downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Category — art

Occupy the Night

November 18, 2011

Downtown Oakland is still going through a rough period but tensions have eased somewhat with the quieting of the Occupy movement. Tonight and the next week offer fun ways to enjoy downtown and support its small retail and entertainment businesses.

Music for all tastes

The Uptown hosts an indie-rock show featuring Mister Loveless, The Hundred Days, Holy Rolling Empire, and Tremor Low.

For different tastes, the San Francisco Funk Fest comes to Oakland with the 45 Sessions at Disco Volante tonight, spinning funk and rare groove at this well-regarded restaurant-cum-nightclub.

And yet another musical direction, hip-hop stars Foreign Legion play with a live backing band at Vitus tonight, 2nd and Broadway.

Art on Saturday

Tomorrow supporters or those interested in the Occupy movement can see an art exhibit featuring works by Occupy protesters in Oakland and SF, with a discussion about the movement and its relationship to the arts. It’s not downtown but Occupy has impacted downtown more than anywhere else, so the reader may be interested. Noon Saturday (Nov 19), at GZ | Soulye Studios, 2615D Magnolia St in West Oakland.

Also Saturday afternoon, six galleries of the Art Murmur open their doors for a curated tour starting at 2pm at Mama Buzz Cafe, 2318 Telegraph.

Though a certain protest movement will try on Saturday to pick a fight in Uptown, many are optimistic that things will have been taken care of by nightfall, and a great way to celebrate peace in the DTO is at the official Goapele record release party at Era Artbar on Saturday night! Pre-sale tickets available at a discount.

Dueling retro gaming tournaments

Next week sees dueling retro gaming nights in the DTO – pick your pleasure, 8-bit video or mechanical pinball! Tuesday, the new Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment hosts its first Fight Night, a tournament of retro fighting arcade games (think StreetFighter).

On Wednesday, Vitus in the Jack London District will host another of its popular, biweekly pinball tournaments. Vitus is fast becoming a regional destination for pinball, with four well-oiled machines and plenty of room to play. Vitus also boasts the most popular pinball machine of all time, Medieval Madness. Scroll down the Bay Area Pinball League’s tournament page to learn more.

Occupy downtown business

Finally, get ready for Oakland’s official holiday Shop Local event in downtown. Recent events have hit downtown businesses hard. Next Friday will be a fun-filled day to celebrate our local merchants and get a start on holiday shopping with local businesses.

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Changing cities through beauty, not vandalism

November 4, 2011

First Friday comes to a downtown somewhat beaten down after events of the past week. From transit suspensions to vandalism, Wednesday was a rough day, and Wednesday night even worse. Yet the resolve of downtown business owners who were left to defend their property without police protection appears, at least from Facebook, to be an inspiration to everyone – workers and residents alike -working to build a brighter urban core. Today is an opportunity to ponder and participate in the shaping of a community through art and culture, instead of vandalism and confrontation.

This First Friday continues Oakland’s years-long celebration of the arts. The Art Murmur experiments with a slightly different format today, with a large-scale art installation replacing crafts vendors on 23rd Street. Surrounding galleries are open, as always: one highlight is Barely There: When Less is More, a multimedia exhibition from multiple artists at SLATE Contemporary, 473 25th St. See the official Art Murmur map for a full listing of galleries. If you miss the crafts vendors, check out the Firehouse Collective on 24th St.

Era Artbar’s gallery hosts the debut of Machine Language, a collage installation by local artist, architect and DJ Daniel Backman, based on his photography in and around Oakland. He states, “I have dismantled these images of urban infrastructure and reassembled them into six abstract yet figural compositions. These alien machines devour the urban fabric of Oakland and incorporate its contents into their intricate and monstrous bodies. These new works will be shown alongside my previous series, Space/Shift and enGulfed. Together, these collages comprise a grand narrative about the future of our cities and the challenges they face.” Perhaps given more meaning by this week’s tussles, Machine Language will be displayed at Era (19 Grand Ave) through the end of the month.

ProArts Gallery holds its annual Box Art Benefit Auction, whose proceeds go to support their mission of advocating for artists and providing arts programs in schools.

Starting today and going through Tuesday, the California Food Justice Conference is held in downtown Oakland, with seminars, workshops and charity events focused around access to healthy food. Today’s events include a film screening at the Oakland Marriott, and an arts and community event on Telegraph at 17th from 8 to 10pm. The conference schedule is found here.

The Oaklandish Store (1444 Broadway) hosts its final First Friday party of the year, featuring MCs and singers from Earshot Entertainment. Visiting Oaklandish is a great opportunity to patronize the OakCollectiv across the street, which was vandalized and looted despite supporting Wednesday’s protest.

Old Oakland impresario Alfonso Dominguez partnered with Sarah Tilly and worked with landlord Peter Sullivan to bring several “pop-up” retail shops to the area around Ninth and Washington, to incubate retail in this promising district. Manifesto Bicycles is one of many retailers participating in a six-month experiment to forge a new retail identity for downtown. The “Pop Up Hood” has is grand opening on December 9th, just in time for the holidays.

Whether you’re fighting for food justice, indulging the life of the asthete, or building community organizations, there’s something for you to participate in downtown this First Friday. See you on 23rd Street!