Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Undocumented Artists Spotlighted in a New Exhibit at CultureStrike in Oakland

“Undocumented people are artists, intellectuals, strategists; they are people that can articulate their situation.”

by Azucena Rasilla
Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 12:52 PM

"We The Dreamers" is one part of the We Didn't Arrive Here Alone exhibit. - PHOTO COURTESY CULTURESTRIKE
  • Photo courtesy CultureStrike
  • "We The Dreamers" is one part of the We Didn't Arrive Here Alone exhibit.

For poet and writer Yosimar Reyes, the curator behind We Didn't Arrive Here Alone now on display until December (last day of the installation to be determined) at Oakland's CultureStrike (1330 Broadway), it was important to showcase artists of color who are undocumented.

“Often times [for] undocumented people in the collective imagination, there’s this idea that we’re still living in fear,” Reyes told the crowd at the opening reception this past Friday. “There’s this idea that we’re not global, that we are not living our full lives, and I got really tired of that.”

Yosimar Reyes giving the opening remarks at the exhibit. - PHOTO COURTESY CULTURESTRIKE
  • Photo courtesy CultureStrike
  • Yosimar Reyes giving the opening remarks at the exhibit.

Reyes sees the media and certain politicians' portrayals of the undocumented community as largely inaccurate. “Undocumented people are artists, intellectuals, strategists; they are people that can articulate their situation,” Reyes said. With every exhibit he curates, he wants to shed a light on the talent that hides behind someone without papers — how their immigration status doesn’t define who they are and how they live their daily lives.

We Didn't Arrive Here Alone is the third installation that Reyes (who currently resides in Los Angeles but grew up in San Jose) has curated. Back in Los Angeles, he held We Never Needed Papers to Thrive in Boyle Heights. No Ban, No Wall was also in Los Angeles. And in San Francisco, Undocujoy was held at Galería de la Raza back in February.

For this particular exhibit, Reyes’ first in Oakland, he worked with artists Alicia Martinez, Heldáy de la Cruz, Leo Carmona, and Rommy Sobrado-Torrico.

The installation is a mix of photography, political posters, and portraits of Dreamers.

  • Photo courtesy CultureStrike
  • Artist Heldáy de la Cruz

As you walk through the CultureStrike hub, each wall highlights one of the artists — you are greeted by ‘We The Dreamers,’ a set of portraits hand-drawn by de la Cruz. Each striking portrait depicts a Dreamer. Roughly 800,000 Dreamers benefited from then-President Obama’s 2012 Executive Action called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). On Sept. 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the DACA program. In April of this year, a federal judge ordered the program to be reinstated in full. Congress has not yet passed any legislation aimed at alleviating this legal limbo.

Martinez, who has been living in the United States for the past 20 years, used photography to show the many ways in which immigrants work to provide for their families. Each photo is accompanied by a quote. Martinez interviewed each immigrant to find out their stories. “I used words like 'business owners' [when describing what each immigrant does]. I just want my people to be listened to,” Martinez said.

  • Photo courtesy CultureStrike
  • Artist Alicia Martinez

Carmona’s work also involved photography. The series of black-and-white photos show Latinx families during Catholic baptisms. For these Latinx families, being away from their country of origin strengthens their religious beliefs.

Queer artist Sobrado-Torrico utilizes colorful posters to raise awareness to the country's current immigration crisis. “A Mother’s Love Has No Borders,” one poster read. Another one is dedicated to the Queer community: “What glory we incite, what glory we create, what glory we are,” with the words, "Para Los Migrant Queers," next to the quote.

“I want our lives to exist beyond these deportation narratives. If you look at this artwork, you’re going to see people that are smiling, people that are resilient,” Reyes said. “I think of this artwork as a testament to that, as a glimpse of hope in all this destruction.”

The work behind putting together these exhibits doesn’t come easy nor cheap, but Reyes sees the value in showcasing these talented artists who do not let their legal status define them. Reyes is hopeful that other art spaces will want to work with him and his vision, and that he is also able to secure the funds needed to continue this quest.

“This work is of caliber, and it should be supported.” Reyes told those in attendance. “My hope and my goal is that this work goes national. Help support these visionaries.”

The exhibit is by CultureStrike, in collaboration with guest curator Yosimar Reyes.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

In Its Ninth Year, Burger Boogaloo Remains Lovably Quirky — But It Can Do Better

Devo, The Damned, and The Mummies played this year's festival in Mosswood Park.

by Madeline Wells
Tue, Jul 3, 2018 at 10:19 AM

Devo headlined the first day of the festival. - ERIKA REINSEL
  • Erika Reinsel
  • Devo headlined the first day of the festival.

Burger Boogaloo is perhaps the Bay Area’s most eccentric summer music festival: a quirky, crusty celebration for garage punks held in Oakland’s Mosswood Park. Hosted by John Waters and organized by DIY-aesthetic indie label Burger Records, this year’s lineup featured art punks Devo and U.K. punk pioneers The Damned as headliners.

But things got off to a bit of a rocky start when Oakland police officers cleared out homeless camps at Mosswood Park mere days before the festival, inciting social media outcry. While the timing of the camp closures didn’t look good for the festival, Oakland Assistant City Administrator Joe DeVries confirmed to KQED that it was the city’s initiative to remove the encampments rather than Burger Boogaloo’s.

The festival released a statement on its website expressing concern and support for the homeless crisis: “Burger Boogaloo has donated to the following homeless assistance organizations and we encourage our friends and anyone concerned about the plight of people here in our community to do the same.” They also partnered with Homeless Action Center, a homeless advocacy organization, which had a table at the festival.

While Boogaloo handled the controversy fairly well, the incident was indicative of the larger issue of displacing the homeless in the Bay Area — and of even bigger themes of non-inclusivity. Many of the festival’s acts took political stances, and bands Hunx and His Punx and Pookie and the Poodlez encouraged people to donate to the Homeless Action Center. However, the lineup itself was lacking in diversity, with almost no people of color and only six out of 22 total bands having female-identifying members (none of which were headliners).

Punk rock has been a genre historically dominated by white men (despite it having roots in African American music), but in recent years, a more representative wave has arrived. Take Afropunk, for example, or even Oakland’s own Near Dark Fest at The Golden Bull, whose organizers carefully select its lineup to include mostly acts with people of color, members of the queer community, and women. Last year, a new festival called The Universe is Lit: Bay Area Black and Brown Punk Fest also took place in Oakland and San Francisco, featuring four days of POC music and art — and it’s scheduled to return later this summer.
The crowd at the festival was mostly white. - ERIKA REINSEL
  • Erika Reinsel
  • The crowd at the festival was mostly white.
One band in particular on Burger Boogaloo’s lineup felt tone-deaf in this modern context: Sunday’s The Rip Offs. Pulling up to the stage on a police motorcycle and sporting black nylons over their faces, the San Francisco band proceeded to act as edgy as possible in the most distasteful way. Women in sexy police officer getups acted as their backup dancers, and their stage banter included objectifying comments about audience members’ breasts.

It would be remiss not to mention that the crowd, too, was mostly white — the product at least in part of inclusivity issues present in the punk community as a whole. In Oakland, one of the most diverse cities in the world, it felt jarring to see such an unrepresentative crowd. (To be fair, though, many attendees travelled from outside the Bay for the festival.) Businesses present at the festival were mostly helmed by white workers as well, including one vintage store selling a pair of underwear with the words “ghetto booty” emblazoned across the butt area (yikes).

That’s not to say the music itself was a disappointment. On Saturday, Hunx and His Punx, featuring Shannon Shaw from Shannon and the Clams, endeared the audience with its punk-meets-’60s-girl-group sound and frontman Seth Bogart’s goofy antics. The Mummies also played a memorable set, forced onto the stage in their typical mummy garb by people in Planet of the Apes costumes, who announced, “We have trained man animals to play music!” They kicked the band off stage at the end of their set, smashing their instruments and reassuring the audience that next time, they’d bring something better — perhaps trained salamanders.
The Mummies played on Saturday, dressed as — you guessed it — mummies. - ERIKA REINSEL
  • Erika Reinsel
  • The Mummies played on Saturday, dressed as — you guessed it — mummies.
But Saturday belonged to Devo, who played for the first time in four years with surprise guest Fred Armisen (Portlandia, Saturday Night Live) on drums. They traded their usual yellow jumpsuits for orange but still donned their signature energy dome hats. Seeing “Whip It” live nearly 40 years after its release was surreal, and young and old alike sang along to every word. The band also used its stage time to connect its original inspiration for an art movement — the “devolution of our culture” in the context of their friends being gunned down at Kent State — to the current political moment, referring to Donald Trump as an “orange fuckhead.”

Sunday’s lineup included Quintron and Miss Pussycat, a husband-and-wife act that featured a light-activated drum machine and a puppet show that was, fittingly, about gentrification. Other highlights included Japanese power-pop band Firestarter, the rare reunion of electropunk band Le Shok, and, of course, headliner The Damned, with lead singer Dave Vanian looking spooky in a long black coat and gloves and sounding somehow even better than he did 40 years ago on hits like “Smash It Up Parts 1 & 2.”

This year’s Burger Boogaloo was a bittersweet weekend, filled with great music but lacking some of the social awareness and inclusive representation that could make it something truly special. In 2018, punk is not a space reserved solely for angry white men anymore — and punk festivals should reflect that.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Talking Devolution with Burger Boogaloo Headliner Devo

“We're just the house band going down with the Titanic, playing your favorite tunes as we all go down.”

by Nessa Moreno
Wed, Jun 27, 2018 at 12:35 PM

Devo is perhaps best known for their hit, "Whip It." - PHOTO COURTESY OF ROBERT MATHEU
  • Photo courtesy of Robert Matheu
  • Devo is perhaps best known for their hit, "Whip It."

The history of Devo, the misunderstood iconoclast multimedia pioneers of punk, is far complicated than scores composed for Rugrats. Reached by phone earlier this week, Devo co-founder Jerry Casale cut into the grit about Donald Trump without hesitation (or espresso). "He's a blustering, idiotic developer-businessman-entrepreneur who hoodwinked everybody, has been bankrupt four times, gotten himself into a mountain of debt," Casale said, sounding groggy but perking up as the caffeine hits. "It's proof of Devolution of our entire culture."

What exactly is Devolution? Let’s go back to May 4, 1970, Kent State University. At the time, Casale was a student organizing with Students for a Democratic Society against the Vietnam War. That's when the National Guard gunned down the student uprising, killing four students and injuring nine. Casale knew two of the slain students, Allison Krause and Jeffrey Miller. For the next year-and-a-half, Casale channeled grief into a project with his colleague Bob Lewis and conceived the concept, Devolution. "We were seeing in western society going down, Devolution,” Casale said. “Then one night I decided to make it an art movement, so we wanted to shorten it up. We wanted to do what all corporations did by abbreviating, using anagrams — we wanted to make it like Xerox, rub off letters. … It was Devo from there on out.”

It was then that Casale met up with co-founder of Devo, Mark Mothersbaugh, who was a student part-time taking art classes. “We became friends,” Casale said. “I told him about all the Devolution stuff. He just went nuts. He was already mentally there with us.”

The group elevated their concept from art into music with the help of their brothers Bob Mothersbaugh (Bob1) and late Bob Casale (Bob2), and found their first drummer, the late Alan Myers. By 1977, Devo was ready to leave Akron Ohio behind, and Jerry took a trip to New York booking gigs for Devo at punk clubs CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City and pretending to be Devo’s manager — rightfully so, at the time no one took them seriously. “Once we played those clubs, suddenly we were on the radar. People on the West Coast — the center of the record business world — were trying to sign us. A&M Records had an A&R man, Chip Cohen (he signed The Tubes two years earlier), he gave us money and had to drive out to California. Then we had to showcase for him in Hollywood, and he promptly rejected us.”

Rather than trudging the trail of failure back to Akron, Ohio, they met one last record executive. “He goes, ‘Guys, you could march seven naked teenage girls in here and they're all pretty but one's got a weird mole, one’s got no tits. What I'm trying to say is, you're not my kind of girl.’ I wanted to punch him out. ... That's when we left, and I started venting in the parking lot screaming about him, and Alan Myers, our drummer, goes, ‘Maybe we don't deserve a record deal.’ Ha, and I go, ‘Fuck that. That's bullshit. We're going to figure this out.’”

Word began to circulate about Devo’s distinctive sound and appearance. The same venue of Devo's debut showcase invited the band back, gaining them local recognition, and attracted the likes of Toni Basil and Iggy Pop, who then gave their tape to Neil Young, who then gave their tape to David Bowie, who brought Devo in touch with Brian Eno, who then produced their debut classic, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! Los Angeles has been their base ever since.

With their debut on Saturday Night Live, Devo was definitely perceived as polarizing by right wing America, especially in late 1970s. “When you're a do-it-yourself artist and you're punk in sense that you hate illegitimate authority, you hate all the gatekeepers — you know what? These people hate us, and we're doing something right.”

By 1980, ”Whip It” was on heavy rotation on MTV. But soon, MTV shifted its focus and basically became an advertising tool for Top 40, and Devo dropped off the mainstream radar. Yet, the band remained relevant to the underground. “By the 1990s, they weren't going, ‘Oh fuck Devo, that fucking ‘Whip It’ band,’” Jerry said.

There was a shift, and with that shift, the band came out of a hiatus. With Mothersbaugh composing scores for Rugrats, Pee-wee's Playhouse, and Wes Anderson movies, Devo was rediscovered by a new generation, propelled by the tools of social media. “They're like, ‘Oh yeah, Devo, Devolution is real.’ Of course, it's a foregone conclusion — we're just the house band going down with the Titanic, playing your favorite tunes as we all go down.”

With headlining this Burger Boogaloo this weekend, Devo is influential to many artists on this bill, the Mummies, Quintron, and especially the founders of Burger Records. The band itself remains a relevant soundtrack of society falling apart. “We all proved that Devolution is real,” Jerry said. ”We became the new wave Grateful Dead, with three generations of kids liking our music.”

Devo performs at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday, June 30, at Mosswood Park in Oakland for Burger Boogaloo. Tickets here.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Otherwheres Finds Artificial Inspiration for Fifth Edition

The fifth edition of the literary and art magazine gets released Friday.

by Janelle Bitker
Thu, Jun 21, 2018 at 2:20 PM

Virginia Zamora created the cover art.
  • Virginia Zamora created the cover art.

When Joseph Bien-Kahn was a college student, he received a creative writing assignment that has stuck with him years later. His teacher handed out a few opening lines to novels and asked the students to pick one as their own opening line to a short story.

"He told us the first line was always the hardest," Bien-Kahn said. "What was fascinating most of all was all the stories were different. They all went in completely different directions."

Bien-Kahn applied that lesson to his literary and art magazine's newest issue, Otherwheres V: Artificial Inspiration — with an appropriately Bay Area twist. Web editor Aaron Strick found an open source sentence-building tool, so the pair put all of the poetry, first-person stories, and other writing from the first four Otherwheres editions into a database, and the algorithm spit out "an absolutely amazing, bizarre, magical collection of sentences," Bien-Kahn said. A few examples: "I think you grow stale and I am a backpack," "His face loosely stitched over his huge plantation homes," and "But something had raspberry bushes in my tongue."

The magazine team — editor Bien-Kahn, co-founder Aaron Kingon, web editor Strick, and design editor Toby Silverman — picked two sentences ("The Sisters are Dubious" and "You have found a thousand year passed by the ceremony") and found six writers to pen a short story using them as the opening line. They also gave six photographers different robo-excerpts to use as captions for an image.

Contributors include Lexi Pandell, who has written for Wired, The Atlantic, and Playboy; Megan Molteni of Wired; Nastia Voynovskaya, KQED's music and books editor and former Express writer; and Ismail Muhammad of Zyzzyva, The Millions, and LA Review of Books. Given the theme and technology behind the issue, it makes sense that some of the pieces lean dystopian and futurist, but others remain rooted in personal stories. "They still feel lived in and have that truth to them," Bien-Kahn said.

The hefty, beautifully designed magazines are printed at Autumn Press in Berkeley and will be for sale at the release party at 9 p.m. Friday, June 22, at Starline Social Club (2236 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland). With no cover to attend, folks can enjoy live readings followed by a dance party with Voynovskaya and Will Bundy of Wine & Bowties spinning hip-hop and R&B.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story misidentified Aaron Kingon as the web editor. In fact, Aaron Strick is the web editor.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Pointer Sisters to Headline This Year's Art + Soul Oakland

Lyrics Born, Alphabet Rockers, Gift of Gab, and more will be at the 18th edition.

by Janelle Bitker
Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 1:38 PM

The Pointer Sisters will receive a key to the city. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ART + SOUL OAKLAND
  • Photo courtesy of Art + Soul Oakland
  • The Pointer Sisters will receive a key to the city.

Art + Soul Oakland will return to the streets of downtown Oakland with a fresh lineup on a new weekend. While the festival usually takes place in mid-August, the 2018 edition will see it Saturday, July 28, and Sunday, July 29.

The Pointer Sisters, the Oakland R&B group who won three Grammy Awards during their peak of fame in the 1970s and '80s, headlines this year's festival. At Art + Soul, the trio will be given keys to the city. As with past years, Art + Soul keeps the lineup focused on homegrown talent. Other headliners include Lyrics Born, the rapper who is set to release his tenth record later this year; Alphabet Rockers, the Grammy-nominated hip-hop group aimed at children; and Jazz Mafia with specials guests Tiffany Austin, Martin Luther, and Gift of Gab of Blackalicious fame.

New this year is live salsa with free salsa dance lessons, backed by Mario Salomon's new band Mario y Su TimbeKO.

The festival will also bring back its turf dance battle, world dance showcases, blues stage, arts marketplace, local food and drink, and carnival with activities for kids.

In honor of Art + Soul's 18th birthday, kids ages 18 and under will get into the festival for free, ensuring that this will be an extra family-friendly weekend. Advance tickets for adults cost $12 and $6 for seniors 65 and older. For more information, visit

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Monday, June 4, 2018

Oakland Singer Tatyana Schmid Killed in Traffic Accident

by Janelle Bitker
Mon, Jun 4, 2018 at 4:53 PM

Tatyana Schmid (left) wrote songs as duo TATATEO. - PHOTO VIA TATATEO'S FACEBOOK
  • Photo via Tatateo's Facebook
  • Tatyana Schmid (left) wrote songs as duo TATATEO.

Tatyana Schmid died Thursday, May 31, while riding her bicycle along the 7000 block of Skyline Boulevard, according to Bay Area News Group. She collided with a SUV and died at the scene. She was 28 years old.

Schmid was a local singer who performed in Bay Area folk bands, including Oakland acoustic duo TATATEO with Matteo Lovik.  The Minnesota native was also a trip leader for Backroads, the hiking and cycling company.

The collision remains under investigation.

Review: Politics Takes Center Stage at Clusterfest

by Janelle Bitker
Mon, Jun 4, 2018 at 11:11 AM

  • Courtesy of Clusterfest by
  • Michael Che

Comedians brought their wokest material to Comedy Central’s Clusterfest, the three-day comedy festival in San Francisco that wrapped up Sunday night. Nearly every set spoke to Donald Trump, race, or the #MeToo movement — and often all three.

Many comics couldn’t resist playfully jabbing at San Francisco, especially its whiteness. “This feels like a really fucked up Jehovah's Witnesses concert,” said Tiffany Haddish, scanning the VIP section at the start of her set.

Saturday Night Live’s Michael Che spent some time on his feelings about the city as well. “Every time I get here, it gets a little whiter,” he said, as the camera pointed to an all-white section of the audience. “It’s like I’m slowly watching my favorite person turn gray.”

Others were even more direct. Kate Berlant began her surrealist set with a few questions: “Who here works for Facebook? Who here likes to actively displace the poor?” After some awkward laughter, she issued a clarification: “That's a San Francisco joke.” While performing at the outdoor, Civic Center stage, Jeff Jeffries remarked on how festival organizers cleared homeless folks out from the plaza — essentially, evicting them from where they currently live — just so he could tell some dick jokes. Arrested Development's David Cross cheerfully called San Francisco “the human poo capital of America.”

Comics didn’t shy away from #MeToo within the comedy industry, as Louis C.K. was put on blast multiple times. “There are at least 12 comics I know that I would not invite to my home,” said Jackie Kashian. “I call them my work friends.”

Kashian was one of many lesser-known openers who had audiences keeling over, demonstrating the impressive, top-to-bottom lineup at Clusterfest. She also encapsulated the weekend well in a single sentence: “I am surely not a political comic, but I am now, because I’m alive.”

The wokeness continued through Saturday's headlining set, which saw Amy Schumer splitting her time with three other women. Schumer, who is often accused of problematic white feminism, spoke to the importance of intersectionality and promoting people of color in her Saturday headlining set.

  • Courtesy of Clusterfest by
  • Tiffany Haddish
  • Courtesy of Clusterfest by
  • The Lonely Island
  • Courtesy of Clusterfest by
  • Jon Stewart

A less political highlight of the weekend, however, was Lonely Island’s headlining set on Friday — the comedic hip-hop group’s first official live concert ever. The multimedia set was packed with over-the-top silliness, guest appearances, costume changes, and all of their beloved hits. The Berkeley group even debuted a new song, suggesting the possibility of more live shows down the line. The East Bay-centric track paid homage to sports stars Jose Canseco, Mark McGuire, and Joe Montana, and saw Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer dressed in Oakland A’s gear.

Other memorable, unserious attractions included a recreation of Nickelodeon’s game show Double Dare, equipped with green slime; a South Park carnival full of themed games; a brass band-led parade featuring a few men coated in blue paint and clad in cut-offs, which ended at a replication of the Arrested Development stair car; and a slew of hip-hop performances that played up the theme of '90s nostalgia.

But the most memorable attraction was the Daily Show’s Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library, which showcased Trump’s most bizarre and outrageous tweets in an ambitious format that struck the perfect tone between humor and despair. Cast members of the Daily Show served as ideal anchors throughout the festival, which fittingly ended on a political high via Jon Stewart. The former host proved he’s still the master of the form, even weaving in an old Twitter exchange between him and Trump, and gave a shout-out to his former colleague Samantha Bee, who is currently experiencing the president’s wrath.

But as with the rest of the festival lineup, he found a way to make fun of San Francisco, too.

“Is rent so fucking bad we can’t afford a theater?” he asked on the main stage, as thousands stood bundled in the chill. “Or a Google bus or something?”

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Howlin' Rain Premieres Rollicking New 'Missouri' Video

by Janelle Bitker
Wed, May 30, 2018 at 12:00 PM

  • Photo courtesy of Kristy Walker
Oakland's Howlin' Rain teamed up with the Express to premiere its new music video for "Missouri." The song comes from the rock band's soulful, anthemic new album Alligator Bride, which saw the group return to its DIY roots via bandleader Ethan Miller's own Silver Current Records. Miller is, of course, the Bay Area favorite who also fronts Heron Oblivion and Feral Ohms and formerly helmed Comets on Fire.

Miller shared a little bit about the new release: "The mission with the ‘Missouri’ video was to capture the live energy of the band, which I think we did quite nicely here. The energy is always high and together there's always a feeling of the band as a single entity being on the brink of eruption. When we get on stage that energy just goes through the roof. It’s such a joy to feel those guys whipping up around me like cyclones!” 

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Your 2018 Guide to Clusterfest

by Janelle Bitker
Wed, May 30, 2018 at 10:44 AM

  • Photo courtesy of Josh Withers

The biggest comedy festival in the Bay Area is also one of the newest. Clusterfest returns Friday, June 1, through Sunday, June 3, for its second year of nonstop stand-up as well as live music and interactive attractions.

Presented by Comedy Central, Superfly, and Another Planet Entertainment, Clusterfest inverts the Outside Lands formula with comics as the headliners and bands in supporting roles. The headliners are huge names: Amy Schumer, Berkeley’s The Lonely Island, John Mulaney, Trevor Noah, and Jon Stewart, who will close out the festival on Sunday with his first stand-up performance on the West Coast in 15 years. (Don’t worry, the former Daily Show host does indeed have an act. Read this interview in the San Francisco Chronicle.)

With five stages sprinkled throughout San Francisco Civic Center and the Bill Graham Auditorium, Clusterfest has a habit of overwhelming. Here’s what we recommend checking out this weekend beyond the headliners:


Tiffany Haddish: Endearing and hilarious, the star of 2017’s Girl Trip is an easy choice in one of the earlier time slots.

Saturday, 5:45-6:30 p.m., Colossal Stage

David Cross: Best known for his role as Tobias on Arrested Development, Cross is far more dry and sarcastic in his stand-up persona. He also has a small but vital role in the upcoming Boots Riley film, Sorry to Bother You.

Sunday, 7:45-8:45 p.m., Bill Graham Stage

Maria Bamford: Her semi-autobiographical Netflix show Lady Dynamite was a critical hit and an important, destigmatizing portrayal of mental illness.

Friday, 5:30-6:30 p.m., 415 Comedy Club; 7:15-8:30 p.m. Bill Graham Stage

Awkwafina: The Asian American comedian and rapper is poised to blow up with two movies coming out this summer, Ocean’s 8 and Crazy Rich Asians, as well as a Comedy Central pilot.

Saturday, 3:15-4 p.m., Colossal Stage; 7:15-8:15 p.m. Room 415 Comedy Club

Doughboys: Mike Mitchell and Nick Wiger took reviewing chain restaurants to a new level with their hilarious podcast.

Sunday, 7:30-8:30 p.m., Larkin Comedy Club


Wu-Tang Clan: Get ready to sing along to "C.R.E.A.M."

Sunday, 6:45-7:45 p.m., Colossal Stage

Third Eye Blind: This is, after all, a comedy festival.
Friday, 6:25-7:10 p.m., Colossal Stage


Kronnerburger: The Piedmont Avenue restaurant is no more, so this might be one of your last chances to get the official Kronnerburger. (The stand will also serve vegan Impossible burgers.)

Aburaya: The Oakland favorite will serve fried chicken rice bowls, vegan drumstix, and fried cauliflower.

Whistlin’ Willys pizza: Little Star Pizza will serve deep dish and thin crust slices in honor of the South Park pizzeria.

Paddy’s Pub food: Ever wondered what rum ham, bagged spaghetti, and tachos would actually taste like? It’s time to find out.

Dosa By Dosa: Head here for lighter, healthier meals, including their sprouted mung bean salad and pani poori, a chaat dish you can’t even get at the actual Oakland restaurant.


Paddy’s Pub: The shitty bar from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is back, featuring live entertainment every day in addition to themed food. You can even play Flipadelphia.

The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library: The Daily Show presents “the finest works from Trump’s Twitter collection.”

South Park County Fair: Join the gang for skee ball, archery, and other carnival games.

Double Dare: The Nickelodeon game show will be recreated with interactive challenges, a one-hour live show on Sunday, and slime.

Arrested Development: You’ve probably already binge-watched the new season on Netflix, and now you can hit up the banana stand and take a selfie on the stair car.

Tickets ($289.50 for three days and $115 for single days) are still on sale here.

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Monday, May 28, 2018

Review: The White Elitism of BottleRock Napa Valley

Bruno Mars called the festival 'the fancy Coachella.'

by Azucena Rasilla
Mon, May 28, 2018 at 9:31 AM

Sunday saw more than 30,000 attendees. - PHOTO COURTESY BOTTLEROCK NAPA VALLEY
  • Photo courtesy BottleRock Napa Valley
  • Sunday saw more than 30,000 attendees.

More than 30,000 people showed up to day three of BottleRock Napa Valley — a vast majority to see Bruno Mars. Many chose to skip all of the day's other performances to try to get a coveted spot close to the front of the main stage to see Bruno Mars close the festival.

It was a commitment to sit through so many other performances, including Halsey. Throughout her mediocre performance, the New York native — and G-Eazy’s girlfriend — kept complaining between songs, berating fans who had been waiting by the stage for hours for their lack of enthusiasm. She is overrated at best.

Bruno Mars called the festival “the fancy Coachella.” This term is accurate, as BottleRock primarily functions as a music festival for the elite.

Sure, BottleRock offers a payment plan just like Coachella and Outside Lands, but out of the three festivals, only Outside Lands offers a payment plan for the VIP section. With BottleRock, there are too many tiers going from general admission, which cost $409 for all three days, to their Platinum Experience, which will set you back $3,500.

The tiers in pricing were surely reflected in the crowds. While there has been an increase in younger people attending, which was the case this year with lots of people in their teens and early 20s, as well as families with kids in strollers, the mix of people stops there. It remains predominantly white. If you wanted to find people of color, more were there as staff as opposed to as attendees.

  • Photo courtesy BottleRock Napa Valley
  • A sea of white people.

The "BottleRock is too white" theme doesn’t stop at the attendees or the lineup — none of the 16 Latino-owned wineries from Napa were present at the festival either.

Choosing Bruno Mars, one of few people of color on the lineup, as the closer of the festival was an excellent idea. He is, after all, one of the best singers and entertainers around currently. The hope is that the folks behind BottleRock put more effort into bringing not only a more diverse group of artists in the future — if Michael Franti can play the festival over five times, so can Latinx bands who have previously played — but also find a way to make the crowd more diverse as well as have the food and drinks selection reflect the demographics of Napa Valley.

BottleRock Napa Valley 2019 will take place May 24-26.

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