July 30, Aug. 4-6, and Aug. 14: On Terri Odabi's terrific new album My Blue Soul, she sings “Gentrification Blues," with the lyrics: "I ain’t gonna let nobody tell me where to sing my song. If you don’t like my music, maybe you don’t belong." Odabi grew up in Oakland and graduated from Fremont High, and she's referring to noise complaints about a church service and a drum circle by newcomers to her city last year. Odabi is showing her political but also her musical range, mixing blues, soul, and jazz in a flurry of gigs in the next few weeks -- including three days at Cafe Stritch in San Jose as vocalist with Steve Turre and Marcus Shelby in the club's annual tribute to Rahsaan Roland Kirk. First, though, catch her at Biscuits and Blues on July 30, details here. Details for the Cafe Stritch gig Aug. 4-6 are here. Then she plays the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest August 14, details here.
Aug 4, 16, 18: In August of 1966, three years before the Stonewall riots in New York, San Francisco’s Tenderloin was the scene of a violent protest against police harassment of drag queens, trans sex workers, and “hair fairies,” in what’s become known as the Compton's Cafeteria Riot. Both the Tenderloin and the GLBT Museums are collaborating on a series of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of an time when cross-dressing was illegal. Halloween must have been very dull. You can find details on the series of lectures and films (including documentary Screaming Queens at the Roxie Aug. 18), right here.
July 29-Aug. 14: Oakland's abandoned train station makes a perfect stage for the do-more-with-less-impresarios at West Edge Opera. Mark Streshinsky and Jonathan Khuner strive to make opera for the people, small but really exciting productions of classics and newer works. This year, they're spanning three centuries with the first Bay Area production of Thomas Adès sexually explicit Powder Her Face, about the Duchess of Argyll (directed by the ingenious Elkhanah Pulitzer), Handel’s old-school Agrippina, and Janáček's Cunning Little Vixen. Nothing stuffy about these productions. Details here.
Continuing through Oct. 30: The Oakland Museum of California has been working the last few years to become what it calls "a people’s museum." And Oakland: I want you to know... is the latest example, a show in which artists and community groups (City Slicker Farms, Youth Radio, and more) tell stories about the great city they love and their anxieties about gentrification. The exhibit was put together by Oakland artist Chris Treggiari and the museum’s Curator of Public Practice, Evelyn Orantes, who says the exhibit asks this question: “What makes a community? What are the people, places, and histories that we want to protect and retain, and if there’s ever a city that can fight the good fight, it’s Oakland, home of the Panthers, home of activism, home of Occupy." Julie Plasencia's portraits from West Oakland are a highlight. Details here.
Aug. 2 and 13: La Luz is an all-woman surf-rock band born in Seattle, now in Los Angeles, so I guess the water is a bit warmer. Shana Cleveland sings and really shreds on lead guitar when she wants to. Cleveland, Marian Li Pino on drums, Alice Sandahl on keyboard, and Lena Simon on bass make retro-rock feel very fresh. Further establishing their cred, they'll release a new album this month produced by the ubiquitous garage-rocker Ty Segall. Details for their shows Tuesday at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz are here, and at the Ritz in San Jose are here.