Art

AfroComicCon promotes support, healing: ‘The power of narrative therapy is that you get to rewrite your story.’

Mental health might not be the first thing that comes to mind at a comic book convention. But on Sunday, the seventh annual AfroComicCon at Oakland City Hall featured a lively panel of artists and therapists discussing safe mental health spaces. Sitting at a bench typically reserved for politicians, marriage and family therapist Perry Clark argued that comics have been “vilified as escapism.” For some people, he said, “reality sucks.” Relating to worlds like Wakanda — the futuristic home of…

Bay Area Children’s Theatre shuts down: ‘We are heartbroken that BACT cannot continue to carry out its vital mission.’

After nearly 20 years staging shows for and with children, Bay Area Children’s Theatre shut down Wednesday, citing “unsustainable debt,” brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The nonprofit, which started in Oakland in 2004, announced the news on its website and on social media, prompting an outpouring of affection from parents whose children have benefitted from its programs. Many called the closure heartbreaking and a huge loss for the community. “BACT has been such a treasure to our family,” Krista…

Oakland Museum shines ‘overdue light’ on works by artists with disabilities

Colorful prints, intricate fashion designs and unique animations are just a few examples of what museum-goers can expect from the Oakland Museum of California’s new multimedia art exhibition “Into the Brightness,” opening May 19.  The exhibition is a collaboration between the museum and Bay Area art studios Creativity Explored, Creative Growth and NIAD, all of which have a decadeslong history of supporting artists with developmental disabilities.  “Into the Brightness” has three main sections: “Welcome,” which will feature artists working on…

AAPI choreographers join forces in new Oakland ballet that breaks racial stereotypes

Unabashed joy takes center stage at this year’s Oakland Ballet Dancing Moons Festival, which features what may be a first for an American ballet company — a new, all-Asian American Pacific Islander choreographed program. The main ballet, “Exquisite Corpse,” is a new piece making its premiere at the festival, which the Oakland Ballet has hosted for the past two years in collaboration with the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. Co-choreographed by Phil Chan, Seyong Kim, and Elaine Kudo, the ballet merges…

Afro-Peruvian dance in Oakland: ‘We are making sure the tradition is still alive for future generations’

On a cloudy Saturday morning, Carmen Román and her husband, Pierr Padilla, filled the basement of the Golden Gate Library with a symphony of sounds, using their feet, hands and traditional Afro-Peruvian instruments. A small group of children shrieked with glee and bumbled around the room, dancing as their parents nodded to the beat being created by Román and Padilla opening and closing the top to their cajitas, a box-shaped Latin percussion instrument, and hitting it with a thin stick. …

Lantern Festival lures many back to Oakland’s Chinatown

Oakland’s Chinatown was transformed Sunday into a vibrant street market, where the aroma of cooking food mingled with the crackle of conversation and the bright colors of balloons and paper lanterns. Beneath a canopy of floating red lanterns, vendors hawked rib and radish soup, boba tea, and pineapple buns.  The joyful event was a collective effort by the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities to support small businesses and create a sense of safety and belonging in the area. Coinciding…

Sooooo sweet: Chocolate Festival promotes Black artists, entrepreneurs and businesses

In celebration of Black History Month, the Black Cultural Zone put a spotlight on love and local businesses, bringing them together in the Sooooo Chocolate Festival on Sunday at Uptown Station. “Promoting local artists is the antidote to gentrification and displacement,” said Carylon Johnson, Black Cultural Zone CEO. “Festivals like these remind people that who we are is made up of our local small businesses. And so we’ve got to embrace them and elevate them.” The rich fragrance of chocolate…

Oakland Museum visitors create mural honoring Black Panther women

An Oakland mural dedicated to women in the Black Panther Party came to life Friday night, as visitors to the Oakland Museum of California were invited to create their own artwork in a live mural.  The project was put on by the West Oakland Mural Project, a mural and mini museum honoring women instrumental to the Black Panther movement. Visitors got to work painting, bringing the colorless canvas to life with vibrant reds, blues, yellows, and blacks.  The live mural,…

Celebrating the Year of the Rabbit, with dances and stories from Asia and the Pacific islands

In the spirit of unity, Alameda County has been hosting a Lunar New Year celebration for 15 years. Monday’s program at Lincoln Hall — the first one in person since the pandemic lockdown in 2020 — included five traditional performances reflecting the Bay Area’s diverse Asian communities.  The audience of about 400 mostly was made up of children from eight schools, while students from nine other schools participated online.  “We come from different languages and cultures, but we all share…