Cultural shifts in Oakland
February 21, 2013 9:10 AM   Subscribe

Oakland MeFites: What are the most interesting cultural manifestations of Oakland's two-decade-long demographic shift?

I'm working with a reporter on a piece about Oakland, pegged in part to its role in the birth of hip-hop. But we're also looking for interesting products/symptoms/manifestations of the city's increasingly multiracial bent. Thinking specifically about culture production here - food, language, music, arts. Thanks for your thoughts!
posted by grrarrgh00 to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: (Two-decade-long is totally facetious, by the way. Ignore that. Oakland's never been in a sort of ethnic stasis. It's constantly evolved.)
posted by grrarrgh00 at 9:12 AM on February 21, 2013

Hmm, not sure if this is on the right track, but bikes and skateboards came to mind. When hipster kids started riding fixies, kids in East Oakland started making and riding scraper bikes, which is pretty uniquely Oakland. I also see far more black kids on skateboards these days than white or Hispanic kids, which seems like a big cultural shift no one has really explored. Also organic food production has a huge groundswell in the land-poor areas in West and East Oakland. When most people hear "organic" and think foodies or hipsters, there's actually tons of people working to grow good food in areas where there aren't many other options.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:30 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Meant to link to the Original Scraper Bikes website.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:33 AM on February 21, 2013

Uh, and of course there's Art Murmur/ First Fridays, which has made a huge difference in the amount and tenor of activity downtown. When I was living in West Oakland, a lot of artists were moving into warehouses out there (and there were many that had been there for years). Jerry Brown put one of the local hipster kids, Devin Satterfield (also our neighbor), on his Arts Council, and was instrumental in giving warehouse life a sort of quasi-legality. We threw huge illegal parties for years and were never bothered by cops. The warehouse next door was shut down by the fire department when they made their loading dock into a swimming pool for one of their art/music/crazyness events.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:47 AM on February 21, 2013

Someone who might be a great resource would be Prozack (Zack) Turner of Foreign Legion (show at my former (ware)house, the Otherworld). He owns a bar downtown called the Layover, and I bet he would have good information on the local music scene. Here's his twitter.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:55 AM on February 21, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for these, oneirodynia, just sent you a MeFi Mail. These are all great leads.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 10:58 AM on February 21, 2013

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