Rightnowish Lifelong Oakland resident Pendarvis Harshaw takes listeners on a brief but memorable trip to a Bay Area artist's home turf, speaking to them about their passions and inspirations, and linking their work to larger societal issues.



Lifelong Oakland resident Pendarvis Harshaw takes listeners on a brief but memorable trip to a Bay Area artist's home turf, speaking to them about their passions and inspirations, and linking their work to larger societal issues.

Most Recent Episodes

Roll With Us: Bending Corners and Poppin' Wheelies

Berkeley's Omar "Meez" Jones is a biker, photographer, graphic designer and entrepreneur. One of his top talents is his ability to take his lifestyle and make a living off of it. Earlier this year, a series of Apple billboards promoting their "Hometown" campaign sprung up all around the Bay Area, featuring the silhouetted images of two bikers hitting wheelies. Those bikers are Jones and his good friend from North Oakland, Almighty Gio. What I saw as a major tech company leveraging culture to earn cool points, Jones sees as a platform benefiting the culture he represents. While there's room for both to be true, Jones points out something that I overlooked: we breed hustlers in this region, so he'll figure out a way to make it work in his favor. On top of that, Jones is working to expand opportunities to a younger generation of East Bay bikers, setting them up with brands and employment opportunities. Tune in for the second entry on the intersection of wheels, community, and culture as Jones and I discuss biking, billboards, and being a community "big bro."

Roll With Us: A Golden Roller on 50 Years of Quad Skating

From 1979 to 1988, Richard was a part of the Golden Rollers, a trio of skaters who performed in Golden Gate Park every Sunday. Since first getting his roll on, Richard has been featured in the television pilot, Dancing Wheels, was Damon Wayan's skating stunt double, performed on stage with Vaughn Mason and has been featured in Ebony Magazine. Richard also has custom wheels that bear his name, and worked with Riedell to manufacture a signature skating boot with no laces called, No Strings Attached. Richard has also taught thousands of people his signature skating style of "Roller Dance" (even Dr. Oz) through in-person classes and video tutorials. And he's noticed skatings rising popularity since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. On social media, videos of skaters in fly fits doing tricks to the latest hits has made for top tier content, especially on TikTok. While Richard appreciates the growing appreciation for the art of quad skating, he wants to make sure folks know that skating is a deep-seated culture with a history that pre-dates the internet, and moves that sparkled on the rink long before most viral stars were born.

After Asking OPD to Leave, This Cafe Made a Plan for Community Safety

In 2018 the Hasta Muerte coffee shop in East Oakland made national headlines when they asked Oakland police officers to leave their cafe. Matt Gereghty, part-owner of the cooperative cafe, was the first person to tell an officer the cafe's policy of asking cops to leave. He read from a collectively written script the staff had composed before opening the shop. Gereghty tells me it wasn't meant to be a major thing, just the cafe's attempts to ensure peace of mind for their customers by creating a space without cops. They serve a community where people have had traumatic experiences with police officers, or live in fear due to their documentation status. Keep in mind it was 2018, and President Donald Trump's pro-police and anti-immigration rhetoric was flooding media. When people found out about the policy, it led to pro-Trump, right wing protestors waving American flags with thin blue lines in front of the cafe. Hasta Muerte also received a letter from the president of the Oakland Police Association saying the policy was "a matter of concern for all Oakland Police Officers." The story was covered locally and nationally; it grew to the point that they even mentioned it on The View. But Hasta Muerte hasn't officially talked to any publications about what happened until now. This week on Rightnowish, we discuss this East Oakland cafe's community-based approach to safety, cops and the media.

Rocky Rivera Restores Justice Across the Board

After winning an MTV reality TV show contest about a dozen years ago, Rocky Rivera landed a gig at Rolling Stone. That was a crowning moment in her career as a journalist. Since then, Rocky Rivera's enjoyed a successful musical career and expanded her world as an educator in Oakland public schools. Most recently she published an autobiographical collection of essays, Snakeskin, which takes a look back at her storied career and personal life. Rocky Rivera, who was raised in San Francisco, uses the book to express the importance of restorative justice practices. Addressing conflict without using punitive models is something that works in the classroom and the community, as well as in art.

Motherhood, Marijuana and Mental Health with Been Milky

Kate Dash, aka Been Milky, is one of the coolest mothers you'll ever meet. She likes to bomb down huge San Francisco hills on a skateboard, she notoriously dyes her hair bright colors, she's a cannabis connoisseur and she's on the verge of launching a brand called Milky's World. Been Milky, whose name honors the fact that mothers have the ability to feed all of humankind, sees mothers as the most important beings walking this earth. And since she's a photographer, she can show us exactly what she sees. Her photography captures vivid images of her friends, many of them mothers, and of course, her own kids.

Layers of Meaning with Visual Artist Paola de la Calle

Artist Paola de la Calle plays with images and symbols that recall her childhood, her family's homeland in Colombia, and explores themes of citizenship and the politics of food. Bananas, tv satellites, door knocker hoops, sugar cane, and social security cards, to name a few, repeat in her work. She experiments with these images and themes across mediums. Paola's linocut prints, embellished flags, collaged posters and ceramics ask viewers to dig deeper into the colorful imagery.

Schooling Trolls and Fighting Fatphobia One TikTok at a Time

Through blogs and TikTok videos Brena Jean discusses what it means to be one of the millions of people living with lipedema. The rarely diagnosed chronic disorder affects mostly women and causes fat cells within the body to build up and harden instead of burn; it's often confused with obesity or lymphedema. As a result, many people living with lipedema don't know they have it. Or, in Brena Jean's case, she recognized the condition but struggled to prove it to medical professionals. This week, Brean Jean and I discuss how she's taking internet trolls to school and what it means to fight fatphobia within the American healthcare system.

Poet Alan Chazaro, the Piñata Theorist

Alan Chazaro uses poetry to explore Bay Area culture, his love for hip-hop, and machismo stereotypes. We first talked in 2019 about his first poetry collection, This Is Not a Frank Ocean Cover Album. Since then, Chazaro moved to Mexico, travelled through Central and South America, and then, ultimately, returned to the Bay Area. Chazaro has also been dabbling in the journalism trade-- with stories that range from the first woman to play professional men's basketball to the tale of a notable Oakland A's hot dog vendor. Chazaro has even freelanced for KQED. In addition to all of that and teaching English, Chazaro just published his second book, Pińata Theory, which takes a deeper dive into his Mexican-American identity, Hip-Hop and deconstructing concepts of masculinity. Since April is National Poetry Month, it seems like a good time to revisit our first conversation. And because so much has changed since then-- traveling, book publication and more-- we brought him back to give us a life update and a poem. To hear other poets on Rightnowish here's a playlist: https://spoti.fi/3tnZpe5

These Artists Amplify 415 Day's Message of Resistance, Resilience and Restitution

A few days ahead of April 15th — 415 Day — we're talking to two artists from San Francisco who have lived, fought, partied, and made art for their hometown. Jules Retzlaff (Cereal For The Kids) and Sachiel Rosen (Baghead) are the duo behind the film and album, Dedicated To Those Who.

These Artists Amplify 415 Day's Message of Resistance, Resilience and Restitution

Comedian Jackie Keliiaa on Keeping Tahoe Washoe

Jackie Keliiaa is a stand-up comedian raised in Hayward and based in Oakland. She's unapologetically Bay, and proud of her Yerington, Paiute and Washoe roots. She's also funny af. Building off Charlie Hill's legacy, Keliiaa cracks jokes about colonialism, Native culture and family, alongside her trials and tribulations with dating. Before the pandemic, you could catch her shows at Punchline San Francisco, Comedy Oakland and Tommy T's. She's featured alongside other Native comedians in the televised 'First Nation Comedy Experience'. She also produces events that showcase woman of color comics, and she just launched a podcast where she interviews creative friends. One of her latest endeavors includes contributing a chapter in the newly published book, We Had a Little Real Estate Problem: The Unheralded Story of Native Americans & Comedy. It's a deep dive into the under-appreciated legacy of Native comedians, taking its name from an iconic Charlie Hill joke, "My people are from Wisconsin. We used to be from New York... We had a little real estate problem."

Back To Top