The month of August is starting strong, with OMCA celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. Also, this week, we’re highlighting events you can take your children to before they return to school. If dancing is more your thing, there’s a special event happening in the lobby of the Paramount Theatre. 

If there’s an event you’d like me to consider for this roundup, email me at 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.

Friday Nights at OMCA: The Roots of Hip-Hop Culture

Karega Bailey (left) and an unknown artist performing at Friday Nights at OMCA. Credit: Andrew Jorgensen/OMCA Credit: Andrew Jorgensen/OMCA

This Friday, OMCA is kicking off its celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop with a month of special Friday Nights at OMCA programming.  For the first time, the museum’s Friday night events will be curated by local hip-hop artist Jahi. This week’s opening event is themed The Roots of Hip Hop Culture, and  Jahi will be spinning an all-vinyl set of classic hip-hop, breakbeats, reggae, and African sounds. There will be a screening of KQED’s award-winning series, If Cities Could Dance, showcasing Bay Area dancers. Also, Oakland’s own Diamano Coura will host a participatory drum circle in the museum’s gardens.

Every Friday night in August, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., see website for programming, 1000 Oak St.

Discount AfterZOOns

Mei and her baby gibbon Rainier, who was born in May. Credit: Steve Goodall/Oakland Zoo

August is the last month to enjoy 50% discounts on general admission to the Oakland Zoo after 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday (except Aug. 22). Oakland residents already enjoy a 25% discount thanks to Measure Y, a parcel tax approved last November by Oakland voters. The tax is expected to generate about $12 million per year for the zoo. Visitors can enjoy the rides, the tropical rainforest, the children’s zoo, and many other attractions. Don’t forget to stop by and say hi to Kijiji, one of the zoo’s giraffes that recently turned five, and Mei and Rainier, who welcomed a baby gibbon in May.

Monday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., advanced reservation required, 977 Golf Links Rd.

National Night Out

Neighbors gather at a block party in North Oakland as a part of last year’s National Night Out festivities. Credit: City of Oakland's Neighborhood Services division

This nationwide community event, which allows residents to host block parties without a permit, will again happen in various Oakland neighborhoods. This year’s local theme is “One Oakland.” National Night Out provides a chance for neighbors to meet one another in an effort to help neighborhoods feel safer. Expect to see elected officials, firefighters, and police officers who often stop by the parties to meet residents. The city of Oakland has a running list of the block parties happening this year.

Tuesday, Aug. 1, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., free to attend, check website for a list of block parties

Shiru presents: a dance party at the Paramount

A scene from the inaugural “Shiru Presents” party last year. Credit: Shirin Raza Credit: Shirin Raza

Shirin Raza and her husband, Daniel (GAHR) Gahr, co-founded Bar Shiru in downtown Oakland. Both are avid supporters of the local music scene, and that’s one of the reasons they founded Shiru Presents, a party series that launched last year, with the first held on a rooftop in Oakland last August. For its second season, Shiru Presents will take over the Paramount Theatre’s art deco lobby and bar. The timing is perfect, given that the theatre is closed for renovations through the summer. DJ and producer Space Ghost will provide disco, house, and boogie sounds while GAHR, Bar Shiru’s resident selector, is also on the lineup. Attendees will also dance to Lil Sur, a San Francisco DJ who mixes experimental sounds while reflecting her Desi heritage.

Saturday, Aug. 5, 8 p.m., $20-$45, Paramount Theatre Oakland, 2025 Broadway

Summer party at Peralta Hacienda

Kids playing at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park. Credit: Amir Aziz

Oakland kids have one more weekend to enjoy their summer before returning to school. On Saturday, Peralta Hacienda Historical Park in Fruitvale is hosting a summer party with lots of fun activities, including an engineering lab, storytime with librarians from the Oakland Public Library, Afro-Peruvian dance lessons, a belly dance performance, and a round of soccer hosted by the Oakland Roots. Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Nairobi Barnes will read some of her poetry. Children who need school backpacks can receive one. 

Saturday, Aug. 5, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., free to attend, Peralta Hacienda, 2465 34th Ave.

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly identified Oakland’s Youth Poet Laureate. Their name is Nairobi Barnes.

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.