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If you are venturing out for some holiday shopping or fun activities, bundle up, grab an umbrella, and brace for rainy weather that will be with us until at least next weekend. 

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. 

Virtual Q&A: How to sign up for OUSD schools

Gabriella Griffiths, a senior at Skyline helps students during class at Think College Now. Credit: Amir Aziz

If you have a child entering TK or Kindergarten next year and would like help navigating the school lottery and enrollment process at Oakland Unified School District, this is for you. Local parent resource group Sprinkle Parents is hosting a virtual Q&A with Sarah Wheeler, a school psychologist and founder of Get Schooled Oakland, an organization that collects data about OUSD schools to help parents make more informed decisions.

Friday, Dec. 9, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., $5, virtual, RSVP to receive Zoom link

Mental health panel discussion at Oakland’s Own

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The holiday season can be especially challenging for people dealing with grief or depression, and seeking help from friends or family members isn’t always easy. Oakland’s Own, a Black-owned clothing store started by couple Infini and Justin Ford, will be hosting  a panel discussion with marriage and family therapist Chetina Guadalupe and suicide survivor and suicide prevention advocate Kevin Berthia, about managing mental health during this time of the year. The organizers are encouraging attendees to wear masks as this is an indoor event.

Saturday, Dec. 10, free to attend, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Oakland’s Own, 2916 Fruitvale Ave. 

Free selfies with Santa Claus at Jack London Square

Santa Claus is making a pit stop in Oakland before a busy night delivering gifts worldwide. You can catch Santa the next two weekends at Plank, where he’ll be available to take pictures with kids and families. There won’t be a photographer on-site, but visitors can use cell phones to capture the magical moment. Expect lines as the holidays get closer.

Dec. 10, 11, 17, and 18, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., free to attend, space #435 across from Plank, 472 Water St. 

Let Us Break Bread Together: The Music of Earth, Wind & Fire

The Oakland Symphony during the 2019 “Let Us Break Bread Together” concert. Credit: Oakland Symphony

Over the years, the Oakland Symphony’s annual Let Us Break Bread Together concert series has paid tribute to a range of artists, from Ray Charles and B.B. King to Frank Sinatra and Aretha Franklin. This year, the symphony will celebrate Earth, Wind & Fire by reimagining many of their greatest hits and legendary songs. The orchestra will be led by guest conductor Lenny Wee, whose resume includes the 91st Academy Awards, Superbowl LIII, and the 61st Annual Grammy Awards. Special guests include Kenya Hathaway, Kev Choice, Kugelplex, The Best Intentions, and Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir.

Sunday, Dec. 11, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., $15-$75, Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway

Oakland Chef’s Book Party at Bombera

From left to right: Tanya Holland, James Syhabout, Dominica Rice, Preeti Mistry, and Bryant Terry. Credit: Bombera Oakland

Dominica Rice, chef and owner of Bombera, and James Syhabout, chef and proprietor of the Michelin-starred Commis, are hosting the first “Oakland Chef’s Party” at Bombera in the Dimond District. Chef Tanya Holland is the guest of honor, along with guests Preeti Mistry, chef and co-author of Juhu Beach Club, and Bryant Terry, James Beard, and NAACP Image Award-winning chef and author of Black Food. Come listen to these beloved food figures talk about Oakland’s food scene, their inspirations, and their experiences. The admission price includes a taco plate and a margarita drink ticket. 

Sunday, Dec. 11, 1 p.m., $25, Bombera, 3459 Champion St.

Correction: The Oakland Symphony event takes place Sunday, Dec. 11.

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.