The Greatest Monkey Show on Earth

The Greatest Monkey Show on Earth presented by Antic in a Drain (as Artist in Residence at Kinetic Arts Center) will make you laugh at times and really uncomfortable the rest. Maitresse Magnificent (Amelia Van Brunt) introduces the audience to Charles the Chimp (Ross Travis). He’s a good little monkey that’s expected to perform on cue for treats. If he’s not on point he’s stunned via a shock collar.

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The bouffon comedy has the audience laughing with sexual innuendos and skits of mischievousness that involve the audience. Maitresse Magnificent flirts and teases the men and sometimes cops a feel. She drinks in between sets from bottles hidden on stage and at one-point slips Charles some tongue. Charles the Chimp awes the audience with his acrobatic skills ranging from back flips and hoop jumping to performing on a Chinese pole.

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The tables are flipped when he brings an audience member on stage to serve him a meal. He’s now the ringleader and challenged with training the human. Whenever the audience member, now servant, does something wrong he screams and makes him start over after showing him the correct action he’s suppose to take. The person chosen played along well but couldn’t hide his tinge of nervousness of trying to do it right the first time. He never did.

The show builds slowly and exemplifies the evil that comes with one-sided power. Maitresse Magnificent becomes agitated throughout the show and gets more and more abusive towards Charles. Charles is not allowed to make one tiny error or decision. He can’t take a moment to play with his favorite toy or accidently get stuck in his pajamas or her anger comes out with a vengeance. The audience is just as trapped as him watching this build, leading to an inevitable reverse of power. Charles being childlike is left alone not understanding the finality of what he does in the end. He performs a trick on his tricycle longing for a reaction (and treat) he will not receive. 

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Travis embodies his character to the point where it’s hard to wonder what the man behind the mask is like. The rapport between him and Amelia Van Brunt provides for good comedic timing especially during moments of improv. However, it would’ve been nice if Brunt had a microphone as she was inaudible during many of the non-screaming moments.

Due to the graphic violence this show is not recommended for children. We would also not recommend it for people who suffer from anxiety or claustrophobia. The space is small and the plays theme may have you grasping for air. 

The show is playing at the Kinetic Arts Center located at 785 7th Street, Oakland, CA 94607. Doors open at 7:30 and seats are general admission. Tickets are $20 online at http://monkeyshow.bpt.me


 

OMCA Exhibits Altered State: Marijuana in California

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) opened Altered State: Marijuana in California in its Great Hall, the first-ever museum exhibition to focus on the topic. You’re welcomed to the exhibit with popular quotes on the wall by artists, politicians and scientists. The exhibit is not meant to declare a position and juxtaposes polarizing opinions in some of the areas. There’s also a glove box set up so you can examine a live plant.

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This is a timely exhibit, as this year’s election will include initiatives hoping to make marijuana legal in more states. Right now it’s legal for recreational use in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. California is one of 23 states that allow it for medical use. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act is a legalization initiative that will be circulated for the November, 2016 California ballot and is backed by wealthy benefactors and drug reform advocates including former Facebook president, Sean Parker who donated $500,000 to back the initiative. It would allow recreational use for adults 21 years and older with restrictions on amount and growing your own among other things.

In the exhibit there are ten different areas of focus—Cannabis Science, Medical Marijuana, Profitable Pot, Sacred Ganja, Criminal Dope, Creative Grass, Evil Weed, Politically Loaded, Youth and Weed, and Recreational Reefer. Interactive areas range from boards that you can draw on, an anonymous confession booth, and a range of questions in which guests can answer yes or no by placing magnets on a board creating a visualization of what visitors think on “what if” questions that relate to their feelings if it were legalized in their community such as, “What are your deal breakers and deal makers?”. In medical marijuana, you can pick up a receiver and listen to stories from people who’ve utilized it in their treatment(s) including 66-year-old Rosalyn who was tired of taking several medications after surgery, “I decided to try cannabis as a treatment method because I was just tired of being sick”.

Altered State21 AnaPinesIn Profitable Pot, we’re introduced via photos to almost only white people who are referred to as “earnest entrepreneurs”. California produces and sells more marijuana than any other state and a lot of the owners shown, moved here from other states to get in on the business. “I think that if you look at who is generally making money right now in the industry it tends to be mostly white people” said Melissa Standee who was part of the team working on the exhibit.

The exhibit is somewhat interesting regardless of your position on Marijuana and can help open some discussions with others especially young people. However, I think it would’ve been more impactful to juxtapose the “entrepreneurs” with pictures of people who have family members incarcerated for being “drug dealers” rather than “entrepreneurs” before their time. When it comes to profit and the criminalization of pot race is a huge part of the story. In the Evil Weed section this is broken down into faceless infographics and we see the discrepancies in how people are treated differently when it comes to race. Let’s see their faces and hear their stories.

Altered State16 AnaPinesOMCA promoted this to be provocative, groundbreaking and diverse but the main staff involved is all white, and they see nothing wrong with that because the “outside” community was asked to participate, which is an interesting parallel to the exhibit itself. Why did these “drug-dealers” turn to selling? People of color are shut out of their own narratives delineated to faceless statistics while those “entrepreneurs” are provided happy photo collages hanging from the ceiling as if there is some kind of genius behind it. We heard from them why they got into the business. How is that groundbreaking when you excluded telling the stories of those that have been punished criminally? I was told by one of the organizers that in Oakland only one dispensary is owned by someone that is non-white, and his or her story was not represented. They made such an effort not to takes sides that they shut out powerful truths making it a weak effort at representing a complex subject.

VISITOR INFORMATION

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is at 1000 Oak Street, at 10th Street, in Oakland. Regular Museum admission is $15.95 general; $10.95 seniors and students with valid ID, $6.95 youth ages 9 to 17, and free for Members and children 8 and under. OMCA offers onsite underground parking and is conveniently located one block from the Lake Merritt BART station, on the corner of 10th Street and Oak Street. The accessibility ramp is located at the 1000 Oak Street main entrance to the Museum. museumca.org


 

Treasure Island – Toxic Getaway

Treasure Island - San Francisco Photo by: Ana Pines

When driving between Oakland and San Francisco you’ll see an exit midway that goes towards Treasure Island. It was a Navy base from 1942 to 1997. You will find beautiful views of the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge there. You will also find abandoned buildings and toxic asbestos warnings everywhere.

In one area there is an apartment complex, a park, church and playground. Rent here is relatively cheap in comparison to San Francisco and many parts of Oakland. Breathtaking views at a fraction of the cost? IMG_3997 copyTurns out the island is also plagued with contaminated soil, radiation and high levels of mold. Once used as a trash pit, the soil has been known to be contaminated with Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The shipyards were also once used to clean boats returning from nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific.

This type of environment is deemed safe for mostly low-income residents who thought it was a blessing in disguise. Many have developed respiratory illnesses. More than a third of the residents were previously homeless. Looks like the city’s ideal solution for the housing crisis is one of out of sight, out of mind.

View of the Golden Gate Bridge from Treasure Island

Pink Egg Media Announces Sponsorship with Queer Fashion Week

Pink Egg Media is delighted to announce a landmark sponsorship with Queer Fashion Week (QFW), an entire week of fabulous events showcasing designers, hairstylists, and makeup artists who are creating fashion for all types of bodies and genders.

The first ever Queer Fashion Week will be held in Oakland, CA on April 16 – 19, 2015. More than 25 designers will be unveiling their latest creations from accessories, evening wear, lingerie and undergarments, outdoor wear, urban wear and more made for the fashionista – feminine to the masculine of center and everyone in between.

The lists of designers include Crookid Mindz, Haute Butch, Im.Butterfly Creations, Immigreat Designs, Inner Diva Styles, Kreeps in Disguise Co., Lady Lovers, Note 2 Self, Pascual Keyng, Play Out Apparel, LLC; Qwear Fashion, Saannti, Sambi Fashion, Sharp Suiting, Show & Tell Boutique, Shades Company, Clothing, Size Queen Clothing, Speechless Vulgarity, Split Personality Designs, Stuzo Clothing, SunSun, SX Couture, Thuy Custom Clothier, True Life Clothing, and Vagina Jenkins.

The sponsorship is part of Pink Egg Media’s ongoing commitment to lifting small business especially those owned by women of color.

Kim Rescate, co-founder of Pink Egg Media explains, “We are excited to be part of this unique event.  We feel that it’s an important endeavor. It’s difficult for some of us ordinary folks to easily find clothes that embody gender variance. We look forward to seeing fashion that transgress the gender norms.”

“It’s exciting to be a part of something ground breaking. We’re often judged by our appearances when that’s what makes us unique. It’s great to be part of a celebration that embodies the true meaning of diversity, being able to present yourself the way you want without judgement.”, said Ana Pines, co–founder of Pink Egg Media.

“Queer Fashion Week is excited to have a media partnership with Pink Egg Media.  Their support of QFW has been invaluable and we appreciate all their efforts on behalf of QFW.” added Christine De La Rosa, QFW’s producer.

About Pink Egg Media
Pink Egg Media is a multi-disciplinary communications leader. The company offers press relations, advertising, content marketing, activation, promotional and digital media delivering comprehensive business solutions through content creation, community building and communications with measurable results. For more information, visit our website at www.pinkeggmedia, follow us on Twitter at @pinkeggmedia, and become our fan at facebook.com/pinkeggmedia.

About Queer Fashion Week
Queer Fashion Week is the brainchild of Miz Chris, one of the preeminent producers of queer events in the US.  Having produced butchLYFE alongside the What is Butch? Movement for over 600 queers in the Bay Area last year, she saw the need to move beyond a singular fashion show and create an entire WEEK full of fabulousity.   The mission of Queer Fashion Week is to showcase designers, hairstylists and makeup artists who are creating fashion for all types of bodies and genders.

About fiveTEN Oakland Events: fiveTen Oakland Events brings quality events to Oakland throughout the year. Pulling together a group of diverse artists, DJs, performers, vendors from many different parts of the local and national community to celebrate Oakland and the East Bay! This strives to bring excellent and unique experiences to the community mixed with the hottest venues in Oakland we guarantee that your fiveTen experience will be unforgettable. For more info: www.queerfashionweek.com

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Contact:
Kim Rescate, kim@pinkeggmedia.com
Ana Pines, ana@pinkeggmedia.com

Boi/Butch: Portraits of Masculine of Center Identity

Show & Tell Concept Shop most recent collaboration, “Queery,” will run from June 25 to August 31, 2014. “Queery” opens with “Boi/Butch: Portraits of Masculine of Center Identity” on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 5 PM.  This exhibition showcases the latest portraits from Miki Vargas’ “For The Love Of Bois Project,” capturing and celebrating the beauty of masculine of center individuals while recognizing the breadth and depth of identity for lesbian/queer/ womyn who tilt toward the masculine side of the gender scale.

For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/ShowAndTellConceptShop

“Boi/Butch: Portraits of Masculine of Center Identity” will also showcase Meg Allen’s, “Butch” – a collection most recently featured on Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and Policy Mic. “Butch” is an environmental portraiture project and exploration of the butch aesthetic, identity, and presentation of female masculinity. It is a celebration of those who dwell outside of the stringent social binary that separates the sexes and a glimpse into the private and often unseen spaces of people who exude their authentic sense of self. For more information and RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/1492373314309239/

Running concurrently to “Boi/Butch” is “Beaus & Belles Pop Up.”  “Beaus & Belles” is a 9-week Qwear Style Experience bringing together the best in queer fashion from the Bay Area and beyond.  To RSVP and check out updated Qwear brands: https://www.facebook.com/events/247926865392723/

Other “Queery” events you’ll want to add to your calendar:

Culture Fuck Queer Open Mic
July 18th
7-10pm

The Style Social
Featuring Cultured Members of Society
June 19th
4-8pm
Culture Fuck Queer Open Mic- Femme Edition 
August 15th
7-10pm

Oakland Pride Closing Celebration
Hosted by MTV Real World Ex-Plosion’s Ari Fitz
August 28th
7-10pm