Oakland Symphony Conductor Michael Morgan smiles at the crowd during a past performance. Credit: Oakland Symphony

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Ever since we began this weekly column back in July, we’ve been highlighting only outdoor and online events due to the pandemic. But with the fall season here and temperatures beginning to cool (Friday and Saturday’s forecast notwithstanding), we will begin to include indoor events where proof of vaccination and mask-wearing are enforced. 

Oakland doesn’t have a vaccine mandate for indoor venues (unlike Berkeley or San Francisco), although some individual businesses in Oakland do require that patrons show vaccine cards. Alameda’s current COVID-19 guidelines require everyone ages 2 and up to wear a mask in indoor public settings. For more recommendations about how to make safe decisions around events, you can check out our recent interview with Alameda County’s top health official, Dr. Nicholas Moss.

Let us know what you think about this change to our weekly roundup. We would love to hear from you. And 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.

Here’s this week’s roundup of local happenings to check out.

Third Annual Oakland Comedy Festival

After being held virtually last year, the Oakland Comedy Festival is coming back in person with over 40 comedians performing on different stages throughout Oakland. Participating venues include Ale Industries, Owl & Company, Luka’s Taproom, Rocky’s Market Brooklyn Basin, It’s Your Move Games, and Original Pattern Brewing Company. Every year, the festival donates a portion of its ticket sales to a local non-profit. This year, the funds will go to Bay Area Young Survivors (BAYS), a support group for young women living with breast cancer. Oakland Comedy Festival organizers chose BAYS after the festival’s founder, Shoshanna Howard, was diagnosed with breast cancer the day before the 2020 festival. The only outdoor event this year is at Rocky’s Market Brooklyn Basin. All shows will require either proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of the event. Masks will also be required at indoor shows. Please note that some of the shows may sell out.

Friday, Oct. 15 through Sunday, Oct. 17, $10 and up, various locations, Oakland Comedy Festival

Halloween Meltdown with John Waters

Concert-goers might remember Burger Boogaloo, an annual music festival that used to take place over the Fourth of July weekend at Mosswood Park. Last year, the festival paused because of the pandemic and organizers also parted ways with the festival’s name after sexual abuse allegations surfaced involving Burger Records, the Orange County record label that co-produced the festival with Total Trash Productions. The festival was rebranded as Mosswood Meltdown and it is set to make its official return next year. But organizers will be holding a special Halloween-themed festival this weekend hosted by the event’s usual master of ceremonies, filmmaker John Waters. For those wanting to attend, the festival will require a vaccination card showing that you are fully vaccinated or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to the event. Masks will also be required when physical distancing isn’t possible.

Saturday, Oct. 16 and Sunday, Oct. 17, $39-$139, Mosswood Park, 3612 Webster St., Halloween Meltdown

Lunchtime sessions at OMCA: music, dance, and storytelling in the garden

The state-of-art stage at the museum’s gardens. Credit: Amir Aziz

The popular Friday Nights event at Oakland Museum of California is still on pause. But back in June when we spoke with OMCA Director and CEO Lori Fogarty, she talked about the upcoming plans to host more community events at the museum’s revamped gardens. That’s exactly what will happen starting this Saturday, and every week until at least December. The new outdoor event series will feature artists from multiple mediums: dance, music, ballet, and more. The Awesome Orchestra Collective will take to the state-of-art stage at the museum’s gardens for the inaugural event. Bring your blankets, lawn chairs, picnic baskets, or get some grub from Town Fare, the museum’s cafe. While this is a free event, capacity may be limited. 

Saturday, Oct.16, 12 p.m., free, Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St. 

Write Your Roots with the Oakland Roots

Our local soccer team, Oakland Roots, is down to its last two home games of the regular season and battling for a playoff spot. This Saturday, the squad is teaming up with Chapter 510, an Oakland nonprofit that promotes youth writing, bookmaking, and publishing for “Write Your Roots,” a celebration of poetry and creativity. Fans attending the game will have the chance to help co-write a collaborative poem with “power” being the central theme. Last year, the Roots and Chapter 510 held a similar event that resulted in a poem you can read here. Organizers are hoping that this year’s poem will be even longer. So, head to the game to enjoy a warm night of soccer and unleash your inner poet. 

Saturday, Oct. 16, 7 p.m., $20-$60, Oakland Roots at Laney College Stadium, 900 Fallon St. 

Michael Morgan tribute

Last August, the Bay Area arts and culture community was devastated by the news that Michael Morgan, longtime music director, and conductor of the Oakland Symphony, had passed away. In the days following, community members came together with heartfelt tributes to honor him. And next week, the Oakland Symphony will gather performers, artists, community leaders, and other luminaries to share stories, memories, and music to remember Maestro Morgan. Join the Oakland Ballet, Kev Choice, Dolores Huerta, Jazz Mafia, and others at this free indoor concert at the Paramount Theatre to honor and remember the beloved conductor. Attendees who RSVP for a free ticket will need to show proof of full vaccination. Masks will be required while inside the theater but can be removed to drink or eat before the concert and during intermission in the lobby. At the time of publication, there were less than 100 tickets available.

Tuesday, Oct. 19, 6:30 p.m., free, Oakland Symphony at the Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway

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.