Culture

Dozens gather at Lake Merritt to honor those killed at queer club in Colorado

About three dozen people gathered at the Lake Merritt amphitheater on a chilly Friday night to remember the five people who were killed last weekend in a mass shooting at a queer nightclub in Colorado Springs.  During the three-hour vigil, people, mostly wearing black, listened to music — some hugging, others crying, and many laughing together, as they tried to care for one another in the wake of continued brutality against queer people in the United States. “Being queer and…

At this week’s Bay Area Queer Zine Fest, artists sell, swap and inspire

A small group of zine artists gathered in front of the Crisis Club Gallery in Oakland on Saturday afternoon and rifled through the dozens of zines splayed across a white foldout table, looking to trade their own creations with  other zinesters. The zine swap was a pre-festival event in celebration of the Bay Area Queer Zine Fest, which began Sunday. The weeklong Zine Fest is returning for its fifth festival with a mixture of in-person and remote events until Saturday….

‘We need to be celebrated’: Joy takes center stage at trans queer Diwali event

Anjali Rimi is unapologetic about stepping into the light. And as the co-founder of Parivar Bay Area — a transgender-led, transgender-centering South Asian organization — she makes space for others to join her. On Saturday evening, Parivar hosted a joyous and informative Diwali celebration at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. Rooted in India but widely celebrated in the diaspora around the world, Diwali symbolizes the victory of light over darkness. Diwali’s significance was not lost on the audience of about 80,…

‘Press play and keep going’: writers explore art’s healing power at Oakland Asian Cultural Center

Writing saved Edward Gunawan’s life. And he hopes his story can help others. His comic “Press Play,” on view at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center until Monday, draws from his own struggles with lifelong depression. The title refers to a triangle the main character touches on his wrist “to make all the swirl and whirl come to a standstill,” as well as restart. On Saturday afternoon, Gunawan was in conversation with Bay Area poets Christine No and Michelle Lin for…

Oakland museum honors school shooting victims in Día de los Muertos ofrenda

Mariachi music will ring through the Oakland Museum on Sunday as the smell of copal, a traditional Aztec incense, fills the museum’s newly renovated garden.  The Oakland Museum of California’s Día de los Muertos one-day festival will return for the first time in-person since 2019, with seven ofrendas on display from noon to 4 p.m. A central part of Día de los Muertos is creating ofrendas to honor departed ancestors and bring them back to the land of the living,…

Drunken Film Fest mixes movies with cocktails at Oakland bars

No table was left unfilled as film-lovers gathered on the patio of Stay Gold Deli to get a good view of a white screen that would soon show 12 films ranging in genre and subject matter on the second day of the Drunken Film Fest Oakland on Monday. The six-day festival ends Friday, bringing a dozen new films each night to different bars in Oakland. Arlin Golden brought the Drunken Film Fest to the city in 2018, after working on…

‘This event recognizes us’: Seniors flock to Oakland festival promoting health and wellness

The 19th Annual Healthy Living Festival, Alameda County’s largest event for seniors, returned to the Oakland Zoo Thursday for its first in-person event in two years. Hosted by United Seniors of Oakland and Alameda County, the free festival featured 80 vendors and promoted health and wellness among adults over age 55.  Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, who was one of the festival’s founders, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially difficult and dangerous for seniors. “This event allows them…

Oprah picks 19-year-old Oakland author’s book for her club, saying it ‘wowed’ her.

Leila Mottley, the 2018 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, began writing novels when she was just 14. Now, at 19, her debut novel, “Nightcrawling,” has been selected for Oprah’s Book Club. “I think that I just have instinctually always been writing,” Mottley said during a Zoom interview this month. “But I think from a young age it felt very natural to me.” The Oakland native began writing “Nightcrawling” at 16 and hopes it will represent the lives and thoughts of people…

Five years after Ghost Ship: How local organizations are fighting artist displacement

In the 19th and 20th centuries, Oakland’s industrial zone bustled with canneries, metal works and warehouses. As the global economy changed, industries moved out and artists moved in. The low-rent buildings, with their vaulted interiors, were suitable for live-work studios.  Over the years, landlords looked the other way as tenants nested in spaces that were never coded for housing. On Dec. 2, 2016, the deadliest fire in Oakland history broke out in the Ghost Ship, a former warehouse in Fruitvale…