Akoma Outdoor Market at the Black Cultural Zone in East Oakland. Credit: Amir Aziz

It’s hard to believe that the pandemic has been a part of our lives for a year and a half now. Despite this ongoing crisis, event organizers around Oakland are continuing to find ways to safely host festivities. Such was the case with last week’s Oakland Pride, which took place outside of Port Bar. Next month, the community will rally behind the return of First Fridays, Oktoberfest in the Dimond, and the Día de Los Muertos festival in Fruitvale. Don’t worry! We will be previewing these events soon. 

For now, check out this week’s featured events. And enjoy the cleaner air now that wildfire smoke has mostly blown out of our region.

As we have been doing for our weekly roundups, we’re highlighting only outdoor and virtual activities. 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.

Danzacuentos: Voz, Cuerpo y Raíces (Dance Stories: Voice, Body and Roots)

Clockwise from top left: Cinthia Pérez Navarro, photo by Will Kerner; Dulce Escobedo Muñoz, photo courtesy of the artist; Marianna Escobedo, photo by Javier D. Parra; Lyvan Verdecia, photo by Paula Lobo; Snowflake Calvert, photo by Lydia Daniller.

For those missing seeing multidisciplinary dance performances, The Bridge Project launched an online exhibit on August 30 featuring Latin American and indigenous dancers Snowflake Calvert, Dulce, and Marianna Escobedo, Cinthia Pérez Navarro, and Lyvan Verdecia. The bilingual exhibition features interviews with the artists, performances, and photography. Danzacuentos is a project by Mario Ismael Espinoza, David Herrera, and The Bridge Project Co-Director Karla Quintero, three leaders in dance who have teamed up to expand public awareness about the challenges that exist among artists with Latin American and Indigenous heritage. While the online exhibit will be on display until August of next year, viewers will have the chance to attend a virtual panel this weekend to hear directly from the featured artists and the curators. 

Friday, September 17, 5  p.m., $0-$50 sliding scale, online, Danzacuentos

Fault Radio Presents: Open Air Market

Eli’s Mile High Club was the first bar in Oakland to require proof of vaccination to get inside. Since that announcement in May, Eli’s has been hosting live shows. This weekend, the bar teams up with the grassroots music nonprofit Fault Radio for a market featuring several local clothing vendors. Thrifting shoppers can peruse vintage gear like boots, jeans, leather jackets, and more. Have a piece of clothing that needs to be altered? Seamstress, Kinsey Thomas will be onsite to help. The market will feature a rotation of DJs: Mala Vida, Mare.E.Fresh, Knowpaslaps, and B-Side Brujas. Don’t forget to bring a copy of your vaccination card.

Saturday, September 18, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., free, Eli’s Mile High Club, 3629 Martin Luther King Jr Way.

District 7 Community Clean-Up

Do you want to help beautify East Oakland? If so, councilmember Treva Reid is hosting a community event to help clean up parks, schools, and other areas around District 7. The well-being of those who volunteer is important. There will be plenty of gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer. Interested in participating? Sign-up through this online form. Volunteers will be meeting in front of Castlemont High School at 8:30 a.m.

Saturday, September 18, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Castlemont High School, 8601 MacArthur Blvd.

Akoma Market one-year celebration

For the past year, The Black Cultural Zone has been at the forefront of helping struggling vendors in deep East Oakland find safe ways to keep their business running during the pandemic. Since the collective launched its Akoma market, the organization has featured countless vendors while helping revive a neglected corner on Foothill Blvd. The market now hosts over forty different vendors. This weekend, the outdoor market will celebrate its one-year anniversary. The UMOJA skating rink will be open for those who want to spin circles and of course there will be live music, raffles, and local food vendors. 

Sunday, September 19, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., free to attend, Liberation Park, 7101 Foothill Blvd.

Dimond Improvement Association presents: the 19th Annual Oakland International Film Festival

For the second year in a row, the Oakland Film Festival will be held mostly online with several outdoor in-person events, including a mixer and film screening in collaboration with the Dimond Improvement Association. This means you get to watch all of this year’s featured films online from the comfort of your home. During the free event in the parking lot of the Oakland Public Library, Dimond Branch attendees will be able to mingle with the filmmakers. Don’t forget to bring a chair! 

Monday, September 20, 6 p.m, Oakland Library Dimond branch, 3565 Fruitvale 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.