Friday, January 22, 2010

Don't Hate, Collaborate!

What Up Oakland?
This week's dispatch is dedicated to the collaborators: Those folk that understand the best way to leverage their skills and resources is to partner and/or build upon what has already been proven to be successful. Read on my peoples!

Buy Low & Never Sell This Work
Word is there are more working artists per capita in Oakland than in any city in the US. You may even know a couple, but few are puttin’ it down like Carly Ivan Garcia (CIG). Not only has CIG proven to be a hard-working purveyor of his craft, he is doing it collaboratively. “When you get away from The Bay, people see us as The San Francisco Bay Area; not East Bay or Oakland. We can’t change that view.” So it makes sense to show Oakland as a jewel in the crown that is the Bay Area. This past December, CIG hit Miami’s Art Basel, the stateside version of Art Basel-Switzerland, like a tropical depression. In Miami he rubbed shoulders with “The Father of Digital Art” Laurence Gartel, collaborated on a installation with two other Bay Areans-Robert D. Harris (SF) and Armogeddon 2057 (SJ)-for Graffiti Gone Global, and sold his vibrant works to a slew of international art fiends seeking the bestest/brightest/ newest/freshest pieces to add to their collections. The buzz was strong enough for CIG to snag representation in New York & Miami.

“I have worked with Robert and Armo on the RAW shows at The Uptown and I respect their work”, Carly recently told me. “The commission work for Ali is a collaborative by Robert and me…I'm really excited to do that…it’s a huge honor. Especially to rep Oakland and The Bay”
“Did you say Ali?”
“He's familiar with our work; he liked it.”
“He liked it?”
I guess he did!
Carly's aggressive use of color and texture are adventurous and fearless: People respond BIG.

Look for Carly’s work March 17th in the award winning new film “Touching Home” starring 4 time Academy Award winner Ed Harris. If you work it right, you might be able to get in line to nab one of these film originals (that's not Carly, but an actor playing an artist). If not, he is always creating more. Catching an artist on the rise with a crazy mad work ethic like CIG's is the closest to a "sure thing" that you can find. Just remember that Mr. Oakland told you first.
“What’s up next Carly?”
“Man, I just love to paint.”

Buy now or hate later!

See Carly’s work via these links or hit ‘em up on Facebook:

Art Is Love-CIG, Robert, and Armo prepping for Graffiti Gone Global @ Basel 2009:

Oakland’s Professor of Dance
Reginald Ray Savage is a professor-The Dance Doctor. As the Director of Dance @ Oakland School for the Arts (OSA) he is directly for responsible for the development of The Bay’s young raw dance talent. “My program is intense. I expect a lot from my students; I expect their best“. Seeking excellence doesn’t always help him make friends with the students. “Not all of them like me, but they do respect me”, he says emphatically. Continuing, “A few of my students are not the most talented dancers. What they want is to be exposed to those students and a program that pushes them toward excellence.” His program is home to the best academic performers at the school. This approach has rewarded “Dr” Savage a high level of respect and loyalty from his kids and therefore, the community.

Always leading by example, Savage is taking his latest work to the stage. Savage Jazz Dance Company (SJDC) begins their 18th season with the world premiere of Savage’s interpretation of Igor Stravinsky’s, Agon. Originally premiering in 1957 as a ballet for 12, Agon was choreographed by the great George Balanchine. Savage makes it clear that this is not an attempt to “to compare myself to Balanchine” but more as a “measuring stick; a way to keep the next generation moving upward”.
The dance is an inspired response to the music and after 50 years the music is very relevant and current. That inspiration is reflected and apparent. Go see Agon. More importantly, see the depth, love, creativity and commitment to excellence. It’s The Hope of The Town!

Agon runs through Saturday @ Laney College. Link up to get tickets:

Oakland Stand Up!

Mr. Oakland

Next Time: The Quiet Side of Mua/The Break Room/Melissa Taylor-Lady, Tattooer, & Illustrator/More Oakland Runner's Festival Stuff

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hear Me Out: I've Had Good Reason To Be Late For 2010


Like most of you, I have been in an introspective place this New Years. I’ve been attempting to evaluate, meditate, and pontificate on what the past year has meant to me and what I want 2010 to bring. That comes from within. Since I believe in the healing and spiritual power of The Town, I am also seeking wisdom and signs of joy from what Oakland has to offer me. Nine days have passed since the ball dropped on 2010. Here are a few sights and sounds of Downtown Oakland that have (and continue) to inspire me:

This month, the sparkling jewel that is the Joyce Gordon Gallery is again on hard-hit mode with the show Amor Fati. I wish I could give you some eloquent description of this show and what it represents, but I am not an art writer. Sorry. What I can tell you is the show is vibrant and fresh. Pay special attention to the work of Favianna Rodriguez. Ms. Gordon has been challenging our notions of what is cool, artistic, and significant for many years. The front window is most definitely worth a night time pass by. The show runs through February 8th.

I don’t know about you, but I thought Avatar was a lot of fun for its use of technology, pure film making prowess, and imagery. Thank you W. Kamau Bell , Nato Green, & Hari Kandabolu for busting my bubble and single-handedly ruining my mindless blockbuster experience and rendering 189 minutes of well deserved escapism a waste of time. Laughter Against the Machine is intense in-your-grill funny and is a economical way to gather some political introspection. Whatever happened to comedians that told jokes to get laughs or free drinks? Just kidding! These guys made me laugh without forcing me to dumb down. BTW you must see yourself @ The New Parish (aka the “old” Jimmie’s night spot) very soon. The venue is home to a majestic brick walled club and a soon-to-come Cajun/New Orleans style restaurant called Hibiscus. The spot is the same, yet fresh. Believe me; you can still feel the love. and

DJ Ryan and DJ Oliver recently held an impromptu get together @ Golden Bridge Lofts: Music spinning, guitarists strumming, and percussionists percussing (that’s one of my own words). Jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove rolled through to hang. The word is getting out ya’ll-Oakland is the place to be if you want to be down with “The Real”! The Roy Hargrove Quintet performs through January 10th. His funk/hip-hop band, RH Factor, will blow up the spot January 14th-17th @ Yoshi’s San Francisco.

Lastly, I have been running The Lake in preparation for the Oakland Running Festival at the end of March. Haven’t decided whether to run the half marathon or create a 4-person team to run the entire 26.2 miles with. Whatever I decide, the idea of watching the sun come up over the hills and turning the sky golden for a brief moment is worth the cold air and the pain. It has been 25 years since Oakland has hosted an event like this. I’m trying to represent! Look for me out there. I’m the one with the snot running down his face screaming profanities as he runs. For full event info and to register, visit

Note: The bus is blurry in this image because of my blinding speed. For real!

Oakland Stand Up!

Mr. Oakland

Carly Ivan Garcia (for real this time) and ERA