downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Category — music

Fifth Year of First Fridays

January 7, 2011

Today, the first Friday of 2011, is the fifth anniversary of the monthly celebration of arts and culture known as the Art Murmur, which began in January 2006. The event has grown from a few participating galleries to include institutions like the Oakland Museum, and art galleries and performance spaces have opened in the blocks surrounding Mama Buzz Cafe, where the Art Murmur was planned. With 23rd St closed to traffic on First Fridays since 2007, this loosely-organized event draws thousands of people to Uptown. Today, the fifth anniversary of the Art Murmur features art shows in the evening and music at night.

Here’s some highlights to help you plan your evening:

The map of participating galleries
Free indie-rock show at the Uptown
Funk Revival Orchestra does a tribute to Roy Ayers at New Parish
Burning Man artist David Best speaks at the Oakland Museum
Art Murmur After-Party with DJ Joe Quixx at Era
Art show and after-party at The Den at the Fox
Spice Monkey joins First Friday with live music and extended hours

In addition, the Pacific Coast Brewery has re-opened after a renovation.

See you in Uptown!

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This Friday the first to feature legal live music

May 7, 2010

This is the first First Friday since the City of Oakland’s cabaret ordinance was reformed, a long-time goal of cultural mavens. As of Wednesday, restaurants and cafes are allowed live music, and DJ bars no longer have to worry about being ticketed. The late-night permits and easier cabaret permitting process for clubs will hopefully encourage more nightlife, and tonight many are expected to enjoy the freedom to play music in public. With newly-legal live performance as the backdrop, today’s sunny First Friday offers a wealth of cultural opportunities.

Highlights of the monthly Art Murmur can be found in the OakBook’s regular article about the art scene. Uptown’s newest hotspot, The New Parish, hosts a Feria Urbana for local designers to sell their wares, ranging from art to jewelry to t-shirts to hats. More details are available at

For the Bike Month of May, cyclists will ride the map of the Art Murmur from 23rd and Telegraph starting at 6:30pm, “in a fantastic parade of hometown fashion and music.”

The Uptown Nightclub, just slightly off the beaten Art Murmur path, will host a First Friday extravaganza with no cover charge. Several bands and DJs including The Mumlers will perform, while Warner Records will play new albums from The Black Keys and The Dead Weather.

Further afield, newcomer Urban Legend Cellars winery will keep their tasting room open until 9pm tonight. 621 4th St. Nearby, on Saturday and Sunday, Jack London Square will host The Sweet Shoppe, a festival dedicated to sweets. Just in time for Mother’s Day, its probably the best place to pick up bonbons in the DTO.

Uptown’s resident pedicab service, Backseat Driver, will be out and about tonight. Check out’s video interview with urban micro-entrepreneurs Ken and Lulu Ott. Look for Ken and his rickshaw around town tonight. While Ken pedals around, The Rock Papers Scissors Collective will display of human-powered machinery, an element of their Beyond Bicycles project.

Since we’re on the topic of transportation, allow me to plug a professional project of mine. I am helping Friendly Cab offer free taxi rides on First Fridays. A $5 taxi coupon, enough for a free bar-hopping trip downtown, will be available tonight at three downtown bars: Penelope at 11th and Clay, The Layover at 1517 Franklin, and Era Artbar at 19 Grand. Stop by a bar and ask for your coupon, and enjoy a free or heavily discounted ride on Friendly Cab! Sponsored by Kapsack & Bair DUI Attorneys, the coupon can help you have fun while avoiding drunk driving. Read more about it at and the Trib’s Nightowl blog.

Whether you’re cabbing, bicycling, walking, riding a rickshaw, or even driving, downtown’s First Friday is where all roads lead. Legalizing live music this week adds to the cultural celebration.