downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Category — nightlife

A legacy of fun

September 30, 2011

This weekend’s downtown events tie cultural and political heritage to today’s challenges and opportunities, with a healthy dose of old-fashioned fun.

The Oakland Museum presents another installation of O-Zone tonight, an arts-inspired party to celebrate the legacy of John Muir. Revolutionary rappers The Coup headline a party that includes a film screening from 10,000 Steps and a beard and mustache contest.

Oaklandish presents Fairyland for Grownups tonight, offering a rare opportunity for adults to carouse in the storybook amusement park without the usual requisite child. Advance tickets are sold out but there may be some available at the door. Rediscover your sense of childlike wonder at this fundraiser for Fairyland.

Following last night’s lectures, Top Ten Social presents another high-concept dance party tonight at the New Parish with international house-music DJs and personal stories reflecting the connections between the recent uprisings in London and socio-political conditions around the world. Also it’s a fun party.

African-Americans celebrate Western heritage at Saturday’s Black Cowboy Parade. Horsemen in their cowboy finery will parade through downtown to Frank Ogawa Plaza and continue on for an afternoon festival at West Oakland’s DeFremery Park.

This Sunday the League of Women Voters celebrates the centennial of women’s suffrage in California with a reenactment of the state’s first Suffragist parade, held in Oakland during the 1908 Republican National Convention. Don your Edwardian finery for a march around Lake Merritt – and be sure not to use the derogatory term Suffragette to describe these early crusaders for women’s rights.

And in breaking news, the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment has found a temporary home downtown, celebrating the legacy of video game design. Find out more about this museum and its upcoming events at

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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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