If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Oakland’s many brilliant cultural creators need a healthy ecosystem of local journalists attending their concerts, going to art shows, and staying in touch with what’s happening with our established and emerging creatives. What’s the current state of cultural coverage in the Town? 

Thursday, March 23, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, Oakland

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For The Oaklandside’s first Culture Makers event of 2023 at the New Parkway Theater on Thursday, March 23, our newsroom is turning around its lens to examine Oakland culture from the vantage of those who document and report about it. Our own arts and community reporter Azucena Rasilla will moderate a conversation with three other local journalists who’ve been deeply committed to covering our city’s evolving culture, each in their unique way: Oakland Voices editor Momo Chang, KQED show host and correspondent Pendarvis Harshaw, and Liam O’Donaghue of the podcast East Bay Yesterday.

Throughout the evening, we’ll also be treated to live music by Orchestra Gold, an Oakland-based group with Malian roots and a psychedelic afro-rock sound that you won’t want to miss. 

Our Guests

Photo courtesy of Momo Chang

Momo Chang is the co-director of Oakland Voices, a community journalism training program and publishing platform that is a part of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. She is also a freelance writer focusing on healthcare, immigration, education, food, and culture. She is a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune, where she covered Chinatown and Asian American communities.

Photo courtesy of Pendarvis Harshaw

Pendarvis Harshaw is an award-winning journalist from Oakland, who started his career by freestyling in scraper vans. His insightful, thorough coverage of the Bay Area is the definition of community journalism. Harshaw is also a photographer and public speaker, the host of the podcast Rightnowish, and KQED Arts & Culture’s cultural correspondent.

Photo courtesy of Liam O’Donoghue

Liam O’Donoghue is the host and producer of the East Bay Yesterday podcast, which airs biweekly on KPFA-FM. He also writes a monthly column about the East Bay for SF Gate. O’Donoghue’s journalism has appeared in outlets such as KQED, The Oaklandside, Berkeleyside, Mother Jones, Salon, East Bay Express, 99% Invisible, The Kitchen Sisters, and the syndicated NPR program Snap Judgement. In 2018, he was honored by the East Bay Express as “the best journalist-turned-historian” and presented with a “Partners in Preservation Award” from Oakland Heritage Alliance.

Photo courtesy of Orchestra Gold

Orchestra Gold is an Oakland-based ensemble whose vibrant sound is rooted in a decade-long collaboration between bandleaders Mariam Diakite of Mali and Erich Huffaker of Oakland. Blending the traditions of Mali and American rock and funk with a retro feel, the group transcends borders and boundaries, offering a kaleidoscope of magical sound deeply rooted in the past while boldly blazing toward the genre-bending future. The band’s African Psychedelic Rock is spearheaded by the dynamic Diakite, whose raw, hypnotic vocals deliver heartfelt and thought-provoking lyrics in the highly symbolic Bambara language. While paying homage to Malian musical traditions, this fierce new sound thrives with heavy swinging rhythms, a funky fresh brass section, and cosmic guitar licks.