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December is right around the corner, and we’ll preview plenty of seasonal events here in the coming weeks. But if you’re not quite ready for more holiday festivities, then check out the events we are highlighting this week. No matter what you do, don’t forget to bundle up, and make sure to check out the COVID guidelines set by each venue. Some may still require masks and/or proof of vaccination.

If you have an event that you’d like me to consider for this roundup, email me at azucena@oaklandside.org. 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. 

The last First Friday of the year

A past December First Fridays. Credit: Blue Pencil Graphics

2022 has been a tough year for the beloved community event, which, before the pandemic, regularly drew crowds of 30,000 to 50,000 and helped boost the local economy, especially businesses in Oakland’s Koreatown Northgate (KONO) neighborhood. For this final winter edition, expect Christmas carolers, a kid zone with holiday rides, the Oakland’s Got Talent singing competition, and much more. Organizers will also collect donations of new, unwrapped kids’ toys and new or gently-used coats of all sizes at multiple dropoff locations around the festival. Don’t forget to bundle up, as the weather is expected to be in the low 50s.

Friday, Dec. 2, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m, free to attend, Telegraph Avenue (between 22nd and 27th Street)

Virtual Lake Merritt bird walk with Hilary Powers

Lake Merritt is the nation’s first wildlife refuge. Credit: Amir Aziz

Since 2005, Hilary Powers, a volunteer with the Golden Gate Audubon Society, a group dedicated to protecting, conserving, and restoring wildlife habitats, has been leading educational bird walks at Lake Merritt on the fourth Wednesday of every month. This month’s “walk” will take place virtually on Friday. A recent fish-die-off at Lake Merritt caused havoc to the wildlife that calls Lake Merritt home, and local naturalists are still determining to what extent the area’s birds were affected. Tune into the livestream to learn more about the work that Powers has been doing and learn more about the nation’s first wildlife sanctuary.

Friday, Dec. 2, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., free, virtual (RSVP to receive the Zoom link)

La Misa Negra at The New Parish

Oakland band La Misa Negra is a fixture in the Bay Area’s Latinx music scene. Credit: courtesy

Oakland-based cumbia and Afro-Colombian band La Misa Negra was formed in 2011 by composer, guitarist, and accordion player Marco Polo Santiago. Since its inception, the band has played in venues all over the country, but I’d be willing to wager that no concert comes close to their home shows at The New Parish. Their latest single, Pistola, features Shae Fiol and Mireya Ramos, members of the female mariachi band Flor de Toloache. If you’ve never seen the band live, get ready to dance the night away to their infectious blend of Afro-Latin sounds, accordion riffs, hip-hop, jazz, rock, and heavy metal.

Saturday, Dec. 3, doors open at 8 p.m., $20, The New Parish, 1743 San Pablo Ave. 

Baba’s Reading Circle

A kid reading at the 81st Avenue Library. Credit: library’s Facebook page

Dads Evoking Change, in partnership with the 81st Avenue Branch library’s Father Circle, is inviting fathers, father figures, and mothers, too, to come and read to children. The reading circle is for children of all ages, and adult participants will be encouraged to take turns reading to groups of kids. There will be food, as well as book giveaways featuring titles by Black and brown authors. Oakland journalist Pendarvis Hershaw of KQED will host.

Saturday, Dec. 3, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., free to attend, 81st Ave. Public Library, 1021 81st Ave. 

Cockettes: Eternel Emissions

Top row (left to right): Bonni Suval, Carl Linkhart, Sunshine, Matt Bratko, Diogo Zavadzki, Birdie Bob Watt. Middle row (left to right): Scrumbly Koldewyn, Kitten on the Keys. Front row (left to right): Corey Gogo Pup, and Steven Satyricon. Credit: DJ Dank

The year was 1969 when The Cockettes made their debut at The Palace Theater in San Francisco. The theater troupe’s show starred an array of gender-bending and glitter-encrusted performers who took drag and Hollywood musicals to another level. The Cockettes were ahead of their time, especially in their acceptance of gender fluidity (and glittered beards), and they changed the face of drag forever. Although the pandemic caused The Cockettes to scale back their 50th-anniversary celebrations, the group is now headed back to Oakland after a successful run in San Francisco. Musical director and original Cockette, Scrumbly Koldewyn revamped the troupe’s 2020 show with added numbers for this special two-night run. 

Saturday, Dec. 3, and Sunday, Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m., $40-$60, Piano Fight, 1540 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.