While April is around the corner, and we’ll have plenty of spring activities to come, the last week of March is still jam-packed with local events supporting the arts and Oakland youth. In addition to those we’re featuring below, here’s a bonus: The popular Laney College Carnival, which returned last year after a two-year hiatus, is happening at the school’s parking lot till April 2—so you’ve still got time to ride the ferris wheel.

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 on our events page.

StorySlam Oakland is back

A scene from a past StorySlam event. Credit: StorySlam

This monthly open-mic storytelling event had to go on hiatus after Luka’s Taproom was shuttered last year. Thankfully, it has found a new home at The Sound Room, a nonprofit venue that promotes jazz music as an art form. The premise of the slam is quite simple: You throw your name in a hat for a chance to tell a 5-minute-or-less true story in which you are the protagonist. The theme varies from event to event, and this month’s theme is “unexpected.” From finding your soulmate to getting suddenly dumped to falling prey to a scam or experiencing some good luck—anything goes, as long as it is a true story. Here’s your chance to tell an interesting tale or just show up and enjoy an evening of storytelling, food, and drinks.

Wednesday, March 29, 6:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m., $15-$100, The Sound Room, 3022 Broadway

Oakland Short Film Festival

Still from the film Boys Clap, Girls Dance. Credit: Oakland Short Film Festival

Since 2019, the Oakland Short Film Festival has showcased work by emerging and professional filmmakers regardless of their background or filmmaking budget. After being hosted online last year, the festival is back in person at Landmark’s Piedmont Theatre. This year’s screening includes 17 films from the United States and countries around the world, all between 4 and 19 minutes long, in genres that include fiction, experimental, documentary, and animation.

Thursday, March 30, free to attend (get a free ticket the day of the event), Landmark’s Piedmont Theatre, 4186 Piedmont Ave. 

Dreams Arts & Activism youth exhibit

Youth participants of the one-day exhibit, Reuniting Communities Through Art, hard at work. Credit: Homies Empowerment

Homies Empowerment is known for its work providing food and essential supplies to members of the community in East Oakland through its Freedom Store. Besides this much-needed aid, the team also works with Oakland youth through its Dreams Arts & Activism program. This Friday, the program’s youth interns will unveil a one-day exhibit titled, with an aim of bringing the community together through transformative art.

Friday, March 31, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., free to attend, Homies Empowerment, 7637 MacArthur Blvd. 

Grammy-nominated artist Jamie Davis at the Piedmont Piano Company

Jamie Davies. Credit: courtesy

If you like love songs and ballads by artists like Cole Porter and Stevie Wonder, then you’ll enjoy two-time Grammy-nominated vocalist Jamie Davis’ renditions of jazz, blues, and other classics. Davis will be performing with a four-member band. Ticket holders for this and any other of the Piedmont Piano Company’s concerts must show proof of full vaccination (including a booster, if eligible) and wear a mask while inside.

Saturday, April 1, 8 p.m., $30, Piedmont Piano Company, 1728 San Pablo Ave.

First Sundays at OMCA

OMCA entrance. Credit: Amir Aziz

On the first Sunday of every month, the Oakland Museum offers a discounted entry price of $5 (suggested donation) for general admission, plus a $6 donation to check out special exhibits. The OMCA exhibits currently on display include Remembering Artist Hung Liu, and Angela Davis–Seize the Time, both on display through June 11. Visitors can also access the museum’s revamped gardens, and grab a bite to eat at the Town Fare Cafe, which is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., including for brunch. Visitors are encouraged to reserve tickets ahead of time. Town Fare Cafe doesn’t require a museum ticket. 

Every first Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., $5 suggested donation, OMCA, 1000 Oak St.

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.