As election season gets underway, be sure not to miss our guide to Oakland’s Nov. 8 general election. We’re breaking down each race, including ballot measures, so you can be fully informed before filling out your ballot. 

On Saturday, Oct. 6, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., I will be moderating the Oakland Arts and Culture Town Hall at the West Oakland Public Library (1801 Adeline St.). The town hall is being presented by the city of Oakland’s Cultural Affairs Commission, California Humanities, and Youth Speaks. It will take place as part of the Life is Living Festival. Participants will have an opportunity to ask the mayoral candidates questions pertaining to local arts and culture, and what they would do if elected to help Oakland’s arts scene re-emerge from the pandemic. 

Don’t forget that I am still looking for Halloween events to highlight in this weekly roundup. If you know of one or have another event that you’d like me to consider, you can email me at If there’s an event that you’d like to promote on our calendar, you can use the self-submission form anytime by clicking on our homepage’s “Events” tab. 

Oakland Small Business Town Hall

Virginia Castillo, owner of Nena’s Hair Studio in Fruitvale, cuts her husband’s hair in the shop. Credit: Amir Aziz

Many small business owners and workers have been deeply impacted by the pandemic, and this Thursday they’ll have a chance to learn what’s at stake for them in the Nov. 8 election at a town hall being hosted by Restore Oakland in Fruitvale.  The discussion will focus on the Progressive Business Tax ballot measure, which would overhaul the city’s tax code by creating a tiered structure in which companies with higher gross receipts, or yearly incomes, pay higher tax rates. The event will also be presented in Spanish.

Thursday, Oct. 6, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., free to attend (register), Restore Oakland, 1419 34th Ave. 

A cabaret rendition of The F*ggots & Their Friends Between Revolutions

Some may know the 1977 fantasy novel, The F*ggots & Their Friends Between Revolutions by Larry Mitchell, a tale of friendship, art, sex, and non-conformity at a queer commune, where residents await the revolution against patriarchy. Now, local Bay Area artists and friends Maximilian Himpe and Myloh Cardona are co-directing and producing an adaptation of the book. The cabaret-style show debuts this weekend at a secret location in Oakland. It will consist of seven short performances, from drag to stand-up to puppetry and dance. In keeping with the theme of the book, over 30 young, queer, East Bay-based, and majority-POC artists are involved in the show.

Oct. 6, 7, 8, and 9, $10-$25, times vary depending on the date, undisclosed venue in Oakland

Angela Davis: Seize the Time at OMCA

Angela Davis at a Juneteenth Oakland port shutdown in 2020. Credit: Amir Aziz

Famed political activist and philosopher Angela Davis is best known for her organizing with the Black Panther Party and as a radical African-American educator. Davis has written influential books, including 1981’s Women, Race, and Class and 2015’s Freedom is a Constant Struggle. Her work advocates for gender equity, racial justice, and prison abolition. Now, OMCA is honoring her decades of activism with an exhibit titled Angela Davis — Seize the Time, making its West Coast debut at the museum this weekend. The exhibit showcases rare manuscripts of Davis’s philosophical and activist writings and an archive of her work drawn from the Lisbet Tellefsen collection. The exhibit will be on display until June 11, 2023.

Friday, Oct. 7, starting at 11 a.m., $6-$25, OMCA, 1000 Oak St. 

Khamsa exhibit and open mic

Opening night of the Khamsa exhibit at Aggregate Space Gallery in September. Credit: ARTogether.

The Khamsa exhibit was unveiled at Aggregate Space Gallery this past September. Khamsa, which means “five” in Arabic,  features the multimedia work of 20 Muslim, Black, immigrant, and refugee visual artists and musicians who are traversing the five stages of grief. The exhibit serves as a way to tell stories and assist the artists and attendees alike through the grieving process. For the first time, visitors will also get to listen to audio snippets from an upcoming album inspired by the exhibit, in which five rappers interpret a different stage of grief in their music. The album is set to be released on Oct. 23. The exhibit itself will be on display until Oct. 15. This weekend’s event is put together by ARTogether.

Friday, Oct. 7, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Aggregate Space Gallery, 1255 26th St. Ste. 101 (Entrance on Union St.)

Halloween costume swap at Dimond Park

Halloween decorations outside a home in the Laurel District. Credit: David Meza

October just started, but it’s never too early to think about your Halloween costume. The East Canyon 22X Neighborhood Council serving neighbors in Dimond, Oakmore, Lincoln Heights, Woodminster, and Piedmont Pines, is inviting residents of District 4 to stop by Dimond Park near the basketball court to swap Halloween costumes for kids and adults. Have an old costume in a box that you no longer use? Stop by the event to leave it behind for someone else and peruse the offerings to find something new. Live in the neighborhood and have questions? You can message one of the organizers through the local Facebook group

Saturday, Oct. 8, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dimond Park, 3860 Hanly Rd.

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.