Rehearsing your own death: not your typical night in Oakland

“Hi, my name is Becky and I am going to die,” I said as we went round the circle. We were at a three-day workshop run by Chris Zydel and Sharon Pavelda called a “death rehearsal,” a therapeutic workshop designed to help people envision and accept the eventuality of their own deaths.

VCA Animal Hospital

There’s something about waiting rooms; all that time and nothing to do but listen to the radio love songs and read trashy magazines. It leads to speculation—about men, life, student loans and bunny-killing felines. Or at least that was the scene in the waiting room of the VCA Animal Hospital, which is on 45th and Shattuck, at 9 am. “Do you guys treat chickens?” said a woman in a bright pink sweater and black body warmer. “No, we don’t here,”…

31st October 2009:Halloween Haunting

Happy Halloween OaklandNorth! With the Bridge still down we’re expecting Halloween to be big in downtown Oakland this year, and we’re not the only ones. Safety is high on the agenda, with Oakland police officers and American Emergency Response teams due to be stationed at busy intersections across the city to help children safely reach their trick-or-treating destinations. Studio one is putting on a Halloween House Party at 365 45th Street at 6pm tonight. Yes, we are assured this does…

October 29, 2009: Midweek record-breaking

Greetings to our dear Oakland North readers, It’s been crunch time for commuters across the Bay area. When the Bay Bridge closed yesterday hundreds of thousands of people were forced to look for alternative routes to and from San Francisco. If you squashed yourself onto a BART carriage yesterday, then you were one of 437, 200 people who set a new record for the highest number of BART riders in a single 24-hour period. BART officials told Oakland North that…

October 27, 2009: Halloween call to arms!

Oakland North is looking to celebrate this ghoulish weekend in style, so would love to hear from readers about what’s coming up. If you have tips for the best trick or treating turf, or who will be wearing the best costume, let us know. Other news that caught our eye: V Smoothe talks about the possibility of the World Cup coming to Oakland The Educational Examiner over in San Francisco highlights former Oakland mayor, Jerry Brown’s charter schools

For Oakland’s seniors, living on Medicare and Medi-Cal can be a challenge

In old age homes and residential care facilities across the country, low-income seniors are already part of a government-run healthcare system–through MediCal, the state benefits program for the poor; and Medicare, the federal program for those over 65. But for some seniors those benefits don’t necessarily provide easy access to medical care either. A special Oakland North radio podcast.

How not to place bike in car, lesson 1

My life–Becky Palmstrom here–is full of time-saving tricks. My morning shower involves a slightly dangerous but carefully-executed laptop balancing act that lets me listen to the BBC World Service online while washing my hair. I read my course books while I walk to school. I have a vegetable box delivered to my house and buy vitamins and shampoo in bulk to save time on shopping. I take power naps and I have learnt to touch type. But every so often…

New refugees from rural Burma, grappling with modern California, find an ally in Oakland

In the last three weeks, seven new families have finally won the right to move to Oakland. The most recent family arrived October 7, and like the others, was picked up at San Francisco International Airport after a 16-hour flight, taken to a sparsely furnished apartment on 19th street in East Oakland, and given a week’s expense money. With this final trip up I-80 and across the Bay Bridge, a journey that began in the depths of the jungles of…

Young stars audition for roles of a lifetime

For talented 7-12 year olds in Oakland, October 5th was a big day. Fifteen of them were chosen from a group of thirty to become part of a hip-hop, dance and spoken word Junior theater company created through Destiny Arts Center, a North Oakland based non-profit that teaches hip-hop, kung fu and conflict resolution to youth.

For talented kids, a chance to dance, rap and show their skills

It seems like a tall order. Wanted: fifteen volunteer hip-hop or modern dance performers willing to learn spoken word theater for a Spring show in Oakland and possible national tour. Song, rap, martial arts and aerial dance skills could also come in handy. Oh, yes–and actors must be 12 or younger. The group will be known as “Destiny Junior Company,” and the idea emerged out of Destiny Art Center, a non-profit that runs dance, theater and martial arts classes for…