We’re closing out March with a roundup that celebrates the diverse cultural backgrounds of Oakland’s people and offers opportunities for improving the Town. 

Are you looking for ways to better your neighborhood? Then read on for info about the city of Oakland’s virtual town hall and a volunteer cleanup day in the Dimond District. Missing live in-person shows? The Oakland Ballet has a new one. There’s also a tribute to the late R&B singer Aaliyah at The New Parish and a chorale performance downtown. 

A couple of reminders as you make plans: Businesses in Alameda County can now choose for themselves whether or not to require masks indoors, so be sure to check in advance or carry a mask if you’re unsure. And remember to bring a paper or digital copy of your vaccination card, as the city of Oakland is still requiring proof of vaccination for many indoor establishments

As we continue to navigate the changing requirements, you can assess your level of risk by checking local COVID-19 transmission levels on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.  Alameda County’s transmission level remains “low.” 

Is there an event that you think we should highlight? Email your questions and comments to azucena@oaklandside.org

General Plan Town Hall

East Oakland 2
East Oakland “flatlands” skyline view as seen from the Oakland Hills. Credit: Amir Aziz

As an Oakland resident, what concerns you the most? You can give city officials feedback on issues that affect you, your family, and the community, at the first of two virtual town hall meetings about Oakland’s General Plan. The discussion will cover land use, environmental justice, safety, parks, transportation, and more. If you have questions about the town hall, contact Lakshmi Rajagopalan at generalplan@oklandca.gov

Saturday, March 26, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., register online, town hall via Zoom 

Oakland Ballet presents the Dancing Moons Festival

Paunika Jones, left, and Lawrence Chen. Photo credit: John Hefti.

Starting this weekend, the Oakland Ballet, in collaboration with the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, is premiering five new ballets by Phil Chan, Megan and Shannon Kurashige, Michael Lowe, and Caili Quan, as part of the Dancing Moons Festival. The festival is part of a larger campaign with Final Bow to Yellowface, an organization that works to end negative imagery of Asian cultures in ballet and diversify dance companies nationwide. On opening night, all of the guest choreographers will participate in a 30-minute conversation. The show will also be performed in Livermore during the first weekend in April.

Thursday, March 24 through Saturday, March 26, 7:30 p.m (Saturday’s show also has a show at 2:30 p.m.), $40-$45, Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th St.

Social Life Productions presents: Babygirl! Aaliyah tribute party

R&B singer Aaliyah visiting Berlin, Germany on May 14, 2000. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Although it’s been two decades since New York R&B singer Aaliyah was killed in a plane crash, her popularity hasn’t diminished. In the years since her passing, the late singer has amassed new fans who are now discovering her music. Old and new fans alike will get a chance to sing along and dance to her tunes with DJs Lady Ryan, Umami, Cutso, and Francois behind the turntables spinning the singer’s classics, remixes, and more. 

Saturday, March 26, 9 p.m., $20, 21 and up, The New Parish, 1743 San Pablo Ave. 

Dimond Shine Day

This week in Oakland Dimond
Dimond district sign is seen above a lamp post near the Fruitvale Ave & MacArthur Blvd intersection. Credit: Amir Aziz

Do you live in the Dimond District? If so, The Dimond Improvement Association is looking for volunteers to help clean up around the neighborhood this Saturday. The event is part of a broader effort by the neighborhood association, which has also hired crews to power wash sidewalks and building facades and is working with public agencies to paint fire hydrants and perform other fixes. Volunteers who sign up will be asked to help fix up planters, weed tree wells, plant flowers, paint light poles, and pick up litter throughout the commercial district. There will be refreshments, a free t-shirt, and the chance to meet other neighbors who are eager to do some spring cleaning around the district.

Saturday, March 26, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., register online, Dimond Commercial District (meet at Giant Burger), 2055 MacArthur Blvd.

The Cantare Chorale presents Brahms’ ‘A German Requiem’

Cantare is an Oakland-based non-profit community choral organization. Credit: Cantare

This Sunday, Cantare, an Oakland-based nonprofit community choral organization under the direction of Maestro David Morales is directing a performance of Brahms’ Requiem at the historic First Presbyterian Church of Oakland featuring soloists Shawnette Sulker, soprano, and Torlef Borsting, baritone. Youth poets from the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center will also perform original poems preceding each of the seven movements of Requiem. For those who can’t buy tickets online, you can call (510) 836-0789 or purchase at the door.

Sunday, March 27, 4 p.m., $10-$35, First Presbyterian Church of Oakland, 2619 Broadway

Azucena Rasilla headshot

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.