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Through meditation and spoken word poetry, an Oakland group creates a “communal space for men”

On Saturday afternoon, a group of four older men in white pants and linen shirts sat in front of a stage at the center of a room filled with art, books and mismatched chairs. These men, all from the group Urban Healers, a men’s group that focuses on brotherhood and spiritual betterment, chatted amongst themselves, and to several men wearing yellow shirts and white pants who walked around the room greeting people, snacking on hard boiled eggs and bananas and…

Comedians use humor to heal at Mental Health Comedy Hour

Oakland comedian Kelly Anneken says she identifies as a “triple A”— alcoholic, anorexic and anxious.  “Stand-up comedy,” she said in a performance last week, “is everybody’s last resort before suicide or grad school.”  Suicide, of course, isn’t everybody’s idea of comedy, but Anneken’s audience, there for the Mental Health Comedy Hour, laughed. Founded earlier this year by two local comedians struggling with depression and anxiety, the monthly show is the only one of its kind in the Bay Area, and is…

At California Nurses Association headquarters, an art show highlights “recognition”

As the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, and the daughter of two proud union workers, Bonnie Castillo’s understanding of the world was forged in an atmosphere that celebrated people power through art. Growing up in Sacramento, Castillo volunteered with her mother at La Raza bookstore, a hub for Chicano community. Her family friends were members of The Royal Chicano Airforce, an artists’ collective founded in 1969 to express the goals of the Chicano civil rights and agricultural labor movement in rural…

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