Saturday night, downtown Oakland

Perhaps you are already planning an evening visit to the DTO tonight to stroll around and enjoy the art at First Friday. The monthly art walk is fun, and of course, extremely popular, and of course it’s always fun to see the sidewalks downtown spilling over with people. On the other hand, First Friday has become so successful that you can’t even get into any of the galleries half the time and you have to wait an hour to get a table at any of Uptown’s lovely new restaurants. So I’m going to suggest you reconsider. Come downtown on Saturday instead!

There probably will not be huge crowds all over the place, but who likes crowds anyway? What there will be is a great opportunity to have fun while helping a great Oakland organization, and then a totally, totally awesome show at the Uptown afterwards.

First, there’s the mocha gala. If you aren’t familiar with the Museum of Children’s Art (mocha), well, you can read all about them here, but basically, they’re devoted to encouraging creativity among Oakland’s youth, and ensuring art is a part of all our children’s lives. They offer early childhood programming, send artists to local schools to work with kids there, work with schools to help them develop art programs, and offer all sorts of other events and activities for local children out of their headquarters in Old Oakland.

It’s just a really wonderful organization, and if you happen to have some cash burning a hole in your wallet, you could certainly do worse than using some of it to support this institution. And the party on Saturday is an excellent opportunity to do so. $100 gets you in, and for that, you’ll get food and wine, a chance to spend some more money at the silent auction and view mocha’s current exhibit, a display of art Don Freeman, author and illustrator of the Corduroy books, made when he was a child. How neat is that? And that’s not even the best part! Music will be provided by alumna of last year’s Bay Area Girls Rock Camp, and I have to say, if it’s been a while since you watched teenage bands perform, you’re missing out on a lot of fun.

Anyway, the party goes from 5:30 to 9:00 this Saturday night (June 6th), and it will take place at the mocha galleries and courtyard outside Swan’s marketplace at 538 9th Street in Old Oakland. Children are welcome, and get in for the bargain price of $25.

Later on, at the Uptown Nightclub, my hands-down favorite Oakland band, Damon and the Heathens will be performing and celebrating the release of their new CD. In case you don’t already know them, they describe themselves like this:

Damon & the Heathens are a six-piece punk soul band from Oakland, California. We combine the sounds of New Orleans brass bands with Detroit garage rock, blues, jazz, and funk to create a sound best described as horn-fueled Oakland grit. Known for a raucous live show and a tight sound, the only thing holding us back now is our bar tab.

Now, I never pass up an opportunity to go watch them play, because they’re really just that much fun – their music is great, and they also put on a spectacular show, but I’m especially exciting about the Uptown show because there’s so much space there. Usually when I see them, they play at Cafe Van Kleef, which is a great place and all, but simply not big enough to accommodate all the Heathens’s rabid fans, and it can often get uncomfortably crowded. But there’s plenty of room at the Uptown (on Telegraph, between 19th and 20th), so please, come help fill it up. Doors open at 9 PM, and $10 gets you in. Here’s a little preview:

"Istanbul" live clips


So there you have it – two great opportunities to enjoy downtown on Saturday. So skip First Friday and spend Saturday night in the DTO, either at the mocha gala, or the Heathens show at Uptown, or both. You’ll be glad you did.

4 thoughts on “Saturday night, downtown Oakland

  1. Libby Schaaf

    If you think the arts should be a fundamental part of the lives of ALL children, come to the Mocha Gala this Saturday night! Mention this post and I’ll buy you a $20 Instant Wine Cellar Raffle Ticket!