Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In Need Of...

"Creativity is Spirit"
I have been feeling pretty stale after all the cold, wet, windy weather we've been having. Just kinda "blah" and neutral. As a result, I haven't felt much like writing. Not due to lack of subject matter, I just didn't want to.

Yeah, I said it. "I didn't feel like it!"

I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel pressed in by the city-especially when its cold and rainy. Did I mention windy? "This is The Bay Area. You can drive two hours in any direction and..." Yeah, yeah I know. Not practical. Trust me, this is one of those times when I was just gonna have to stay put!

I needed a healing. I needed to be baptized in the arts. I needed creative inspiration. I had to get out! As a result, I got a chance to mix it up with some of Oakland's brightest. Here's a taste:

Murmurs of Black History Month
I attended the openings of two powerful group shows: Aerosoul 2: Urban Hieroglyphics @ Joyce Gordon Gallery and Black Local: A Collection of Artists Currently Residing in the Bay Area @ Warehouse 416. Two very different approaches for exposing local Black artists. Many many approaches is best. Ya think?

God's on the boulevard building on life
Seeing Black people as celestial beings.


Curator and participating artist, REFA 1, Aerosoul 2 asks, "How do we use our cultural disciplines to heal our neighborhoods and communities?" "writing" is not graffiti. "The lettering is reflective of Black culture." It supports its own "sensibilities and disciplines". This is what attracts the youth of the neighborhood when the artists congregate to complete a project. This is why they want to participate.

He then shares with me how a mural located @ the intersection of 14th & Campbell was so powerful that it caused all negative activities to cease for 2 years. "Creativity is spirit", he continues, "There is serious depression in our communities. The arts is significant in how we go through the process of healing our spirits and souls." These murals create a SAFE ZONE: They represent hope.

It is no surprise then when REFA 1 says, "This (writing)is the fastest growing visual art movement in the world."The Bay Area Aerosol Heritage Society is on a mission to show what this artform means to the African American community. After seeing a truly multicultural crowd in attendance during the opening, I am certain the message is being heard. Aerosoul 2 shows through 2/27.

Joyce Gordon, what moved you about this show? "The art is powerful. Besides I grew up with 7 brothers and I love Black men. Anytime I can help them do something positive, I will."

Donate at to assist the Bay Area Aerol Heritage Society in bringing murals to struggling black communities and to raise cultural awareness, and to curb youth violence. Our new mayor should go see Joyce, give her a hug, and thank her for this show. You should too!

"I've Wondered About That Myself"
The show Black Local is the brain trust of Angela Scirvani, owner and curator of Warehouse 416. "My inspiration?", asks Scirvani. "I saw a lack of African American artists showing in Oakland." The Oakland native continues, "My intention was to bring out the Black community to The meet the artists and to build a multicultural (arts community) reflective of the city." So she put out a call to local artists via Craigslist. She also called upon longtime Oakland art activist Randolph Belle founder of www.SupportOakland and organizer of the Art Census for further assistance.

She admits that doing this show is like walking on eggshells..."Black Local is bold." She is aware that she is in an awkward position and she makes no excuses or apologies for doing this show. "I grew up in Oakland and I like people who are real and willing to tell it like it is. When you need that fix, get around some Black folks!" "As a business owner, it also Besides, reaching out makes good business sense since it allows me to expand my client list." You are so right Angela!

Closing reception is today from 5-9pm. Visit the gallery's website for future show info @

The Purpose of MixersWent to the last InOak mixer @ Disco Volante on 14th and Webster. Remember Cafe Katrina? Anyway...this monthly tech-influenced get together has grown into a crowded loud cocktail party. I love it!!! Meeting and connecting with people is the whole point of mixers, right. Just noticed a lot of confused people. Also overheard, "I don't know what this group is, but I heard about it on Facebook and had to come. Sigh...

Speaking of technology...did you see that Oakland-based Pandora is going public the middle of 2011. Oakland ain't high tech enough? Really? Get ready!

Ran into local businessman Michael Bardales, who introduced me to Dr. Mariza Snyder. She and her business partner, Dr. Lauren Chin, have just completed a book entitled "The Antioxidant Counter". I was immediately intrigued. I told you I needed some healing so I'm down to listen to any REASONABLE ideas on improving the effectiveness of my diet. Besides there had to be other foods high in antioxidants that wasn't green tea, pomegranite, or acai berry. The challenge for me was finding a easy way to identify these foods. The healthy food game ain't easy to understand. I found the authors' simple explanation of complex chemical interactions helpful to understanding how my body absorbs nutrients and deals with toxins. I felt armed!

As a Mills gradute in biology and psychology, her goal was to become a medical doctor. "I had my acceptance to medical school and was ready to go." A "casual" referral brought her to a chiropractor to address migraine headaches. "I had had them since I was a child and nothing ever helped." So she had nothing to lose. Almost miraculously, the headaches were gone. "Haven't had one since," she says happily. Talk about life changing experiences. Laughing, she says,"I withdrew my admission to med school and entered chiropractic school instead". She is on a mission to heal. "Our goal at The Specific Chiropractic Center is to help as many people as we can."

Dr.s Snyder and Chin will be launching their new book, "The Antioxidant Counter" this Friday @ 4179 Piedmont Avenue, Suite 210 in Oakland. For more details visit or Dr. Snyder's blog

Got my healing. Just needed some help from my city! Go get yours too!

Oakland Stand Up

Mr. Oakland

Next Up: Bryon Malik's New Show @ Remedy