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      by Published on 02-19-2014 01:57 PM

      It's less than a month until Spring arrives on March 20th, but you wouldn't really be able to tell here in the Bay. Although we had a few days of showers, it has been really beautiful with the sun shining and the temperature just right. This weekend it is supposed to be gorgeous which is great because this weekend in events is equally fantastic. There is so much to do this weekend and it is not even Spring yet!

      Check out all the Bay has to offer including my interview with the owners of the new Oakland venue Parliament, a review of one of my favorite pizza joints Pizzaiolo plus Black Weirdo is coming back to Oakland (check upcoming events.) Without further ado go forth and party! For a full listing of events this weekend click here.

      Chris NewellMiz Chris [MC]: Where are you from?

      Jason Bradford [JB]:
      San Francisco native born and raised , Oakland resident homeowner/investor since 2009.

      Davina Dickens [DD]:
      Born and raised in San Francisco , lived in a Oakland off on on for the past twelve years.

      Chris Newell [CN]:
      San Francisco originally, but I’ve lived in Oakland for the past four years

      What inspired you to open up a new venue in Oakland?

      [JB]: Oakland has equally everything to offer that San Francisco does in my opinion. I’m quite fond of the hospitality/nightlife industry. Unfortunately, there aren't

      enough venues that offer the versatility that San Francisco venues offer. This became one of our inspirations and mission for opening a new venue in Oakland.

      [DD]: I have experienced Oakland’s high’s and low’s through the past decade. I’ve taken noticed that Oakland has been maintaining and thriving towards a new direction. With the surge of new restaurants, retail shops, and nightlife spots, I felt the need and wanted to be apart of the exciting new development taking place in Oakland.

      I have experienced Oakland’s high’s and low’s through the past decade. I’ve taken noticed that Oakland has been maintaining and thriving towards a new direction. With the surge of new restaurants, retail shops, and nightlife spots, I felt the need and wanted to be apart of the exciting new development taking place in Oakland.

      [CN]: Oakland is probably the city that still incorporates what I believe to be the Bay Area attitude and atmosphere the most. Growing up in the bay we’ve always seen tourists come to visit, but the diversity and attitude of the people has always been a reason to stay, Oakland exemplifies that. To provide the people of Oakland a place to go that offers a level of quality that I think that they deserve, and to add to the nightlife experience that is really coming into fruition here.

      [MC]: What previous experience do you have in Bay Area nightlife?

      [JB]: I have been professionally working in the nightlife industry for over a decade. I have managed a staff of 4 to 25 and held every position in the nightlife industry. From barback, bartender, Assistant Manager to Manager twice over. This is my third business in Alameda County and my first bar/event venue, but not my last.

      [DD]: My experience and focus is in Administrative and Logistics. I have a vast knowledge in all aspect of administrative operations and human resources. With my rich cultural background and professional experience, I have a great deal to contribute to the industry.

      [CN]: I have personally been in the nightlife industry since 2001, I began as a barback and worked my way up through the ranks until I became management. This is the first bar we’ve owned, hopefully there will be more to come.

      [MC]: Why the name Parliament?

      [JB]: The Bay Area has always represented equal representation for everyone. With the progressiveness of Oakland we wanted a name that was equally befitting to us and the Oakland community, hence Parliament.

      [DD]: We collectively decided on the name Parliament. Along with its original English definitions and the new direction of Oakland, it was fitting.

      [CN]: English Parliament was originally established for equal representation of the people, we believe that we can accomplish that same idea for entertainment. By offering a variety of events and music, we hope to represent the diversity of Oakland that we have all grown to love.

      [MC]: What are your hopes for your new venue?

      [JB]: In addition to maintaing a level of integrity and professionalism, we hope to have sustainability and longevity in the nightlife industry. We hope to bring a sense of dignity and ownership to the community of Oakland through Parliament. By offering a fun, safe environment for all to enjoy their entertainment needs.

      [DD]: My hope is to make Parliament a premiere destination for everyone’s entertainment and nightlife needs. While representing and bringing a level of pride and respect to Oakland and the community.

      [CN]: I hope that people see us for what we are, a venue to hold their next wedding, birthday, corporate event, or dance party. We want to be a place that people enjoy and feel safe at. We’re not some big corporation that can only see the bottom line, we live and work in this beautiful city. We hope that the people feel comfortable enough to come down to have a drink and a conversation with us. Cheers.

      Check out Parliament's schedule for a listing of events.

      For a full listing of events throughout the Bay Area this weekend click here.
      by Published on 02-12-2014 02:43 AM

      Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Don’t you just love, LOVE. I do! We are all surrounded by love, every day. Whether you are coupled or single, there is plenty to do this weekend in the YaY! for every one. Check out my “spotlight event” this Friday, Bay Area Rising plus a whole plethora of things to do with your love or your friends or both! Also TONIGHT (Wednesday) celebrate Love for Justice in the city and follow it up at Syrup, a new party in the heart of the Castro by Bay Area Faves, DJ Calalo and Slum B (see details below for both events).

      This week I am so happy to interview Tina Banchero, co-founder of Grrrl Brigade and who is performing this Friday at Bay Area Rising’s event Stand for Real Love (deets below). So let’s get going, let’s go out and let’s be love!

      To see the entire listing of events this weekend in the Bay Area click here.

      Miz Chris [MC]: Where are you from?

      Tina Banchero [TB]: I live in Oakland and perform and teach dance across the Bay Area

      [MC]: How did you get involved with Bay Area Rising?

      [TB]: I met Carolyn Hunt (Core Team/Producer for Bay Area Rising) through a mutual friend. I have been a huge fan of Eve Ensler’s work for years and have used some of her writings and monologues to inspire my dance students work.

      [MC]: What will you be performing during the show?

      [TB]: I have choreographed a dance for the Grrrl Brigade a youth company I co-founded with Krissy Keefer, director of the Dance Brigade. This youth company is based in San Francisco and is the daughter company of the Dance Brigade a modern dance company I have been a member for the last 13 years. The piece is set to a Grace Jones song called “This is my voice”. The chorus is “This is my voice, my weapon of choice”. The dance is very strong and utilizes martial arts movement as well as modern and jazz dance. The story of this piece is that these young women will use their bodies and voices to speak out and up against violence towards women and girls.

      I will also be leading the “Break the Chain” flashmob dance at the end of the event. This flashmob dance was choreographed by Debbie Allen for Eve Ensler and the One Bilion Rising movement. Last year 220 countries around the world got people dancing the flashmob as a form of action. This year we hope to fill the 1st Presybetrian Church of Oakland 2619 Broadway First Presbyterian Church corner 27th at 7pm with 650 people enjoying a performance ritual with some of the Bay Area’s finest performers and spiritual leaders and we will close our event with the flashmob dance. Go to www.bayarearising.org for more information or to buy tickets. All proceeds will go to local and international groups that support women and girls and an end to violence.

      [MC]: Why do you think the work Bay Area Rising is doing is important?

      [TB]: The Bay Area is one place in the world where cutting edge thoughts, laws and community behaviors around issues of human justice and earth justice are constantly being formulated and constantly influencing the rest of the world. Bay Area Rising recognized the magnitude of Eve Ensler’s global campaign to challenge the U.N’s statement in 2012 that 1 billion women and girls will experience violence by getting close to 1 billion people to rise, dance and envision a world with out violence in 2013. This year we hope to get 1 billion people to see a new way and a new future for girls, women, boys and men. We hope to support that movement here in Oakland.

      When an act of violence happens it sends deep painful ripples of emotion through individuals, families, neighbor hoods, schools, communities, cities and countries. It is a heavy time for all of us. In contrast when people come together to envision non-violence in large groups, the collective consciousness of a community is raised, filled with light and hope. That same ripple effect happens in one persons psyche, a families beliefs, a neighborhoods beliefs, a city, and a country. Change can happen when we envision that change and we support each other in holding that vision. Bay Area Rising is doing this by bringing together some of the Bay Area’s best visionaries and artists to help us hold that collect thought. Oakland can be free of violence. Berkeley can be free of violence. SF can be free of violence.

      [MC]: Tell us a little more about what you do outside of Bay Area Rising.

      [TB]: I am a professional dancer and activist. I have been working to support women’s rights for decades through my activist work, through my spiritual work and through my artistic work. I have performed with many companies through out the Bay Area and taught in many schools. I work most extensively with the Dance Brigade and Grrrl Brigade.

      To see the entire listing of events this weekend in the Bay Area click here.
      by Published on 02-09-2014 07:44 AM

      This week I am so very pleased to interview one of the founders of Mangos with Chili, Cherry Galette. They are on tour with the final four dates, read about them and if you are in the area go and see them!

      Miz Chris [MC]: Where are you from?

      Cherry Gallete [CG]: Cherry was born to a family of music makers and farmworkers in rural Washington state. After stints in other parts of the US, Cherry came to Oakland 8 years ago.

      Leah was born to a gay Sri Lankan dad and a working class white trauma mom in Worcester, MA, grew up in the rust belt, got college in New York in the 90s, ran away to Toronto/ unceded Missisauga of New Credit territories from 1997-2007, and have lived between the Bay and Toronto since.
      We came to the Bay Area to learn from and contribute to the amazing QTPOCTS (Queer and Trans People of Color) art and culture made here. We don’t know if we will be in the Bay Area forever- gentrification and cultural and economic displacement are factors that affect us like they are affecting all of our communities- but we are committed to the project continuing in new places and in new manifestations and evolutions as our lives, migrations, and artistic paths evolve.

      [MC]: How did Mangos with Chili start?

      [CG]: Once upon a time in an era long ago, in the time of Friendster and before cell phones or GPS, Leah and Cherry met one fated summer in San Francisco when they were both attending a retreat for artists of color, and visiting their then boos. Mangos With Chili was a dream hatched on corner store phone cards, Fruitvale tienditas selling the snack that is our namesake, and big visions of taking queer and trans people of color performance art to big stages. We knew that our community of art makers, our craft, and our beautiful stories of resilience and survival, deserved to be witnessed. We knew that our community deserved to come to spaces where they could feel home, be fully held, be celebrated, and see stories similar to their own reflected in creative work.

      So in 2006, after many years of performing as solo artists, and facing similar unsavory experiences with queer performance spaces that were mostly white, and people of color performance spaces that could be homo and transphobic, Cherry and Leah brought their dreams, sweat, and desire together to start planning a ten day tour that took the Northeast by storm.

      Our breakout 2007 cabaret took 8 queer and trans performers of color working in different artistic genres to cities and stages throughout the Northeastern United States and Canada. With no core funding and mostly grassroots publicity, Mangos With Chili was a phenomenally successful project. We raised our budget through grassroots fundraising and door revenue, and were able to pay artists a fair wage, in addition to covering all travel and housing costs. The show packed world class theaters, underground performance spaces, and campus halls, including Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto, C-Space in Cleveland, Swarthmore College, Cattyshack in New York, The Black Repertory Theater of Providence, Theatre Juste por Rire in Montreal, rural Northeast stages and more. Audiences everywhere thanked us for both the high caliber of work and the life-saving importance of the testimonies we shared through our art. We were completely blown away by the tour’s unexpected success- how night after night community and university spaces were packed to capacity with folks who had learned about the shows from word of mouth and were hungry for more. (Even though Leah thought we could definitely fit seven people in a six seater minivan. We have since learned that when it comes to tour rigs, being a size queen is everything).

      In our early years not only did we have no core funding, we barely had working computers. During our first two tours we relied on a huge paper atlas of North America to find our way around (the atlas has now moved on to become part of our archives!). We paid for gas out of pass-the-hat donations as gas prices began to soar. But we did it. We found a way. We made magic happen. We made shows that are gorgeous healing spaces, that people talk about years later.

      At the time of MWC’s founding, Leah lived in unceded Missisauga of New Credit territories/Toronto, and Cherry was completing a revisit to the rural immigrant community in the Northwest she grew up in, and was about to move to Oakland. Between 2006 and 2007 as we relocated to the Bay Area, we began to create and produce artistic work in the Bay. Some of our signature shows were created during this time – Encuentros, which featured stories from immigrant and first generation queer artists, Beloved, which took place in October and honored our QTPOC dead, and Whipped, which is our show about the many manifestations of queer love. We also had many opportunities to present work in the National Queer Arts Festival, and used this as an opportunity to launch new shows in addition to our signature shows. During this time we also continued to tour. We followed our inaugural tour with 2008’s Queer Borderlands Tour, and 2009’s Stunning South Tour. We took a break from intense touring following the 2009 tour – we were tired, had some really hard stuff to sort through, and needed to figure out future directions, and Cherry was recovering from being hit by a truck – but we did brief stints in different geographic areas between 2010-13.

      [MC]: What is the vision for Mangos with Chili?

Our vision is to provide big stages for qtpoc artists to showcase and develop their work. For QTPOC and other folks to see QTPOC stories and performance in big, luscious complexity.

      Mangos With Chili is a touring, performance art incubator committed to showcasing high quality artistic work of life saving importance by queer and trans artists of color. Our goal is to produce high-quality multi-genre performances reflecting the lives and stories of queer and trans people of color that speak out in resistance to the daily struggles around silence, isolation, homophobia, transphobia, and violence that QTPOC face.

      Beyond being a performance incubator, we have come to think of ourselves also as a ritual space for queer and trans communities of color to come together in love, conversation and transformation. Our goal is to present high quality performance art by QTPOC, but so much of our work is also about creating healing and transformative space through performances that are gathering places for QTPOC community.
      We root in our belief that we can make stages into sites of freedom, healing and transformation through shared story and art. We don’t control a lot all the time, but when you have a stage for a few hours, it can be a place where we dream back to what our ancestors knew or imagine new futures. We can create a microcosm of the communities we want to live in. We know we are both ancient and breathtakingly new. That poetry and dance are far from a luxury. That our ancestors survived through song, poetry and story, mapping freedom trails and envisioning new ways of being beyond survival. And as we remember them by dancing in their memory, we do the same.

      [MC]: Why do you travel the show?

      [CG]: Because we love touring! Even though it is exhausting and crazy making and the van gets real full of old hummus, it is so worth it. Because queer trans and two spirit Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities all over are hungry for the show. We’re 1/3 through our 2014 tour, are visiting the pacific northwest for the first time, and have heard from so many people that they have literally been waiting to see the show for years – that our show is healing and empowering and magic and life giving and that witnessing stories that are our own changes lives for realsies.

      Also we feel it’s important to bring the work to different cities and communities and build with qtpoc across the country. There is beauty and power in seeing how our communities are living, surviving, and thriving.

      [MC]: What do you hope for this year’s Mangos with Chili?

      [CG]: To bring people together – Cherry recently met a qpoc couple in New Orleans who had met at our 2009 show there and had been together since. And when we say bring people together we mean not just in the romantic or sexy sense. There is deep power in our beautiful qtpoc bodies, stories, lives, and dreams come together.

      We also just wanna tell some bomb, complicated love stories, sex stories, disaster stories that will heal folks and tell folks some shit they really need to hear.

      Half our crew this tour id’s as disabled, sick and/or crazy, and it has been so.freaking.amazing to centralize Disabled queer and trans POC love and sex stories. So good. So needed.

      We also hope that folks see their truths reflected in the works on our stage.
      Also, some of us wanna get laid. And some of us already have.

      Tour Dates Remaing:
      San Antonio:https://www.facebook.com/events/523639547734887/
      Houston: https://www.facebook.com/events/600419193341187/

      New Orleans: https://www.facebook.com/events/414412678690117/

      Website: www.mangoswithchili.com
      Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mango...li/38350228475
      And IG: http://instagram.com/mangoswithchili

      * This is reprinted from the Miz Chris column in Oakland Local