East Bay history fans should make note that this afternoon at the OMCA (Oakland Museum of CA) there will be a premiere screening of Rick Prelinger's Lost Landscapes of Oakland, with live narration by the filmmaker, and followed by a Q+A session. This Oakland themed production is part of the writer/archivalist/filmmaker's ‘Lost Landscapes’ series of archival compilation films on the history of San Francisco (Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, eight annual films, 2006-2013, and Lost Landscapes of Detroit, three films, 2010-2012.) Today's East Bay themed presentation is about "highlighting the hidden histories of Oakland" with a montage of "rarely-seen film clips of life in Oakland, captured by amateurs, newsreel cameramen, and industrial filmmakers" according to OMCA curators. The fact that Prelinger will do accompanying live narration himself is an added bonus. Plus, like so many of the wonderful events that OMCA produces, this too further breaks down that wall between exhbiti and museum goer. Those who attend today will undoubtedly be mostly local residents who know Oakland and the East Bay first hand. They are encouraged to participate and share stories about their own memories of Oakland and the East Bay. Event from 3pm to 5pm. All ages. Admission to screening/lecture included in general museum admission. More info
Zack Turner talks to the Amoeblog about his new Oakland bar The Legionnaire Saloon
With a name that triggers in your mind the name of his hip-hop group (Foreign Legion) and a storefront design that makes you think it's an Irish pub that's been there for years - Zack Turner's recently opened The Legionnaire Saloon on Telegraph Ave. between 23rd and Grand, also has the feel of a bar that's been there for years. However this latest Oakland music bar/club only opened at the start of March this year, in the space formerly occupied by gay bar Club Paradiso, but since then has taken off big time and established itself as an important component of the vibrant Uptown District nightlife scene of Oakland with entertainment (with a lot of love for the DJ including hosting The 45 Sessions) ranging from hip-hop to rock, comedy to burlesque, and (yes) even Irish traditional music nights.
The Legionnaire Saloon is the lifelong dream of Zack Turner (AKA talented hip-hop emcee Prozack Turner) the former co-owner of Oakland's Layover bar/club and member of longtime Bay Area hip-hop act Foreign Legion. In fact a few weeks ago he and Foreign Legion partner in rhyme Marc Stretch, along with current DJ Tim Diesel, performed upstairs at the venue during the premiere presentation of the monthly Blunt Club Oakland. Even though Zack and his wife just had their first born (a baby boy named Cassius) about a week earlier (Marc Stretch became a new dad a week later) Zack was full of energy and seemed like the happiest man on the planet or at least in the room. At the end of the above interview video is a short clip of Foreign Legion that night doing their 2002 single "Happy Drunk" which, with its references to drinking and partying in Oakland, seemed it was prematurely written as the theme song for Turner's new bar.
Last year when news surfaced that Paul Canales, formerly chef at Oliveto, along with Rocco Somazzi would be opening their new Uptown district (468 19th St.) eatery DUENDE anticipation has been high for this latest addition to the ever evolving hot Oakland nightlife area in the vicinity of the Fox Theater And justifiably so for DUENDE, which opened last month, is more than simply an enticing new East Bay dining destination; it is a many faceted, ambitious new nightlife addition that is also a music venue, art gallery, and wine store.
And as for the food - its primary draw - DUENDE offers a refreshing original cuisine by the renowned East Bay chef whose Basque heritage plays a subtle yet distinct influence in his approach to cooking. Described as "Spanish based" but with a broad blend of flavors (drawing from African, French, & Italian) Canales told the San Francisco Chronicle that for DUENDE, "I really wanted a flexible food concept. I didn't want to be stuck in a style of food." promising that he will never settle for traditional Spanish fare (or "Spanish museum food" as he dismisses it).
Originally expected to open last summer DUENDE, following many months of hard work and adhering to building codes and various city codes, finally officially opened in January. Its location is at 468 19th Street in historic Floral Depot building in the short block between Broadway and Telegraph Aves. a stones throw from the Fox Theater and round the corner from The Uptown nightclub and the various other clubs, restaurants, and art spaces that have filled this revitalized, vibrant, once dormant part of Oakland over the past several years. Inside the high-ceilinged, exposed brick and beam, large but cozy space - the work of Arcsine Architecture - seats up to 84 diners, while a wide iron stairway leads upstairs to the live music area where a black and gold emblazoned grand piano (pictured below) is the centerpiece. Recently I caught up with Rocco Somazzi who handles the music end of things at DUENDE to ask him about the new space and his own rich history which anyone from Los Angeles already likely knows about (LA Magazine once wrote of Rocco that, "The best jazz club in L.A. is wherever Rocco Somazzi handles the booking on a given night...He is the rare local booker who keeps jazz fans wondering what he’s going to do next.")
Slaine "The Boston Project" sneak peak (will arrive in Amoeba in March, 2013)
More than any other popular musical genre hip-hop seems to be the one that artists frequently and effortlessly transition from music into acting. The long list of those hip-hop artists who have successfully done so includes (to name but a few) Ice Cube, Will Smith, Queen Latifah, 50 Cent, Mos Def/Yasiin Bey, Common, LL Cool J, Ice T, Ludacris, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and of course the late great 2Pac/Tupac Shakur. Add to that list Slaine of rap super group La Coka Nostra. The Boston rapper, born George Carroll, is in the recently released Andrew Dominik directed film Killing Them Softly (starring Brad Pitt and James Gandolfini) and has also recently completed his second solo album, The Boston Project on Suburban Noize/Commonwealth Records, which will arrive in Amoeba Music in March, 2013.
Slaine considers his forthcoming album (the follow up to 2011's World With No Skies 2.0) his way of giving a little bit back to the city that he loves and that has given him so much over the years. He says that, "When most people think of Boston, hip-hop usually isn't the first thing that comes to mind, but the level of talent that is coming out of this city is insane. I wanted to create a record that highlights what this city has to offer musically and show how diverse the talent is. This record embodies something much larger than just a Slaine record." To further prove that point he enlisted many of Beantown's finest talents on the The Boston Project including Termanology, Reks, Esoteric, Ed O.G., Smoke Bulga, Lou Armstrong, Jaysaun, and Millyz along with Boston based producer Lu Balz.
Massey is perhaps better known to most hip-hop fans simply as Tajai of the mighty Souls of Mischief crew who over the years, along with such fellow Hiero members as Casual, Del The Funky Homosapien, Pep Love, Domino, Extra Prolific, and DJ Toure, helped build the Hieroglyphics into an internationally recognizable and respected contemporary cultural entity. Indeed travel to any corner of the globe and odds are folks will instantly identify the Hiero's famous logo that was designed over 20 years ago by Del The Funky Homosapien.
Unfortunately due to his ongoing Deltron 3030 tour date commitments it seems like Del may not be able to make it on Monday for Hiero Day but (fingers crossed) reportedly there is a slim chance he may be able to make it. Regardless all of his other Hiero brethren will be there Labor Day in Downtown Oakland for Hiero Day which goes from 11am to 6pm and happens on San Pablo Ave. between 17th + 18th Streets (near the New Parish). "Members of Hieroglyphics performing Monday will include Opio, DJ Toure, A-Plus, Tajai, Pep Love, Casual, and Souls of Mischief," said Walasia Al-Noor Shabazz - the General Manager at the Hieros' Clear Label Media company. And in addition to the Hieroglyphics first family of hip-hop there will be some of the very best of the Bay Area on stage too including Blackalicious, Planet Asia (technically from Fresno), Equipto, Moe Green, and Z-Man (who is still an honorary member of the Hiero camp since he put out a release via the Hieros a few years ago). Also performing will be the Kev Choice Ensemble and Honor Roll, plus DJ D Sharp.