A past holiday performance by the Oakland Gay Men's Chorus. Credit: Oakland Gay Men's Chorus

The holidays are upon us, a time when our calendars get filled with invitations to parties, end-of-year celebrations, and more. If you are thinking of attending indoor gatherings with friends and family and unsure if it is safe to do so, our conversation with Alameda County’s top health official Dr. Nicholas Moss can offer some guidance. 

The “Haul Out the Holly” event with the Oakland Gay Men’s Chorus, featured in this week’s roundup, is definitely worth checking out if you’re in a celebratory mood.

As a reminder, the events listed here all require proof of vaccination, and mask-wearing is also enforced.

If there’s an upcoming event you think we should feature, email me at azucena@oaklandside.org, or fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

Umber magazine presents: ‘A Toast to Abundance’

It has been almost five years since Mike Nicholls successfully launched his print magazine, Umber. Nine issues were released, all focused on highlighting Black and brown artists from various creative realms, under the thoughtful guidance of Nicholls (who also designed The Oaklandside’s logo). This week, Nicholls is giving the eye-catching black and brown printed version of Umber a proper send-off by throwing a party to celebrate the final issue, titled “Wealth,” and thank the many readers and contributors who made the mag a success throughout the years. But this won’t be Nicholls’ last soiree. This past March, he launched Umber Publishing with two new print publications, Tone, which is aimed at “forward-thinking” Black men, and Slumber, exploring sensuality and erotism from Black and brown perspectives. Stop by the newly opened Mushin Sports Lounge to toast Umber’s final print issue and talk to Nicholls about what’s next with Umber Publishing.

Wednesday, Dec. 8, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., free to attend, must RSVP (or give a $5 donation, there is a VIP option as well), Mushin Sports Lounge, 1814 Franklin St. #5G

Oakland Roots end-of-year celebration

Our community-minded local soccer team, Oakland Roots, moved to the United Soccer League in 2021 and achieved their first-ever playoff appearance in the USL Championship. Although the team was eliminated during the Western Conference Semifinal, the club is thrilled for what’s to come and looking forward to continuing to build a fanbase in Oakland. On Friday, the team is hosting a party and silent auction to celebrate the season and proceeds will go to the Oakland Roots Justice Fund to support causes at the intersection of racial and gender justice. The party will feature live music, food, and the chance to mingle with players. 

Friday, Dec. 10, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., free to attend, must RSVP, The Loom, 2220 Livingston St.

Girl Gang Craft Holiday Market

With less than two weeks away until Christmas, many Oaklanders are on the hunt for gifts for their loved ones. Local “female-forward” group Girl Gang Craft hosts a holiday market featuring over 100 female-owned vendors. In addition, local DJ Trippy Toya will be behind the turntables keeping shoppers entertained with her mixes. Check out the event’s handy map to see the entire list of vendors and where inside the venue they will be located. At the holiday fair, you’ll be able to find ceramics, vintage wear, clothing from local boutiques like Oakland’s Taylor Jay, jewelry, prints, and more. 

Saturday, Dec. 11, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., free to attend, please RSVP 

A first look at Painting the Streets: Oakland Uprising in the Time of Rebellion

This online event, streaming on the Nomadic Press Facebook Page, will give viewers a glimpse of an anticipated local book, Painting the Streets: Oakland Uprising in the Time of Rebellion. The publication features essays, poetry, interviews, and photos documenting over 1,000 murals that went up during the protests of summer 2020 in downtown Oakland. The book, which is set to be published in February, includes an introduction by civil rights activist and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, Alicia Garza. Virtual attendees will hear from the book’s designer, Jevohn Tyler Newsome, and artist Rachel Wolfe-Goldsmith, whose artwork is featured on the book’s cover.  You can pre-order the book here

Saturday, Dec. 11, 6 p.m to 7 p.m., online.

The Oakland Gay Men’s Chorus presents: ‘Haul Out the Holly!’

Choir singers can rejoice at being able to once again gather in person to delight audiences with live singing. The Oakland Gay Men’s Chorus is ready to perform holiday classics this weekend at the First Presbyterian Church. Alongside seasonal classics like Jingle Bells and Let it Snow, the choir will perform Sing Gently, a new composition by Eric Whitacre dedicated to all singers who were isolated from their choruses during this past year due to the pandemic.

Sunday, Dec. 12, 4 p.m., $15-$60, First Presbyterian Church of Oakland, 2619 Broadway

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.