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West Oakland's Annual Hip-Hop Themed "Life Is Living Festival" @ DeFremery Park Was A Peaceful, Positive, Uplifting Event

Posted by Billyjam, October 11, 2011 06:00pm | Post a Comment
Further proof that a hip-hop event in Oakland can be a peaceful, positive & uplifting, as well as extremely entertaining occurrence was offered up once again this past Saturday (Oct 8th) at the annual hip-hop themed Life Is Living Festival in West Oakland's historic DeFremery Park. Now in its third year the multi-faceted hip-hop themed event, that featured live music performances (including Los Rakas, Pete Escoveda, Jennifer Johns, and ?uestlove), interactive art, graffiti art (Estria's 5th Annual Graffiti Battle Finals), and lots of speakers and booths disseminating information on healthy living. It was just fantastic, as was balmy Bay Area Indian Summer weather that accompanied it.  I arrived mid afternoon at the event that began at 11am and unfortunately missed the set by Latin music legend Pete Escovedo and his orchestra. Luckily however I was there in time to catch another Latin flavor East Bay group: the hip-hop duo of Los Rakas who live in Oakland but are from Panama and rap mostly in Spanish. Their set, while not quite as long their recent one at the Hella Fresh festival at the Fillmore, was pure energetic fun with the audience of several hundred grooving to their infectious melange of contemporary Oakland hip-hop and reggae flavors.

Meanwhile scattered around the grounds of the East Bay park, which as one of the speakers on stage reminded folks features as its centerpiece a beautiful century old Victorian building, were drummers, art tables, food and clothing vendors, and various live graffiti installations. These various vibrant live aerosol art installations were all part of the weekend long 5th Annual Estria Graffiti Arts Festival which began two nights earlier with the Can Film Festival in SF and an exhibit at Oakland's SMSHBX Gallery, and continued the night before in downtown Oakland with various events that coincided with First Fridays and included the Pecha Kucha Night at the Oaksterdam University with all women artists under the title "Women Creating Public Art." The graffiti artists on Saturday, as part of the Life is Living Festival in DeFermery Park, included Doves (NY), Meres (NY), Woier (LA), Level (LA), Katch (HI), Ckaweeks (HI), and Vyal (LA) who took the title this weekend for the second year in a row.

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