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  • A Gravity-Defying Dance For Girls Everywhere
    A Gravity-Defying Dance For Girls Everywhere Flyaway Productions uses aerial dance to explore the credibility of women’s voices in the public realm.

    Choreographer Jo Kreiter created the aerial dance "The Right To Be Believed" long before #MeToo, and before the recent outpouring of stories from women who have endured harassment and sexualt assault.

    Now Kreiter’s vision -- of women taking over a whole Oakland, CA-city block to perform a dance about the credibility of women’s voices -- takes on new poignancy as Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore, and too many other powerful men attempt to deflect allegations by discrediting their accusers.

    “We need to start believing women, believing that our experiences have value,” says Krieter. “Belittled, pushed aside and assaulted, all these things that every women goes through, we’ve had enough of that.”

    Watch dancers Bianca Cabrera, Sonsherée Giles, MaryStarr Hope, Yayoi Kambara, Megan Lowe, and Sonya Smith in a moving display of women’s vulnerability and strength, with music by FR333, including the song “Emily Doe,” inspired by the woman who survived a brutal sexual assault in 2015 by Stanford freshman Brock Turner.

    Director, Editor: Claudia Escobar
    Cinematography: Claudia Escobar and Elie Khadra
    Executive Producer: David Markus
  • How Daly City’s Filipino Mobile DJ Scene Changed Hip-Hop Forever
    How Daly City’s Filipino Mobile DJ Scene Changed Hip-Hop Forever Apollo Novicio, Ken Anolin and Dino Rivera weren’t trying to change the world. Growing up in Daly City in the 1980s, they just wanted to rock parties for their friends, families and fellow Filipinos. Hauling mobile DJ setups from houses to garages to church auditoriums, the two were part of a booming scene of DJ crews and dancers who created their own subculture in a mostly forgotten corner of the Bay Area while grandma cooked the rice and adobo.

    Fast-forward to the present day, and the turntable innovations of people like DJ Qbert, Mix Master Mike and others who sprung from Daly City’s mobile DJ scene are felt everywhere in hip-hop and beyond — whether in pure technical scratch wizardry, the off-kilter production styles of J. Dilla and Madlib, or the prominence of the turntable as an individual instrument. Inspired by Oliver Wang’s essential history "Legions of Boom: Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews in the Bay Area," KQED recently caught up with Novicio, Anolin and Rivera for a look into the roots of their musical revolution. —Gabe Meline
  • Street Stories Told in San Jose's Rap Opera Project
    Street Stories Told in San Jose's Rap Opera Project The rough, guttural street stories told in The Rap Opera Project aren't fiction. They're real-life experiences of San Jose youth, compiled by Carlos Aguirre and turned into song. Above, watch a young man's anxieties while growing up amidst gang violence transform into a dramatic musical performance.
  • Printing For The Movement, A Love Story
    Printing For The Movement, A Love Story The Love Story Behind the Graphics Arts Collaboration Dignidad Rebelde.

    How do you make a poster that inspires, organizes and illustrates a social movement? For printmakers Melanie Cervantes and Jesus Barraza, the duo behind the Oakland-based graphic arts collaboration Dignidad Rebelde, the secret ingredient might be their own love story.
  • Storytime in Stilettos
    Storytime in Stilettos With her joyful, game-for-anything confidence and impressive ability to make stilettos look comfortable, Persia is one of San Francisco’s most beloved drag queens. Her nightclub performances are legendary, as are her star turns in music videos -- but you might not know that she also teaches at Children’s After School Arts (CASA) and reads to kids at the SF Public Library’s Drag Queen Story Hour.

    Persia makes it look easy. But as KQED Arts learned on a recent visit, her journey has been anything but simple. Watch the video above for a peek behind the (fabulous, sequined) curtain. —Emma Silvers
  • Finding Power in 'Blasian Narratives' | KQED Arts
    Finding Power in 'Blasian Narratives' | KQED Arts “What’s being Blasian anyway?” asks one cast member in 'Blasian Narratives,' a documentary-theater project staged at Stanford University earlier this year.

    The answer lies in the production’s participants — students and alumni of Stanford, as well as those of Spelman College and Morehouse Colleges in Atlanta, GA — as they tell stories about navigating their identity as both black and Asian (colloquially, “Blasian”).

    “The participants’ stories provide a humorous, serious, and poetic look into how these two worlds intersect,” says the show’s creator and director Jivan Atman, who is Cambodian.

    Atman was inspired to create Blasian Narratives in 2014 as a college student connecting with Blasian peers at Morehouse, which staged a work-in-progress performance from the project. The following year, while on a semester exchange at Stanford University, Atman discovered students organizing around Black Lives Matter and Asian Pacific Islanders for Black Lives, and felt he was in a supportive environment for continuing the work he started at Morehouse.

    Since then, some of the original cast’s members have toured the country, making appearances at San Francisco’s CAAMFest and Oregon’s DisOrient Asian American Film Festival to present an hour-long film about the project.

    Above, watch the Blasian Narratives crew performing a recent west coast show as they share deeply personal experiences, challenge stereotypes and create community.

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  • Slaying Demons and Stereotypes With Actor Rotimi Agbabiaka | KQED Arts
    Slaying Demons and Stereotypes With Actor Rotimi Agbabiaka | KQED Arts Actor Rotimi Agbabiaka first discovered the theater playing in his mother’s closet in Lagos, Nigeria, where he grew up. With each new outfit he tried on, “the possibility I could be anything or anyone was opened to me,” says Agbabiaka, a veteran actor of productions at Cal Shakes, Marin Theatre Company, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and Beach Blanket Babylon.

    But after emigrating to the United States as a teenager and pursing an acting career, Agbabiaka encountered an American theater scene that didn’t recognize the same endless possibilities for him as a queer, black, immigrant man. In his hilarious one-man play Type/Cast, Agbabiaka exposes the challenges he’s faced, reminding us that “our stories create demons, but our stories can also slay demons.”

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  • Salma Al Aasal, the Voice No Travel Ban Could Silence
    Salma Al Aasal, the Voice No Travel Ban Could Silence Salma Al Aasal, 51, learned to sing in Sudan as a child, before moving to Egypt and, eventually, America. But nobody in her adopted country had heard her voice — until a concert in Oakland this year. "Notes Against the Ban," featuring music from the seven countries targeted in President Trump’s travel ban, showcased music from Libya, Yemen, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Iraq, and served dual roles as ambassadorial outreach and as a healing salve. And Salma Al Aasal, raised amidst Middle East tumult and finding a new home in the Bay Area, finally took center stage. Watch as Salma tells her incredible story — and listen as she sings from the depths of the heart.
  • Creating Radical Visibility and Chilaquiles
    Creating Radical Visibility and Chilaquiles Creating radical visibility — for artists of color, queer artists, undocumented artists — is hard work. And people doing hard work need to eat well. Over chilaquiles, a traditional Mexican dish of fried corn tortillas covered in sauce and queso fresco, CultureStrike co-founder Favianna Rodriguez and queer undocumented artist and cartoonist Julio Salgado dish out more than just a delicious meal.

    Warning: Explicit language
  • Oakland's 14-Year-Old Cartooning the Resistance
    Oakland's 14-Year-Old Cartooning the Resistance Quinn Nelson’s nationally recognized political cartoons -- critiquing bombings in Syria and the presidential election -- illustrate the voice of a generation.
    Published March 28, 2017
    Directed by Kelly Whalen
  • Portraits of an Immigrant-Nation
    Portraits of an Immigrant-Nation Artists bring humanity back into the political conversation over immigration, with more than 100 portraits of immigrants assembled in the shape of flag.
  • Soltron's New Musical Message of Resistance
    Soltron's New Musical Message of Resistance Meet the hot new band from San Francisco's Mission District, bringing political determination and feel-good party music to the streets and beyond.
    Published January 31, 2017
    Directed by Claudia Escobar
    For more: goo.gl/eW1knh
  • Artists Build a More Representative Women's March on Washington
    Artists Build a More Representative Women's March on Washington When artists and cultural workers from the Bay Area participated in what’s been estimated to be the largest coast-to-coast demonstration in U.S. history, they went to represent immigrants, queer women and women of color.
    Published January 24, 2017
    Directed by Kelly Whalen
    For more: goo.gl/jBsAjK
  • A Border Wall of Piñatas Builds Community
    A Border Wall of Piñatas Builds Community The installation of hundreds of handmade brick-shaped piñatas, assembled to mimic the border wall between the United States and Mexico, was a deeply collaborative cross-cultural project — spearheaded by Oakland's Sita Bhaumik, but realized by countless artists, makers and community members.
    Published Nov. 2, 2016
    Directed by Kelly Whalen
    For more: goo.gl/zDvUng
  • A Portraitist Honors People of Color Killed by Law Enforcement
    A Portraitist Honors People of Color Killed by Law Enforcement Oakland's Oree Originol creates striking black and white digital drawings of victims of police violence, used at street protests and vigils around the world inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
    Published January 1, 2017
    Directed by Jessica Jones
    For more: goo.gl/PzvhMW
  • Oakland Joins in the National Pussy Hat Project
    Oakland Joins in the National Pussy Hat Project Piedmont Yarn & Apparel in Oakland became ground zero for local knitters of pink pussy hats for nationwide protests in response to President Trump's inauguration and new administration.
    Pubished January 18, 2017
    Directed by Kelly Whalen
    For more: goo.gl/alWdEF
  • Women Veterans Share Stories from the Frontlines
    Women Veterans Share Stories from the Frontlines 'Stand Ground,' a recent theater production from the EchoTheaterSuitcase project, helps participants work through the traumas of working in combat zones.
    Published by Nov. 11, 2016
    Directed by Mike Seely
    For more: goo.gl/wOXxzP
  • Building a Wall of Empathy Post Trump
    Building a Wall of Empathy Post Trump After the election of President Donald Trump, Bay Area artists activated public spaces to start conversations in a state where nearly twice as many voters supported Hillary Clinton.
    Directed by Kelly Whalen
    For more: goo.gl/R3flhl
  • Bay Area LGBTQ Artists Reflect on Safe Queer Spaces
    Bay Area LGBTQ Artists Reflect on Safe Queer Spaces In the aftermath of the Orlando shooting, Bay Area LGBTQ artists reflect on their “first” safe place, what the loss of recent safe places means, and how they're creating new sanctuaries for belonging and community.
    Published July 6, 2016
    Directed by Claudia Escobar and Kelly Whalen
    For more: goo.gl/vKZIui
  • How Turfers and Ballet Dancers Found their Groove Together | KQED Arts
    How Turfers and Ballet Dancers Found their Groove Together | KQED Arts Hit that SUBSCRIBE button!
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  • Women Dancers Redefine Oakland's Street Dancing Scene
    Women Dancers Redefine Oakland's Street Dancing Scene Watch the all-female, multi-ethnic dance crew, Mix'd Ingrdnts, as they set out to create unity for women and girls in Oakland's street dance scene. Published Nov. 12, 2015
    Directed by Jessica Jones and Kelly Whalen
    For more: goo.gl/GZZjes
  • Brown Girl Surf Breaks Barriers
    Brown Girl Surf Breaks Barriers What happens when you don't see yourself reflected in your local surfing scene? For a group of Bay Area surfers, the answer is: create your own. Published Oct. 11, 2016
    Directed by Sachi Cunningham
    For more: goo.gl/5JlXog
  • The Art of Lowriding
    The Art of Lowriding Whether they’ve been driving lowriders since the 1970s or are working on customizing their first car in 2016, San Francisco Bay Area lowriders share a love for driving “low and slow,” according to Roberto Hernandez.
    Published Sept. 13, 2016
    Directed by Claudia Escobar
    For more: goo.gl/yMn30N
  • Women's Ink
    Women's Ink Tattoo artist Sarah Grossman may be the only female tattoo artist at San Jose's Polished Tattoo, but women's contributions to the field dates back centuries, as documented in a History San José art exhibition.
    Published May 3, 2016
    Directed by Kelly Whalen
    For more: goo.gl/FmmAFa

  • The Power of Melanin
    The Power of Melanin East Oakland Photographer Brittani "BRITTSENSE" Sensabaugh captures the struggle and love of forgotten communities of color in her striking street photography.
    Published February 9, 2016
    Directed by Debora Silva
    For more: goo.gl/SkzCHO
  • Knyte Ryderz Women's Motorcycle Club
    Knyte Ryderz Women's Motorcycle Club The Knyte Ryderz are unusual among biker groups. All members are female, but they’re also multiracial, super inclusive, and do a lot of charitable work, such as an annual holiday toy drive for Oakland Children’s Hospital and events with Girls Inc. They also like to customize their bikes in a way that makes them look both badass and pretty.
    Published Dec. 23, 2016
    Directed by Kelly Whalen
    For more: goo.gl/fV4t9H
  • New Generation of Latin Jazz Artists
    New Generation of Latin Jazz Artists The Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco was founded with a simple but ambitious mission: to preserve the traditions of Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban music by teaching it to young musicians, who can then become role models for future aspiring artists. Now in its fourteenth year, the ensemble has been home to over 120 young Bay Area musicians, and has opened for greats such as Poncho Sanchez and the Cuban bassist Israel "Cachao" López, jammed with the likes of pianist Chuchito Valdés, and recorded three albums.
    Published September 10, 2015
    Directed by Kelly Whalen
    For more: goo.gl/BLPCKz
  • Putting Artists of Color at Heart of Environmental Movement
    Putting Artists of Color at Heart of Environmental Movement Political commentator Van Jones and artist Favianna Rodriguez discuss how creative people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds help move the needle on global warming.
    Published June 30, 2016
    Directed by Chloe Veltman and Kelly Whalen
    For more: goo.gl/bFEAPn
  • The Bay Area Talks Back to Hollywood
    The Bay Area Talks Back to Hollywood #OscarsSoWhite has brought some big questions to light about the film industry. What kind of picture is Hollywood painting of America? Why does it not include more people of color, women, and LBGT communities? And who exactly is running the show down there? Bay Area residents, indie filmmakers and actors talk back.
    Published Feb. 26, 2016
    Directed by Claudia Escobar
    For more: goo.gl/T245HZ
  • Communing with Oakland's Landscape and Women Artists
    Communing with Oakland's Landscape and Women Artists With 'This Land,' Choreographer Sarah Bush was inspired by natural landscapes and pioneering women artists with Bay Area ties, including writers Gertrude Stein and Ina Coolbrith, and dancer Isadora Duncan. Published April 14, 2016
    Directed by Kelly Whalen
    For more: goo.gl/PFF7kR
  • Mourning the Orlando Massacre
    Mourning the Orlando Massacre Between evictions of LGBTQ institutions in San Francisco and the recent massacre in Orlando, LGBTQ safe spaces feel under attack.
    Published June 13, 2016
    Directed by Claudia Escobar and Kelly Whalen
    For more: goo.gl/OVpBup
  • Scraper Bikes: Riding as One
    Scraper Bikes: Riding as One When East Oakland's Scraper Bike Team rolls through the city's streets, they display leadership and creativity.
    Published March 30, 2016
    Directed by Benjamin Michel
    For more: goo.gl/Yg8mgG
  • Police Shooting Spurs Young Actors to Reclaim Neighborhood Identity
    Police Shooting Spurs Young Actors to Reclaim Neighborhood Identity The San Francisco Mission District-based arts organization Loco Bloco's youth theater project "On The Hill" examines police shootings and gentrification after the death of 28-year-old Alex Nieto.
    Published April 25, 2016
    Directed by Omid Zoufonoun
    For more: goo.gl/y9xO7E
  • Oakland Culture Curator Seeks Balance Between Art and Prosperity
    Oakland Culture Curator Seeks Balance Between Art and Prosperity Visual artist-turned-curator Besame, a.k.a. Vanessa Nguyen, resists hype, and rather seeks rarity, as she stages events in the fast-changing city Oakland.
    Published November 30, 2015
    Directed by Alex Ghassan
    For more: goo.gl/q4SmQZ
  • An Oakland Artist Embodies Afrofuturism Movement
    An Oakland Artist Embodies Afrofuturism Movement A renewed artistic vision of Africa — past, present and future — takes root with young artists in the East Bay, like multimedia artist Selam Bekele.
    Published Oct. 30, 2015
    Directed by Benjamin Michel
    For more: goo.gl/y03w9a
  • Uprooted: Artists Respond to San Francisco’s Black Exodus
    Uprooted: Artists Respond to San Francisco’s Black Exodus Artists in the 3.9 Collective are responding to San Francisco’s dramatic loss of African American citizens with work that both reminds us of the city’s vibrantly diverse past and expresses resistance to present trends.
    Published April 2, 2015
    Directed by Abhi Singh
    For more: goo.gl/3a2S0B
  • The Frisco Five Protest Moves Bay Area Artist
    The Frisco Five Protest Moves Bay Area Artist Local musicians, performers and visual artists support the Frisco Five hunger strike and street mobilizations against police shootings by the San Francisco Police Department.
    Published May 12, 2016
    Directed by Claudia Escobar
    For more: goo.gl/Pt6TKN
  • Self-Discovery Through Skateboarding
    Self-Discovery Through Skateboarding Kids at James Lick Middle School in San Francisco find a creative outlet through skateboarding, but also the importance of community. Published May 25, 2016
    Directed by Alex Ghassan
    For more: goo.gl/pM4odT
  • Vocal Rush Sings for Black Lives
    Vocal Rush Sings for Black Lives Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, three-time international a cappella winners Vocal Rush layer their sound with social commentary.
    Published June 15, 2015
    Directed by Kelly Whalen
    For more: goo.gl/feQHwa
  • San Francisco Artists Mobilize for City's Homeless
    San Francisco Artists Mobilize for City's Homeless In response to local leaders efforts to sweep the streets of the homeless, Bay Area artists designed and distributed more than 150 blanket-jackets for people living in the streets of San Francisco.
    Published June 15, 2016
    Directed by Peter Ruocco
    For more: goo.gl/kKBEv1
  • Eco-Artists and their "Lover Earth"
    Eco-Artists and their "Lover Earth" Performance artists Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle say if we want to save the planet from ecological disaster, we have to have fun doing it.
    Published June 21, 2016
    Directed by Peter Ruocco
    For more: goo.gl/qjxkr4
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