Sign up for our free newsletter

Free Oakland news, written by Oaklanders, delivered straight to your inbox.

It’s been one month since the state reopened with no restrictions, and while some community members are still staying mostly at home, others are ready to go out and support the arts. With that in mind, The Oaklandside is debuting a weekly roundup of events. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but a handful of happenings that caught our attention and that we think are worth checking out all around the Town.

We also want to hear from you! If there’s an event you think we should feature, email me at azucena@oaklandside.org, or fill out the form at the bottom of this page and let me know. 

SPACES: Oakland

Up to 80 guests will be able to attend this immersive performance at Oakland City Hall and Frank Ogawa Plaza. The show’s creators and performers include familiar faces like BANDALOOP dancer and choreographer Sarah Crowell, making her return to the stage following her long and celebrated tenure as an arts educator and community leader at the Destiny Arts Center. The sounds are curated by YR Media’s youth and staff with a live DJ set by Dion Decibels. In addition to the performers, 25 local residents (six-nine different storytellers per night) will share their own stories about home, change, and resilience. This weekend is the last chance for people to experience the show. 

Friday, July 16 through Sunday, July 18, 6:00 p.m., $10-$50 (no one turned away for lack of funds.), Oakland City Hall and Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, 14th Street Entrance, Eventbrite.

The Black Cultural Zone has been hosting a series of events at Liberation Park. Credit: Amir Aziz

Screening of Love Jones at Liberation Park

This Friday, the Black Cultural Zone is hosting a free screening of the movie Love Jones, a love story of two aspiring artists, Darius and Nina, whose torrid romance is threatened when Nina moves to New York. While the screening is free, people interested need to RSVP due to the limited capacity. The restaurant Kingston 11 will serve a complimentary meal. There’s also free popcorn during the film. Local artists and poets will kick off the evening with recitals. 

Friday, July 16, 6:00 p.m., free but RSVP required, Liberation Park, 7101 Foothill Blvd., Oakland, Black Cultural Zone.

Fruitvale Markets

Now that restrictions have lifted and local businesses are once again able to welcome customers at full capacity, business districts throughout Oakland are finding creative ways to welcome back the community. This Saturday, The Unity Council is hosting a family-friendly event in support of local Fruitvale businesses with live music and activities for kids. The event will also take place on July 31 and August 14.

Saturday, July 17, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., free, International Boulevard and Avenida de La Fuente, Oakland, Unity Council.

Jingletown Reading Series

You might be familiar with this literacy event, which used to be hosted at the Cesar Chavez Library in Fruitvale. If you didn’t attend one of the live sessions in previous years, you might have come across its online rebirth last August. Either way, it isn’t too late to check it out, especially if you are still enjoying online events instead of in-person gatherings. For this month’s reading, the virtual line-up includes Monica Zarazua, co-founder of Pochino Press, Korean-American writer and filmmaker, Christine No, and San Francisco’s seventh Poet Laureate, Kim Shuck. 

Saturday, July 17, 2 p.m, free, via Zoom, Jingletown Reading & Open Mic.

Oakland City Center presents: Summer Sounds

An unexpected space that has made its return with live music this summer is the City Center Plaza on 13th Street and Broadway. Every Wednesday until August 25, just steps away from the 12th Street BART Station, a different live band will take the plaza’s stage to entertain workers on their lunch break and passersby alike. Next Wednesday, Bay Area Cuban salsa band Rumbaché will play.

Wednesday, July 25, 12 p.m., free, City Center Plaza, 12th Street and Broadway, Oakland City Center.

Azucena Rasilla is an East Oakland native, a bilingual journalist reporting in Spanish and in English, and a longtime reporter on Oakland arts, culture and community. As an independent local journalist, she has reported for KQED Arts, The Bold Italic, Zora and The San Francisco Chronicle. She was a writer and social media editor for the East Bay Express, helping readers navigate Oakland’s rich artistic and creative landscapes through a wide range of innovative digital approaches.