Florence Middleton

Oakland is losing more trees than it is planting, leaving some neighborhoods more exposed to pollution

On his birthday in 2020, Walter Hood planted six trees in front of his house. That same year, he tore out the concrete parking strip and planted a dozen more. Now children come by to pick his lemons. It’s not much, he says, but it’s an investment in Oakland’s future.  Hood, a UC Berkeley professor and the creative director of Hood Design Studio, has lived for 25 years in West Oakland, where tree canopy coverage is a mere 5% —…

“This country is really nice, but it has a price’: Fruitvale laborers take stage with stories of love, loss, longing

The nine performers on stage Saturday night at Oakland Theater Project weren’t professional actors. They were day laborers from Fruitvale who relinquished the safety of silence to tell their stories.  And they will do it again at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at FLAX art & design, 1501 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in downtown Oakland.  Under a project called Teatro Jornalero, workers from Central America, Mexico and the United States share intimate stories of the turmoil that drove them from their…

On your mark. Get set. Paint!

The Queer Healing Art Center buzzed with excitement on Saturday as artists prepared their bright white canvases, paintbrushes, and acrylic paint for an Art Battle.   This was the Queer Healing Art Center’s one year anniversary of hosting Art Battles — live competitions where artists paint blank canvases while surrounded by an audience. “As soon as the paintbrush hits the canvas, everyone is electrified,” said Kin Folkz né Monica Anderson, the center’s co-founder and executive director of the Queer Healing Art…