‘Tree of Life and Death’ at OMCA

October 10, 2013 1:13 PM
'The Cobbler,' by artist Wendeanne Ke'aka Stitt.

The Oakland Museum of California 19th annual Dia de los Muertos exhibition, “The Tree of Life and Death,” opened October 9, much to the enthusiasm of visitors and museum staff alike. The exhibition intertwines the Dias de los Muertos (Days of the Dead) theme with the museum’s Natural Sciences wing, which opened on May 31 after a four-year renovation. The arrangement of installations allows guests to wander back and forth between the Natural Sciences and Dias de los Muertos exhibitions. The focus of this interdisciplinary exhibit are the ofrendas, or altars, to the souls of the deceased. A multitude of […]

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‘The Butler’ – a generational look at racial bias

August 29, 2013 2:13 PM
‘The Butler’ – a generational look at racial bias

In “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” title character Cecil Gaines is told there is no room for politics at the White House.  The film, however, portrays a tumultuous journey of over 80 years, chronicling not only Gaines’ life as a White House butler, but the volatile politics of twentieth century America. The film begins with the steady rise of Gaines (Forest Whitaker), an African American, to the role of a White House butler.  He is motivated to leave the Deep South to find a better life for himself and abandon a life filled with turmoil. After finally finding a job, Gaines’ […]

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‘Black August’ — fiction masquerading as history

2:09 PM
‘Black August’ — fiction masquerading as history

“Black August” reveals itself not simply as fiction masquerading as history, but a poorly executed fiction at that. Ostensibly a docudrama, Samm Styles and TCinque Sampson attempt detailing the publication process of George Jackson’s seminal work “Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson.” Detailed are the difficulties in publishing the work.  Threats come in from nearly every direction. Pressure is put upon all parties involved in releasing the book, creating a taut pressure cooker of a situation. Throughout the film, Jackson himself is presented as a loquacious chain smoker. Those familiar with the film’s foundational text, from which many […]

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