Credit: Amir Aziz

Last week, one of the events that we highlighted was the premiere of the Oakland Symphony’s Brooklyn Basin free outdoor concert series, which is set to debut this Thursday, August 19 at 6:30 p.m. For those who plan on attending any of the upcoming shows, the symphony issued a statement earlier this week that Music Director and Conductor Michael Morgan will not be conducting this highly anticipated series. Morgan underwent a kidney transplant in May of this year. Last week, he developed an infection and is being treated in a hospital. In his place, guest conductor John Kendall Bailey will lead this Thursday’s performance.  Bailey is currently the music director of the Mozart to Mendelssohn Orchestra and the Mesopotamia Symphony Orchestra.

Due to the pandemic, we will continue highlighting outdoor (and some virtual events) to check out. We would love your feedback. Are you enjoying this weekly roundup? Let us know. If there’s an event you think we should feature, email me at, or fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

Waterfront Flicks

The popular outdoor movie screening at Jack London Square is back this Thursday, Aug. 19, and every third Thursday of the month until October (weather permitting). For its return, grab a blanket, some tissues, your favorite food, drinks, and sweater or hoodie, and head over to the ferry lawn at the square to check out Pixar’s Up. 

Thursday, August 19, at dusk, Jack London Square at the ferry lawn, 472 Water St. 

Picnic on Telegraph

If you’re a fan of the Temescal neighborhood and want to help support local businesses in that area, then this nighttime picnic is for you. Stop by and walk between 40th and 51st streets. Check out local shops, grab food and drinks at one of the many restaurants and cafes along this stretch of the newly revamped Telegraph Avenue, like the soon-to-open Roux40 restaurant, and Albo African gift shop, which just celebrated 30 years in Temescal. The event will feature live music and local vendors. 

Friday, August 20, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Telegraph Ave. between 40th Street and 51st Street. 

The event brings businesses outdoors and is perfect for all Oaklanders in need of a night out on The Town. Credit: Shifra de Benedictis-Kessner

The Bay Area honors Shock-G

This Saturday, fans of the late Gregory Jacobs, better known as Shock G of the hip-hop group, Digital Underground, will be able to celebrate the life and legacy of the late artist. Starting at 7 a.m. East Oakland Collective will distribute free food to the community at 7800 MacArthur Blvd. Community Kitchens is providing 2000 meals from The Busy Wife, MexiQ (East Oakland Smoke), Hopscotch, Rico Rico Taco, Comal Next Door, Sobre Mesa, Kingston 11, Guadalajara, Luka’s, Ratto’s, and Mela Bistro Ethiopian. At 11 a.m., a motorcade will begin from the Black Cultural Zone at 7101 Foothill Blvd., pass through West Oakland and end at Frank Ogawa Plaza. While at City Hall, there will be a reading proclamation by the Mayor declaring Aug. 25 as as Digital Underground Day in the city of Oakland. This event will take place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Finally, a celebration of life will take place at The New Parish with DJ Fuze, D Sharp, and Mind Motion. 

Saturday, August 21, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., free except for the event at The New Parish, different sites throughout Oakland.

Oakland’s 7th Street: A Cultural and Social Scene

What was the music and arts scene in West Oakland like before urban renewal demolished this neighborhood? Join Henry Dalton Williams, a renowned costume designer who did pieces for Motown and other celebrities as he walks down 7th Street’s memory lane, describing the Black entertainers and musicians who performed at places like the former jazz and blues club, Esther’s Orbit Room. This is a virtual event.

Saturday, August 21, 2 p.m, free but must RSVP, Zoom.

West Oakland BART station seen from 7th street in West Oakland. BART runs through 7th street, previously a Black cultural center for arts and music.
The 7th Street corridor was a Black cultural center for arts and music. Credit: Amir Aziz

Open Mic at the Queer Arts Center

While this open mic happens in person every Tuesday, you can also join online through Zoom. The event can host up to 15 artists who are given three-to-five minutes each to perform music, poetry, dance, visual art, and more. If attending in person, there is a limited capacity inside the space, and masks are required. Every Tuesday, 6 p.m., free but must RSVP, via Zoom or in person, Queer Arts Center, 3411 Lakeshore Ave.

Azucena Rasilla is a bilingual journalist from East Oakland 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.