Oakland to expand managed homeless shantytowns of prefab sheds

Oakland, like San Francisco, has an out-of-control homeless crisis fueled by out-of-control housing prices; like San Francisco (where aid for homelessness can include tents to make outdoor sleeping more comfortable and safe), Oakland is supplying "temporary housing" for homeless people that institutionalizes a kind of living that has heretofore been viewed as a problem in and of itself. Read the rest

Must-see bizarro viewing: Boots Riley's 'Sorry to Bother You'

This isn't a review, but I'd regret not giving you a heads up about Sorry to Bother You, Boots Riley's first feature film. It's an absurd black sci-fi satire shot in Oakland and it's the off-the-wall dystopian summer indie flick we all deserve.

At the last minute last Friday, I put my hands on some tickets for its sold-out nationwide opening night at the Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland. And wow, am I glad I did.

It was a real happening. People cheered and laughed. Plus, the movie was simply fantastic. After the show, folks with tickets for the late show (which had the bonus of an after-show Q&A with Boots himself) were already lining up. Lots of people posed with the shitty Tercel featured in the film, which was parked right in front of the theatre.

Hilariously, you can buy that shitty Tercel for a mere $23,999.40 on the STBU website:

(I got my eye on that Mr. Bobo collectible plate myself.)

If you want to read what reviewers are saying, here's a good start:

Review: ‘Sorry to Bother You,’ but Can I Interest You in a Wild Dystopian Satire? by A.O. Scott of The New York Times:

"If Mike Judge’s “Office Space” and Robert Downey Sr.’s “Putney Swope” hooked up after a night of bingeing on hallucinogens, Marxist theory and the novels of Paul Beatty and Colson Whitehead, the offspring might look something like this."

Film Review: ‘Sorry to Bother You’ by Peter Debruge of Variety:

"Nearly as deranged as it is politically engaged, Boots Riley’s sui generis “Sorry to Bother You” is the kind of debut feature that knocks your socks off, tickles your bare tootsies with goose feathers for a while, then goes all Kathy Bates in the final stretch, ultimately taking a sledgehammer to your kneecaps."

This one might make more sense AFTER you've seen the movie:

In 'Sorry To Bother You,' an Alternate-Universe Oakland Rings True by Janelle Hessig of KQED Arts:

"The “don’t sell out” moral of the story is delivered with all of the subtlety of a circus clown with an erection, but appropriately so—there’s nothing subtle in being a person of color fighting to survive capitalism."

Go see it. Read the rest

John Waters introduces DEVO at Burger Boogaloo: "Trump is a feckless prick"

DEVO headlined Burger Boogaloo this past weekend in Oakland. John Waters introduced them to the stage in an epic nearly four-minute-long speech that attacked Trump and celebrated the band:

...Originally from Ohio, why-oh-why-oh-Ohio, they started their careers like I did: pissed off. And they had a real reason to be nuts, their fellow friends were killed at Kent State University by the police. So they started a De-Evolution that we're still feeling. They challenged illegitimate authority, they said, and so should YOU. It's worse now than it ever was. Trump is a feckless prick. A shithole of a president. An orange anus, as Rosie McDonnell called him. Who kidnaps children. Tosses paper towels to hurricane victims. It's so dumb he stares at the eclipse with that stupid wife who's a clueless dresser who no drag queen would ever imitate. What better band to protest his stupidity and first-degree asshole-ism than our boys tonight from outer space. But our political situation is not science fiction, it's real. Before New Wave, ahead of Industrial, "alternative" way before the word was coined, this band was no media invention, it was a grassroots movement that everyone here has embraced. David Bowie loved them, Iggy loved them. I loved them. One of the bandmates even told me once that I was in a titty bar with them doing coke. I thought, "What was *I* doing in a titty bar?" I was under DEVO's spell, that's it. And tonight even more so, with my friend Freddy Armisen playing the drums.

Read the rest

This #PEANUTSBBQ t-shirt shows Marcie of 'The Peanuts' gang as the BBQ snitch

So THAT'S what happened to Marcie. She became the BBQ snitch. Read the rest

White woman calls cops on black family who barbecued in Oakland Park's barbecue area

On April 29, a black family set up their charcoal barbecue in the designated barbecuing area in Oakland, Californias' Lake Merritt, only to have a hostile white woman come and demand that they move on or face arrest, because they were using charcoal in one of the areas designated for gas grilling. Read the rest

Oakland passes groundbreaking municipal law requiring citizen oversight of local surveillance

Oakland, California -- a city across the bay from San Francisco whose large African-American population has struggled with gentrification and police violence for decades -- has a long reputation for police corruption and surveillance. Read the rest

Watch 'The Lyft Rapper' co-create music with his passengers

Shakespeare wrote that "All the world's a stage." But for Oakland, California-based Ashel Eldridge, he's made his car his stage. Dubbed "The Lyft Rapper," he invites his passengers to choose a topic and style of song and he'll make up a song about it on the spot.

KQED Arts writes:

Elridge, who also goes by the emcee name Seasunz, says his mission is to elevate the consciousness of his community by helping people understand the forces that may be manipulating them.

His passengers say they’re startled at first when their Lyft driver begins rapping to them. But after the song, they admit the Lyft Rapper has turned a typically mundane trip into an unforgettable experience.

Here's his most recent video:

Yes, he has his passengers sign releases. And no, I don't believe he's sponsored in any way by Lyft. Read the rest

Dynamicland: a collaborative programming environment inside a whole building that you modify by doodling on paper

Dynamicland is a new nonprofit based in Oakland, where they are building a collaborative computing space, kitted out with cameras and projectors that allow people to work together to compose computer programs by scribbling on ordinary paper, have those doodles parsed by an interpreter, and then have the programs run as projections on the flat surfaces of the rooms. Read the rest

Oakland elementary school students resist Caltrans' insistence on taking copyright to their mural

Rogue archivist Rick Prelinger writes, "Oakland students planned to paint a mural on a dark freeway underpass in their city. The project is stalled because Caltrans asserts copyright to murals on its property. The details are a bit sketchy, but there's a petition here. Read the rest

Oakland Ghost Ship benefit concert 12/14 with Primus, Rogue Wave, Dan Deacon, Tycho, more

Our friends at Noise Pop and Another Planet Entertainment are co-hosting a benefit concert headlined by Primus on December 14 to support the Oakland Fire Relief Fund raising money for victims of the devastating Ghost Ship warehouse fire. The artist community tragically burned during an electronic music party earlier this month, killing 36 people and destroying the lives of so many more in the Bay Area creative community.

The concert, taking place at Oakland's Fox Theater and will also feature Dan Deacon, Geographer, Hieroglyphics, Jay Som, Rogue Wave, Sidecar Tommy, Thao Nguyen, The Coup, tUnE-yArDs, and Tycho.

Buy tickets here.

More info in this Billboard article. Read the rest

Search of Oakland's burned Ghost Ship warehouse ends: 36 people died

Firefighters and police have announced that they completed their search of Oakland's smoldering Ghost Ship warehouse, the artist community that burned during an electronic music party Friday night. A total of 36 people died. Our deepest sympathy goes out to those who lost friends and family in this heartbreaking tragedy for the Bay Area's creative community and beyond. What a loss.

The Gray Area Foundation for the Arts organized a Fire Relief Fund for victims.

(via SFGATE) Read the rest

Though crime happens everywhere, predictive policing tools send cops to poor/black neighborhoods

Researchers from the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (previously) reimplemented the algorithm Predpol predictive policing system that police departments around America have spent a fortune on in order to find out where to set their patrols, and fed it Oakland's 2010 arrest data, then asked it to predict where the crime would be in 2011. Read the rest

Oakland, CA launches ‘See Something, Say Something’ sex work snitch website

On Saturday, the city of Oakland, California will launch a website where authorities can collect reports of people who patronize sex workers. The reportjohn.org snitch site created by city officials is an odd development in a town plagued by sex abuse scandals within its own law enforcement ranks. It will be interesting also to see what sort of security or privacy measures the site offers to those who use it to submit photos, names, license plates, or other sensitive information to authorities. At the time of this blog post, reportjohn.org is not yet online. Read the rest

Oakland mayor denies firing police chief over officers who statutorily raped teen sex-worker

According to Mayor Libby Schaaf, Police Chief Sean Whent resigned for "personal reasons," and not because of a report in the East Bay Express that revealed that at least 14 of his officers (along with 4 Alameda County sheriff's deputies and a federal officer) trafficked and had sex with a prostitute who was underage when the trafficking began. Read the rest

Man gasps dying words into officer's bodycam: "They're killing me right now... I can't breathe."

In 2013, Ana Biocini called the Oakland police because she'd heard a noise and thought there might be an intruder in the house. When the police arrived, they handcuffed her brother, Hernan Jaramillo, "without any lawful reason or justification," dragged him 20 feet down the sidewalk, threw him facedown into the ground, and three officers knelt on him while he begged for breath. The 51 year old man died at the scene. Read the rest

Squirrel assault shuts down power in SF's East Bay

The assault on the power infrastructure interrupted regional transportation, and left 45,000 humans helpless. Only one rodent life was lost.

AK Press warehouse fire: crowdfunding for survival

The excellent radical publisher AK Press has had a devastating warehouse fire and is fundraising $150K to stay in business. Read the rest

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