consistent leadership and without stable funding, prompting regular threats from city officials of a potential shutdown.

Supporters argue that the event has improved Oakland's image and economic development — and now they have some survey data to support these claims. (We've reported on the early findings of this study before, most recently in an article on a new fundraising campaign for First Fridays).

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