Culture

African-American Shakespeare Co. returns to the Oakland stage with free weekend show

Oakland is the newest playground for the African-American Shakespeare Company’s upcoming tour of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged, Revised.” Coming to Jack London Square this Saturday, the play challenges three actors to perform 75 characters from 37 of the bard’s plays in just under an hour and a half. The Complete Works was slated to hit the stage in September 2020, but as COVID-19 devastated the theater industry, AASC joined many of the nation’s theater companies in pushing…

First Fridays finally returns with food, music, fun in KONO

At his family-owned halal market Thursday morning, Temur Khwaja cut and marinated chicken and lamb for kebab at Marwa Market & Grill. “We need to prepare for First Friday tomorrow,” said Khwaja, anticipation in his voice, sweat on his brow. Local businesses and restaurants in the Koreatown Northgate (KONO) neighborhood are preparing for the relaunching of the Oakland First Fridays festival tonight. First Fridays is a monthly street festival held by KONO Community Benefit District. Eighteen months after the pandemic…

Oakland Pride Month is going strong, with some events live and others virtual

Oakland Pride Month is celebrated through September and features myriad events. But this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic still a menace, the celebrations have been varied.  Oakland Pride’s festival was initially scheduled to take place in person. But it switched to virtual around a week before because of safety concerns.  But in person at Lake Merritt last Saturday, dozens of people gathered under white tents for the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center’s inaugural Pride in the Park: LGBTQ + Health &…

Oakland residents lead the fight to rename and reclaim public spaces

At Oakland’s inner harbor near the water’s edge stands the bronze statue of Jack London—a famed 20th Century author, labor union advocate and racist who promoted eugenics and white supremacy. Communities of color make up 75% of the population in Oakland. This summer, Oakland residents petitioned to remove a monument dedicated to London and to protest the name of the popular commercial square and district named in his honor.  Historically, there’s a well-established culture of renaming spaces and places in…

Oakland North’s 2019 year in review — our top stories

2019 brought a new group of student reporters to Oakland North from across the country and the globe. We covered a city that is always changing, but where tensions about city finances, policing, housing and the fate of the public schools run deep. We also produced three new episodes of our Tales of Two Cities podcast, which covers audio stories from Oakland and Richmond in collaboration with our sister site, Richmond Confidential. Click here to check out all episodes of the Tales of…

Donated and forgotten: The problem with second-hand clothes

The Goodwill’s Greater East Bay headquarters on International Boulevard is a clothing reseller’s dream and a garbage system nightmare. This block-long facility is, despite its size, an inconspicuous treasure trove for resellers sifting for secondhand goods they will leave with by the cartload. The white cinderblock interior has an almost clinical feel: Clothes lie sprawled in plastic carts the size of operating tables, pushed together in a maze that only the regulars know how to navigate. This kind of retail…

In a city of immigrants, three men share their stories

Oakland is a city of immigrants. According to information provided by Census.gov, in 2018, Oakland had a population of about 429,000 people, with about a third of the population being from another country. But those census figures may not be accurate. “I think the challenge is that many of them are living in the shadows, so it is really hard to know how many [immigrants] are here,” said Lisa Hoffman, development director for the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, an organization…