downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Category — citycenter

Labor Day Weekend is no rest for downtown

September 2, 2011

This Labor Day Weekend hosts not just downtown Oakland’s trademark monthly arts-oriented events, but also two large expositions. Saturday and Sunday will see the International Cannabis & Hemp Expo take over Frank Ogawa Plaza outside City Hall, and Sunday is the date of Oakland’s biggest Gay Pride event yet, with organizers hoping to attract 100,000 LGBT and LGBT-friendly folks. Look for afterparties of both events to take over downtown bars all weekend.

And of course this evening is the First Friday of the month, and that means that art and culture are on full display in downtown Oakland and its environs. Here are some highlights:

A pop-up gallery will take root in the Marquee Lofts building across from the Fox Theater on Telegraph Avenue, with Betti Ono’s Smshbx Contemporary presenting live art and more every weekend in September. The gallery opens at 7pm tonight.

Anthony Holdsworth is best known around here for pastel-drenched portraits of historic Oakland buildings and neighborhoods. Caffe 817 in Old Oakland offers an opportunity to meet him and his students and see paintings of cityscapes from around the world.

The former Duke’s R&B at 2nd and Broadway has come under new management, and while a grand opening event is in the future, tonight is an opportunity to sample its new attitude with a show.

The Art Murmur continues to focus on a quieter alternative to the happening First Friday Art Walk, with its Saturday Stroll highlighting galleries and providing opportunities to speak with artists and gallery owners.

Era Artbar hosts Finding, a show of the photography of Lea Bruno, presented in innovative lighted frames.

This Means War Is Personal, a two-artist installation at Krowswork Gallery on 23rd St, is reviewed by Oakland North.

Classic Cars West adds a record swap to its art car and live arts exhibits.

There’s no need to wait until after work to get your art on downtown! Take part in an Art Break at Frank Ogawa Plaza this afternoon.

Enjoy the holiday weekend, and I’ll see you at a new gallery tonight!

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Eleven years of Art and Soul

August 19, 2011

The headline event of this weekend is certainly the 11th annual Art & Soul Festival. Headlined by Tower of Power, Goapele and the Kev Choice Ensemble, this year’s festival of arts and culture will again draw tens of thousands to downtown to enjoy affordable and family-friendly fun. The official program is in this week’s East Bay Express, and more information can be found online.

The Art & Soul Festival also brings attendant annoyances such as street closures. Starting this evening, streets around City Center and Old Oakland will be closed for the duration of the festival, to both cars and pedestrians, so plan your DTO excursions carefully.

In other news…

The Third Annual Eat Real Festival is only a month away now, and detailed information about the gourmand event is online.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission gave Oakland a reprieve and appointed a committee to study locations for a new headquarters.

The Butch Voices conference is underway at the downtown Marriott convention center. Check out the website for information on the conference, and for instructions on tying a handsome bow-tie.

Oakland’s longtime hip-hop duo Foreign Legion will be playing at Disco Volante tonight with a live band instead of the usual DJ.

El Elle, a new dance-pop group founded by Lisa Light of Oakland favorites the Lovemakers, plays their debut show with Bam!Bam! and Sisu at the Uptown tonight.

The Oakland Museum’s Oakland Standard parties, a mixture of art, politics, and culture, are being posted online, beginning with a discussion of political posters from last year. Check it out at

Last but not least, Bar Three Fifty Five at 355 19th St in Uptown celebrates its first anniversary on Saturday.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you at the Art & Soul Main Stage!

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