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Our inaugural episode featured Oakland, a dynamic destination at the terminus of the Transcontinental Railroad and the sunny end of the Bay Bridge. Home of Jack London and the Black Panthers, Ishmael Reed and Earl Warren, this bastion of diversity is home to more artists than any other part of the country.

SATURDAY & SUNDAY AFTERNOONS
September 19 – Oct 10, 2020

This episode was funded by a CA$H Grant from Theatre Bay Area and a gift from the Michaan Family, owners of the legendary Grand Lake Theater.

Now Closed

Episode 1: Oakland

Man in red shirt with topknot breakdancing in urban setting, sun highlighting him

“…the city of Oakland felt different to me. It was the enchanted land of my theater scavenger hunt. Street signs and curbs and fences all seemed like they were built just for us. The rhythms of an intersection—when the mail comes, how often BART whirs past, the frequency and speed of cyclists—became the energy that a director adds to a play’s world.” —Lily Janiak, SF Chronicle

Audience members say:
“I loved the small sampling of the great diversity of art, artists, and neighborhoods that is Oakland. The limited audience added to the intimacy and unique scavenger hunt-style art extravaganza. Kinda like being A-listed to Oakland Got Talent.”

“Congratulations to all for the tremendously fun Neighborhood Stories. Thanks for getting me and all the kids in our house away from our screens for the afternoon for this joyful and whimsical trip through Oakland.”

“Thanks to all of the performers and for a great day! We were craving a quarantine injection of performance/art, and this was just perfect. It got us out of the house safely and gave us good things to chew on. And we got to hit a restaurant we’d been wanting to get to for take-out before the show!”

Featured Artists​

Clowns: Man with hair gelled into cowlick holding out finger, which is being bitten by women in blue headband and suspenders

Coventry & Kaluza

Physical Comedy

Clown school sweethearts Jamie Coventry & Natasha Kaluza have performed their special brand of high jinks together for 17 years locally and abroad.
Appearing Sept 26 and Oct 3/4 only.
coventryandkaluza.com

Balinese dancer backed by musicians playing gamelans

Gamelan Sekar Jaya

Music/Dance Company

Gamelan Sekar Jaya brings Bali to the US through new works of music and dance.
Classes available online through
GSJ.org

Margo Hall

Margo Hall

Director

Margo Hall, the newly appointed Artistic Director of Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, directed “Eastlake Lyrics,” appearing on all September dates. 
margohall.com
lhtsf.org

Black and White photo of young woman playing guitar

Chanelle Ignant

Composer/Musician

Sample rising star Chanelle Ignant’s soothing tunes on Instagram at chiplaysguitar.
Special guest Lillie Robinson on Sept 26.

Actor Khalil Leneus

Kahlil Leneus

Actor

Kahlil Leneus is an actor, composer, writer, director and Laney College student—with wry tips for teens surviving a pandemic in his “6 Steps on How to Crack a Relationship (Quarantine Edition).”

Red-haired dancer in white shirt dancing among fern fronds

Valerie Mendez

Dancer

Valerie Mendez performs Andréa Spearman’s “Terra Femme,” an investigation of the impact of global warming on Mother Earth personified and how her soil has been exploited and ravaged by man. All October dates. Follow her on Instagram @vallerina_mendez

Choreographer/dancer Megan Nicely crouched on dance floor under dramatic warm colored light in dark room, arms reaching forward

Megan Nicely

Choreographer/Dancer

“The Time of Your Life” is 
a choreographic encounter with time, space, being, and inevitable change.
With soundscape by Aldo Hernández

 

www.megannicelydance.org

Shoshana Green

Choreographer/Dancer

Shoshana Green appears in Megan Nicely Dance’s piece “The Time of Your Life” on September 27 and October 3. She is a Butoh and movement artist, teacher, curator and the founder of Butoh/SF

Maddy Lawder

Dancer

Maddy Lawder appears in Megan Nicely Dance’s piece “The Time of Your Life” on September 19, 20, 26 and October 4.

Actor and clown Alicia Nelson

Alicia Piemme Nelson

Actor

Alicia Piemme Nelson, a physical actor and teaching artist who is passionate about all things that spark the imagination, performs clown piece “Monkey Picnic” on September dates and her spoken word piece “Ballad of the Truth-Seer” on October dates.
AMPNelson.com

Woman in purple dress, arms outstretched, singing in front of blue background

Erica Richardson

Singer

Erica Richardson is a singer and vocal coach utilizing music to entertain and educate.
Appearing Sept 20, 27, and Oct 3, 4 only, with harpist Maya Nixon on Sept 27.
Follow Erica’s music on SoundCloud

Troy Rockett

Troy Rockett

Actor

Troy Rockett is an Actor,
Writer and Theatre-Maker based in Oakland, CA, by way of Long Beach, performing Cleavon Smith’s “Eastlake Lyrics.”
Appearing all September dates. 
troyrockett.com

Playwright Cleavon Smith

Cleavon Smith

Playwright

Eastlake resident Cleavon Smith wrote his script “Eastlake Lyrics” especially for Troy Rockett and Episode 1.
“When you’re an Eastlake honeybee, being smoked out is not an option.”

Dancer/choreographer Andréa Spearman in motion with red fringe top and blue fringed bottoms splaying with her movement

Andréa Spearman

Choreographer/Dancer

Justice/JUSTus is a choreographic multimedia outcry against police violence towards Black women, choreographed and performed by Andréa Spearman.
A
ll September dates.
www.aspearmanandco.org

Be Steadwell with her loop machine and mic

Be Steadwell

Singer/Songwriter

Be Steadwell is a singer songwriter originally from DC who performs original queer love songs with her loop pedal.
Appearing Sept 12, 13 & 19 only.
www.besteadwell.com

More about Oakland...

  • Like much of the East Bay, what we now call Oakland overlies the unceded ancestral homeland of the Chochenyo Ohlone people, now organized under the Muwekma Tribe. Learn at the Muwekma website
  • Despite gentrification, Oakland is consistently in the top 10 most ethnically diverse cities, with over 125 languages spoken here and one of—if not the—highest % of artists nationwide.
  • Oakland public schools were first integrated in 1872, almost 100 years before the rest of the nation. 
  • Oakland is the only city in the world with a natural saltwater lake within city limits—Lake Merritt—which is also, as of 1870, California’s first official wildlife refuge. Watch the 150th Anniversary Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge Documentary (dir. John Kirkmire).
  • For one guy, one lake wasn’t enough—the Kaiser Center at Lake Merritt also has a hidden lake on its roof!
  • Check out some more local hidden gems to visit on your next day out.