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Music

Clubbing for Christ

Eliminating the Elements

Khafre Jay credits rap music with helping guide him through tough times during his youth, which is one of the reasons he makes time to hold hip-hop workshops in Oakland schools, where he teaches kids to make beats, draw their own graffiti letters, and write raps. It’s an interesting way to gauge the social climate; often, he says middle and high schoolers will talk about their parents being on drugs, or witnessing gang violence, or other things he wishes children didn’t have to experience.

Bringing out the Masses at OMCA

In This Drug War, Truth Was the First Casualty

A decade after the San Jose Mercury News first wrote about how the U.S. government helped spread crack cocaine across black America, that story hit the Billboard charts. I’d been worrying about something like that for years.

Bringing out the Masses

OMCA celebrates local culture and community.

Eliminating the Elements

Khafre Jay credits rap music with helping guide him through tough times during his youth, which is one of the reasons he makes time to hold hip-hop workshops in Oakland schools, where he teaches kids to make beats, draw their own graffiti letters, and write raps. It’s an interesting way to gauge the social climate; often, he says middle and high schoolers will talk about their parents being on drugs, or witnessing gang violence, or other things he wishes children didn’t have to experience.

Clubbing for Christ

Club Zoe favors a wholesome approach for the nightlife scene.

Sakai Smith and Nikita Germaine Houston Tour With Train

When Train, the San Francisco rock band, released its latest album, Bulletproof Picasso, in September, fans could hear a bit of Oakland on it, thanks to background vocalists Sakai Smith and Nikita Germaine Houston. The two are friends and are currently on a worldwide tour to promote the new album. Sakai landed a temporary Train backup gig in 2012 that turned permanent in 2013

Wendy Lee Gadzuk Rocks East Oakland

Blues music plays softly in Wendy Lee Gadzuk’s East Oakland studio, packed with well-worn and comfy furniture, rock memorabilia, a three-legged cat, and the raw materials of her mixed-media assemblages: animal remains, a bag of baby doll heads, old jewelry, and hardware she scavenged from furniture discarded by the roadside, stripped with a screwdriver kept in her purse for just that purpose.

American Music in the Parks

Have you stumbled across a couple of guys rehearsing their songs in Lincoln Park? The two stay-at-home dads were whiling away their time as their preschoolers played in sand and slide. E. Higgins Larson brought his guitar, Stephen Cavoretto brought his Melodica (an air-powered, handheld keyboard), and they strummed and tootled their way through old favorites. Then Cavoretto suggested they start a country band. Their park-bench sessions attracted other musical parents.