I write personal essays, reviews, news stories, grocery lists missing items that I really needed, subpar raps that I secretly think are at least mediocre, and tardy slips for late students.
To be a black woman is, by default, to lead a textured existence. Just as we learn to reconcile with the hair growing out of our heads — its politicization, its policing, the frequent uninvited grubby hands that attack it, the dreaded single-strand knots — we must constantly mediate between our “racialized identity, visibility, and materiality,” as outlined in the publication for When and where I enter, Angela Hennessy’s solo exhibition at Southern Exposure.
Fridlund pens eleven tender, atmospheric stories of relationships — some gone awry, others disrupted by time, many fraught with ceaseless ennui, and several couched in slow-burning resentment.
You know that girl you always looked up to as a kid? She was maybe your babysitter who put you on to Sleater-Kinney. Or the one who volunteered at your local library and slipped you a copy of Franny and Zooey. The angsty Debbies from The Wild Thornberrys and denim-vested Mollys from Arthur who have this way about them that leads us to believe they know something that we don’t. The girls and women Ashley Tenn creates exude a similar otherworldly quality that is at once desirable and comforting...
Northern California International Dragon Boat Festival
For the second year running, Lake Merritt’s northern shore will be jammed with cultural performances and vendors to celebrate the annual NorCal International Dragon Boat Festival. A small sampling of the offerings: dragon air-brush tattoos, booming taiko drummers, yo-yo stunt artists, a zither ensemble, acrobats, magic shows, folk dances, gospel choirs, your usual outdoor food fare, and dodge ball and face-paint for the kiddies....
The Black Aesthetic (TBA) series has fast become a community staple for those eager to explore the Black indie film canon. Having wrapped up its second iteration just a few short months ago, the collective is already making preparations for its third season. And if waiting is not in your wheelhouse, well, keep your impatience at bay with The Black Aesthetic publication!
Grace Jones is lithe leather. A lodestar for all the self-proclaimed freaks living on the periphery, she has subverted gender and stood firmly in her Blackness for decades. In a 1979 issue of Ebony, Jones was described as “a question mark followed by an exclamation point.” And aptly so: She brought the “other” to the forefront and hoisted it, elevating otherness from mere qualifier to a way of life.
Jade Ariana Fair, a local multidisciplinary artist, shares old and new work in i just want to be in the Black euphoria with you. The exhibition opened on July 7 at E.M. Wolfman Bookstore’s gallery space and it navigates the want for familial inclusion and spiritual transcendence from white supremacy.
The Sweetwater Sessions are what curator Ashara Ekundayo calls a “multi-sensory, multi-media series of creative arts practice engagements [that give] voice to the dramatic collaborative process between artist, spirit, tradition, and community in the design of freedom narratives for contemporary culture.” This Black author reading series, hosted by Creative Arts Practice Fellows, allows audience members to engage with a writer-curated atmosphere.
Now in its second season, the mission of The Black Aesthetic Film Series is to, perhaps predictably, explore “What is the Black aesthetic?” But Dennis isn’t looking to walk away from this showcase with a cut-and-dry answer. The question, instead, serves as a facilitator for conversation, and a reminder that, for one, the Black aesthetic exists and, two, it contains multitudes.
On the corner of 51st and Broadway, amid all the construction riffraff, is Oakland’s very own Nook Gallery. Lead curator and director of programming Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo and her roommate, local artist Shushan Tesfuzigta, offer up their kitchen nook to women artists, queer artists, and artists-of-color as an inclusive, accessible space to showcase their work.
Anti Lab is a self-proclaimed clubhouse of sorts with a manifesto that reads “CREATIVITY SHATTERING COMPLACENCY,” in bold and all-caps font on its website (see this week’s feature, on page 20). The focus of this temporary artist hub is “aesthetic forms of resistance.”
Spirithaus Gallery has lovingly assembled a night in celebration of the black woman. The budding West Oakland venue’s mission is to preserve and cultivate Oakland’s authentic art, music, and culture and so far, it’s holding true on its promise.