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.
Rightnowish

Rightnowish

From KQED

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

Rightnowish: Intergenerational Painting with Mujer Muralista

Over on Foothill Boulevard in East Oakland, right next to Cesar Chavez park, there's a small restaurant called La Casita. On the gate to an adjacent alleyway, there's a painting that reads "Oakland Over Everything"—the creed that Mujer Muralista lives by. And even though Mujer Muralista (the nom de plume of Laura Salazar) didn't paint that particular image, she's painted nearly every other inch of space in and around La Casita, including a new mural she was working on in the alley when I met up with her recently. Her latest creation depicts freedom fighters, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Dolores Huerta, as well as images of young folks from Oakland—former students of Mujer Muralista. At the top of the painting are words "Oakland Is Proud," an homage to the classic wall piece by Del Phresh. On a summer day that was so hot, we had to sit inside of La Casita with the lights off to trick ourselves into thinking it made the day cooler, Mujer Muralista sat in the back of the empty restaurant and discussed the origins of her name, the importance of community space, and how she uses art to take control of her changing hometown. To hear this conversation, click the link above. From July 22–July 26, Mujer Muralista leads art workshops as a part of Mundos Musicales Summer Camp at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley. Details here.

Rightnowish: Mike Nicholls and Umber Magazine

Mike Nicholls is the founder of Umber magazine, and my conversation with him covered much more than we can fit into this show: it went from Porky Pig being an inspiration to stuttering kids to the fact that there's an "Oakland" font. My mind was blown. But the central focus of our conversation was Umber. Nicholls' Oakland-based publication toes the line between magazine and coffee table book: you can only find it in print, it's printed with intention entirely in black and brown ink, and its features on artists of color from around the nation can't be found anywhere online. Each issue of Umber has a theme. For the magazine's third issue, released just a few weeks ago, that theme is Sound. Nicholls, who grew up with an intense stutter, says he's always found it easier to express himself through written word—hence his passion for graffiti and typography. But he's always been interested in digging into sound, especially as a method for overcoming stuttering. The current issue's pages cover the likes of East Bay drummer Thomas Pridgen, and a very talented vocalist named Yasmeena. And Nicholls himself opens up in the magazine's pages to write about overcoming stuttering. As Mike told me, "It's like there's a million words in my head, and I just want one!" He laughed, and continued by saying, "You know, I don't stutter when I'm by myself." A release party for the latest issue of Umber gets underway Monday, July 19, at Bandcamp in Oakland. The show runs from 6pm-9pm and features live performances from Mani Draper, Nina Sol and Yasmeena. Details here. Click on the audio link above hear the full story.

Rightnowish: Urban Peace Movement's Effort to Combat Injustices in Alameda County

On June 19, a group of about 50 people—the majority of them young folks—gathered around Lake Merritt on their bikes. There were Big Rippers, Scraper Bikers, and even a guy on a unicycle. While it appeared to be a regular summer bike ride, they were really there for a day of action. Veronica Caña, a leader from Urban Peace Movement, an Oakland based nonprofit that works to give young people a voice on issues of justice, told me the ride aimed to hold the Alameda County Sheriff's office accountable as part of the #AuditAhern campaign—as well as to bring attention to numerous incidents of negligence within the local jail. Those incidents, including over 30 in-custody deaths in and around Santa Rita jail in Pleasanton, have been covered by local publications. There are stories of a woman having to go through labor and birth her child while in solitary confinement, as well as a woman who was released from jail in the middle of the night only to be found dead hours later. And then there's the case of Dujuan Armstrong, a young man who was found dead in his cell just hours after being booked last summer. A criminal investigation into the cause of his death was launched just last month. Armstrong's mother Barbara Doss was at Lake Merritt, alongside Caña, event organizer Zay Coleman and other bikers and activists. Doss gave the riders some words of encouragement before they took off, lapping the lake, heading downtown and eventually biking to East Oakland—screaming "justice for Dujuan" all the way. To hear all about it, click the link above.

Rightnowish: Urban Peace Movement's Effort to Combat Injustices in Alameda County

Rightnowish: The Other Side of DAGHE Digital

DAGHE Digital is just about as unique as they come. He's a West Oakland kid, but one who's clear about his West African roots, as his family hails from Nigeria. He grew up in the Town, a socialite who turf danced and threw "functions" for people who weren't old enough to go to legit clubs. He's grown to become a brand creator, clothing designer, music producer and more. But his main job? Going stupid on the turntables and microphone at some of the biggest events of the summer. Daghe has worked with folks like, Khelani, Kool John, P-Lo, G-Eazy, E-40 and more. Already this year, DAGHE has rocked shows in Miami, Minnesota, New York and Toronto. He's scheduled to spin at the Oakland stop of the Everyday People Tour on Aug. 3, the SoOakland X DAGHE Digital party at Hello Stranger on Aug. 17, plus he'll be supporting a few artists onstage at Rolling Loud in Oakland in late September. DAGHE also currently serves as DJ for YBN Cordae, who was chosen for this year's XXL Freshman Class and who's about to set out on a world tour next week. Needless to say, he's busy. If you look at his photos and videos on social media, you might think that all DAGHE does is rage on major stages while folks in the crowd scream their heads off in excitement. But there's more to him than that. I recently caught up with him at Cafe Lakeside in Oakland, and talked about the other side of DAGHE. You know, the cerebral side, the side that likes to have "business meetings" with himself while he runs the lake. Not necessarily the "turned down" side—and, in talking to him, I realized it might not be a "different side" at all—but more of a different spot on the spectrum of energy that he can show. And the quieter, contemplative, thoughtful end of that spectrum is rarely heard—until now. Click the link to hear all about DAGHE, how he turns up, and how he unwinds.

Rightnowish: Miko Marks' Summertime Anthem to Roller Skating at Lake Merritt

Over at the cul-de-sac on the southeastern side of Lake Merritt, there's a group of roller skaters who call themselves the Oakland Rollers. They gather every Wednesday afternoon and turn the street into a skating rink. Inspired by the group's camaraderie, shared laughter, bright skates and fanny packs, singer and skater Miko Marks found inspiration for her latest song, "Roll Out." "Happiness is in the air / good vibes are floating 'round / and whenever I see the sun out shining bright / I throw on my wheels / I got to get out," sings Marks over the groove-heavy track produced by Julia Lewis. Marks, originally from Flint, Michigan, considers herself a country singer—but through her time skating with the Oakland Rollers, she began to explore other musical genres. Whether it's country or R&B, she says the music comes from the same place of inspiration. After skating with founders Joelle Boismenu and Nicoletta Critchlow and the rest of the crew, Marks' summertime song made me curious about what's going on in her niche of the Bay Area... rightnowish. To hear all about it, click the link above.

Rightnowish: Miko Marks' Summertime Anthem to Roller Skating at Lake Merritt

Rightnowish: Marty Aranaydo Puts On for Small Businesses in the Tenderloin

I finally got a chance to interview Marty Aranaydo. I mean, it wouldn't feel right to have a show called Rightnowish—highlighting arts and culture currently happening in the Bay—without talking to him. Marty is a stakeholder in this terrain. Since the late '90s, Marty has been a key player in the Bay Area scene through his DJing, graffiti writing, activism and events. He's put in work in the fashion world with his brand NVR OVR, which is also the name of his monthly dance party at the Layover in Oakland. I recently grabbed a round of drinks with Marty at the Rumpus Room, not too far from his storefront in the Tenderloin. Of all of the things we discussed, one of Marty's upcoming projects stood out: it's a zine that will document and promote many of the small businesses in the Tenderloin, an important venture for the mom-and-pop stores surviving in the shadows of tech giants. To hear all about Marty and his work, click the link.

Rightnowish: Marty Aranaydo Puts On for Small Businesses in the Tenderloin

Rightnowish: Nenna Joiner's Inclusive Sex Toys at Feelmore Adult Gallery in Oakland

Nenna Joiner, founder and operator of Feelmore Adult Gallery in Oakland, is a serial entrepreneur. Originally an adult filmmaker, Nenna needed a place to feature their work. So they started the adult store, where their films are shown and sold, along with other videos, art and, of course, sex toys. (Nenna uses "they/them" pronouns.) Since opening the store in 2011, Nenna's been involved in local social events and politics, speaking at City Hall and riding on floats at parades. A fixture in the Oakland scene, Nenna never strays too far from their entrepreneurial roots. Their latest project is an adult toy they recently created. "I actually created it in one day," Nenna told me during a recent conversation. "On the front of the box it's the vibrator, and our logo, and our branding. And on the side it says: believe in yourself." "I mean, I don't know anybody out there who's putting affirmations on vibrators, but I say it to really drive it home for myself—that is, really to believe in yourself, like it's not about the sex toy," they added, laughing. "It's about the care and attention that goes into creating something." Nenna isn't just talking about sex. Nenna is living it. Click the link above to hear about the buzz happening at Feelmore Gallery.

Rightnowish: Nenna Joiner's Inclusive Sex Toys at Feelmore Adult Gallery in Oakland

Rightnowish: Vivian Xue Rahey and 'The Disneyland for Nails'

The work of Pamper Nail Gallery owner Vivian Xue Rahey caught my attention a few months ago, when I saw an Instagram photo of someone's nails: on each finger were images depicting the transatlantic slave trade. Like, how in the hell do you tell a story that deep on a canvas so small? When I asked a friend about Vivian's nail salon, she affirmed that it's one of the top places in the Bay Area to get your nails done. Since then, I've followed Pamper Nail Gallery's work, and I've seen elaborate nails with sea-glass flowers, Nickelodeon characters, aliens, ice cream cones—even Nipsey Hussle. A 2018 article referred to the shop as the "Disneyland for nails," and it's easy to see why. I recently visited the shop in Fremont to talk with Vivian about working within the confines of nails to create high-end wearable artwork. To hear all about it, click the link above.

Rightnowish: Darius Gomez and Dirty Pesos Clothing

I've seen Dirty Pesos hoodies and shirts all around town, as well as in music videos. But it took me a while before I realized who the designer was. I don't recall when it all clicked, but when it did, I was like: Oh! I know Darius Gomez! I mean, it feels like everyone in the Bay knows Darius Gomez. He's the son of longtime radio personality and community culture keeper Chuy Gomez. Back in the day, his pops used to bring him on the California Music Channel, which I used to watch after middle school; I feel like I grew up with Darius. Far removed from the kid some might remember from the TV screen, Darius' latest move is evidence of his maturation. After starting as an intern at AGW Screen works in San Leandro when he was 19, Darius launched his own clothing brand Dirty Pesos Worldwide just about four years ago. Inspired by other Bay Area brands like Shmoplife and Cookies SF, Darius decided to put his ideas to work. "The first two years were slow," Darius told me when I met up with him in his warehouse, but "as soon as I dropped these hoodies, that's when things just started flying off the shelf." Now 26, Darius has seen his clothes land on the backs of some the Bay's top athletes and artists, including L.A. Rams player Marcus Peters and East Oakland rapper ALLBLACK. For this week's episode of Rightnowish, I talked to Darius about his clothing line, what his family thinks about his success and how it feels to have his clothes worn by some of the tightest and brightest out of the Bay Area. To hear our convo, click the link above!

Rightnowish: Photographer Kate Dash is Changing Perceptions of Motherhood

Kate Dash is tight. Like, in the way you'd describe one of the undeniably cool kids at your school. She has pink hair. She's a skateboarder who likes to "bomb" down hills in San Francisco. And she's a photographer who features images of other undeniably cool kids—the majority of whom are mothers. Oh, and Dash herself is a mother of two. She was born in the Philippines, raised in the South Bay and now resides in San Francisco. I caught up with her in the City at Jessica Buera's Concrete Rose Salon, where Dash told me about what color she plans to dye her hair next, as well as what's next for her as a photographer: she's on the verge of launching her own magazine, focused on photos and stories of mothers. With Mother's Day on Sunday, I thought it'd be a great time to amplify Dash's work to dispel any notions that being a mother, no matter what age, is a bad thing. "That's my whole purpose," says Dash. "Like, why do we hate on moms so much? You know it's like, we're really out here. This society pushes everyone to have sex and the minute someone's pregnant: 'Ooh, you were a hoe. Ooh, you had sex. Ooh, what the hell were you doing having sex?'" Dash's Instagram name, @Been.Milky, honors the fact that mothers have the ability to feed all of humankind. In her eyes, mothers are the most important beings walking this earth. And since she's a photographer, she can show us exactly what she sees.

Rightnowish: Photographer Kate Dash is Changing Perceptions of Motherhood

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