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Pride Weekend Starts Early In The San Francisco Bay Area Including Mykki Blanco Concert Tonight

Posted by Billyjam, June 27, 2013 12:15pm | Post a Comment

Mykki Blanco "Wavvy" (2012)

The big San Francisco Pride Parade 2013 may still be a few days away - Sunday, June 30th - but in the San Francisco Bay Area - similarly to other major metropolitan areas like New York City - the Pride celebrations are all weekend long with the Pride Weekend kicking into gear Thursday, today June 27th, with a bunch of parties and events including the Flamboyant Specimens at the Project Lab, Faetopia - the Pop-Up Queer Arts Festival at Noe and Market in the old Tower Records space, plus the talented rapper Mykki Blanco (pic left, video above) at the Mezzanine in San Francisco all happening later today. In fact Bay Area Pride 2013 celebrations began last night (Wednesday) in Oakland's Uptown district where Telegraph Ave near 19th was blocked off to traffic for the Hella Oakland Street Party: Gay Marriage Rally & Celebration - organized by the promoters of the long running, popular, (and ingeniously titled) Hella Gay Oakland party at the Uptown club in that same block. Note that the same proud promoters of the award winning "Oakland queer dance party" will be throwing their big Hella Gay party at the Uptown on Saturday which they are billing as "Beat the BART" and the "Dyke March Afterparty."

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DUENDE: Paul Canales & Rocco Somazzi's New Oakland Eatery/Gallery/Music Venue

Posted by Billyjam, February 18, 2013 06:06am | Post a Comment

duende oaklandLast 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.")

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