The A-List of Bay Area Counterculture
Hailed by the New York Times as “an abundance of there here,” Oakland First Fridays is an internationally-acclaimed immersive art and community experience, which draws as many as 15,000-20,000 people of all ages each month. Oakland First Fridays is primarily located on or adjacent to Telegraph Avenue from 19th Street to 27th Street and through Oakland’s Jack London Square, Historic Old Oakland, Downtown Lake Merritt, Uptown, Downtown, Koreatown- Northgate District (KONO), the Temescal District and more.
Every First Friday, Oakland comes together with an “Open House” / ad-hoc street festival of art galleries, artist collectives, street artists, food trucks, food vendors, local artisans, performers, musicians, dancers, DJ’s, and poets. Attendees to First Fridays come from all around the Bay Area and beyond to experience eye-catching art, eat great food, enjoy live music from all genres, and stroll through the amazing, eclectic, creative scene which has transformed Oakland’s cultural identity.
The November event marks the beginning of Oakland First Friday’s Fall/Winter hours, beginning at 5pm and ending at 10pm. Over 20 blocks of streets will be closed to thru traffic, including Telegraph Avenue from 19th to 27th St and various adjacent side streets; as well as 9th St. bet. Washington and Broadway. Attendees are encouraged not to drive but to bicycle, walk, or BART to downtown Oakland and get off at 12th Street, 19th Street or Lake Merritt stations.
Below is a highlight of planned events and activities for November.
Gallery openings by SoleSpace (featuring “Day of the Dead”- themed works by Favianna Rodriguez, Oree Orginol, and Julio Salgado), Creative Growth Art Center (featuring studio textile works by Judith Scott, Tony Pedemonte and Carlos Perez), SoMar (featuring paintings, photographs, video art, and mixed media work by Femme Cartel), Betti Ono Gallery (featuring a multimedia exhibit of installations, paintings, sculpture and video that honors our ancestors, promotes healing in our community and highlights the resilience of the human spirit by Karen & Malik Seneferu), and First Love Gallery (featuring the paintings of First Love Gallery owner Nia Imara).
TopTenSocial presents Block Party OAK (featuring The Grow Sessions and the Deepblak Recordings stages, “In the Black” Marketplace, Gursha Ethiopian food and the Funky Soul Stop Record Booth); Jazz Alley Outdoor Lounge and Community Jam Session (featuring live music from Valerie Troutt & Qui510 and Marcus Cohen & the Congress, plus Dirk’s Jerked Chicken).
The EatUp food pod (featuring 15 of the Bay Area’s best food trucks, seven local Oakland mixed-media artists, to include the premiere of this year’s Life Is Living video by filmmaker Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi, and four DJ’s).
The Art Zone” (featuring mobile art gallery ArtIs MobilUs, an interactive art wall, art vehicles, DJs, face painters, performers, and local food vendors Vesta Flatbreads, Wild Orchid Asian, Boffo Cart, and Fat Bottoms Bakery); freestyle rap artist MC Word; Two music stages curated by Mission Creek/ArtsBeat Foundation: the (electric) Unicorn Stage (featuring Marmalade Mountain, Buttons and Hotel Eden), and the (acoustic) Rainbow Stage (featuring Linda Moody and The Maple Street Five); Badd Boyz/Uptown Studios fashion show; a classic/lowrider car show; the “Great Wall” visual art projection screen; and much, much more.
More than just a murmur, Oakland First Fridays is a phenomenon.