Culture

Migrants invited to church pulpits for Labor Day

Romana was seven months pregnant, she told the congregation at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church on Sunday, when she walked for six hours from Mexico to the United States -– mostly without water, sometimes without shoes. She crossed through brush where sticks ripped at her skin, she said. Her brother and grandmother dragged her when she felt too tired to walk.  When Romana and her family arrived at a tunnel where they thought they could rest, she said, US immigration workers…

Video: Inside the Oakland Art Murmur

The Art Murmur, Oakland’s monthly gallery walk, drew hundreds to the streets of downtown Oakland Friday despite the Labor Day holiday weekend and the closing of the Bay Bridge. New measures were undertaken by the Murmur this month to ensure safety and civility toward gallery walkers and neighborhood residents. Incidents involving disrespect toward artists and neighbors in recent months have precipitated the changes, which include a vendor check-in fee and the addition of patrolling security guards. These occurrences have raised…

Author Gopnik on the wonders of babies’ brains

It’s not surprising that Alison Gopnik, 54, mother of three adult children and the eldest of six siblings, became fascinated at a young age by the cognitive goings-on of babies. She was around them all the time. “My first son was born when I was 23, so there’s about 5 minutes in there when I wasn’t taking care of a baby,” Gopnik said. The child psychologist and U.C. Berkeley professor arrived last night at Mrs. Dalloway’s, the College Avenue bookstore…

Creativity, crowds, improv: It’s Art Murmur day

Some come for the art. Some come for the chaos. But most come to the Oakland Art Murmur for a little bit of both. With nineteen galleries participating in the Murmur this Friday, there will be a wide variety of styles and mediums on display, from the traditional (paintings) to the unorthodox (skateboards) at what has become a monthly mob scene of art, culture, and debauchery. On the first Friday of every month, hundreds of gallery-goers converge at the intersection…

Waiting at the Greyhound bus depot

The bold sign over the Greyhound station in Oakland says “BUS” in big letters, each bigger than a man.  There are no windows, only doors to buses.  The doors lead to terminals where the buses pull in and stop.  During the day, the doors are the only source of sunlight. At 7 a.m. on a Wednesday, the station is already warm despite the emptiness. The security guard gets up from his stool. He  waves a metal detector over my body…

18 years in, a theater group continues to surprise

When the Shotgun Players staged Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” about England’s bloody War of the Roses, they did it without Elizabethan costumes, stage props, elaborate sets, or even seats for the playgoers. Makeshift propane lamps lit the stage – a windy parking lot at King Middle School in North Berkeley.  Audience members perched on plastic, five-gallon buckets or tried to get comfortable on the concrete for the nearly three-hour production. Actors wore a random assortment of street clothes, which the audience…

A journey of Afro-Mexicans in Mexico

Each country has missing pieces in its history.  Japan, my country, for example, never admits that the Nanking Massacre  happened, or that residents in Okinawa, near the end of World War II, were forced to kill themselves rather than being taken POWs by U.S. forces. The African Presence in México: From Yanga to the Present, the current exhibition at the Oakland Museum of California, helps illuminate a missing piece in Mexico’s Afro-Mexican history. The exhibit concentrates on the history of…