The Z List

The A-List of Bay Area Counterculture

The Z List: Hard Knock Radio Edition – 5 Best Things To Do [April 20-28]

Hard Knock Radio The Z List aired on Hard Knock Radio on Thursday, April 18, 2013.

Host: Anita Johnson
Curator & Entertainment Correspondent: Zsa-Zsa Rensch

Shuggie Otis – “Inspiration Information
N’Dambi – “Imitator

The Z List is a biweekly entertainment segment that airs every 1st and 3rd Thursday on Hard Knock Radio. The segment is curated by Zsa-Zsa Rensch and features some of the Bay Area’s best cultural events with a counterculture and global twist.

HKR is 94.1 FM KPFA’s daily drive-time Hip Hop Talk Show. It features hosts Davey D and Anita Johnson who hit the air everyday at 4pm offering news, views, breaks, and beats.

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/// FILM || OAKLAND ///

Battle For Brooklyn

Battle For Brooklyn
Brooklyn Reconstructed Series Finale

Directed by Michael Galinsky & Suki Hawley

Panel discussion with the film’s director and moderated by Hard Knock Radio’s Davey D will follow the screening.

Saturday April 20, 2013
General admission is $8.00
4:45 p.m.
This event is all ages


The New Parkway Theater
474 24th Street
Oakland, CA 94612

Broaklyn Film & Theater Co.
The New Parkway Theater 

WATCH: Trailer: Battle for Brooklyn [Video]

Battle for Brooklyn (2012), by Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley, follows the story of reluctant activist Daniel Goldstein as he struggles to save his home and community from being demolished to make way for a professional basketball arena and the densest real estate development in U.S. history. Along the way, he falls in love, gets married and starts a family while living in a vacated building located at the heart of the project site. Over the course of seven years, Daniel spearheads the movement against the development plan as he and the community fight tenaciously in the courts, the streets, and the media to stop the abuse of eminent domain and reveal the corruption at the heart of the plan.

Broaklyn Film & Theater Co. and Top Ten Social are proud to present the BROOKLYN RECONSTRUCTED series; six feature films which highlight the social impact of a so-called renaissance. Gentrification, eminent domain, public subsidies for luxury developments, political corruption, rising rents and neighborhood revitalization are underlying themes in most Brooklynites day-to-day lives. With that in mind, the series taps into the borough’s zeitgeist, its wealth of local filmmakers and their recent output of documentaries that address these issues.

Each film in the series, to be screened for one night only at The New Parkway Theater at 474 24th Street in Oakland, will deal with the themes of gentrification & development in communities much like Brooklyn. Within those themes is a conversation about race & class in a city undergoing a startling transformation. In order to cultivate a rich conversation about the above issues, a discussion led by a panel of regional activists, scholars, and civic leaders will accompany the screenings.

/// MUSIC || SF ///

Lee Fields

Lee Fields & The Expressions

Sunday, April 21, 2013
Doors 7 p.m., Show 8 p.m.
General admission is $25.00
This event is 21 and over


Bimbo’s 365 Club
1025 Columbus Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94133

Lee Fields & The Expressions
Truth and Soul Records
Bimbo’s 365 Club

WATCH: Lee Fields & The Expressions [Video]


There aren’t many artists making soul music who had a release in 1969, Lee Fields is one such artist–or maybe he’s better labeled a phenomenon. Since the late sixties, the North Carolina native has amassed a prolific catalog of albums and has toured and played with such legends as Kool and the Gang, Sammy Gordon and the Hip-Huggers, O.V Wright, Darrell Banks, and Little Royal. With a career spanning 43 years, releases on twelve different record labels, and having toured the world over with his raucous-yet-tender voice, it’s mind-blowing that the music he’s making today with Brooklyn’s own Truth & Soul Records is the best of his career. With a catalogue that ranges from James Brown-style funk to lo-fi blues to contemporary Southern soul to collaborations with French house DJ/producer Martin Solveig, Lee Fields has done it all. Today, with The Expressions–Truth & Soul’s house band, Lee Fields continues to evolve, enmeshed into the group’s sweeping, string-laden, cinematic soul sound. Their latest full-length, Faithful Man, released in 2012 on Truth & Soul, was called “one smoking mother of an old-sound soul record” by Pitchfork. The music that Lee Fields & The Expressions make is the new continuation of soul, and one that goes straight to your heartbeat the way it has always done.

WATCH: LADY – “Get Ready” [Video]


All you have to do is listen to Lady once, and you’ll remember—in case you forgot—why they call it soul music. The honesty, the aching sweetness, the raw power of these singers and their songs will remind you that nothing can move you as much, or touch you as deeply, as two women with amazing voices singing in tight harmony.

Lady is the name of the group and of their first recording—the latest from Truth & Soul. Together Nicole Wray and Terri Walker make music that sounds a little like the songs your Mama loved best—and at the same time like nothing you’ve ever heard before.

Nicole, who’s from Atlanta and Terri, from England, met in New York City in 2009 and realized that their love of soul classics and the hip-hop of today would make for a new kind of record. They linked up with producers Leon Michels and Jeff Silverman, whose lushly-orchestrated, beat-heavy songs have showcased artists such as Adele, Raekwon, Ghosface Killah, Aloe Blacc, and Lee Fields.

Terri Walker has released four hit albums in the United Kingdom. Her debut was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize. Nicole Wray’s debut single, “Make It Hot,” was certified gold. She has been featured on singles by Missy Elliott, Cam’ron, the Black Keys, Kid Cudi, and many others. Lady, Nicole and Terri’s first project together, unites the mellowness and pop flair of 60s soul with the driving beat of hop-hop, and the silky rhythms of modern R&B. These two powerful voices harmonize to create a fresh sound that tells the stories of growing up and never giving up, of love and friendship, of yearning and losing, bad girls and good hearts. Lady is an authentic original, drawing from the past to infuse the present with new power. In one of the album’s most touching songs, “Sweet Lady”, a loving tribute to their moms and to strong women everywhere, they sing, “Take my hat off to my mother, / such a sweet lady. / There will never be another one like you.”

Prepare to take your hat off to Lady. Get ready to fall in love. There has never been, there will never be, anything like it before.


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Annual Residency

Tuesday-Sunday April 23-28, 2013
8 p.m.
Tickets start at $30
This event is all ages


Zellerbach Hall (UC-Berk)
4800 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA 94720

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Zellerbach Hall


No season would be complete without a return visit by the incomparable Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, perhaps the most acclaimed international ambassador of American culture performing today. Under the inspired leadership of artistic director Robert Battle, the ensemble continues to confirm what dance lovers worldwide have long known—that in terms of unparalleled artistry, athletic strength, and boundless passion, nothing beats the Ailey. Building upon the “big, big wow” (San Jose Mercury News) of its 2012 appearances, the company’s 2013 Berkeley residency promises wide-ranging programs packed with Ailey classics—including the “divinely timeless, rousing, and radiant” Revelations (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)—and works by today’s most exciting choreographers.

/// MUSIC || SF ///

Shuggie Otis

Mezzanine 10 Year Anniversary Concert Series

Shuggie Otis
Jesca Hoop
DJ Platurn

Friday April 26, 2013
Doors 9 p.m.
General admission is $25-$40
This event is 21 and over


444 Jesse St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

Shuggie Otis

Irony is a part of life. Though the music business may at times have nothing to do with “real” life, irony is a part of the biz. Just ask singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Shuggie Otis. Shuggie Otis, for those not familiar with him through David Byrne’s heroic disinterment of his 1974 album, Inspiration Information or through his authorship of the wonderful Strawberry Letter 23 – is the son of legendary R ‘n’ B bandleader Johnny Otis. A musical prodigy he was playing with his father by the time he was 13 and from the word go displayed an uncanny mastery of the blues guitar.

He wrote “Strawberry Letter 23,” a gold single for the Brothers Johnson that went to number one R&B and number five pop in spring 1977. George Johnson was dating one of Otis’ cousins who gave him a copy of Otis’ 1971 Epic LP, Freedom Flight. Immediately, Johnson liked “Ice Cold Daydream” and “Strawberry Letter 23.” The duo recommended it to their producer, Quincy Jones, and recorded a cover version that sticks pretty close to Otis’ original version of “Strawberry Letter 23.” By the time “Strawberry Letter 23” was a million-seller, Otis had been dropped from Epic three years earlier. The 24-year-old guitar virtuoso was sure he would get a new record deal. Ironically, the record executives would be impressed that he wrote a million-selling song, but they weren’t interested in anything else he’d done. Disillusioned, Otis dropped out of the music business before returning to it in the late ’80s, playing with his father, Johnny Otis’ band. Later the axiom “good things come to those who wait” took effect. Spurred by sales and critical kudos of reissues of his 1974 Epic LP, Inspiration Information, from Sony Music Special Projects and David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label, Otis performed “Strawberry Letter 23” on May 2001 appearances on Conan O’Brien and David Letterman.

Though in recent years he has chosen to remain out of the spotlight, he continues to be revered through musical circles, as evidenced by his 2009 performance with Mos Def in LA.


YBCA Public Square

Public Square: Future Soul Edition

50 Cent Tabernacle
Field of Inquiry
David Dorfman Dance: Prophets of Funk
DJs Rich Medina and J. Period

Saturday, April 27, 2013
Cost and program times vary
This event is all ages

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Public Square

WATCH: Public Square: Future Soul Edition @ YBCA [Video]

Be a part of YBCA’s first-ever Public Square—a confluence of art experiences happening throughout YBCA. From participating in classes to attending performances to engaging with exhibitions, YBCA Public Square incorporates an entire day of activities that allow everyone to passionately engage in creative expression no matter your area of interest or energy level.

Public Square: Future Soul Edition will feature 50 Cent Tabernacle, 11 AM-5 PM; Field of Inquiry, 5-7:30 PM; David Dorfman Dance: Prophets of Funk, 8 PM; and one of YBCA’s renowned late night parties with DJ Rich Medina and J. Period 9 PM-1 AM.




Saturday, April 20, 2013
10 p.m.
General admission is $19
This event is all ages


Yoshi’s Oakland
510 Embarcadero West
Jack London Square
Oakland, CA 94607

Yoshi’s Oakland

WATCH: N’Dambi – “Imitator [Lyric Video]


Soul music has produced some serious truth tellers in its most glorious past. Finding the conviction to pursue our fondest dreams and the courage to face-up to our darkest truth is perhaps the artist’s greatest challenge. Pink Elephant, the long-awaited Stax Records debut from stirring soul singer N’dambi, explores the art of revelation. “I want to write about the elephant in the room,” she explains of her third U.S. release. “They see her but refuse to acknowledge or talk about her, let alone confront her. That’s why I’m here.”

N’dambi’s purposeful songwriting offers the listener detailed lyrical snapshots largely created from observations, rather than her own life. “Sometimes I write from my experience, but mostly I use my imagination to express myself through story telling,” she explains. “I think of the place, the time, the setting of a story, and invent a situation that shines a light on a particular issue or theme. They are rarely from my own life. More often, they’re someone else’s story.”


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